Inside Pulse » Elvira http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:19:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Elvira http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com Disc News: Final Movie Macabre arrives in Sept. http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/01/disc-news-final-movie-macabre-arrives-in-sept/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/08/01/disc-news-final-movie-macabre-arrives-in-sept/#comments Wed, 01 Aug 2012 08:00:41 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=307636 A few years ago Elvira resurrected her Movie Macabre show on THiS network. Way too many people didn’t know about her return since they had no clue about digital sub-channels which is where THiS is shown. Even those who knew about the channel were clueless that Elvira was on the schedule since in way too many markets her show aired in the wee hours of the night. For those who missed out, eOne has been releasing the episodes. Elvira’s Movie Macabre – Bloody Madness is the final installment. The collection arrives on September 25.

The four films in the boxset are A Bucket of Blood, The Killer Shrews, Manos: The Hands of Fate and Don’t Look in the Basement. This is a fun foursome to enjoy during the scary season leading up the Halloween. Can this really be the end of Movie Macabre?

Available at Amazon.com.

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Disc News: Elvira returns with Wild Women http://insidepulse.com/2012/03/31/disc-news-elvira-returns-with-wild-women/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/03/31/disc-news-elvira-returns-with-wild-women/#comments Sat, 31 Mar 2012 08:00:32 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=294518 Elvira, the Mistress of the Dark, revived her legendary Movie Macabre in the fall of 2010. The new movie series ran on the THiS network which mainly runs as a digital subchannel. This meant that a lot of her fans couldn’t find her on the dial if they used a satellite TV service. Those that might have known about the new Movie Macabre‘s received the scary news that it wasn’t airing in primetime.Many markets had her show at Sunday at 5 a.m. or Monday at 1 a.m. Thankfully those who accidentally missed her return can now experience it on DVD. eOne Entertainment presents Elvira Movie Macabre: Wild Women with four episodes on May 8th.

Untamed Women has her joined by other Mistresses for “The Brew.” While this spoofs The View, the segment predicts The Chew. Hercules and the Captive Women lets her hostess Greek style. The Wild Women of Wongo and The Wasp Woman are two episodes that didn’t air on TV. They’re completely fresh so fans Movie Macabre will be surprised.


Available at Amazon.com.
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DVD Review: Elvira’s Haunted Hills: The Enhanced Edition http://insidepulse.com/2011/10/31/dvd-review-elvira%e2%80%99s-haunted-hills-the-enhanced-edition/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/10/31/dvd-review-elvira%e2%80%99s-haunted-hills-the-enhanced-edition/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2011 16:00:36 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=271529 Elvira’s Haunted Hills: The Enhanced Edition dusts off the cobwebs of a choice bit of parody involving the Edgar Allen Poe movies made by Vincent Price and Roger Corman.]]> Elvira isn’t merely a horror host. She’s a bonafide movie star. At the height of her ‘80s fame, she became a cult cinematic sensation with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Basically Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) played off her Movie Macabre character. Nearly a decade later, she returned to the big screen in Elvira’s Haunted Hills. She’s flung back to Carpathia in 1851 as a dancer who dreams of success on stage and not TV. Elvira’s Haunted Hills: The Enhanced Edition dusts off the cobwebs of a choice bit of parody involving the Edgar Allen Poe movies made by Vincent Price and Roger Corman.

Elvira and her assistant Zou Zou (Mary Jo Smith) get run out of a Transylvanian town for lack of money to pay for the room. They’re making their way across Europe in hopes of her landing a slot in a Paris dancehall. She’s a Can Can dancer with cans a plenty. This talent brings her to the attention of Dr. Bradley Bradley (Scott Atkinson) who invites her along to Castle Hellsubus in the hills. The place is owned by Lord Vladimere Hellsubus (Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien). He’s rather unnerved by his guest since she resembles Lady Elura Hellsubus, his missing wife. Will Elvira make it to Paris or will she end up sharing the fate of Lady Elura?

Elvira’s Haunted Hills succeeds in paying tribute to the Poe films. There are elements of House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, Tales of Terror, The Tomb of Ligeia and The Haunted Palace. The big finale revives the amazing title set from The Pit and the Pendulum. This is better than the Scary Movie series. If you’re having a Halloween weekend Poe-Corman-Price marathon, Elvira’s Haunted Hills ought to be the finale so that you can completely appreciate how the sets are duplicated. Elvira’s Haunted Hills remains funny without you knowing all the movies. But it’s in your best interest to see all the Poe-Corman-Price films. When it comes to the cinema of Elvira, Elvira’s Haunted Hills is so worth the hike.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer has the proper glow for a time lit by candles and torches. The audio is Dolby Digital Stereo. The full orchestra soars out of the speakers. The creaks and bumps come out of the corners of the speakers. The movie is subtitled in English.


Entertainment One has gone to the trouble of including a number of special features about Elvira’s Haunted Hills.

Theatrical Trailer (1:36) cuts this like a Corman-era horror film.

