Elvira’s Haunted Hills – USA, 2001 – reviews

‘A feature film so terrifying, you’ll die… laughing’

Elvira’s Haunted Hills is a 2001 comedy horror feature film directed by Sam Irvin (Murder at the Mansion; Oblivion 2: Backlash; Oblivion) from a screenplay by Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark) and John Paragon. The film fondly parodies Roger Corman-directed Edgar Allan Poe films such as House of Usher (1960) and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961).

The Spirit Entertainment movie stars the former, as Elvira, with Richard O’Brien, Mary Scheer and Scott Atkinson.

Plot:

Carpathia, 1851: Elvira and her maid Zou Zou are en route to perform in the Parisian Revue `Yes I Can Can’ but inadvertently end up at the sinister Lord Vladimere Hellsubus’ medieval castle. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Vladimere’s long-dead wife, Elvira learns of the Hellsubus curse and finds her life in danger

Reviews:

“A sloppy slapstick throwback to long gone bottom-of-the-bill fare like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” The Boston Globe

“While Peterson and her ageless alter ego keep an ironic detachment from the melodramatics, there’s no irony in the end-title dedication to Price — it obviously comes straight from the heart.” L.A. Weekly

” …it’s passable entertainment (barely) – a loving homage to vintage horror. And the cast is pretty amusing, too. Is the film good? No, but it doesn’t really seem to be trying too hard. There’s even a few fourth wall gags that point out the weakness of the acting and plot.” IGN

“The period settings are handled with fidelity by director Sam Irvin, who gets in the kind of grainy exterior shots, foreboding interior creakiness and shoddy special effects which do right by the source material and give the film a sense of actually watching these old AIP-distributed Corman films proper. It’s spoof as verisimilitude, and reinforces the overall good nature of this passion project.” Mind of Frames

“Cassandra Peterson, who turned fifty when she made the film, is starting to show her age and her routine is starting ever so slightly to seem stale. Delivered amid the often clearly impoverished surroundings, it all has the feel of a former big-name comic reduced to doing dinner theatre in the boondocks.” Moria

“One groaning terrible joke after another until there is nothing but groaning. Wow. Elvira was not amusing. I felt bad after awhile. It was embarrassing. She gave me a lot of joy with her show. But this movie was bad. Real bad.” Dr. Gore’s Movie Reviews

“While not as irreverently charming as its predecessor, the film has more than enough to enjoy, particularly if the viewer has a basic knowledge of the kinds of stories that the movie parodies. The costumes, set and score – which are impressively done on such a small budget – lampoon these films immodestly…” Scream

Haunted Hills packs an impressive number of jokes in its 90-minute running time, and while some of them are fairly cringeworthy (comedy ‘boink’ sound effects and sped-up scenes will never be funny, and the numerous long screaming scenes are intensely irritating) there are a decent number of jokes that hit the mark…” That Was a Bit Mental

“There’s a sort of cut-rate genius at work here, as before — Peterson’s whole Elvira shtick is hopelessly lame and she knows it. That’s sorta the point, really. Harmless horror, harmless titillation, and harmless laughs at punchless jokes. Some performers want to shake up the world — Peterson is happy just to deliver the goods.” Trash Film Guru

“Its charm — which is separate, of course, from Elvira’s evident charms — lies in its good-natured affection for the movies it’s lampooning. Elvira is her same old self, campy, vampy and a little bit trampy but fundamentally on the side of fair play.” TV Guide

“Sure, Peterson and O’Brien are hammy enough and some of the self conscious humour isn’t bad; but this is a bland and uninspiring effort that even fans of the title character might find hard going.” The Video Graveyard

Choice dialogue:

Elvira: “Alright, alright — I’ll throw on something skimpy and head down to the dungeon.”

Dr. Bradley: “The village people say this castle is evil.”
Elvia: “Meh, who listens to the Village People anymore?”

Elvira: “If I’m not back in an hour… wait another hour.”

Cast and characters:

  • Cassandra Peterson … Elvira, Mistress of the Dark / Lady Elura Hellsubus
  • Richard O’Brien … Lord Vladimere Hellsubus
  • Mary Scheer … Lady Ema Hellsubus
  • Scott Atkinson … Dr. Bradley Bradley
  • Heather Hopper … Lady Roxanna Hellsubus
  • Mary Jo Smith … Zou Zou
  • Gabi Andronache … Adrian, the stable master
  • Jerry Jackson … The English Gentleman
  • Theodor Danetti … The Innkeeper
  • Lucia Maier … The Maid
  • Constantin Cotimanis … The Coachman
  • Remus Cernat … Nicholai Hellsubus
  • Mark Pierson … The Butler

Filming locations:

Romania

Release:

The $1.5 million production was released on DVD and VHS by Good Times Video on October 1, 2002, rated PG-13.

Related:

Cassandra Peterson

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

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