X-Entertainment.Com --- By Matt - 9.30/'02
There's a lot more than meets the eye with Elvira. She's not all whips and tits. The Mistress of the Dark is probably one of the best, and certainly one of the most intelligent self-marketers of our time, mixing her own personal interests, talent, and good looks to create a pop icon dynamo that's remained popular with fans for decades.

The woman behind the haunt, Cassandra Peterson, is actually one of the nicest, most gracious celebrities you could ever meet. Sure, she doesn't have the toughest job in the world, but I dare you to find someone who could jiggle their chest with so much style. Still a beautiful woman today at age 114, Elvira is especially important during this time of year. Who personifies the spirit of Halloween better than a tall, ghastly pale chick who spends most of her time either dirty dancing or making fun of old werewolf movies?

Elvira saw her popularity peak in 1986 with the release of her first (and only) full-length feature film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. It's a pretty bad movie, but that's okay, it was supposed to be. A semi-spoof of the genre Elvira immerses herself in, it's easily one of the most ridiculous spectacles I've ever seen. There will never be another flick quite like this, partly because the movie bombed to all hell, but also because it takes a truly twisted meeting of the minds to put something like this together.

Before we start the two-part review, I have to say that there's just no way I can do the movie justice in a written summarization. This is one you need to see - it doesn't go twenty seconds without a hilariously off-kilter one-liner, and rarely goes five minutes without a special effect that'll have you yearning for the days of Flash Gordon's stop-motion play-doh action sequences.

Also keep in mind that I'm reviewing it from an old taped-off-television cassette that left out anything too risque, so there's even more nonsense than I'll be able to tell you about. The flick is out on DVD now - if you need a movie for your upcoming Halloween parties, look no further: this is the one.

Things kick off with Elvira being fired from her late night horror show - similar to the one she had in real life, just with a lot more fat cowboy types running around the set, yelling at her. To be honest, my friends had popped in this tape and it took a few minutes for the movie to jab me through the heart and sucker me in for 2+ hours. It doesn't look like I missed too much, I just hope the fat cowboy type fired Elvira using any of the following lines: "I reckon' you need a new employer, pardnah!", "Listen up missy, what you need to do is jump on a broom and fly south for the winter!", or my personal favorite, "I'm a cowboy, you're a hellspawn, and this just can't darn well work!" I'm 99% sure one of these lines was used.

Elvira swears to gain revenge by becoming bigger than that shitty network could ever imagine - she wants to headline her own show in Vegas. Since Vegas often hosts shows from Carrot Top and guys who can twist their bodies in pretzel knots while playing the harmonica, she probably has a good shot at making it.

Before she can get to Vegas, she's gotta raise some cash. It looks like her lucky day, as she receives a mysterious notice in the mail - turns out one of her distant relatives passed away, and she's being called in to hear the will. It's either her ticket to fast riches, or her ticket to the world's largest collection of pet rocks with painted-on cat faces. Either way, it's a chance she can't pass up on, so she drives her black devil convertible down to her dead aunt's small town to see what she's inherited.

Course, Elvira and small towns don't mix, and it doesn't take long to see that the place is almost virginal in it's virtues - and Elvira isn't welcome there. One of the neighborhood's largest busybodies, Chastity Pariah, is sure to point out that Elvira is a big-breasted slut who needs to go to other side of the train tracks. Chastity is played by Edie McClurg, an actress most of us love for her ability to tackle any role - no matter how silly - with the same level of joy and interest as the next. You probably remember her best as Mrs. Poole from The Hogan Family, but I loved her the most in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, mostly because I didn't have to watch Jason Bateman squirt ketchup in the opening credits.

Even though Elvira knows she isn't welcome, she decides to make the most of the time she's forced to stay here. Since the town's main residents are all goody two-shoed pristine hick assholes, she hangs out mostly with the youth, who are just screaming for a leader to help them rebel against their parents. Hey, if I ever wanted my father to know about my need for free expression and an open lifestyle, there's no better choice for a mouthpiece than Elvira. He'll just be staring at her tits nodding 'yes, yes' anyway. I could probably weasel a grand or two off him while I'm at it.

She also has time to nail a love interest for the duration of the film - "Bob," the stupidest guy on the planet. He looks pretty familiar but research tells me that my chinchilla's had a more esteemed career in Hollywood. While some of the movie's horror spoofs are easy to see, (grabbing a bazooka out of a store window, breaking her heel while on the run in a graveyard) others aren't so obvious. The character of Bobby will be recognizable to some as the good-natured moron boy hero found in every crappy horror movie from 1950 to the present.

At the estate hearing, the rest of Elvira's distant family aren't exactly happy that she's there to collect. I know I'd be pissed if some biker chick who was obviously well-off enough to afford several implants walked away with my mother's crystal duck collection. Elvira was hoping for money, but her inheritance ends up being her aunt's house, furniture, and oddly, her 'recipe book.'

