Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Streaming Service: Hulu
Elvira: Mistress of the dark is pure 80s cheese and its glorious. I hadn’t seen this film probably since it was originally released. I barely remembered some of it, so it was like watching it again for the first time. Cassandra Peterson is just wonderful as Elvira and it’s her corny delivery that makes the film so charming. Elvira is an icon of the genre and has kept generations of people interested in watching really bad horror films through the years.
The story is a mishmash of b-horror film tropes with a large dash of 80s teen movie clichés. Some of the jokes are horribly dated and weren’t all that clever to begin with, but they work because Elvira is at the center of the 80s goofiness. The special effects are absolutely horrible, but that’s what makes them so damn funny.
The basic premise of the film is that Elvira has inherited a rundown house and a mysterious recipe book from the great aunt she didn’t even know she had. She wants to fund a show in Vegas, so she sets about trying to sell the house. Throw in an evil uncle intent on taking over the world through black magic, some teenagers that need to break free from the puritanical rule of their parents, a lot of boob jokes, a dumb handsome leading man, and a lot of Elvira one-liners and the film rights itself. There is a lot of adult humor in the film that went right over my head when I was younger. I was also surprised by how many times Elvira had to avoid getting sexually accosted. Of course, she always escapes with a snarky parting shot at her would be rapist.
Since I knew some of the horror films on the list were going to be pretty intense, I wanted to throw in a couple of fun ones like this particular film. It’s a horrible movie, which was totally the point. It’s what makes it so much fun to watch. If you’re in the mood for a large dose of corny humor, big boobs, and Elvira’s hijinks, this movie is perfect.