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

June 7, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Before the five minute mark of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark; the titular character (portrayed by Cassandra Peterson) is groped by her new boss… and then she proceeds to quit her shitty job, and push that grabby bastard right through a desk. This is because Elvira kicks major ass… and guess what, so does this film!

After the aforementioned bad touch; Elvira plans on taking her act (which seems to vary from Horror Host to Vegas showgirl… and some unholy combination of both) to Vegas… but her prospective producers are demanding a large sum to put on her show… and with her source of income now in the zero range, that ain’t gonna happen.

Luckily our heroine gets a telegram informing her that her Great-Aunt Morgana has gone tits up, and Elvira is set to score big in the will; so she loads up her creepy caddy (the Macabre-mobile by name) and drives off to Fallwell, Massachusetts, where shortly after arriving she learns that a dilapidated Victorian mansion, a recipe book and Morgana’s pet poodle, Algonquin (soon to be the recipient of a punk rock makeover) are hers, all hers… as is the ire of her Uncle Vincent; a powerful warlock who desires the cookbook; which is in fact a powerful magic tome that could lead to Vincent taking over the planet!

Much to the chagrin of the tight-ass citizenry, who are balls deep into the whole “holier than thou” bag led by town busybody Chastity Pariah (Edie McClurg); Elvira decides to stay in town, rather than sell the mansion after the local teens help her spruce up the old place… but before long she’s up to her most famous assets in killer casseroles, torch bearing mobs, disembodied hands, a fire belching demonic relative, and scariest of all… morality (*gulp*)!

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a non-stop barrage of boob jokes, double entendre, and comic book horror imagery, and it’s glorious… and very, very funny!

Elvira as a character is what we all should aspire to be; punk rock, original, against the established norm, fully in charge of her sexuality… she’s strong and creepy-as-fuck, and absolutely one of my heroes for nearly four decades (as you may have ascertained given my revoltin’ review style)… and this shtick laden, Halloween visual-drenched vehicle is the perfect forum for her brand of sexy supernatural shenanigans!

And what a forum it is; picture Charles Addams, Ed Wood, and Borscht-belt nonsense… all wrapped around a plot that would be at home in an early Mickey Rooney vehicle if it was directed by Russ Meyer… and if that doesn’t make the crotch of your trousers tight, you’re readin’ the wrong column Buster!

As fangtastic as the feature is, you can bet your arcane ass that our freaky fiends over at Arrow Video have included a host of beastly bonuses on this Blu-ray (comin’ your way courtesy of MVD Entertainment)!

First up comes a whopping three audio commentaries; one with Petersen, McClurg, and actor John Paragon (the co-writer of the film famous for his role as Jambi on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse) that provides a breezy conversation among folks that are obviously dear friends (and expect more Pee-Wee connections as well), one with director James Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria editor emeritus Tony Timpone that covers the film’s production in more detail, and manages to be entertaining despite the frequent silent gaps, and finally a conversation with Elvira super-fan and judge of the TV show The Search for the Next Elvira; Patterson Lundquist, who at times spends more time watching the movie in silence than speaking… but when he does he offers some great factoids and trivia.

Following that we get: a feature-length (and recently revised) documentary detailing the film’s production from beginning to end, a look at the film’s special effects (also newly revised), extensive image galleries (covering production, publicity, storyboards, and more!), and the film’s theatrical teaser and trailer.

For my monstrous money, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is one of the most slide-spittin’ ’80s comedies there was, and it’s every-bit as fangtastic today!






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