Transylvania Or Bust: Elvira & Company Tell All (27:37) lets Casandra Peterson admit she went independent after the studios weren’t in the mood for making another Elvira film. She put together a million dollars and went to Romania to make a film that looked like a multi-million dollar production. Director Sam Irvin got the gig after quoting Vincent Price’s big speech from The Pit and The Pendulum.

Making of Featurette (22:17) is the original bonus feature.

Interview with Richard O’Brien (6:09) lets the man who was Riff Raff talk about being in Transylvania.

Outtakes (0:54) has Elvira flub her lines while on the rack.

Photo Gallery (1:57) is a montage of stills from the production.

Audio Commentary features Cassandra Peterson, Sam Irvin, Mary Scheer, Mary Jo Smith and Scott Atkinson discussing their time in Transylvania making a horror film. Sam acts as moderator to the actors. They point out the references to the Vincent Price and Roger Corman’s Edgar Allen Poe films. Atkinson points out the joy of getting his face stuck in Elvira’s bosom. Listen to the end to understand how the spirit of Phil Hartman guided the production.

Movie Macabre Sneak Peeks (11:19) has previews for the 12 episodes from the revived series out on DVD.


Elvira’s Haunted Hills: The Enhanced Edition shocks with its homage to the Edgar Allen Poe movies starring Vincent Price and directed by Roger Corman. The jokes flow like blood from a freshly severed head. Elvira proves her immortality by seeming fresh in 1851. Her teasing cleavage glows in the Transyvanian countryside. Richard O’Brien understand the Price persona in the role of Lord Hellsubus. This is a Halloween spoof masterpiece.


E One Entertainment presents Elvira’s Haunted Hills: The Enhanced Edition Directed by: Sam Irvin. Screenplay by: Cassandra Peterson & John Paragon. Starring: Casandra Peterson, Richard O’Brien, Mary Scheer, Scott Atkinson and Mary Jo Smith. Running Time: 90 minutes. Released on DVD: October 4, 2011. Available at Amazon.com.
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DVD Review: Elvira’s Movie Macabre http://insidepulse.com/2011/10/31/dvd-review-elviras-movie-macabre/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/10/31/dvd-review-elviras-movie-macabre/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2011 12:00:47 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=269668 How dare THiS Network stop running Elvira’s Movie Macabre at the end of September! What idiot doesn’t work out a deal to maintain reruns until Halloween? This little digital substation network needs all the help in getting the word out. How can they part with their spooksperson? They could have run a marathon of Macabre. This would be like Macy’s firing their Santa Claus the day before Thanksgiving. Thankfully four more of the resurrected Movie Macabre have been released on double feature DVDs. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter let the horror hostess shine her eternal talents on seminal stinkers.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented ties together two eerie tales of death with creepy effects music. Sacred to Death is the Halloween special so it’s extremely seasonal if you have a fright night video fest. The Mistress of the Dark is eager to have a great party that she brings in Martha Stewart. However the queen of entertaining isn’t happy that she’s stuck in a box. How will the party in the basement turn out? Probably better than the movie which is significant for letting Bela Lugosi appear in color. It’s a two-strip color process so there’s a brown tint to the frame. The movie involves a woman who died from being scared to death. Who spooked her? Was it Martha Stewart? Tormented copes with Elvira being bitten by her pet spider. It gets it’s fangs into her special spot. Even though she promise a tour of Los Angeles, she’s immobilized on the sofa with no one to help her. The camera guy has been also immobilized. Will this be her final episode? She picked a fine movie for a slow death. Tormented has a jazz pianist watch his ex-girlfriend fall off a lighthouse only days just before his wedding to the woman he really loves. It’s not his fault she died, but his guilt materializes in the dead woman’s floating head. This was made by Bert I. Gordon (Food of the Gods) and stars Joe Turkel (The Shining and Blade Runner).

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter is all about the female side of the monster making dynasty. Lady Frankenstein reunites Elvira with her long lost son, Elrick. She thought she’d gone to the hospital to pop out a kidney stone. Now the son wants to learn from his mother all the tricks of being a horror host. He wants to inherit her empire. He might not be in the mood to wait till she finally retires. Fans of fetish scenes might enjoy the view of Elvira roped up and gagged. Elrick is played by Thomas Dekkar, best known for his work as John Connor in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Thomas Picard on Star Trek: Generations. The movie dares to show what happens when Dr. Frankenstein (Citizen Kane’s Joseph Cotten) dies and his daughter takes over the business. She wants to create more than a monster. She wants the perfect man for all her needs. This version is TV safe so don’t hide the kids’ eyes. Elvira celebrates the Mexican location of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein. She dresses up in a colorful outfit to give the show a South of the Border flavor. The movie itself was double featured with Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. Imagine two films that mixed monsters and cowboys. Shame they didn’t make Wyatt Earp Cleans the Wolfman.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter make up for the void of Elvira vanishing from airwaves at candy corn season. The double features play off a theme while Elvira’s sketches and pop up comments make them more entertaining. Her sultry ways make up for looking the kinky elements of Lady Frankenstein.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are from video masters. The image has a higher resolution than what ends up on my local THiS station. The films on the DVDs look better than the broadcast versions. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo even though all of the films are in mono. There’s a bit of a hum on the film element of Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter so you might want to keep the volume low between Elvira’s host segments.


