Elvira: Mistress of the Dark – Unpleasant Dreams…

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This 1988 film raked in the cash back in the day, but it’s easy to see why. Cassandra Peterson brings her bigger than life alter personae to the big screen after years as a horror-film hostess on the small screen. She appears to be a woman of easy virtue, in her slinky, low-cut black dress that she might have borrowed from Morticia Addams, but some men find out the wrong way how choosy she actually is.

In this particular adventure, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) is slated to have a live show as a headliner at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, but at the beginning, she is still working at a local San Diego station doing what she is best know for. The staff members introduce her to the new station owner, and the first thing he wants to do is get his hands on her chest, thus starting a running gag that follows her from California to Massachusetts, which where Elvira needs to go. Her agent, Manny (Charles Woolf) says The Flamingo is not going to let her do her show unless she puts up some support cash for the show, and they want $50,000. Just as she learns this, she gets a telegram informing her of a late aunt Morgana Talbot has passed, and she is to inherit something from her will. Elvira packs up her big black convertible with the spiderweb grille and the pentacle steering wheel, and heads east to Fallwell, Mass.

When comes into town loudly, with a knocking engine and heavy metal music blaring, and suddenly this khaki-wearing, bible-thumping New England town is shaken up. Just as her car overheats, the town busy-body, Chasity Pariah (Edie McClurg) and her friend are leaving the beauty shop, starts into Elvira for dressing like a tramp, and Elvira insults her by saying she’ll never get sex by wearing soda cans in her hair. So, sets the first rivalry, over the morals of the townspeople of Fallwell. After getting the car to a mechanic, with the help of some eager teen boys, she goes to the Cozy Cot, the hotel run by Lesley Meeker (William Duell), his domineering Mrs. Meeker (Pat Crawford Brown), and their shy granddaughter, Robin (Ellen Dunning). Mrs. Meeker doesn’t want to give her a room, but Lesley lets the cat out of the bag, and she ends up staying there, at least for one night. She asks Robin what there is to do for fun in Fallwell. The town has a bowling alley, and that’s about as rowdy as it gets. Elvira checks out the bowling alley, and is hit up by some slick and slimy, but not too bright thugs, Travis (Jeff Conaway) and Billy (Frank Collison). A cutie in tight jeans, Bob Redding (Daniel Greene) rescues her, but it turns out that another rivalry has started, because the owner of the bowling alley, Patti (Susan Kellermann) has her sights set on Bob, too.

Elvira has a way to stir up trouble everywhere she goes, and Fallwell has its own secrets. Morgana Talbot and her brother, Vincent Talbot (William Morgan Sheppard) both had magical abilities, but Vincent dabbles in the dark magic, and Morgana has left Elvira her three most magickal possessions to protect them from Vincent. Also, those slimy thugs work for Vincent,and are searching for the cookbook, which is actually Morgana’s Book of Shadows. Elvira was disappointed to receive an old, run-down house, a fluffy poodle, and a cookbook, but later own, she’ll change all these things to make them work for her, get revenge on those that would harm her, in some unintended, silly ways, and get rid of the evil in her family line, win Bob’s heart, and still play Vegas.

This is one fun movie, and even though it has a definite 80’s vibe with the big hair and the hair metal, you never can really tire of it. Elvira is a woman that men secretly, and some not so secretly, want to be with, and that women want to be like, so it is no wonder that we all like her. All that snarky honesty in a dark, sexy package, and she still gets away with it. T’is the season to dress in black and listen to Elvira Presents Haunted Hits
, and to have “unpleasant dreams…”

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★☆☆