Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)
Elvira titillates and terrifies
This time of year always gets me thinking about all of the great horror personalities, such as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, Count Dracula and Count Chocula. These are all fantastic creatures that would terrify anyone. However, none compare to the character in this week’s film, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
For those who are not familiar with the character of Elvira, here is a little background info. She’s got a big ol’ set of titties.
For those looking for more in depth background information here goes. The character of Elvira (portrayed by Cassandra Peterson) originated in the late 1970s as the host of “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” a late night show on a Los Angeles station. Elvira, sporting a gothic look, with a low cut black dress that accentuated her assets, would introduce low budget horror films. She would also interrupt them occasionally to make fun of the acting and editing. She became a huge celebrity in the 80s, a star on the level of Pee-Wee Herman and Gary Coleman.
So it was no surprise when it was announced that Elvira would be featured in a big screen Hollywood epic, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. In the film, Elvira is fired from her late night movie-hosting gig. Luckily her great aunt has just passed away, so Elvira heads to New England to find out what she has inherited.
When she arrives, Elvira finds out that she has inherited a dog, a cookbook, and a house. While she is eager to get on the road, a broken down car and no cash prevents that from happening, so Elvira spends some time getting to know the locals.
The stuffy townsfolk don’t care much for the vibrant and fun-loving Elvira. They see her as immoral and as a dangerous influence on the town’s young people. They are unable to see what kind of heart Elvira truly has, possibly because her cleavage was in the way.
It is this aspect of the film that truly brings it to another level. Sure, it could have been an excellent film if it simply relied on being spooky, or on charisma and comic timing of Elvira. But this is a film with a message – a message of acceptance. The people in this town refuse to accept Elvira because she is different. If you discriminate against people based on race, (Apollo) creed or colour, this film will make you see the error of your ways.
As the film moves along, we learn that there are mysterious secrets hidden in that inherited cookbook, and they have nothing to do with casserole recipes. These secrets almost result in Elvira being burned at the stake, a good 200 years after that type of thing was fashionable.
Cassandra Peterson proves herself to be a fantastic actress (and co-writer) in this picture. It’s not easy turning a five-minute skit into a 90-minute film, but she pulls it off effortlessly. Her breasts are certainly the butt of a few jokes in this one, and deserve just as much credit for the film’s success. Some would say that they deserved to win the breast supporting actress award. I wouldn’t say that though, because that would be a lame joke.
Watching this film is basically the equivalent of arriving home after a night of trick or treating and discovering your sack is full of potato chips and full sized chocolate bars. There are no toothbrushes or apples stuffed with razor blades in this one. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is the perfect treat this Halloween season.