Both Double Feature DVDs have the same bonus features.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre Behind the Scenes Footage
(4:46) gives the details on how they shot the impressive opening. They used the Egyptian Theater when Inception was still playing. You can catch Elvira out of make up.

Photo Shoot with Chris Ameruso (2:23) has her posing with all her talent spread over the sofa.

“Mistress of the Dark” Music video by Ghoultown (4:55) is a catchy piece of hellbilly rock. She appears with the band. The skull xylophone is cool.

The Making of the Ghoultown Video (24:36) is like a cool version of MTV’s Making the Video. It’s fun how she met the band. She wanted a song to replace the Oakridge Boys’ “Elvira.”

Sneak Peaks (11:19) are teasers for all 12 new Movie Macabre features out on DVD.


Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter keeps up the thrills and chills for spooky season. Elvira is the most entertaining part of these shows. She knows what keeps her fans extra happy. Even after nearly 30 years, Elvira’s the hottest horror hostess going. It’s just not Halloween without her wishing “unpleasant dreams” to all.


E One presents Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. Starring: Elvira, Thomas Dekkar, Joe Turkel and Joseph Cotten. Boxset Contents: Two films on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: October 4, 2011. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Scared to Death & Tormented available at Amazon.com. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein & Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter available at Amazon.com.
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DVD Review: Elvira’s Movie Macabre http://insidepulse.com/2011/08/27/dvd-review-elvira%e2%80%99s-movie-macabre/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/08/27/dvd-review-elvira%e2%80%99s-movie-macabre/#comments Sat, 27 Aug 2011 22:00:25 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=261432 The now departed Fox Reality channel had its biggest success with “The Search for the Next Elvira.” What woman was capable of being a replacement for the shapely and witty horror hostess? Who could walk a mile in her stilettos? They declared a winner. Normally that would mean the Elvira would retire and wear less revealing outfits. Maybe it was a good time for her to say goodbye to the character. Except like Brett Farve, the old Elvira wasn’t ready to hang up her cleats. Her Movie Macabre had been off the air for nearly 25 years, but she announced the series would rise from the grave and onto THIS TV. She dusted off the red sofa, ironed her black nylons and spread a few new cobwebs. It was like she’d never left the dial. Although you might not know where to find THIS TV on your dial.

Mostly THIS is run as digital substations on HDTV signals. The parent channels don’t go out of their way promoting THIS. If you’re hooked up to a sat dish for your programming, you don’t get the sub channels. The parent stations don’t run THIS programming at the same time which means Movie Macabre can air on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings. It’s all so confusing. Where does this leave a devoted Elvira fanatic wanting a taste of her new schtick? Unlike her ‘80s show, the new Movie Macabre sticks to the horror films that are considered public domain. This allows her to release the rejuvenated Movie Macabre on DVD. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! has four episodes of the horror hostess spicing up the scares.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster is a black and white showcase that includes an icon of Creature Double Feature action. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die tells the story of a doctor who saves the head of his love after a horrible wreck. He now looks for the perfect female body to decapitate. There’s a monster in the closet to complicate things. For the new show, Elvira maintains a running gag for her breaks. Brain has her practicing to appear on “Who Wants to Bleed A Millionaire.” She gives a graveyard spin to numerous game shows. The Manster is a US-Japanse co-production. An American journalist ventures to the hinterlands to interview a reclusive Japanese scientist. Turns out the guy has devised a process to start evolution in animals. But maybe he’s working on the reverse evolution since the reporter isn’t quite feeling himself. Elvira fears she’s going to be deported after getting a nasty letter from the IRS that they’ve forwarded her information to the INS. Can she prove she’s really as American as outsourcing and sushi? Turns out she gets her moves from DeathFlix. Jack White has a cameo in the fun.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! features superstar’s early starring roles. The Terror is a notorious Roger Corman production that he kept having other young directors attempt to make a feature film out of the footage he shot with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson. Along with Corman, Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Monte Hellman (The Cockfighter), Jack Hill (Coffy) and Nicholson took a shot to make it happen. Sadly enough, the film makes little sense which is good for this kinda of show. Elvira has plenty of time to pop up in a picture frame and mock the action. This reflects the earlier version of the show where the breaks are about the film. Eegah! brings out the big talent of Richard Kiel (Jaws in Moonraker) as a caveman that pops up in a desert town. The real star of the show is Arch Hall Jr’s hair. That’s the best special effect in the film. Elvira hosts the Elvie Awards which give plenty of hardware to the cast of Eegah! Shame she didn’t hand out some Golden Globes to this stinker. These are a duo of films that desperately need her talents to make them entertaining.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are from video masters. The image has a higher resolution than what ends up on my local THIS station. This brings out the detail in the amazing new opening featuring a gothed out Egyptian Theater. The films look better than the broadcast versions. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo even though all of the films are in mono.


