DVD Review: Elvira’s Movie Macabre

The now departed Fox Reality channel had its biggest success with “The Search for the Next Elvira.” What woman was capable of being a replacement for the shapely and witty horror hostess? Who could walk a mile in her stilettos? They declared a winner. Normally that would mean the Elvira would retire and wear less revealing outfits. Maybe it was a good time for her to say goodbye to the character. Except like Brett Farve, the old Elvira wasn’t ready to hang up her cleats. Her Movie Macabre had been off the air for nearly 25 years, but she announced the series would rise from the grave and onto THIS TV. She dusted off the red sofa, ironed her black nylons and spread a few new cobwebs. It was like she’d never left the dial. Although you might not know where to find THIS TV on your dial.

Mostly THIS is run as digital substations on HDTV signals. The parent channels don’t go out of their way promoting THIS. If you’re hooked up to a sat dish for your programming, you don’t get the sub channels. The parent stations don’t run THIS programming at the same time which means Movie Macabre can air on Saturday nights or Sunday mornings. It’s all so confusing. Where does this leave a devoted Elvira fanatic wanting a taste of her new schtick? Unlike her ‘80s show, the new Movie Macabre sticks to the horror films that are considered public domain. This allows her to release the rejuvenated Movie Macabre on DVD. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! has four episodes of the horror hostess spicing up the scares.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster is a black and white showcase that includes an icon of Creature Double Feature action. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die tells the story of a doctor who saves the head of his love after a horrible wreck. He now looks for the perfect female body to decapitate. There’s a monster in the closet to complicate things. For the new show, Elvira maintains a running gag for her breaks. Brain has her practicing to appear on “Who Wants to Bleed A Millionaire.” She gives a graveyard spin to numerous game shows. The Manster is a US-Japanse co-production. An American journalist ventures to the hinterlands to interview a reclusive Japanese scientist. Turns out the guy has devised a process to start evolution in animals. But maybe he’s working on the reverse evolution since the reporter isn’t quite feeling himself. Elvira fears she’s going to be deported after getting a nasty letter from the IRS that they’ve forwarded her information to the INS. Can she prove she’s really as American as outsourcing and sushi? Turns out she gets her moves from DeathFlix. Jack White has a cameo in the fun.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! features superstar’s early starring roles. The Terror is a notorious Roger Corman production that he kept having other young directors attempt to make a feature film out of the footage he shot with Boris Karloff and Jack Nicholson. Along with Corman, Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Monte Hellman (The Cockfighter), Jack Hill (Coffy) and Nicholson took a shot to make it happen. Sadly enough, the film makes little sense which is good for this kinda of show. Elvira has plenty of time to pop up in a picture frame and mock the action. This reflects the earlier version of the show where the breaks are about the film. Eegah! brings out the big talent of Richard Kiel (Jaws in Moonraker) as a caveman that pops up in a desert town. The real star of the show is Arch Hall Jr’s hair. That’s the best special effect in the film. Elvira hosts the Elvie Awards which give plenty of hardware to the cast of Eegah! Shame she didn’t hand out some Golden Globes to this stinker. These are a duo of films that desperately need her talents to make them entertaining.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are from video masters. The image has a higher resolution than what ends up on my local THIS station. This brings out the detail in the amazing new opening featuring a gothed out Egyptian Theater. The films look better than the broadcast versions. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo even though all of the films are in mono.

Both Double Feature DVDs have the same bonus features.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre Behind the Scenes Footage (4:46) gives the details on how they shot the impressive opening. They used the Egyptian Theater when Inception was still playing. You can catch Elvira out of make up.

Photo Shoot with Chris Ameruso (2:23) has her posing with all her talent spread over the sofa.

“Mistress of the Dark” Music video by Ghoultown (4:55) is a catchy piece of hellbilly rock. She appears with the band. The skull xylophone is cool.

The Making of the Ghoultown Video (24:36) is like a cool version of MTV’s Making the Video. It’s fun how she met the band. She wanted a song to replace the Oakridge Boys’ “Elvira.”

Sneak Peaks (6:50) are teasers for all 8 new Movie Macabre features out on DVD.

Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! resurrect Elvira’s career as a horror hostess. She didn’t need to find a new version of herself cause we’re not ready to put a stake through her talents. Even as she approaches 60, Elvira is more haunting than frightening in her beauty. These two double features are bound to give unpleasant dreams to fans that can’t figure out if they get her new channel.

E One presents Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster and Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah!. Starring: Elvira, Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Richard Kiel and Jack White. Boxset Contents: Two films on 1 DVD. Released on DVD: August 16, 2011. Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die / The Manster (Available at Amazon.com). Elvira’s Movie Macabre: The Terror / Eegah! (Available at Amazon.com).

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