ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK (1988) Reviews and overview

  

‘Elvira makes her big scream debut in her hot new comedy’

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a 1988 American comedy horror feature film directed by James Signorelli from a screenplay co-written by Sam Egan, John Paragon and Cassandra Peterson. The latter stars as Elvira alongside W. Morgan Shepard, Daniel Greene, Jeff Conaway, Susan Kellerman and Edie McClurg.

Plot:

Having just quit her job as a Los Angeles TV horror hostess, Elvira receives the unexpected news that she s set to inherit part of her great-aunt Morgana s estate. Arriving in the small town of Fallwell, Massachusetts, to claim her inheritance, Elvira receives a less than enthusiastic reception from the conservative locals – amongst them, her sinister uncle Vinny, who unbeknownst to Elvira, is an evil warlock who secretly schemes to lay his hands on the old family spellbook for his own nefarious ends…

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Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original interpositive
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
Original Uncompressed Stereo 2.0 audio
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Introduction to the film by director James Signorelli
2017 audio commentary with director James Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria Editor Emeritus Tony Timpone
2017 audio commentary with Elvira Webmaster and judge of US TV show The Search for the Next Elvira Patterson Lundquist
Archival audio commentary with actors Cassandra Peterson, Edie McClurg and writer John Paragon
Too Macabre – The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark – newly-revised 2018 version of this feature-length documentary on the making of the film including interviews with various cast and crew and rare never-before-seen archival material
Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster – newly-revised 2018 version of this featurette on the concept and design of the pot monster, as well as the other SFX of the movie
Original Storyboards
Original US Theatrical and Teaser Trailers
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sara Deck
Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Patterson Lundquist and a short note on the 2012 audio commentary by Sam Irvin

Reviews:

Mistress of the Dark is by no means a masterpiece, but compared to the likes of similar fare like Repossessed, it’s just infinitely more watchable and entertaining. Elvira sticks closely to the horror genre, providing a fish out of water comedy that was quite popular in films like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure and the eventual Addams Family big screen debut.” Cinema Crazed

” …shouldn’t be viewed as a horror movie. Sure, it has supernatural themes, slime covered beasties, heavy gothic overtones, and a token fog enshrouded graveyard or two, but the comedy is what makes this one so entertaining. Well, that and Elvira’s cleavage of course.” Digital Retribution

“Some of it misses, a lot of it sticks but all throughout Cassandra Peterson has her character nailed, hitting the big screen fully formed and armed with an arsenal of quips and put-downs that she delivers with all the relish of somebody who probably isn’t quite sure if they will get this opportunity again so is making the most of it.” FrightFest

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is no shining example of cutting-edge writing or overly competent filmmaking but it’s quite funny and self-aware.  Co-written by Peterson, the movie is tailor-made to fit into the Elvira brand and while not a critical or box office hit, it gained enough notoriety through video rentals to keep Elvira alive and kickin’.” The MN Movie Man

“The film has no real pretence to be anything other than a series of obvious bad jokes, innuendoes and sight gags, something at which it at least proves entertaining. It makes a light-hearted dig at fundamentalism – the town for example is called Fallwell, Massachusetts – although it never takes its own standpoint very seriously…” Moria

” …makes for goofy amusement with a finale that trots out a bunch of horror elements (a live severed hand, demons and all sorts of mischife), a main character who’s likeable and Edie McClurg amusing as the towns “goodie goodie”. Co-writer/star Cassandra Peterson does more than we’d of expected with the character and this is a fun timewaster for sure.” The Video Graveyard

” …just as Pee-wee Herman’s films are vehicles for his shtick, Elvira is mostly Elvira wisecracking and busting out of her dress. She’s fun, a Transylvania Valley Girl grown up into the Queen of the Bs, but after 96 minutes you may start thinking more fondly about those ’50s and ’60s camp classics she’s usually interspersed with.” The Washington Post

Main cast and characters:

Phil Rubenstein … Director
Larry Flash Jenkins … Technical Director
Cassandra Peterson … Elvira
Damita Jo Freeman … Associate Producer
Tress MacNeille … Anchorwoman
Edwina Moore … Hairdresser
Mario Celario … Rudy
Lee McLaughlin … Earl Hooter
Bill Swearingen … Cameraman
Charles Woolf … Manny
Bill Dance … Messenger (as William Dance)
William Cort … Lawyer / Game Show Host
Sharon Hays … Game Show Girl
Bill Cable … Cop
John Paragon … Gas Station Attendant
Joseph Arias … Hitchhiker
Edie McClurg … Chastity Pariah
Kris Kamm … Randy
Scott Morris … Sean
Ira Heiden … Bo
Bill Morey … Mr Rivers
Pat Crawford Brown … Mrs Meeker
William Duell … Lesley Meeker
Ellen Dunning … Robin Meeker
Jeff Conaway … Travis
Frank Collison … Billy

Dick Miller [uncredited in footage from It Conquered the World]

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