Both Double Feature DVDs have the same bonus features.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre Behind the Scenes Footage (4:46) gives the details on how they shot the impressive opening. They used the Egyptian Theater when Inception was still playing. You can catch Elvira out of make up.

Photo Shoot with Chris Ameruso (2:23) has her posing with all her talent spread over the sofa.

“Mistress of the Dark” Music video by Ghoultown (4:55) is a catchy piece of hellbilly rock. She appears with the band. The skull xylophone is cool.

The Making of the Ghoultown Video (24:36) is like a cool version of MTV’s Making the Video. It’s fun how she met the band. She wanted a song to replace the Oakridge Boys’ “Elvira.”

Sneak Peaks (6:50) are teasers for all 8 new Movie Macabre features out on DVD.


Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! resurrect Elvira’s career as a horror hostess. She didn’t need to find a new version of herself cause we’re not ready to put a stake through her talents. Even as she approaches 60, Elvira is more haunting than frightening in her beauty. These two double features are bound to give unpleasant dreams to fans that can’t figure out if they get her new channel.


E One presents Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah!. Starring: Elvira, Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Richard Kiel and Jack White. Boxset Contents: Two films on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: August 16, 2011. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster (Available at Amazon.com). Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! (Available at Amazon.com).
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All About Evil – DVD Review http://insidepulse.com/2010/12/25/all-about-evil-dvd-review/ http://insidepulse.com/2010/12/25/all-about-evil-dvd-review/#comments Sun, 26 Dec 2010 00:30:32 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=228470

All of us have something we’re passionate about, so passionate that we’ll do almost anything for it. But what if that something was going to be taken away from you? What would you do to keep it? Would you go so far as to kill? That is what librarian, Deborah Tennis (Natasha Lyonne), is up against when her mother wants to close down the theater she just inherited from her recently passed father.

In a fit of rage, Deborah kills her mother and through a series of circumstances, the audience awaiting a screening of Basket Case winds up watching the security footage of the murder. Instead of being horrified, the gore fans think it’s a fantastic short film and instantly clamor for more. So Deborah, who surrounds herself with a small group of like minded misfits including the demented projectionist (Jack Donner), a violent homeless man (Noah Segan) and a pair of psychotic twins fresh from the asylum (Jade and Nikita Ramsey) continues to make macabre short films, which get more and more popular.

All seems to be going well for Deborah. The seats are filling up and the films are being very well received. But when uber fan Steven’s (Thomas Dekker) friends begin to disappear he starts to ask too many questions and Deborah’s carefully constructed world begins to collapse upon itself like a veritable house of cards.

From the opening credits, which shows off tons of ’50s B-horror film posters, you know right where the influence for this film comes from. First time feature director, Joshua Grannell, obviously has a love of campy old films as well a old theaters and the message of the film is quite clear. We must all do what we can to save our theaters, though I doubt Grannell actually wants us to go out and kill.

Aside from the main theme of saving old theaters, there is another great sub plot about Steven and his love of horror films and how this leads school teachers and officials to believe that he is responsible for the teens that are disappearing. It adds a great layer to the film and a handful of really great jokes as the film comes to it’s hair raising finally.

Evil is a fantastic film that perfectly blends elements of humor and horror. It’s got just the right amount camp to put a smile on your face without going over the top, and all of that is topped with a wonderful amount of gore, like strawberry syrup on a gore themed ice cream Sunday. Hell, you even get a little bit of nudity.

To help make Evil a great film, Grannell surrounds himself with a wonderful cast. It is easy to see that this is a passion project for them as well as Grannell. Lyonne is great as Deborah, her slow descent into madness is a true joy to watch. TV’s Thomas Dekker shows some great range in stepping away from his Sarah Connor Chronicles persona. You also get camp queens Mink Stole (a John Waters staple) and Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson who are both fantastic to watch.

This film is by no means perfect (so few are). It has a little bit of a bumpy start, but once the ride gets going all you want to do is hold on and enjoy the hell out of it. Being so deep in the world of camp, this isn’t going to be a film for everyone, but if you are open to what this film has to offer then you’re sure to be entertained. And if nothing else, you’ve never seen a guillotine used like this before!

All About Evil is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and the sound is in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound. This is a very good-looking film, especially for a low budget one. The sound is great too.

Commentary with Joshua Grannell: This is a solid commentary. Grannell is very comfortable talking about his film and provides lots of great behind the scenes tib bits without letting it get boring.

