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All About Evil (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • All About Evil (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: June 10th, 2022.
    Director: Joshua Grannell
    Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Mikayla Rosario, Jack Donner, Mink Stole, Cassandra Peterson, Rober Calvert
    Year: 2010
    Purchase From Severin Films

    All About Evil – Movie Review:

    Written and directed by Joshua Grannell (better known as drag performer Peaches Christ) and released in 2010, All About Evil opens with a scene where girl named Deborah Tennis gets ready to deliver her first ever live performance at The Victoria, the theater her father owns before the audience takes in a kiddie matinee screening of The Wizard Of Oz. Deborah, all decked out like Dorothy, is understandably nervous but she gets up and does her thing only to get ridiculed by those around her and laughed at by her horrible stepmother (who not so coincidently is all dolled up like The Wicked Witch Of The West), Tammy (Julie Caitlin Brown), when, nervously, she pees herself and gets electrocuted by the microphone.

    Years later, adult Deborah (Natasha Lyonne) works at the library alongside snooty Evelyn (Mink Stole). After her father passes on, she inherits the family business and hopes, with some help from longtime projectionist Mr. Twigs (Jack Donner), to use it to not only keep her father's memory alive but also their shared love of horror films, even if Tammy would rather sell the place off. When Deborah stabs Tammy to death with a pen in the theater’s lobby and then accidently broadcasts the security camera footage on the big screen in the theater, she panics but soon realizes that the audience, believing it to be part of the show, loves it.

    A regular theater goer named Steven (Thomas Dekker) has got the hots for Deborah, but when pretty Claire (Lyndsy Kail) asks him out, he accepts, while still very definitely remaining interested in Deborah, who evolves from frumpy librarian to bold, brash showman. Claire’s voicemail recording says ‘Hi, Claire Bear, not there’ and that should make you hate her. Anyway, with some help from insane twins Veda and Vera (Jade and Nikita Ramsey), new usher Adrian (Noah Segan) and Mr. Twigs, Deborah (who insists people pronounce her name “Duh-bore-ah”!) sets out making the kind of movies she wants to see - snuff movies - using anyone who bothers her as the star! As The Victoria's repertoire becomes increasingly popular amongst the viewing public, Deborah and her crew become increasingly brazen in their endeavors. All of this occurs while Steven’s obsession grows, much to the dismay of his mother Linda (Cassandra Peterson), and he starts to figure out what Deborah is actually up to.

    Clearly inspired by the films of John Waters, H.G. Lewis (there’s a Blood Feast one sheet hanging prominently in the lobby of the theater) and the campier pictures that Bette Davis had roles in (the film’s title being an obvious nod to All About Eve), All About Evil wears its influences plainly on its sleeve, like a badge of honor. For the most part, it works pretty well. While clearly writing a love letter to the films that inspired it, the movie still manages to stand as a pretty creative effort, with the different themed murder set pieces adding a novel twist to the idea. A good example being a Marie Antoinette/Dickens inspired guillotine piece called ‘A Tale Of Two Severed Titties’ that goes over like gangbusters, while another piece, ‘The Maiming Of The Shrew,’ is also quite amusing.

    Those murder set pieces are the highlights of the movie. They are well done, inspired and pretty much all done with practical effects giving the movie a bit of old school charm despite the fact that it is obviously shot digitally and not on film and the murder scenes really are pretty gory. However, in addition to a good amount of gore and sleaze, the movie benefits from a really strong cast. Seeing Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson (in a fairly dramatic role not playing Elvira!) appear in the film in pretty decent sized roles will be reason enough for some cult film fans to seek this out, but supporting work from Donner, Kail, Segan and the Ramsey twins is also pretty fun. Natasha Lyonne (who has some of the most captivating eyes in modern moviemaking), however, is the real star of the show and definitely the best part of the cast. She really goes for it, embracing the film's campier aspects but still infusing her character with some depth and making her transformation from mouse to murderer quite fun to watch. Case in point? Early in the film she has her hair up, wears brown sweaters and lacks confidence, but at the seventy minute mark is chain smoking on a talk show, talking with an exaggerated accent, dressed to the nines and all made up and quoting Hitchcock.

    The movie isn't perfect. Grannell really didn't need to insert Peaches Christ into the movie and might have been better served by letting the film speak for itself without the assistance of his better known drag persona, even if it isn’t' a very big role. There are aspects of the story that are pretty predictable and, even if it would have cost infinitely more money, this is definitely a movie that would have looked better had it been shot on actual film. Overall, however, this works pretty well, putting entertainment value front and center and offering up a nice mix of gory kills, fun performances and campy humor.

