Movie Review of
"Elvira, Mistress of the Dark"
By Patterson Lundquist
The popular late night horror hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark stars in her self titled full length motion picture. Released in theaters nationwide in September of 1988.
The movie starts of with Elvira working as a late night horror hostess for an unnamed Los Angeles TV station. (What a stretch huh?) Hosting 'crapola' horror movies and fending off gross station owners are her unpleasant dreams come true. Fact is, Elvira has been dreaming of starring in her own show in Las Vegas! But in order to make that dream a reality Elvira has to come up with fifty thousand dollars to help finance it.
After being sexually assaulted by the new owner of the television station Elvira walks out on her job. As luck would have it Elvira is notified that her Great Aunt Morganna has died. Faster than you can say 'Ed Wood' Elvira packs up her things, hops in her Macabré Mobile and goes across country to Fallwell Massachusetts. The home of her late great aunt. Unfortunately the inheritance isn't exactly what she had been dreaming about. In fact, it is nothing more than a run down old house, a poodle and a crummy cook book. It's at this point Elvira comes to meet her creepy old Uncle Vincent Talbot, Morganna's brother.
Besides being creepy, pale, grouchy and just plain unappealing Elvira senses that something is up with her uncle. Turns out she ain't that far off. Vincent Talbot just happens to be a warlock, one who's had it in for not only her Great Aunt Morganna, but her long dead mother Divanna as well.
Stuck in a old house, with an annoying poodle Elvira is temporarily occupied with renovating the house in hopes of selling it. Which will get her more than she needs for her show in Vegas. Of course the Real Estate broker wants to get his hands on more than the house. Without fail Elvira makes it clear, 'Just because this house is up for grabs doesn't mean I am!' But unfortunately, he couldn't take no for an answer. When Elvira literally throws the 'bench sniffin' real estate jerk out of her house he decides to black list her. Thus making an easy sell of her home as likely as finding a nun at a male strip club.
To make matters worse Fallwell is run by an over conservative town council. Who's every fear is that somewhere, somebody in Fallwell is having a good time. This includes terrorizing the teenagers, dictating what movies can be played at the local theater as well as poking their noses into everyone's business but their own.
This leads to a series of events that push Elvira past her breaking point. Stranded in Fallwell because her car has broken down. Unable to get a job, because the council leader Chastity Pariah (Edie McClurg) has blackballed her. Elvira comes up with a plan to finally make some cash.
After wooing Bob, the stud who owns the cinema house. Elvira schedules a late night screening of 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.' Inviting only the high schoolers who've grown to love her. The turn out is great! Only the busty bowling alley owner Patty ruins it by switching the catwalk bucket of gold glitter to a bucket of tar. The show finale which was to have been ripped off, 'er um inspired by 'Flash Dance' is ruined when Elvira get's tarred and feathered.
After the movie and tarring incident Elvira and Bob play a game of cat and mouse on the couch back at her house. Elvira of course being the cat. Poor, innocent, virginal Bob being the mouse. Of course Elvira's been trying to get into Bob's pants ever since she laid eyes on him. Realizing that this well mannered gentleman doesn't play up to Elvira's usual tricks. Elvira plays up to the old adage, 'The fastest way to a mans heart is through his stomach." Unfortunately she uses her great aunts cook book.
After mixing what appears to be worms, green scrambled eggs, sewer drizzle and a wad of snot in a big blue casserole dish Elvira tops it off with crushed potato chips and Cheese Wiz. Unfortunately upon removing the lid Elvira and Bob nearly become appetizers for the main course. Turns out the 'casserole' was a recipe for a monster. With a little help from Bob, a few swift swats from a cast iron pot and the flip of a dispose-all switch the monster is... well... disposed of.
This is when they discover that her great aunts cook book is actually a book of spells. Not only that, but that Elvira is truly descended from a 'major metaphysical celebrity.' She also comes to find that her great uncle Vincent is after the magic spell book. Seems that a lunar eclipse is on it's way. If Uncle Vinnie can get his hooks on that book it will make him 'ruler of the night,' 'Master of the Dark,' and basically mean Earth just got a one way ticket down the crapper.
With her ego boosted (I said her ego) by her new found past, Elvira decides to actually 'make' the money she needs for Vegas. Instead she conjures up a Python. Leave it to Elvira to find away to make the negative positive.
While she may be broke, nearly eaten alive by her cooking, choked by a Python, or chased all over town by her demonic warlock Uncle. Elvira winds up playing the damsel in distress for all it's worth. What's it get her? Why it get's her a first class ticket right into the tight jeans of the hunky cinema owner Bob.
One of the many classic scenes of this movie arrives at the climactic breaking point between Elvira, Vinnie and the Town Council. After Elvira drugs the Councils 'Morality Club Picnic" with a an afrodisiac laced casserole. The council decides Elvira has to go. Originally, Elvira was hoping for the same monster that nearly made a hot lunch out of her and Bob, but she apparently screwed up the mix when she substituted a missing ingredient with some Hamburger Helper. Which ended up transforming a quiet, tranquil picnic into a full out Roman orgy.
After distantly witnessing the goings on at the picnic Vincent concludes that Elvira has discovered what the cookbook really is. After managing to convince the town they can have Elvira burned at the steak for practicing witchcraft (which still remained illegal in a small loop hole in the Fallwell law books) the town starts preparing for a cook out. Thankfully Elvira manages to escape the torching by summoning a thunder storm with the use of her seemingly cheap ruby ring. Hence dousing the fires.
It appears Vincent got the book while Elvira was... tied up. Now, the Lunar Eclipse has arrived, and Vinnie is looking pretty bad. In fact he looks down right disgusting. While Elvira may have escaped her final barbecue, she's gotta get away from Vincent who is dead set on obliterating her. Obviously possessing all the power on earth isn't enough. He wants to pick on our girl!
One of the most memorable scenes has to be when Elvira narrowly escapes Vinnie in an old graveyard. Trapped by a chained iron gate Elvira pulls a move Lynda Carter herself (Wonder Woman) never dreamed of. What could snap steel chains and bend wrought iron? You guessed it. With a strong 'Breast Press' Elvira breaks the gate open and barely escapes.
Sure as you would expect good triumphs over evil and Elvira defeats Vinnie. Sadly, during the battle all of Elvira's possessions go up in flames with her home. Including the book. With no hope for salvaging anything, the insurance company won't fork out. Claiming her policy did not cover 'acts of demons.' Elvira is ready to throw in the towel an go back to Los Angeles. But wouldn't you know it, the town has changed it's opinion of her after witnessing Vinnie and watching the counsel get zapped (by Vinnie) into a pack of swine.
Not only that but with her Uncle dead Elvira is the soul heir to his estate. Which is said to be a pretty tight deal. Right on cue the old mechanic rolls up in Elvira's restored Macabré Mobile. Look out Vegas! In the waver of the screen we are treated to a dance number and full tassel twirling by the Mistress herself! Elvira is safe, her cleavage is bouncing, all is right and good in the world. What more can you ask for? Huh? Eh, this movie is rated PG-13 for a reason, geeze.
The movie might not be a gigantic motion picture masterpiece, but it is a very fun, entertaining film. This really isn't a horror movie but rather a racy comedy with some mild horror elements. Elvira really is the mistress of double entendres and sexual innuendo. And even though the storyline is actually quite good for this type of movie, the jokes and Elvira's main attributes are the big selling points of the film.
Time for the final verdict then. If you like Elvira you will most likely love this film, but even if you aren't a huge fan it is watchable on it's own merits as well. .
So, what I'm trying to say is: see it!
Elvira's Haunted Hills coming soon!
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