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

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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

She’s the horror hostess with the mostess.  Guaranteed.  But who is she?

She was in a Bond film.  She dated Elvis.  At the age of 17, she was dancing in a gay bar.  She’s been on the cover of a Tom Waits album.  Hell, she’s sung in rock bands and worked with the legendary film director Federico Fellini.  Her name is Cassandra Peterson, but we know her as Elvira.

"Mistress of the Dark is a wicked movie; too bad it is not always wickedly smart"


As host of Elvira's Movie Macabre, she ruled the evening hours with a fun, punk attitude, and lots of B-grade horror films at her reach.  Elvira is twisted, dressed in black, and loves to poke fun at B-movies.  She’s, thanks to those curves and the beehive hairdo, one of the hottest late night horror movie hosts to ever bless our television screens.  She was also, in a weird cosmic coincidence, coming into her own while The Oak Ridge Boys’ version of Dallas Frazier’s “Elvira” soared to the top of country music radio stations.  It didn’t take long for the city of Los Angeles to share this Valley Girl Gone Goth with the rest of the world and, yeah, Johnny Carson helped.

So, at the pinnacle of her popularity, it made since that Peterson would co-write a screenplay for her to be Elvira in and, thus, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was born.  The revealing, cleavage-focusing evening gown was going to the big screen and we all know what that meant: tons of horny fans were going to see Elvira reveal to us her assets. 

And, boy, does she ever.

Of course, we pretty much have to sit through the entire flick to get there, but that closing musical number – in which she goes topless and does a lavish (and intoxicating) dance routine – is definitely (and hilariously) worth it.  Turns out, she’s in on the joke.  Well, she’d have to be, right?

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is not a great comedy, but it is fun.  It’s completely ridiculous, involving Elvira’s deceased great-aunt Morgana and the money she’s expecting to inherit in order to get her Las Vegas show fully funded.  So, she ditches LA, where she is getting groped (it won’t be the last time) for Fallwell, Massachusetts in the hopes for a lot of money.  What she gets instead is a haunted house, a poodle, and a witchy cookbook.

She also gets into a lot of comical kookiness thanks to her appearance and the morality-concerned citizens, best represented in director James Signorelli’s film by Susan Kellermann as Patty (who sees Elvira as making the moves on her man) and Edie McClurg as Chastity Pariah (who just wants Elvira to get back into her Thunderbird and go back to Hell.  Their solution?  Burn her at the stake. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Filmed at the "Anytown USA/Midwest Street" section of the backlot at Warner Brothers Studios, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a wicked movie; too bad it is not always wickedly smart.  While watching the Morality Club have an orgy due to Elvira's cooking is hilarious, the rest of the film - somehow getting away with multiple gropings of Elvira - is not so smart writing.  Oh, it's sassy enough, but it leaves a bit to be desired.  Cult enthusiasts will always get a kick out Elvira and her two movies.  This one, her first, is now available on blu-ray thanks to Lakeshore Entertainment and RLJE Films.

Giddy up oom poppa omm poppa mow mow!  Elvira in HD?  Yes, please.

3/5 beers

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: RLJ Entertainment
Available on Blu-ray
- September 3, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Unfortunately, there is nothing too special about this transfer, unless, of course, we count the cult figure at the center of the production.  She’s stunning.  Everything else?  Meh.  RLJE Films has done better.

Video: 

Presented in a crisp 1080p transfer, the new transfer is a curious thing.  The film is dominated with reds and greens that absolutely burst with color, but nothing really makes the journey to HD all that ravishingly.  It’s a cheap film, for sure, but the simple backgrounds burst with new details and a nice level of clarity.  Black levels are solid and skin tones are natural – except, of course, for the pancake make-up on Elvira.  Full of few effects, the burning of the cult figure has solid lines; they hold their edges. Shadows are defined, too.

Audio:

Again, nothing spectacular.  Audio wise, the DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo soundtrack is included as well as a 5.1 mix which amplifies the effects.  The dialogue is clear and the score/effects are never lost or hard to hear.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  2/5 stars
  Audio 2/5 stars
  Extras 0/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

2/5 stars

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
Runtime:
96 mins
Director
: James Signorelli
Writer:
Sam Egan, John Paragon
Cast:
Cassandra Peterson, Phil Rubenstein, Larry Flash Jenkins
Genre
: Horror | Comedy
Tagline:
Here comes Elvira... there goes the neighbourhood!
Memorable Movie Quote: "And don't forget, tomorrow we're showing the head with two things... I mean the thing with two heads. Until then, this is Elvira saying unpleasant dreams."
Theatrical Distributor:
New World Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 30, 1988
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 3, 2019
Synopsis: Elvira busts out in her outrageously funny feature film debut! Wise-cracking vamp, Elvira, wants to put on a show in Las Vegas but she's short $50,000, so when she learns that her wealthy Aunt Morgana has just died, she rushes off to old-fashioned, conservative Falwell, Massachusetts, for the reading of the will. In typical Elvira fashion, she can't help but stir things up when she makes her appearance in Falwell. Cassandra Peterson stars in this sexy comedy hit, filled with wild wisecracks, campy chaos and scary movie spoofs, all poured into the lowest-cut black gown in horror movie history!

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

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