    All About Evil – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin's AVC encoded 1080p high definition reissue of All About Evil, which is framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and was shot digitally, is pretty much pristine. Obviously there isn’t any print damage, grain or dirt to note, and colors look great. Detail is strong if not on the level that a major Hollywood production made in the last decade might be, and there’s pretty decent depth to the image.

    An English language 24-bit DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, is the main option on the disc, though a DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is also offered. English SDH subtitles are also available.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary with writer/director Joshua Grannell and actors Thomas Dekker, Ashley Fink, Jade Ramsey and Nikita Ramsey. It's a pretty active and informative track with a fair bit of joking around among the participants, delivered with a good sense of humor but sometimes a bit chaotic. Lots of stories here about what it was like on set and how everyone got along, how much fun people had working on the picture, how did the credits and some of the design work, casting the film, changes that were made to the script, locations that were used, the makeup used in the movie, the costume design in the movie and plenty more.

    From there, check out Star Quality: The Making Of All About Evil, a featurette with insight from Grannell, producer Darren Stein, actors Dekker, Fink, Cassandra Peterson, Jade Ramsey, Nikita Ramsey, Noah Segan and Mink Stole. This piece runs thirty seven minutes and it covers Grannell's background and upbringing as well as his love of horror movies as well as his education and early filmmaking endeavors, the creation of the Peaches Christ persona, his involvement in the local drag scene and theater scene, creating the short film 'Grindhouse' that All About Evil is based on, Peaches' involvement with the 'Midnight Mass' screenings, how Stein came on to produce the film and how the financing came into place, casting the picture, how some of the bigger names like Peterson and Stole came to appear in the film, knowing Lyonne was perfect for the lead after talking to her about Doris Wishman and her insight into making the movie, shooting locations, what it was like on set, what went into Stole getting a facial cast done, having to take direction for Joshua versus Peaches versus Peachua, friendships that were formed during the shoot, touring a Peaches Christ roadshow to promote the movie and getting the film into theaters.

    All About Evil — Roundtable Discussion is a twenty-nine minute talk with Jade and Nikita Ramsey, Thomas Dekker, Ashley Fink and Joshua Grannell that covers having to get creative to overcome having to make the film on a very low budget, securing locations, some of the pre-production work that was required, the drag element present in the film and the making of the movie, casting the movie, who did what behind the camera, how a lot of the people who worked on the movie became like family over the course of the production and what it was like getting together to revisit the movie and get it back out into circulation.

    Evil Live: The Peaches Christ Experience In 4D — World Premiere At The Castro Theatre, May 2010 featurette is a twenty-minute segment that documents the movie's world premiere, which looked to have been about as crazy as you'd expect and hope it to be. John Waters, Mink Stole, Natasha Lyonne and quite a few other cast and crew members are on hand, but Peaches is, as you'd guess from the title of the featurette, the star of the show. We get to see the whole 'road show' pre-show performance, plenty of red carpet interviews, sound bites from various attendees including Waters and Lyonne, Stole joins Peaches for a musical number and plenty more. It's pretty bonkers and looks like it was probably a lot of fun.

    Grindhouse, the 2003 short film that Grannell made that became the inspiration for the feature is included here. It runs for just over thirteen minutes and in it a small but rowdy crowd waiting for the movie to start winds up seeing the lone female theater worker kill her mother by way of the security camera footage to then go on to achieve her own cult stardom. It is very much the framework off of which All About Evil has been hung.

    Children Of The Popcorn — Behind The Scenes With Peaches Christ is an eight minute featurette that features Peaches and her hunchbacked, Shegor, assistant going into her garishly colored and horror movie inspired office full of drag queens and monsters where we see her boss around her various underlings as they go about trying to put together one of her 'Midnight Mass' events. It's fairly insane and there's a fun Freaks-inspired finale to it that is pretty neat.

    Behind The Evil — 2010 Making-Of is a fifteen minute behind the scenes featurette that uses a lot of on set footage and cast and crew interviews to give us a look at what went into the making of All About Evil. Cast members, crew members, producers and Grannell himself all get time in front of the camera, and this piece gives us the opportunity to see what it was like on set and how some of the key set pieces in the movie were shot.

    Finishing up the extras are a trailer, a teaser trailer, menus and chapter selection options. On top of that, the Blu-ray also comes bundled with a CD containing the film's original soundtrack.

    All About Evil – The Final Word:

    All About Evil is fun, crass, crampy and gory and it’s all delivered with a wicked sense of humor. Severin has rolled out the red carpet for the movie, giving it a very nice presentation on a disc crammed with extras.


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    Ian Jane
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    Last edited by Ian Jane; 06-10-2022, 04:57 PM.
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