Uncle Vincent coyly makes a fifty-dollar offer for the recipe book, which Elvira accepts. They agree to make the exchange later - evidently those are some really hot recipes.

Meanwhile, Elvira enlists the help of the neighborhood kids to spruce up the old house she's inherited. She plans to sell it to make money for her Vegas dream. The extended painting sequence features Elvira's ass shaking from camera angles so numerous, I'm sure Hitchcock was rolling around in his grave wondering why he never tried them. They end up painting the house in seventeen different bright colors, making it look like a giant Candyland amusement ride. Elvira seems pleased. I seem to want candy.

Since all the kids have taking a real shine to our heroine, the prissy neighborhood adults aren't happy. They can't have their kids getting into the occult and big tits so young. You know a movie's worth watching when one of the featured villains is Edie McClurg.

At the 'Morality Club' meeting, the big topic is ridding the town of it's newest resident. Everyone agrees that Elvira's a bad influence and a big tramp. That's very true, but at least she never hugged Jeremy Licht, Edie.

Meanwhile, Uncle Vincent reveals his true colors - he's a bad, bad man. After sending out his goons to retrieve Elvira's recipe book, he heads down to the basement and starts acting freakier than a priest with a spider-monkey dress-up fetish...

Uh oh - Vincent is some sort of devil worshipping warlock with lots of candles and a sleeveless smock. He lights white candles, so at first it's hard to tell if he's really evil or not. Luckily, the swarms of sinister lightning shooting out of his hands help us make a more educated guess.

I know, I know - by now you're probably wondering why I said this movie was so 'good.' You've really gotta see it for yourself. The plot is moved along with what has to be the largest assortment of bad punchlines ever assembled for a motion picture, and this is coming from someone who's written 500 articles positively littered with bad punchlines. I really wish the movie did better, because Elvira truly carries the thing and it ends up being ten times better and funnier than it has any right to be. Of course, a lot of time has passed and Elvira's appearances nowadays are far less numerous, so that's a pipe dream. Maybe she could pass along the Elvira name to someone else, like, let's say, Gabrielle Carteris. All we need to do is find the giant rock she's living under, get her some 12" heels, and pay for the new tits.

Elvira hatches a new plan to raise money for Vegas, since nobody in the town will talk to her long enough to get into house-buying negotiations - she wants to host a Midnight Madness party at the local movie theater. Problem is, none of the adults are going to partake in that. So, Elvira jiggles her tits in front of every small boy in town, racking up an audience that'd have Star Wars' opening night at the Ziegfeld envious.

Even though the kids know they'll get in trouble for staying out so late, nobody can resist helping Elvira achieve her dreams. Midnight Madness was a success - after showing Attack of the Killer Tomatoes on the big screen, Elvira does her own little stage act. It's basically an excuse for the cameraman to zoom in on her torso for a good three minutes or so. All's going well till one of the locals - jealous of Elvira's relationship with Bobby - pours tar and feathers all over her. Now she has to spend half the money she earned steam cleaning her clothes. That's the real horror in Mistress of the Dark.

It did lead to an Elvira bathtub scene, so I guess the whole tar thing wasn't so bad. Though it's hard to find Elvira sexy when she looks like she's covered in dog shit. But who knows, the Internet's full of scat fans. Personally, I like to keep sex and shit separated. But that's just because I've always had this huge phobia of shitting on someone while they're going down on me. It's why I never kissed a girl in my whole life. I like cupcakes and coloring books. Do you like cupcakes and coloring books?

Elvira has a dinner date with Bobby, so she finally makes use of that recipe book she inherited. Thing is, it uses some pretty weird ingredients - roots and worms and stuff. Hey, what kind of recipe book is this, anyway?

Obviously, it's a spell book. Elvira's prepared dinner morphs into a slimy monster, and after she and Bobby lock it in the pot, they start investigating the house a little further. Elvira's always looked the part, but now more than ever, it seems like her bloodlines dictate that she's got a little of the ol' witchy witch bubbling around inside her.

They find a letter from her mother, or her aunt, or her sister - someone related, I can't really remember. Turns out she is a witch, the powers of the occult at her beckoning call. The ring she wears is actually a powerful metaphysical weapon. The whole scene is just a big excuse to include a shot of Baby Elvira in the flashback, complete with overdone mascara and blush. If only they shoved two water balloons down the baby's shirt, this would've been the greatest story ever told.

After Elvira finds out that she's got all these supernatural powers, there's only one thing on her mind: revenge against the townspeople who keep acting so rude towards her. Watch out, Edie - Elvira's gonna turn you into a frog or something.

We're nowhere near done yet - click the link below to continue on to the second half of our Elvirafest, which includes the only documented Edie McClurg sex scene, rings that shoot lightning, and naked guys grabbing Elvira's ass.


- Matt
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