Evil Live: World Premiere in 4-D: (20 min.) Peaches Christ is known for her elaborate live shows before Midnight Mass screenings. So it comes as so surprise that she pulled out all the stops alter-ego Joshua Grannell’s directorial debut. This is a fantastic show and is guaranteed to make anyone who sees it jealous that they missed it in person. I know I am.

Behind The Evil: The Making Of: (15 min.) This is a great making of that covers all aspects of the making of the film and has great interviews with both cast and crew.

Grindhouse: (13 min.) The original short film that inspired the feature film.

Children Of The Popcorn: (8 min.) Another short film giving a behind the scenes look of Peaches Christ productions wherein sidekick, Martiny tries to get a raise.

Teaser Trailer

I had a ticket to see the world premier of this film, but I had to miss it due to personal reasons. Now, I’ve finally got a change to see it and it was definitely worth the wait. Again, I can’t say this film is for everyone, but if you love gore, camp, b-movies and the likes of John Waters then odds are high that you’ll love this too!


Backlash Films and Fog City Pictures present All About Evil. Starring Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Cassandra Peterson and Mink Stole. Written and Directed by Joshua Grannell. Running time: 98 minutes. Unrated. Contains adult language, nudity, gore and violence.

Available on DVD from Peacheschrist.com

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Tales from the Director's Chair: Joshua Grannell – Part 2 http://insidepulse.com/2010/05/05/tales-from-the-directors-chair-joshua-grannell-%e2%80%93-part-2/ http://insidepulse.com/2010/05/05/tales-from-the-directors-chair-joshua-grannell-%e2%80%93-part-2/#comments Wed, 05 May 2010 08:00:25 +0000 http://movies.insidepulse.com/?p=189597 All About Evil Poster

I’m back with part two of my interview with San Francisco filmmaker Joshua Grannell who’s first feature film, All About Evil, had its world premier last Saturday. It was a sold out show and a huge success! Click here for Part One of the interview.

When we last left, a crying baby had interrupted Joshua and I and we made our way outside to the patio to continue our conversation. Here we discuss writing, casting, pre-production, the similarities between All About Evil, All About Eve and Showgirls as well as what the future holds for All About Evil and Midnight Mass!

Mike Noyes: How was the writing process for you?

Joshua Grannell: Because of having been an event producer, where I was creating events that I was also performing in, I was used to working with deadlines to get creative work done. I wasn’t the kind of artist who was writing to stick something on a shelf. It was more like, “You have a show next weekend and you better pull it out of your ass because you have sold tickets and you’ve got to come up with something.” I think I perform better under pressure. So I went to a friend of mine, Scott Boswell, a local filmmaker here in San Francisco (this is five years ago) and saying “Do you want to be part of a screenwriting group?” Actually, he may have come to me, I don’t remember. But we hatched this idea to create a writers group for people who are really interested in realizing their screenplays as movies, people serious about actually creating work. Scott and I have stuck with the group for five years.

[The group] was very helpful. If I said I was going to deliver material to a group then I felt like I was responsible for doing it even if it was crap. It forced me to write when I didn’t want to, it kept me on track.

MN: How was pre-production for you, raising the money and getting everything all lined up?

JG: One of the ways we were attracting the money was by putting the team together. So some of the casting and things actually happened early on. I went to friends of mine like Cassandra Peterson and Mink Stole who I had become close to working together on Midnight Mass. When we finally got the financing it was probably four or five months before we were actually in the six-week daily grind of pre-production. I would say that pre-production was as hard or more challenging than production. [It] was intense and now having made a feature I also recognize how hugely important it is and how serious it is. Next time I would ask for more money for pre-production. If I had to choose between another week of pre-production or another day or two of shooting, I’m not sure what I would choose. A day of shooting is so valuable, but pre-production is almost equally so and maybe more so, because it directly effects your ability to make the movie.

MN: You’ve got an amazing cast. Having made connections over the years with Midnight Mass, was it easy to get the likes of Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson?

JG: I was nervous and terrified to ask them to do it. I know that they had enjoyed doing [Midnight Mass] and we became friends through working together which was such a surreal thing for me because I’m such a huge fan of those two women in particular. So I was really nervous to ask them. But I did and they agreed. They did it because we’re friends and because I think they trusted me. Mink said she agreed to do it before she even read the screenplay. I don’t know if that’s flattering or not [laughs]. I’m not sure, but I think it is, cause it means she trusted me.

With Cassandra it was very exciting because I was asking her to do it in a way that she’s not used to performing, which is outside the Elvira persona.

The rest of the cast, I should mention, came through a series of connections or the casting directors. One of the producers new Thomas Dekker and suggested I should meet [him], which was brilliant. I watched Sarah Conner Chronicles to get a sense for what he was doing as John Conner and I remember thinking, “Well, he’s very good, but he’s so serious and so brooding.” It was very helpful to go to the set of [Chronicles] and meet Thomas there and talk to him about the part.

