Blu-ray Review: Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark



During the early ’80s, Elvira (played by Cassandra Peterson) started cropping up all over the place. She was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She was the October pitchwoman for a major beer company. She was on CHiPS. As cool as she was, there was a sense of frustration seeing her pop up here and there. Why? Because her show Elvira’s Movie Macabre wasn’t on in in the Raleigh TV market. One day at school Doug Clouse said he was able to watch her hosting old horror films on Saturday night on a station in Greensboro. I broke out the rabbit ears and after plenty of tweaking and having to keep a hand on the metal, Elvira finally appeared on my TV. And it was pure joy no matter how painful the film she ran. And she ran some stinkers. As she spread out on her red sofa with her ample talents on display, it was all good even if the image was always slightly fuzzy. So it was a relief to hear that Elvira would be starring in her own movie since it meant a clearer picture and I wouldn’t have to stick my hand on the screen. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark proved the big screen could barely hold her wardrobe and high hair.

Unlike the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie that came up with a big screen version of their movie hosting show, Elvira gives us a taste of her Movie Macabre show before taking flight into the real world. Elvira comes off as frustrated at how she’s being treated at her local station. She’s barely off the air and the crew are tearing down her few props and putting up the news set. Things get extra nasty when a sponsor thinks he gets more than airtime with the hostess. She’s not having any of it. She’s ready for her dream to have a stage show in Las Vegas. This is the time to devote herself to project so she quits. However this wasn’t the perfect time since she needs $50,000 to pay for production. But then great news arrives with the death of her great-aunt Morgana. She thinks she might get that payday to let her rule the Vegas Strip. She hops in her car and drives off to Falwell, Massachusetts. Turns out Falwell is a very uptight puritanical kind of town. This can be felt in the name which plays off the dead Rev Jerry Falwell who used to run the Moral Majority. Turns out she doesn’t inherit a giant sack of money. She does get a book, a dog and a rather rough looking house in the will. She wants to flip the mansion to make a few bucks and head to musical stardom. She also flips the dog to be more like her type of pet. She’s not completely hated by the locals since the cinema owner enjoys having another film lover in the community. She helps him self up a late night movie series. And the kids want to embrace Elvira more than their parents. She does have to worry about her Uncle Vincent who wants her aunt’s book. Is she going to ever get to strut her stuff on a casino’s stage or be stuck in a town that once burned witches?

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark has always been a fun time with the horror hostess with the mostess. Like the movies she ran on her Movie Macabre, there’s nothing too disturbing or horrific. There’s plenty of sexual innuendos like a Benny Hill Show episode. Since it’s original release during the Halloween season of 1988, the film has only grown in stature. Elvira proved she can do more than crack jokes about strange horror films while sitting on a sofa. She could make her own.

Video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The new transfer enhances everything you enjoy about watching Elvira on the screen. Audio is an LCPM Stereo track. This is just like you would have seen it in the theater. The movie is subtitled in English.

Director’s Introduction (1:10) has a great we’ll fix it in post moment.

Too Macabre – The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (97:04) is a feature length documentary about how the movie happened. She talks about taking her character from a horror movie hostess to a real live movie character. She used a lot of her pals from The Groundlings. This was NBC’s first theatrical feature and they were so green they didn’t know at first that they needed a distributor A lot of the cast and crew sits down to talk about their time including Cassandra Peterson outside of her Elvira persona. We get the lowdown on the battle for the big ending to the film.

Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster (22:13) breaks down the creature that lurked inside the serving dish. They talk about doing the special effects on their budget.

Image Galleries includes production stills, behind the scenes, original storyboards, New York Premiere coverage and miscellaneous. Cheech Marin, Peter Falk and Linda Blair showed up at the after party. You get to see the party passes and World premiere tickets. There was a 900 number to get to hear a message from Elvira at $2 the first minute and 35 cents every minute after.

Original US Theatrical Trailer (1:49) makes it look like Elvira was starring as Rambo. This is pure action and weird romance on the screen.

Original Teaser Trailer (1:05) has Elvira showing off her talents.

Audio Commentaries start out with Cassandra Peterson, Edie McClurg and screenwriter John Paragon talking about the action on the screen. The second has director James Signorelli and Tony Timpone breaking down the film. Finally there’s a track with Patterson Lundquist, the webmaster of Elvira’s website.

Arrow Video presents Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Directed by: James Signorelli. Screenplay by: Sam Egan, John Paragon & Cassandra Peterson. Starring: Cassandra Peterson, W. Morgan Sheppard, Daniel Greene, Jeff Conaway, Susan Kellermann & Edie McClurg. Rated: PG. Running Time: 96 minutes. Released: April 28, 2020.

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