I pretty much grew up with Elvira as a kid, and I’m old enough to remember the bygone era of the horror host. Elvira was one of the last hold outs for a long time as Television changed formats and needed less filler with big personalities introducing us to movies. Elvira managed to live on as a cult icon, appearing in music, and on pretty much anything and everything that involved horror and or Halloween. It was only a matter of time until there was “Mistress of the Dark”
Elvira, the wise-cracking vamp wants to take her act from the little screen to the glitzy stages of Las Vegas. When her great-aunt Morgana dies and, despite having no prior knowledge of the relative, she is a beneficiary of her will. Elvira makes the journey to Falwell, Massachusetts to stake claim to her inheritance, but is disappointed when she learns that she has only inherited a dilapidated house, a poodle, and a cook book. The conservative town folk of Falwell are reticent to welcome the sexed-up and unconventional Elvira, though, especially as she is accused of being a witch. Elvira discovers the evil force in the town and finds that only she has the power to stop its plans.
An admitted childhood favorite, “Mistress of the Dark” is raunchy, campy, and silly, but so much damn fun. Cassandra Peterson is on full display here as Elvira, taking center stage to give her character some back story and a lot of mythology. Elvira is very much a witch, and she spends a lot of her time flexing her female independence while having a great time flaunting her—um—titillating charms. “Mistress of the Dark” skirts the line between satire and dark comedy, as it channels a lot of the darkly comedic witchy themes from films like “The Witches of Eastwick.”
Elvira appeals to a wide audience from horror geeks, the LGBTQ community, Goths, Punk rockers, et al., which makes the movie and her character so damn accessible and easy to plug in to. You really don’t have to know a whole lot about Elvira going in to the movie. You just know she’s insanely hot, has a great sense of humor, and may or may not be a vampire…? Who cares, really? “Mistress of the Dark” is a great celebration of the ever lasting appeal of Elvira. Peterson has always been an underrated comedic performer, and here she brings her character to life for a new medium and it’s still so damn good.
The release from Arrow Video includes the ninety seven minutes Too Macabre: The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, a “newly revised” version of this feature length exploration into both the film and the character. It’s so much fun, with a bunch of engaging interviews from surviving cast and crew. There’s the twenty two minutes Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster, listed as being “newly revised,” it delvers the gonzo “food creature” sequence as well as some of the other interesting SFX.
There are a slew of image galleries including Production Stills, Behind the Scenes, SFX, Original Storyboards, New York City Premiere, and more. There’s the original US trailer, the original teaser trailer, and a great intro from director James Signorelli that must be seen to be believed. Next there’s an Audio Commentary with Cassandra Peterson, Edie McClurg and John Paragon, an Audio Commentary with Director James Signorelli and Tony Timpone, and finally an Audio Commentary with Patterson Lundquist. As with most Arrow Video releases, there’s a great insert booklet included.