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October horror movie marathon: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark


October horror movie marathon: Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

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Before you delve into this review, be sure to take a look at the rest of the Halloween marathon

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

As I was born in the UK, I’ve always felt as though I missed out on the horror host/hostess. Not only had time allowed famed horror hosts such as Vampira & Zacherley to pass me by, but my location also had a major effect. 

The only known horror host to grace the screens of Scotland or anywhere else in Britain, is Dr. Terror. It was originally named Dr. Walpurgis for the 1992 BBC2 Halloween all-night movie marathon before being renamed Dr. Terror’s Vault of Horror between 1993 and 1996. While The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs allows me to watch a modern-day horror host, my viewing of old school iterations is lacking.

That is where Elvira: Mistress of the Dark comes in, allowing me to dip my toes into one of the most famous hosts through her very own movie.

It stars Cassandra Peterson in the titular role of Elvira, leaving her show’s TV station after the new owner sexually harasses her. Planning to open an act in Las Vegas, Elvira needs $50,000 to do so. Upon inheriting a mansion, a dog and a cookbook from her deceased auntie, Elvira sees her chance to get the money for the show. But not if evil uncle Vincent or the conservative townspeople have anything to do with it.

The only real taste the film gives you for Elvira’s skills as a TV presenter is the very opening of the film and another point halfway through when she hosts a horror movie marathon at the local movie theatre. The story focuses more on her as a character rather than her as a host.

That’s where the problems arise. 

The movie itself is competently made, but nothing necessarily stands out, apart from the excellent practical effects.

The character of Elvira has always been innovative, there’s no doubt about that. Taking the original aesthetic from Vampira, adding immense sex appeal and using the dialogue of a typical valley girl, making herself more human and comedic. It had never been done before and was extremely fresh. It just doesn’t work for 90 minutes, not in this iteration anyway. The whole film feels like one long joke about her revealing corset or her liberal stance on sex. It grows real tiresome by the first thirty minutes.

Doubled with the fact that Elvira is made to seem like an extremely selfish person who realistically doesn’t deserve her own show and you have a movie that’s painful to sit through. Watching Elvira’s efforts to keep all eyes on her becomes pathetic after a while and by the end, we just don’t care anymore.

It’s easy to see why the film has a cult following, however. Surely for those who had seen a lot of Elvira before watching the movie, as well as her die-hard fans, will have been completely on her side no matter what, but will also have been extremely comfortable with her brand of humour.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark isn’t the worst film out there. Again, the fact that it’s competently made gives it a huge boost and there are some good moments in there, some funny scenes, but this movie will live and die with Elvira’s fans.

Rating = 2/5 flicks

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