For Thomas and Natasha [Lyonne] certainly, they… you know I’m this first time director who’s this crazy drag queen. I don’t think their teams necessarily thought this was the best career move for them. So I had to sell them on myself and on the screenplay. It helps when you know people who know people. You can actually get the material in their hands. That’s just part of the struggle right their, because they have people vetting it and protecting them. And in some ways I totally get it. Maybe they shouldn’t have let their client do our movie. [more laughs] I think it is smartest to go directly to the actor whenever possible because they’re the artist and if you can connect wit h them, they ultimately have the final say.

MN: The title is an obvious reference to All About Eve, is there any connection between the two films besides the title?

JG: There definitely is. I mean, it’s certainly not any sort of parody; I wouldn’t even call it an homage. But as far as the theme of a female hunger for fame, that is in both films. All About Eve has been hugely influential in so much that I’ve done and so has Showgirls which is basically All About Eve set in Las Vegas with strippers. It really is if you look at the two movies. And with All About Evil the theme is there of an ego run wild. That’s really how I would describe Natasha’s character, Deborah. It’s just unleashed ego.

All About Evil Film Still

MN: Without giving away too much, could you tell me a little about the live show you’ve got planned before the film?

JG: If you’re someone who’s come to Midnight Mass in the past then it will be very familiar to you. It is not going to be a Broadway production, it is going to be true to the spirit of Midnight Mass. Part of it is that you only have one world premier and it became exciting and important to us that the world premier should be in San Francisco, the more we looked at film festivals and who we are and what our movie is and where it was born and how it was supported, it just seemed holy appropriate. And to not involve a Midnight Mass element as part of the world premier almost would seem wrong.

It will be a Midnight Mass style stage show of a group of people celebrating All About Evil, but the twist is: at Midnight Mass you’re sending up films that people already love and are very familiar with, where as at a world premier, you’re creating a stage show for something people haven’t seen yet. So that’s where it gets a little tricky. That’s why even if I gave you some details it wouldn’t really make any sense until you take in the whole evening.

The other thing I can add is we benefit from having a cast where some of the performers are comfortable performing on stage. Mink Stole and Thomas Dekker are actually performing, while Natasha will be doing a Q&A and introducing the film so it’s a mix.

MN: After the world premier you’re going to be taking the film and the live show on the road. So my readers might have a chance of seeing this film and meeting Peaches Christ, what’s the best way for them to find out if All About Evil is coming to a city near them?

JG: We have a newsletter so you can sign up for to be informed on www.allaboutevilthemovie.com or Peaches has a fan club that you can sign up for. Facebook is huge! Become Peaches fan on Facebook and you’re gonna know cause it’ll be promoted. That’s the nice thing with the Internet; we can go directly to our fans. [Do one of those] and you’ll be kept abreast. The show will change depending on what city we got to, but if there is going to be a show, it will involve Peaches. There will be some screenings where there is no live element and we’re hand picking the best cities to bring the live element to.

Note: After our interview, All About Evil’s second screening was scheduled for Saturday, May 15th at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas: complete with a live show starring Peaches, Mink Stole and Cassandra Peterson!

MN: I know Midnight Mass has ended. Do you plan to bring it, or something like it, back after you’ve finished touring with the film or are you planning to be a filmmaker full time now?

JG: This is where it gets confusing. The only thing that ended with Midnight Mass was the summer season in San Francisco. We just did a Midnight Mass in February, Teen Witch. Midnight Mass has not ended, but I won’t come back and do nine back-to-back shows in the summer. We’ll be doing Purple Rain in July and it looks like we’re doing a big Midnight Mass in August, but I can’t say anything yet, but stay tuned.

“Stay tuned” indeed! Come back next week for the thrilling conclusion to my interview with Joshua Grannell where we discuss identity issues, the state of Cult Films today, The Room and much more!

And don’t forget to check out www.allaboutevilthemovie.com/ and www.peacheschrist.com/ for all the latest news on Joshua Grannell, Peaches Christ and of course All About Evil.
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Tales from the Director's Chair: Joshua Grannell – Part 1 http://insidepulse.com/2010/04/28/tales-from-the-directors-chair-joshua-grannell-%e2%80%93-part-1/ http://insidepulse.com/2010/04/28/tales-from-the-directors-chair-joshua-grannell-%e2%80%93-part-1/#comments Wed, 28 Apr 2010 11:00:56 +0000 http://movies.insidepulse.com/?p=189367 All About Evil Poster

If you live anywhere near San Francisco and you love films then odds are you’ve at least heard of Peaches Christ. Peaches has hosted the famous Midnight Mass midnight movie series at The Bridge Landmark for over a decade. Well, before Peaches became the cult icon that she is, she was Joshua Grannell, an aspiring filmmaker.

Well, now Grannell has realized that dream with his first feature film, All About Evil, which stars Thomas Dekker (Sarah Connor Chronicles), Natasha Lyonne (But I’m A Cheerleader), Mink Stole (Pink Flamingos) and Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson! It will be having its world premiere at the upcoming San Francisco International Film Festival before taking the film on tour around the country.

