January 19, 2014
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
The plot has Elvira quitting her job as late-night horror movie hostess for a local L.A. station (because the scummy new owner propositions her). Elvira has her heart set on a live show in Vegas, but she's expected to come up with 50,000 dollars to help back the show.
Conveniently, Elvira's great aunt from Massachusetts drops dead, so our plucky heroine journeys to New England to claim her inheritance, only to be accosted by the local Pharisees. They're headed by Edie McClurg, (she played the secretary in Ferris Bueller) whose character in this is named Chastity Pariah, and who is a pure pleasure to watch as she works herself into a moralistic frenzy at the sight of the bosomy Elvira.
There's a less desirable storyline about Elvira's greedy uncle (W. Morgan Sheppard), who's some kind of warlock looking to get his hands on Elvira's spell book, which gives the film its supernatural angles (and allows the production to show off its mostly laughable effects). Meanwhile, Elvira makes quite an impression on the local youths, who've been kept under tight reigns by the repressed, ultra-conservative town council.
Yes, Elvira makes a lot of cheap boob jokes, and yes the movie doesn't always score points for imagination, but somehow Cassandra Peterson carries the thing with her corny jokes and her faux-camp persona. It's a dumb but enjoyable comedy. There is also a sequel, with even worse production values and much flatter (sorry) humor, called Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001). With Daniel Greene, Jeff Conaway, Pat Crawford Brown, and Susan Kellerman. ★★½