Tipping its hat to midnight movie classics in everything from casting to plot-points to onscreen poster placements, “All About Evil” has the right spirit, if a less secure grasp on inspiration. First feature by Joshua Grannell (whose drag persona, Peaches Christ, hosts a long-running San Francisco midnight series), this campy gore-horror opus echoes “Blood Feast” and “Serial Mom” to trace a wallflower’s descent into madness, murder and glamour. Pic will be self-distributed to 20-plus U.S. markets this summer, mostly in tandem with a live stage extravaganza. Niche DVD sales should follow.

Sad-sack librarian Deborah (Natasha Lyonne) finally snaps when her callous mother (Julie Caitlin Brown) threatens to sell her late Dad’s beloved old movie house. The accidentally projected surveillance tape of Mom’s violent demise is mistaken for homemade cult cinema by the theater’s jaded hipster patrons. Restyling herself as a film “directress” with serious diva airs, Deborah recruits warped henchmen to meet the booming B.O. demand for more snuff art. Over-the-top perfs and colorful low-budget production polish hit the right notes of knowing cheese, but the good-naturedly derivative script could have used some real wit.

All About Evil

  • Production: A Peaches Christ Prods. release of a Backlash Films production in association with Fog City Pictures. (International sales: All About Eve Film, San Francisco.) Produced by Darren Stein, Brian Benson, Debbie Brubaker, Joshua Grannell. Executive producers, Robert Barber, William Barber. Directed, written by Joshua Grannell.
  • Crew: Camera (color, HD), Tom Richmond; editor, Rick LeCompte; music, Vinsantos; production designer, Kris Boxell; costume designer, Frank Helmer. Reviewed at San Francisco Film Festival (The Late Show), May 1, 2010. Running time: 98 MIN.
  • With: With: Natasha Lyonne, Thomas Dekker, Mink Stole, Cassandra Peterson, Noah Segan, Jack Donner, Jade Ramsey, Nikita Ramsey, Ariel Hart, Lyndsy Kail, Santia Andrews, Julie Caitlin Brown, Patrick Bristow, Gwyneth Richards, Ashley Fink, Anthony Fitzgerald, Kat Turner, Peaches Christ.