A top-notch scene-stealer since she was a child while appearing in TV commercials and as Opal on “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse,” Natasha Lyonne reached the pinnacle when she hosted “SNL” in May 2022.
In between Pee-Wee and “SNL,” Lyonne established herself as a versatile actress in the movies “Slums of Beverly Hills,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” and even “American Pie,” as well as respected streaming series such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “Russian Doll.”
In 2010, Lyonne played the lead role in “All About Evil” (Severin Films), debuting on Shudder and bowing in a special edition Blu-ray. Considered to be a long-lost cult film, “All About Evil” was the feature-length directorial debut by Joshua Grannell, better known as drag legend Peaches Christ.
Shrinking violet Deborah (Lyonne) feels it’s her duty to carry on the work of her late father by running and revitalizing the Victoria Theatre, a cinema in San Francisco known for showing horror movies. She even goes so far as to neglect her day job as a librarian where she works with Evelyn (Mink Stole).
When Deborah’s evil mother Tammy (Julie Caitlin Brown) confronts her at the concession stand about signing paperwork for the sale of the theater, she flips out and stabs her to death. Shortly thereafter, instead of the scheduled movie, the black and white CCTV footage of the murder is accidentally shown to the impatient audience who cheers for it, thinking it’s a new, short feature.
Among the audience members is Steven (Thomas Dekker), a high school student with a fondness for scary movies. His friend Judy (Ariel Hart) teases him about it. But his mother Linda (Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira) and English teacher Mrs. Moorehead (Gwyneth Richards) are more than a little concerned about him.
Meanwhile, Deborah is transforming into Mae West with bloodlust. She and projectionist Mr. Twigs (Jack Donner) become partners in the movie murder spree, enlisting juvenile delinquent Adrian (Noah Segan) and violent twins Veda (Jade Ramsey) and Vera (Nikita Ramsey). The attic above the theater is piling up with corpses and captives, all of whom have appeared in Deborah’s movies.
For the premiere of her magnum opus, “Gore and Peace,” Deborah invited her faithful fans to the theater. With the exception of Steven, who has caught on to her act, the attendees are unaware that they are subjects of her latest movie massacre. Let’s just say that, in the end, good triumphs over evil.
One of the most notable things about “All About Evil” is the way that Grannell managed to make the movie timely, particularly in the ways that it addressed the subjects of school shootings, as well as homeless youth in San Francisco. Additionally, whether or not it was intentional, Grannell was frighteningly prescient when it came to the topic of anti-Asian violence.
Gregg Shapiro is the author of eight books including the poetry chapbook Fear of Muses (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.