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"Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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"Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Old 09-24-23, 11:39 PM
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"Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge



Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)




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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2023 DISCUSSION | 2023 LISTS
Old 09-24-23, 11:40 PM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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Old 10-03-23, 10:24 PM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

For the most part, this is just campy good fun but probably could have been much stronger had it been about 15 minutes shorter. The shtick does start to get a little old when put in one feature-length film. In that way, the Elvira performance was the best thing and the worst thing about the movie. The movie is very of its time but gave me a few laughs.

I always found this really curious as an Elvira vehicle. There's relatively no horror in it. I'm guessing they wanted a story that could hit a more universal audience considering her popularity at the time. It would have been nice to see them lean into the horror aspects a lot more.
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Old 10-04-23, 05:15 PM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by clckworang
For the most part, this is just campy good fun but probably could have been much stronger had it been about 15 minutes shorter. The shtick does start to get a little old when put in one feature-length film. In that way, the Elvira performance was the best thing and the worst thing about the movie. The movie is very of its time but gave me a few laughs.

I always found this really curious as an Elvira vehicle. There's relatively no horror in it. I'm guessing they wanted a story that could hit a more universal audience considering her popularity at the time. It would have been nice to see them lean into the horror aspects a lot more.
Haunted Hills is a little closer to Hammer films, from what I remember (it's been a couple years)
Old 10-05-23, 09:21 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

The dinner pot lizard creature is one of the most memorable I've run across during this challenge, he deserved more.
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Strangely I only ever knew of Elvira as a pop culture force, I remember even being surprised to find she hosted late night showings of cheesy horror films (apparently her show started in 1981 - the year I was born). It's funny how her persona seemed to grew beyond her career and a lot of the bigger than life personality shines through the film but aside from Elvira too many of the characters feel like generic set dressing (when her humor is hit or miss it sometimes lacks a skeleton/centerpiece). I think I would have appreciated this film more if I had better exposure to Elvira in her original form. Capitalizing on the moral panic and 'normalcy' of society seems like low hanging fruit by 1988 and aside from the self promotion of it there's not too much satirical bite. Mistress of the Dark has an aimless chatty feel to it which is it's biggest strength and weakness, it's thin camp often most supported by references to the era or genre rather than serving up a self contained impact - the Flashdance reference is funny because it's a Flashdance reference; parody and reference is Elvira's thing but harder to support in a standalone film without a target. At times I wish MoD has been more dark or envelope pushing. I remember seeing MoD when I was a kid and really enjoyed the high of the family friendly comedy, almost a pinnacle of cinema for a 9 year old but I don't think it's held up over time.

William Morgan Sheppard stole the show as Vincent. The Morgana plot is great and I wish it had taken a more center role earlier on or been better peppered in.

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-05-23 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-20-23, 07:52 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Both Undeadcow and clckworang give great criticisms and both mentioned things I was going to say so I won;t repeat their words. Other than to also say that the creature in the dinner pot is one of the best practical effects I have seen in a while. Had to mention it again.

I grew up in the early 80's as a kid watching Elvira's show on the local independent channel 21 in Birmingham, AL as a kid. I loved loved loved it. Never missed it and would watch even the reruns over and over even if I had seen the movie. The other kids who were into horror would discuss the movie on Monday at school. Her show was usually shown on the channel on Friday nights around 11pm if I remember correctly. It has been a year or two. It was around 1982 to 1985 and I was 9 years old in 1982. We moved in 1986 and I don't remember getting to see it after that. Cut to 1988 and I was now heavily into the VHS era of horror and sword & sorcery movies. My buddy and I practically rented 1 to 2 movies almost every day after school from '86 to '91. Anyway, that sets up why I was kinda disappointed in this movie when I saw it in the theater as a 15 year old.

Like clckworang mentioned, I was hoping for some full-on R rated horror and nudity movie like the ones that I had come to expect (and watched heavily censored versions) on her show as a kid. Instead, I got Elvira and her version of Airplane!. My buddy and I were definitely disappointed at the time. I think I have only seen this movie once since that time and it was many years ago when it first popped up on DVD, I think. Anyway, I think I was a little too harsh on it. This is a fun movie if you don't go in wanting the horror aspects of it and more of the "pop culture force" that Undeadcow mentioned. There are literally as many gags and one-liners in this as in Airplane!. Watch this back-to-back with UHF (which I just happened to rewatch last month) and you may never need to watch another movie like these for a good two decades.

I can imagine, even being 15 when I first saw this, that a ton of the jokes and one-liners went straight over my head. That is probably why watching it this time around, it felt very fresh for me, and I found myself either shaking my head or even laughing out loud at some of the cornier, hornier jokes. Actually, I have no doubt that this movie would be rated R nowadays. There is some pretty risqué stuff in here and with all the sexual innuendo, I wonder if it could even be approved and made in today's climate.

Anyway, this is a fun time waster. Nothing special but worth it just for all the jokes. I plan to watch Haunted Hills as well this month as it is streaming on AMC+/Shudder I believe. I think I have only seen it once before and remember nothing about it.

My rating: ***1/2 out of *****
Old 10-28-23, 07:50 PM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I really enjoyed this. It was a nice break from some of the heavier horror films I've been watching. I saw it years ago, but remembered little (except Bob, lol).

I thought the script was actually quite good, especially considering the thinness of the Elvira character as a horror movie host. They set up the conflict with the townspeople early on and it was effective in making you root for Eliva and wonder how she was going to get past it. There were some great one-liners. 3/5 stars for me.
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Old 10-29-23, 12:55 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Like Trick or Treat, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a bold middle finger against conformity and the twisted "morality" that equates hate with virtue--there's a reason the town is named Falwell. Elvira's signature Goth drag persona works best in small doses, as the film is filled with one-note sex jokes and gratuitous fanservice. She exudes independence and Riot Grrl power, and the freedom of being yourself as hard as you can.

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Old 10-29-23, 08:45 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I watched Haunted Hills this morning. If you like this movie, then you should like Haunted Hills as it is just more of the same but in a gothic setting. Lots of one-liners, gags, silly noises, etc. to keep people happy if you like that sort of stuff. I am not typically a fan of movies like those, but Elvira makes it work. But I have to be in the mood for these kinds of movies and that is rare.

My rating on Haunted Hills: *** out of *****
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Old 10-29-23, 01:38 PM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
I watched Haunted Hills this morning. If you like this movie, then you should like Haunted Hills as it is just more of the same but in a gothic setting. Lots of one-liners, gags, silly noises, etc. to keep people happy if you like that sort of stuff. I am not typically a fan of movies like those, but Elvira makes it work. But I have to be in the mood for these kinds of movies and that is rare.

My rating on Haunted Hills: *** out of *****
I watched Haunted Hills not long ago, and enjoyed it. I think Mistress of the Dark is a superior movie in terms of the script. But Haunted Hills is fun too.
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Old 10-30-23, 11:55 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This one hit me when I was in a really good place, and I had a lot of fun with it. I agree, the shtick was starting to wear thin by the end, but for the most part this felt pretty fresh and fun. I've seen that picnic scene at least 5 times in various forms, but I didn't know it was from this movie.
Old 11-01-23, 07:40 AM
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Re: "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Comedys are a tough genre and horror comedies even tougher. Elvira just isnt strong enough in the acting area to carry a feature length film. This one didnt get even a grin from me. I found it to be a chore.

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