Evil follows Deborah (Lyonne), a mousy librarian who inherits her father’s beloved but failing movie theater. In order to save the theater she begins making a series of gory horror films, which brings here a legion of rabid fans. But what her fans don’t realize is that her films aren’t fiction!

Joshua took a moment out of his very busy schedule to sit down with me at a local coffee shop in Hayes Valley to talk about a number of topics ranging from his film, his inspirations, what it takes for a film to become a “cult film” and much more!

Joshua Grannell

Mike Noyes: In case there are some poor unfortunate, uninformed readers out there, could you please tell me a little about yourself and you’re alter ego, Peaches Christ?

Joshua Grannell: I grew up in Maryland, the weird kid who didn’t feel like he fit in anywhere and loved horror and monster movies and subscribed to Fangoria at a really young age, did haunted houses and was sort of the leader of the weirdo’s in a way. I knew I had to get out of Maryland because the only that was really interesting for me was discovering John [Waters] and Divine and Mink and what they were doing in Baltimore.

I went to film school at Penn State University, which was sort of strange because it was the most traditional, Greek, fraternity, sorority kinda school you could go to and I ended up benefiting from that because I… I stood out I guess is the way I should describe it. I made a movie called Jizz Mopper, my senior thesis film. The [actor playing the] drag queen character in the movie that ran this porn emporium just wasn’t working out and the administration wasn’t that supportive of a film called Jizz Mopper. Most of the students were white and male and straight and wanted to be Martin Scorsese. This is back when Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs were brand new so that’s what was popular. And my style of filmmaking, the movies I was most interested in were not supported. In order to save the movie, I uh, I makes it sound like someone held a gun to my head; I was forced into becoming Peaches [laughs]. But actually I think that that was always in the back of my head. I wrote the character and I would always imitate the character, then when things weren’t working out I became the character. Peaches was born in this film in Pennsylvania.

Drag at the time was taboo; you did not feel safe walking around. Even to do the movie; we had to think about things like the safety of when to be in drag and when not to be in drag. So I left Penn State in 1996.

MN: You were able to graduate with Jizz Mopper?

JG: Yes! It won the audience award at the big student film festival. It screened with a warning to the audience that went out over the loud speaker and I loved that. I felt bad for my parents, but I loved that there was a warning [chuckles] before our movie screened.

Because of the struggle with the kind of movie I was making I put together a grant with my friend Michael who is my drag sidekick Martiny. Michael and I met when we were 18, the first week of college and we joined forces. He was the leader of the queer student group and I was one of the leaders of the student film organization and we brought John Waters to Penn State. That was my way of presenting a filmmaker that I was super in awe of and a fan of, but selfishly it was my opportunity to get some one-on-one time with this guy that I so admired.

John talked about how fabulous San Francisco was. He talked about The Cockettes, [which] I’d never heard of, this troupe of drag queens who presented shows before midnight movies. And he talked about how Divine and Mink got involved with [them] and about how San Francisco was still one of these cities where that sort of Bohemian magic was alive and it didn’t matter if you were gay or straight. This was a place where you just came to be yourself or reinvent yourself. And I remember thinking at the time, “That sounds like a very nice city for me and it might be the prefect bridge between Los Angeles or New York.” But I also knew that the Kuchar Brothers were here and the city supported a really great history of underground filmmaking and it was not an industry town.

So I moved to San Francisco and began performing at this new nightclub called Trannyshack ,which has grown to become this legendary, international thing. At the time it was just a group of friends performing for friends and it was silly. We called it “Grunge Drag.” We were just going to thrift stores and dumpsters to find [costumes], we didn’t spend money on anything. You know, cardboard props. It was more about the cleverness, the art of what you could present. We weren’t trying to be Liza Minnelli, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s great. I would rent a chainsaw and take the chain of it and come running out in a leather face and rip the mask off and do a lip sync. It was different generation of drag.

At the time we didn’t know we were breaking ground in a new way or that it inspired knock off clubs across the country, it was totally just for fun. Then I thought, “Hey, I work for Landmark Theaters.” They owed a lot to midnight screenings. I went to them and I said. “Would you support me in hosting a midnight movie series with my drag alter-ego Peaches Christ?” You could tell there was palpable fear, but they supported it. To their credit, it’s amazing what they did. Then that and Trannyshack grew to become these institutions to the city and despite our cluelessness. It was years before I looked around and thought, “Oh my god! This is important. People are counting on this.” I remember there was a shift at one point when you just realize, “oh right, we just performed for thousands of people this summer. We did twelve shows and they all sold out.”

So that’s kind if my long versions of your answer and I tend to be really long winded so please edit! Edit! Edit! I’ll give you way more than you’ll need.

Note: I did edit, however, I did as little as needed.

MN: You’ve mentioned John Waters, but what other directors and films have inspired you?

