Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

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Titillating Horror Humor: Elvira - Mistress of Whatever the Heck She Wants to Be!

Oct 30, 2006 (Updated Oct 30, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Special Effects:

Pros:Eyepopping costumes, jokes, song and dance sequences, cinematography, direction

Cons:I didn't really notice any

The Bottom Line: Elvira is a beloved TV character that makes good in this, her first feature length movie.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.


Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)

“Unpleasant dreams!” Elvira‘s sign off

Just in time for Halloween, I screened Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and found that slapstick artist - scare queen Elvira has plenty of assets to carry a feature length movie.

This bargain-priced DVD is more than worth the price to bring you some laughs and make you forget your troubles for 95 minutes.

In case you didn’t know, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) has been a horror show hostess for quite a few years, introducing some of the worst horror films ever created. “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes,” is just one of the movies she brought to the world’s attention as well as countless other ones that would still remain in the dusty bins of the unscreened if it wasn’t for Elvira.

Using her television exposure wisely, she developed a shtick that is a real crowd pleaser with her vampire-derived character cracking corny jokes and wearing a trademark low cut gown. She has been described as a cross between Lilly Munster and Mae West - with the best attributes of both, I might add. Peterson has parleyed this persona into quite a few guest appearances on TV shows as Elvira so it’s not surprising they gave her a chance at a full length movie.

The movie is not Shakespeare, but is a vehicle for the shtick Peterson has developed into a (bad) art form, and it isn‘t half bad.

Besides her ti - uh ti - uh ti - uh, um, breasts, Elvira has an extremely well-rounded figure from all sides as a couple of her dance sequences will reveal. She sings and dances, quite acceptably, in addition to telling her corny yet risque jokes. “I’m the one that put the boobs back in boob tube,” she cracks.

The story concerns Elvira being fired from her television gig and deciding to move to Las Vegas to put on a real show. She is dismayed to find out it will take $50,000 of seed money to get the show started. Luckily, she gets a letter informing her she is heir to her great aunt’s estate back in Massachusetts. Elvira is a little far out for the strait-laced denizens of little Falwell Mass, who have a snippy committee to protect the morals of the community and make it their business to run the vamp out of town - on a rail, if necessary. There is also a magic twist that involves witchcraft and who is going to be the biggest witch of all - Elvira or the uncle she never met before.

The story is well written and gives Elvira a lot to do, as well as her co-stars Edie McClurg as the self-appointed town busybody and William Morgan Sheppard as Elvira’s Uncle Vincent. Elvira also has a bunch of teenage friends and a hunk named Bob she is interested in, but the show is hers and she fills the time in admirably.

Direction is by James Signorelli with excellent cinematography by Hananiah Baer. Stunts are also very good, with it difficult to tell which shots are Peterson and which are her double.

The Anchor Bay DVD is presented in color, in 1.85:1 theatrical format, and runs 96 minutes. The only extras are subtitles and a Cassandra Peterson bio, but the film is great fun and Elvira is such a beloved character I have to recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good comedy in the spirit of Halloween.

Thanks for stopping by!


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening

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