Review: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Blu-ray: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Imagine a time – say 1988, where girls were girls and boys were boys, and there was no such thing as calling your friend a non-binary ‘they’. Imagine a time when it was okay to make risqué jokes about boobs, or even…oral sex. Imagine a time, post Benny Hill, when a woman could spout double entendres, be camp, silly, sexy, funny AND stand up for herself. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it?

Cassandra Peterson created the character of Elvira in 1980 and started out in Los Angeles presenting ‘Elvira’s Horror Macarbre’; a show where she scathingly introduced gems of 50’s horror and B movie classics. Her ‘cult’ ahem…grew and next stop was Hollywood, much like the films story.

This is such a mainstream all American story (with some witchcraft), but instead of the protagonist being a virginal, white, good, religious, hard working girl. We have Elvira: a Fenella Fielding lookalike, self-effacing, unusual, sexual, and funny. It’s Elvira’s dream to play Vegas (doing what God only knows) and to do that she must  invest $50000 in the show. She is broke and her dreams are shattered, until she receives a letter informing her that her great Aunt Morgana has passed away and she must attend the reading of the will. Could this be the answer?

She gets into her Black T-bird (complete with KICK-ASS number plate) and heads for the most conservative, small, American town that is straight out of Footloose. Yep – there are a lot of nods to other films in this (Flashdance, Carrie).

Elvira, who all the local boys want to fuck and all the girls want to be, inherits a poodle, a house and ‘recipe’ book off her dead aunt, which of course is a magic book, and her evil uncle (W. Morgan Sheppard) Vinny (so called because originally Vincent price was going to play this part), wants it and he will do anything to get it.

I admit to absolutely loving Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. I know in this day and age it would be seen as sexist and somewhat misogynistic, but it was made in a time when it was a joy to see a beautiful sassy woman twirl nipple tassels as a finale to the story.

It still IS a joy, and despite Elvira’s boobs being front and centre, it’s gentle comedy, it’s not all out rude, in fact it’s rather endearing, much like Carry On Screaming, and Peterson is delectable and delightful, genuinely self-effacing and funny. All the acting is over the top and hammy and perfect for the story and film.

Will Elvira make it to Vegas? Well, you’ll have to buy it and see!

Of course this is an Arrow release which makes the included  extras amazing, including a really great new, making of where the actors moan quite a bit about goo.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original interpositive
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original Uncompressed Stereo 2.0 audio
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Introduction to the film by director James Signorelli
  • 2017 audio commentary with director James Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria Editor Emeritus Tony Timpone
  • 2017 audio commentary with Elvira Webmaster and judge of US TV show The Search for the Next Elvira Patterson Lundquist
  • Archival audio commentary with actors Cassandra Peterson, Edie McClurg and writer John Paragon
  • Too Macabre – The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark – newly-revised 2018 version of this feature-length documentary on the making of the film including interviews with various cast and crew and rare never-before-seen archival material
  • Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster – newly-revised 2018 version of this featurette on the concept and design of the pot monster, as well as the other SFX of the movie
  • Original Storyboards
  • Original US Theatrical and Teaser Trailers
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patterson Lundquist and a short note on the 2012 audio commentary by Sam Irvin

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark will be released on 10th December 2018 and you can buy it buy clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes.

Review by Tina (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Fetch Publicity from Arrow Films.