There’s nothing quite like the energy of a hometown premiere. Judging from Saturday night’s festivities it seemed like half the capacity Castro Theatre audience of 1,400 had worked on or otherwise been personally invested in Joshua Grannell a.k.a. Peaches Christ’s debut feature All About Evil.
The raucous evening started fashionably late following red carpet arrivals and the dispensing of Dixie cups whose significance was unclear until well into the film itself. (As Peaches noted onscreen, “Oh my God, how Jonestown!”)
Finally the drag icon of the hour–best known for programming and hosting the long-running “Midnight Madness” series at the Bridge–seized spotlight in high Bride of Frankenstein bouffant and higher heels.
In dulcet tones reminiscent of late all-time midnight movie superstar Divine, Peaches sang “I’m a Gore-Gore Girl” flanked by a gyrating chorus line of equally glam ghouls. “I think I’m about to give birth right now on stage,” she said a moment later, that child being the labor of cinematic love many present had duly labored upon. (Throughout the movie, gasps of recognition went on at the sight of familiar faces.)
Before presenting said baby to all, however, there was a multi-act stage show which will tour the country (albeit without so many actual Evil cast members present) with the film this summer. First up was a brief appearance by “the most tragic and flawed drag queen in San Francisco,” Peaches’ sidekick Martiny (Michael Brenchley). Once she was unceremoniously hustled offstage, our hostess warbled the theme from Female Trouble in tandem with screen co-star Mink Stole, though not before pointing out that Ms. Stole’s mentor (and recent S.F. ‚migr‚) John Waters was indeed in da house.
Then the film’s youth brigade of ingenue talent sang “Welcome to the Horror Show,” a rocker composed and impressively howled by actor-musician Thomas Dekker, whose much more mainstream horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street had opened just a day earlier.
All About Evil’s leading lady Natasha Lyonne next wrested the stage away from Peaches, not without struggle, in character as dowdy librarian turned increasingly va-voom murderess Deborah (that’s Deh-BOR-ah) Tennis (Ten-EES). She displayed considerable pipes of her own on a number rudely halted midway by Ms. Christ–but then, just whose big night was this, anyway?
There followed the world premiere unspooling of the long-awaited camp horror feature. Among its many-splendored tributes to yesteryear’s schlock cinema were in-joke casting coups including Stole, Cassandra “Elvira” Petersen and famed Star Trek Romulan Jack Donner. Not to mention the presence of diabolical twins, tasteless gore, films within the film (e.g. A Tale of Two Severed Titties) and more. Needless to say, the audience lapped it up.
Afterward those responsible hung around for a Q&A session that no doubt carried its own considerable entertainment value. But by then it was 1:30 a.m. by then; yours truly was still clinging to the hope of getting some sleep, getting caffeinated, and getting back to the Castro within 11 hours for Visconti’s restored Senso. As Peaches had promised earlier, “In the tradition of Midnight Madness” it was “going to be a long, long night.” So prematurely homeward we went.
For those many who couldn’t get into the Castro blowout, the dame had consoling news: All About Evil will return to the Mission District’s historic Victoria Theatre (its primary setting) for a regular run this July, complete with live show.
Plus Peaches announced August 7 would find the Castro invaded again, for Midnight Mass’s “biggest spectacle ever.” Further details were not forthcoming, beyond Peaches ordering “Imagine if you will–hundreds of lap-dancers among you!” Now there’s a 3-D moviehouse experience we’d pay hiked admission for.
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