I suppose most fans have a few horror comedies they enjoy from Shaun of the Dead (2004) or Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010) and for me it’s Young Frankenstein (1974) or Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), then again any Abbott and Costello movie. Then there’s campy and cheesy entries namely Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, in her debut feature film showcasing a rather raunchy entry and mild plot filled with horror and cinematic references. It all balances sometimes awkwardly with one-liners, so-so jokes, and playing often off of the male libido of the teenage boy and men in general, once again was the eighties. The film to this day, caters mostly to her fans, as it has multiple editions and releases throughout Europe. Therefore, who conjures this steady sexual innuendos and plenty of references to Elvira’s breasts (sorry but it’s very true) initially it was NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff, who wanted to create a show with Elvira, and brought in James Signorelli to direct, however nearing the time of its release New World Pictures filed for bankruptcy and thereby destroying the marketing campaign, hence instead of making 100s of 1000s of dollars, it scaled greatly back, and with few 100 theaters and it suffered. The critics tore apart the flick, and the fans, really didn’t know much about the movie, remember it’s the 80s and entertainment shows only cared about A-listers so only magazines like Fangoria were left to covered it, but the reading audience was very small compared to the cinema-goers in general. Nevertheless, the screenwriters consisted of The Outer Limits (1995 series) writer Sam Egan and John Paragon (Elvira’s Haunted Hills [2001])) as well as Peterson herself.

When a piggish millionaire buys the television network where Elvira is a horror hostess of a late show, she quits her job rather than submit to the sexual advances of her boss, with the plan of heading to Las Vegas and produce her own show. However, they demand $50,000 which she doesn’t have, but ahh by chance and luck she’s informed of an inheritance from her Great Aunt Morgana. Elvira drives to the very moralistic town called Fallwell, Massachusetts, population 1313, along the route she has some odd encounters where her gothic convertible which freakishly breaks down and requires the townsfolk to hurry to see the commotion. Take note the Fallwell name is a play-off of Jerry Falwell and the town’s attitude is very much in-line with his value system, also the population size clearly references to The Munsters. She learns she’ll inherit a creepy mansion that also includes a strange recipe book and a poodle, who she changes into a gothic punk rocker. Meanwhile her Uncle Vincent Talbot (William Morgan Sheppard (Needful Things [1993])), a name paying homage to Vincent Price and Lyle Talbot, and townsfolk all turned against her especially Chastity (Edie McClurg (Carrie [1976])). However, somehow she has many of the teenage boys and a movie theater owner Bob (Daniel Greene) on her side, I wonder why? Perhaps one can think of something bouncing I guess. As the time passes, the townsfolk accuse her of witchcraft, she’s guarded by the Sherriff (Hugh Gillin, he enjoyed that typed of character, some recall him from Psycho II [1983] in a similar role) and prepared to burn her at the stake, which dives further into lunacy which included a parody shot at Commando (1985). The conclusion of the movie includes a cheesy over-the-top dance number with a rap solo and thoroughly sleazy, to state the least, something likely to appeal those seeking blatant T&A and her general fans.

The house of Elvira’s Great Aunt is the same one used in both Munsters Go home (1966) and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966), it mirrors many of the same qualities of the Psycho (1960) house.  However, there’s more for you house lovers, Higgins-Verbeck-Hirsch Mansion is featured at least from the outside as the attorney’s home, so what you might ask, well it’s been featured in over 9-horror films and in Tales from the Crypt (1990) episode Television Horror, although unbeknownst to many it was also in The Greatest American Hero episode “The Beast in the Black” (1981), that starred William Katt (yes the same man, from Carrie [1976]. In addition, a standout for the film, comes in the form of her customed design black ’58 Ford Thunderbird done by George Barris who was well-known for his other vehicles such as the Munster Koach and the primary vehicle in third movie The Car (1977). Elvira’s career expanded decades and her attitude and persona embraces Halloween fully with numerous advertising campaigns and hosting gigs, used all in this film, the dialogue not always perfect, but a lot of fans of the movie know the opening is with the Elvira, doing what she does hosting horror films, in an amusing manner all of it very self-aware of the film’s style.

Look, it isn’t a masterpiece, watchable and enjoyable, yes, turn off the rationale side of the brain and have fun with the entertainment, as Elvira flaunts her personal assets, and generating an outrageous movie referencing performance. Interesting enough 13-years later a sequel emerged entitled Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) however it didn’t’ contain the “it” factor as this flick. A downside for the film, is the PG-13 rating while it allowed some of her younger audience to see the film (with perhaps questionable parents) an R-rating likely would generate bigger laughs and more of a parody of horror comedies. Alas, what is presented is simply for the dedicated fan-base of Elvira, the gothic ‘valley-girl’ of horror.

TAGLINES:

  • Elvira busts out in her outrageously funny feature film debut!
  • Here’s something you’ll want to pick up!
  • Elvira makes her Big Scream Debut in her Hot New Comedy.
  • Unpleasant dreams…
  • Here comes Elvira… there goes the neighborhood!

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https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095088/

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10

Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10