DVD Review: Elvira, Movie Macabre Quadruple Feature!
Review by Marc Patterson
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the queen of late-night trash cinema is back!
I must admit there’s a part of me that is screaming that there is absolutely no point in reviewing these two double feature discs. I mean, how can I? Further – what’s the point? This is Elvira! You don’t review her or critique her – you worship at her feet.
If you’re not familiar with Elvira then shame on you. Stop reading this and go out and grab her totally awesome film from 1987, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and watch it immediately. In fact, watch it twice. (I swear to God – that film never ceases to entertain.) I digress.
If you are familiar with Elvira then you know exactly what these discs are and likely don’t need my guidance on whether or not you should check them out. Such is the brand power Elvira brings to the table. She is the penultimate Mistress of the Macabre and it’ll be a sad day indeed when she finally hangs up her heels. Nonetheless, for the sake of the cause I press on.
Most of you, being hardened genre fans, are likely aware that Elvira recently made a much publicized return to cable TV, hosting her infamous Movie Macabre. And though I could never quite manage to connect with the show while it aired she’s now gone ahead and released a couple of discs that give those of us like myself who wanted to see the show, but didn’t, a chance to do just that. The show fits the familiar format from years ago where our sumptuous hostess with the mostess comes on in her iconic ultra low-cut cleavage revealing black dress, makes some funny boob jokes and introduces the feature film while inserting quippy remarks at the commercial break points. It’s a fun throwback to the 80’s when Elvira put the boob back into boob tube – and believe me – this woman still has it. I swear she hasn’t aged a day!
The films presented are total trash. But one man’s trash is another man’s… well trash. But that’s the point of Movie Macabre. You’re going to watch some really cheesy and poorly made flicks while Elvira provides the snarky comments.
Movie Macabre gets a nice update with the inclusion of pop-up screen-in-screen commentary while the films run. It’s not quite as fun as say MST3K, with the ongoing commentary, but still manages to be a nice improvement.
As a quick disclaimer, If you’re a fan of schlocky B-Cinema then you’ll know a couple of these films feature nudity. While I can understand that the nude scenes would have been censored for a TV premiere I’m not sure why the producers felt the need to maintain the censorship for the DVD. Minor gripe, but again – I’m letting you know what to expect.
I’m not going to bother reviewing the films themselves at any level of depth. That’d be downright ridiculous. I started with The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Christopher Lee’s final foray into horror – and what a way for him to go out. I don’t mean that in a good way. This film was HORRIBLE. Two thumbs down and I fart on your grave. Then came The Werewolf of Washington, a slightly more fun film featuring Dean Stockwell (Anyone aside from me remember him as the Admiral in the early 90’s TV show Quantum Leap?) Once again – trash, but at least more fun that the wretched Satanic Rites. I dug into the second disc, (which actually turns out to have been the FIRST disc) and which contains the seminal Night of the Living Dead, probably the most accomplished film to ever appear on Movie Macabre, though you’d never know it with the irreverent way Elvira goes at it (all the more reason to love this woman). My bit of advice? You should really start with Night of the Living Dead. Elvira gives her whole “Movie Macabre is back” schtick, which is a perfect way to kick everything off, and I wish I knew that before I started with that miserable bit of Hammer Horror. After Night of the Living Dead is the insanely fun bit of schlock called I Eat Your Skin. It’s a swingin’ film from Del Tenney, who gave us The Horror of Party Beach (a personal favorite of mine).
Rounding out the discs are a few extras that vary slightly from each disc, but are mostly the same on both discs. They include a promotional photo shoot with Elvira, that sadly was edited really quickly. I’d have just as soon had that camera linger a little bit longer, if you know what I’m sayin’. Then there’s the rockabilly outfit Ghoultown with their video Mistress of the Dark, featuring Elvira. There’s a Ghoultown making-of video featurette, and the “I’m not a witch” promo piece Elvira did spoofing on wacky teabagger Christine O’Donnell (hilarious), and some sneak peak previews of horrors yet to come. All in all you get HOURS of features and bonus features. There’s a lot here to enjoy.
Clearly this one gets my stamp of approval. Now please, let me get back attending to my shrine to this fabulous woman.