JG: This is where I’m careful not to get pretentious, but you have to be honest, right? I really, really turned on to Alfred Hitchcock at a really young age. I loved his TV show. I loved Twilight Zone when I was a kid. I also would watch Elvira on TV and the terrible movies she would screen and really had a fondness for them. I think because they looked reachable as far as being do-it-yourself. We’d recreate things like that. The style, an Ed Wood movie, per say.

MN: I love Ed Wood.

JG: Oh, me too. Early Wes Craven was a huge influence: Nightmare On Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes and even Last House On The Left. Last House, to me, has some John Waters in it. For me to even enjoy it, I have to look at it as camp to some degree.

God, who else? Herschel Gordon Lewis, [Pedro] Almodóvar, that was another one. Women On The Verge [Of A Nervous Breakdown]. All that stuff I was learning about in high school. I was in this conservative Catholic school and I loved knowing about stuff that nobody else knew about. Reading the magazines and going to the cool little mom and pop video stores where they didn’t even know what they had. They would have some movie and they wouldn’t really know what it was and you could rent it even though you should not have been allowed at a young age.

I could go on and on, cause there are so many different filmmakers. Tobe Hooper. Poltergeist was huge. Everyone talks about Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which has informed most of what I’ve done.

MN: That’s my favorite horror film of all time.

JG: It’s amazing!

MN: Hands down.

JG: For me it’s really hard. It comes down to Chainsaw and Nightmare On Elm Street. Nightmare was this fusion of fantasy and horror that to me was so effective. But Chainsaw, there’s just something about it.

MN: It’s so raw and unpleasant.

JG: Unpleasant and sort of funny. I love getting the DVDs because you really get to see the people who made the movie. The people who made Chainsaw talked about how that made the movie with a sense of humor, which is ironic because it does not feel that way. But watching it now I get it. And I actually really like Chainsaw Part 2.

MN: I haven’t seen any of the sequels yet.

JG: Ok, you need to see Part 2. Now you can’t at all compare it to Part 1. Part 2 is it’s own wild carnival, I mean Dennis Hopper… and Caroline Williams is the scream queen. On it’s own merits it’s an incredible movie.

All About Evil Still

MN: What was your initial inspiration for All About Evil? When did you think, “All right, it’s time to put Midnight Mass on hold and make a feature film.”

JG: It started when we started making these short films, these drag horror parodies. They were about Peaches and Martiny. They were very drag-centric appropriations of Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? We did a trilogy of them that were just for an event. And there was a film programmer there who picked up the first one, which we shot for ten dollars. I’m not even lying. It was shot in two nights. I’ve never done post-production on it. It’s never had sound design. It’s missing everything and it ended up screening at all these film festivals, this crappy little video we made. But the point was, we told a story and made people laugh. The movie delivered. So even thought it was the most amateur thing you could ever imagine, because there was something compelling about it, it worked. And that was very encouraging as far as “Wow, we could do this again.” Really you don’t need the money these days. You can edit and shoot cheaply. If I write a story that people thing is funny or clever that’s all that matters.

So we did three of those. Then I thought, well I want to do one that’s not Peaches centered. A started to have a lot of self-doubt; maybe people really only like Peaches and maybe it’s not so much my abilities as a writer or a director. It might just be this character. That was this weird struggle I had at that time. I started to resent Peaches. It was real weird psychology. I’m thinking about turning that whole thing into a movie cause it’s weird being two people.

Note: You can now watch the aformentioned short films here at peacheschrist.com. Under “Channels” just click on “Tran-ilogy Of Terror.”

MN: You could write a movie where the main character kills off his drag queen persona and she comes back to haunt him.

JG: I’m looking into a Peaches screenplay that is about stolen identity, so some of that’s in there. Literally she’s stolen away from me. It’s weird, it’s very Vertigo and I’m toying with these ideas. But it stems from something very real that was going on.

But that lead me to make a short that was not Peaches centered and that was called Grindhouse and that was the kernel of the idea that became All About Evil. It was about a woman who was making short gore films in a movie theater in order to save the theater, but the public didn’t know she was actually murdering her actors. They’re really not snuff films because they’re not presented as real, no one knew what they were watching. I guess technically they were. That was how All About Evil got the ball rolling.

I also knew a Peaches feature would not be my first feature. It would also probably not be the one to get financing. But who knows, that was the logic that was in my head at the time. I also didn’t want to do that, I was struggling with that character. I was looking for an out in a way, which I’m not anymore. I got the out, now I really enjoy performing and I’m glad I didn’t kill off Peaches. Having Grindhouse and All About Evil to work on, it helped me enjoy the other stuff all over again.

Note: At this point a baby started crying so we moved outside onto the back patio where it was much quieter and nicer.

Don’t worry, there’s much more! This only part one of the interview. Tune in next week for part two and if you’re in the Bay Area do yourself a favor and try to get into the world premiere screening of All About Evil on May first, but hurry, I think it may be sold out!

And if you can’t wait until next week check out www.allaboutevilthemovie.com.
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