I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat for three weeks now, so here it is without further ado: the third and final chapter of my interview with San Francisco filmmaker, Joshua Grannell.
Mike Noyes: In the comic world it is well known that Batman is the real person and Bruce Wayne is the mask. Which, if either, is your mask: Joshua or Peaches?
Joshua Grannell: Oh my god, that’s a good question! I’ve often talked about how it is like a superhero celebrity. No one’s ever asked me that before.
I would say there is realness in both and there is also a fantasy or phoniness in both. It’s all about how you’re presenting yourself. I would say that Joshua is the real person. Peaches allows me to express a part of myself that’s there, but it’s not the essence of who I am. I have to say that because she supports murder and wants to be a cult leader. It’s a part of me that’s fantastical, but I wouldn’t say it’s a real part of me. She was created to express part of my imagination.
I like the question so much I wish I could make it more provocative, but that’s the honest answer.
MN: If you could hang out with one person, living or dead, for one day, who would it be and why?
JG: Jesus. Because I’ve benefited from taking his sir name and I’d like to see what that was all about. As much as I don’t identify as Catholic, clearly the iconography of the church and the stories of the bible, it’s all fascinating to me. And I love things like the gore of the crucifixion and stuff. He’s the ultimate celebrity. There’s such mystery and intrigue, it’d be just neat to see. It’s kind of a tired answer.
MN: Have you seen the film The Room and if so, what did you think of it?
JG: I have not!
MN: You haven’t?
JG: I know! I know! My stage manager at Midnight Mass, Sam, has been screening it over at the Red Vic now for a while. And Sam has been trying to get me to come for months.
MN: You have to see it.
JG: I’m going to. I’m totally going to. I’ve read all about it, it’s completely on my radar. Normally, if it were any other year I would have seen it.
MN: A Midnight Mass of that would be so amazing.
JG: People have been asking for it. Early Midnight Mass, the first 5, 6, 7 years it was all my favorite movies. Over the years it’s gotten hard and harder to find new cult movies. One’s that have come my way because of the fans… one being Teen Witch. I never watched Teen Witch growing up, it was something younger fans were encouraging me to see. And now The Room is a big one I haven’t seen.
MN: What’s great about The Room, a lot of time people try to create cult; they try to create a film that will be a cult film. But you can’t create cult. You just have to make a film and not know that you’re making a cult film and if it becomes a cult film, great. But you can’t know that you’re creating a cult film. And I think that’s definitely the case with The Room.
JG: I love that you say that, because a lot of people are calling All About Evil a cult movie. But wait a second; it hasn’t even come out yet! There is no cult around it. In order to be called a cult movie it has to be beloved, it has to be studied, it has to be cherished and worshiped by a group of people. That’s what determines whether or not it can be called a cult movie.
Unfortunately now, cult is almost a genre word, which is used to describe a type of movie, which I hate, cause it’s not true. Something like The Room or Showgirls, where the intent of the filmmaker isn’t the way it’s been received can become a cult movie. Or something like Pink Flamingos where the intent was clearly to make an outrageous crazy midnight movie. Not knowing how much people would love it and watch it over and over again. [John Waters] knew. I don’t think he would have had Divine eat the dog shit if he didn’t know… He was creating a midnight movie and it worked. It became what it became.
The way I define a cult movie is: does a group of people celebrate and love this and share the traditions and the culture of this film. Many movies come out every year and very few should be called a cult movie.
MN: Just because it’s low budget and has gore and boobs doesn’t make it a cult movie.
JG: At all. It can become one, but it’s gotta hit that mark. Whether or not All About Evil does or not was indifferent to us. Everyone thinks, maybe, that’s what we set out to do. But, honestly, I did not do anything other than try to stay true to our weird little story. If it ever became a cult movie, that would be the ultimate success for me, of course. I wouldn’t even say it could be screened at Midnight Mass.
MN: It’d be kinda weird to self-parody yourself.
JG: Exactly. We’re celebrating it with a stage show and presentation that is very William Castle, that’s what I’m likening it to. But it can’t be screened at a traditional Midnight Mass until it has the fan base to support it.
Darren, the producer of Jawbreaker, I’ve known for man y years and certainly because he’s my friend I’d want to screen [it], but it wasn’t until there was demand from fans who started asking me to screen this movie that I realized, “Oh, it has its own following.” Then we screened it and it sold out and people loved it. Now you’re movie has become a cult film. Which is kind of amazing. But it takes time.
MN: Some quick fire question for you: What is your favorite film?
JG: Nightmare On Elm Street
MN: Who is your favorite director?
After a long pause.
JG: Oh my god… that is like Sophie’s Choice, I don’t know that I could answer that really. Cause there’s not really one.
MN: Okay, top five, maybe?
JG: Top five, okay. David Lynch. [Pedro] Almodovar. John Waters. Alfred Hitchcock. That’s four…picking just one more… hmmm…. this is really hard. Russ Meyer.
MN: Who is your favorite band?
JG: This is gonna sound so gay, but probably Depeche Mode.
MN: Your favorite book?
JG: Confederacy Of Dunces [by John Kennedy Toole].
MN: And last question: “You win five million dollars from the Publisher’s sweepstakes, and the same day as that big Ed guy gives you the check [Joshua laughs out loud as he recognizes the question], aliens land on the Earth and say they’re going to blow up the world in two days. What are you gonna do with the money?”
JG: “I’d give it all to charity, every cent!” No, I would fly everyone I know to Disney World. Spend the last two days on Earth at Disney World and the magic Kingdom.
MN: That sounds like a good way to spend two days.
JG: Yeah, just anyone who wanted to go. Just spend it all on carnie food and rides.
Well there you have it. Everything you wanted to know about Joshua, Peaches and All About Evil but were afraid to ask.