William Morgan Sheppard
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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
2nd Jun 10
Elvira inherits an old house and recipe book in a middle-American town, with hilarious results.
If you like your comedy horror movies trashy and 80s then you’re in for a treat as you can’t get much more trashier or more 80s than Elvira, Mistress of The Dark. It’s the tale of Elvira, a cable TV horror movie show host from a small time cable channel who is unceremoniously sacked from her job when the channel’s eager new owner takes more than a passing interest in Elvira’s two prize assets. One slap across the face later and she’s on skid row, until the family lawyer enters stage left telling Elvira that her great aunt has died, and that she should head out to the reading of the family will. Watch out middle-America, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
So, after a long dream sequence involving all the goodies she’s going to inherit (it’s like a big tacky quiz show, pretty funny actually) she hits the road and in no time she’s in the conservative world of Fallwell, Massachusetts. But instead of riches she only inherits the great aunt's old house, a crappy recipe book and a poodle; how is she supposed to fund her one-woman Vegas show with that?
Obviously, all is not as it seems. That recipe book seems to brew up recipes that, well, tend to jump out of the pan at you and that dog, well, he’s a little bit cleverer than he should be and has a habit of running off with the recipe book whenever the mean Uncle Talbot turns up, trying to buy it. Why does he want the book so bad? Why are the town so shocked by Elvira’s dress sense? How do those boobs stay in that figure hugging dress? And what the hell is Paco from Atomic Cyborg doing in this film?
Well have patience kids, because all will be revealed. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a very 80s slice of cheesy horror comedy, but if you can cope with how seriously 80s it is, you might just have a really good time here. Elvira (real name Cassandra Peterson) runs the show, her one liners are both quick witted and smutty, and her line of humour is strangely infectious. It’s also great to see regular Hollywood busy-body Edie McClurg turn up as she’s always great fun (she’s the lady best known for being on the receiving end of Steve Martin’s ‘fuck’ speech in Planes, Trains and Automobiles) and, like I said, it’s very bizarre to see Daniel Greene, a.k.a. Paco from Zombie Club favourite Atomic Cyborg, but I don’t quite buy that he runs a small town cinema where they’d play Attack of the Killer Tomates and let Elvira compare over it. Still, it is the 80s.
The ending involves the afore mentioned midnight bad movie screening, a magical showdown between Elvira and her wicked uncle, and one of the smuttiest end numbers you’ll ever see. I wasn’t too keen on Elvira rapping in the middle of the end number, but the finale was worth the wait. How does she make those tassels spin round in different directions at the same time? Oh well, I guess it’s all good clean family fun.
Versions Available cheap as part of the B-Movie Collection recently released from Boulevard Entertainment, with the following blurb.
Part of the B-Movie Collection from Boulevard Entertainment, featuring 12 of the most kitsch and memorable B-Movie titles ever made. Collect all 12 single titles to reveal iconic spine art work. Meet Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), the notorious American cult heroine! This wisecracking vamp wishes to open her own show in Las Vegas but needs $50,000. Suddenly her great aunt dies and Elvira goes to a conservative mid-west town to hear the reading of the will. Elvira is disappointed when she learns that she has inherited a dilapidated old house, a poodle and a cook book. To compound this she is accused of being a witch! Elvira discovers the evil force in the town and finds that only she has the power to stop his evil plans!