Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is not just a name heard on television but is the title of film that was released to unwitting horror fans in 1988.  The film stars William Morgan Sheppard, Jeff Conaway, Edie McClurg, and most notably one Cassandra Peterson.  What makes Cassandra Peterson so unique is that she is the woman behind the dark haired mistress, that many know simply as Elvira.

We open the film finding Elvira doing the one thing most of will know her best for and that is behind a television camera introducing her fans to another film.  As the taping of her show is wrapping up we get a look at the “fast” paced action that goes on in the television studio.  Shortly after the taping of her program ends, Elvira has a run in with the stations new owner who sadly only one thought on his mind regarding Elvira.  She promptly uses her sharp tongued razor wit to tell him off and promptly quits to follow her dream job in Las Vegas.

There just happens to be one problem with her plan as her agent informs her that the show requires her to come up with some money to help produce the show.  The amount she will need to produce is a small pittance of change, as it’s only FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Elvira is of course upset about this but then there is a ray of hope a letter informing her that her Aunt Morgana Talbot has passed away.

The film helps to show us the humor that many have been laughing at and enjoying for years through Elvira’s long television presence.  The key difference is, in this movie, Elvira has a cast of characters that helped to expand on this humor as there are townspeople setup to be the foil for many of the jokes. The key protagonist is one Chastity Pariah played beautifully by McClurg.  As the head of the towns morality group, Pariah has done her best to keep unwholesome influences from entering the town.  On top of this Elvira must deal with her Uncle Vincent Talbot (Sheppard) who is after one of the items Elvira receives in the will.

What is all given to Elvira in the will reading? Well she gets her aunt’s old house, her pet poodle and a cookbook.  It’s the cookbook that Vincent wants and as we find out is more than willing to do anything to get his hands on this book.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark brings us a unique story line, a punk rock poodle, and plenty of strange antics by those in the town.  We get to see the teenagers in town do just about anything to help Elvira after they get to know her.  The kids become some of the only people that accept our heroine in town other then the town’s movie theater operator.

This is not the scariest film many will see but, if anything, what it lacks in scares it makes up in laughs.  The movie is full of one liner jokes, sight gags and just simple set pieces that will leave a person laughing.  If you take time to watch the names of the businesses that run throughout the town of Falwell. One of the funniest scenes in the film is when Elvira tries to get back at the town’s morality people by trying to shock them with a creature in a pot.  However, the creature is gone and what is left is a delicious pot of food that does have quite the side affect on those who eat the dish.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a film that Elvira herself could show on one of her many programs through the year.  The film has enough campy humor that many should love it.  Of course it’s hard to miss Elvira in anything she does due to her many “assets” and of course that biting humor.  This is a movie that anyone could enjoy and come to love.  Now, if you need one more reason to watch then stick around and enjoy Elvira’s performance at the end of the film.

4 thoughts on “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)

  1. I agree 100% with you knightmist that the one of the funniest scenes in that movie involved Elvira replacing one of the ingredients with Hambuger Helper. Some of those old people really let loose. I remember watching this movie for the first time and begging my mother to buy it for me. If my memory service me right, I played the tape to death. I wanted my dog to have hair like that poodles! He was just too cute! Even today I give this movie a 5 star rating.


    • I’ll have to give this movie a look, I haven’t seen the sequel either. I remember friends telling me: “this movie is bad, its not even one of those so bad its good movies so avoid it at all costs.” So I just never watched it, but I do like Elvira so I’ll have to go rent it.


    • It’s always great to find others with just as odd a sense of humor, or taste, as mine. The film is not something everyone will love but if you can handle the humor and jokes people will love it. I was so pumped to find it is listed on Netflix streaming so I didn’t have to wait for the DVD and can watch it anytime.


  2. I like this movie for a laugh. Elvira I think is an acquired taste. She has that campy horror goodness that we only cop to when alone with good friends, but she does it on screen! Awesome stuff.


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