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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 10,208

My Rating

Movie Info

This lightweight and slightly ribald comedy marks the feature film debut of Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), a buxom seductress best known for hosting a popular syndicated television show that features wonderfully bad old horror movies. After losing her latest job for refusing to sleep with her new boss, Elvira tries to launch a Vegas career. Just before that scheme falls flat, she finds salvation when an aunt dies and leaves her a huge old New England mansion. When the black-clad and sexy Elvira,

Aug 28, 2001

New World Video

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (8) | DVD (8)

A predictable plot and cheapskate effects deaden Elvira's occasional witty lines, while references to the horror genre make the film busy without going anywhere.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are only a couple of fresh and funny moments.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is stupid fun, a distaff, gothic version of Pee-wee's Playhouse.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite its mildly raunchy tone and obsession with Peterson's considerable cleavage, the film is a decent, good-hearted comedy that never takes itself seriously.

October 23, 2012 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's not just dumb fun. The script contains a few genuinely smart one-liners (even if the relentless flood of innuendo will weary even the hardiest Carry On fans) and there's far more to Elvira than a perilously plunging neckline.

October 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Film4

It may not be the comedy that re-invented horror comedies, but Elvira's feature film debut is an entertaining and raunchy foray...

September 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

But there's nothing dark about Elvira's cleavage.

January 1, 2008 | Comment (1)

With a solid humor lineage...Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is one of the best comedies of the late 80s.

July 29, 2005 Full Review Source:

Stupidity with a cleavage.

April 1, 2005

Bad, bad, bad. Stick to hosting late-night creature features, babe.

March 4, 2003 | Comment (1)
Juicy Cerebellum

Goofy, enjoyable, and it might have been better if it didn't try to please everybody.

February 5, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

First came 'Morticia Addams' in the 30's from cartoonist Charles Addams, then along came Maila Nurmi and her classic B-movie/TV horror host creation 'Vampira', then finally in the 80's America introduced us to 'Elvira'. It turns out 'Elvira' was actually used to host the TV show 'Fright Night' after Maila Nurmi quit the show.

The 'Fright Night' show bosses needed a new host in the same vain as 'Vampira' so they simply put out a casting call for someone to fill the role. Cassandra Peterson got the part and created the new image for the 'Vampira-like' host. Although another source says the bosses hired Peterson to play the new 'Vampira' without telling Nurmi. Hence Nurmi quit on creative difference and tried to sue Peterson. Either way both creations are clear rip offs from Charles Addams original lady in black.

'Elvira' is pretty much the pinnacle of mid 80's American culture. That trashy Guns n Roses, 'G.I.Joe', 'Garbage Pail Kids', bubblegum MTV pop culture era where gory horror films were rampant, 'Freddy Krueger' was virtually a national icon, gruesome toys like 'Madballs' and 'My Pet Monster' were the norm, whilst gruesome toys like 'Teddy Ruxpin' and 'Cabbage Patch Kids' were scarily suppose to be harmless brrr. Yes I lived in the US back in 87 so I know.

It always amazed me how things like Elvira got on TV, but I guess with literately hundreds of TV channels there's a place for everything. Something that kids (and adults) back in the UK at the time found astonishing, the thought of so many channels including ones solely for cartoons!!.

This film was pretty much an extension of a very simple idea to simply push the franchise further. There really is no plot involved whatsoever, Elvira turns up in a typical squeaky clean wholesome all American town to claim inheritance from her dead great aunt. Naturally this makes all the bland dull good little housewives of the town jealous and upset of this slutty gothic temptress, can you see where this is going yet?. Oh and Elvira's evil uncle is the local Warlock trying to take over the world by getting his hands on an ancient spellbook that Elvira has just inherited, simple.

So apart from the odd moment of cheesy rubber hand puppet horror and evil sorcery the film is mainly chock full of sexual innuendo's or dirty double entendres, pretty much revolving around Peterson's ample boobies or ass. She has her razor sharp sarcastic wit, well kinda, its not really funny, more predictable and catty if anything. The mansion she inherits is your typical 'Munster' type establishment with complimentary interior, not a long shot from 'The Addams Family' either of course.

The film is soft and hammy but good natured I suppose, there is nothing really threatening here as we all know the score. When I was a kid I found the sight of fishnet stockings and tight black leotards extremely interesting, I still do of course but the film definitely feels more risky and sexual to the impressionable young male mind.

One of those ideas that works much better with a regular TV slot. Not a horrible film but hardly something to remember, more of a fun history lesson in 80's Americana. The finale Vegas dance routine is slightly naughty with some revealing outfits but I'm not complaining.
April 21, 2014

Super Reviewer

August 29, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Trashy fun. I don't really remember seeing Elvira on TV, but she's funny here. It is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's very 80's, which is a plus, and I found it entertaining enough.
June 15, 2013

Super Reviewer

This is was one of the weirder attempts at a goofy comedy with some semblance of reason. It was a film that didn't need to exist, but why not give a film to a woman who is a fixture in popular culture? Other magnets of that time period were given films, including Pee-Wee Herman and Weird Al. Elvira was most famous for introducing small budget horror films during matinà (C)es in the afternoon on a Los Angeles television station during the eighties. In the film she reprises her role as a big boobed siren, inheriting a fortune from her Great Aunt and temporarily moving to a sleepy town. Elvira gets into a buttload of trouble amongst the uptight citizens, mostly comprised of old women and lunching ladies, as well as stodgy, repressed men. Of course the teenagers of the town rally around the unconventional temptress, the boys for the cleavage and the girls for...her kooky demeanor? I suppose that's it. To be frank most of the comedy, or I should say all, either has to do with Elvira's boobs or other body parts, or is sexual innuendo. For all the gaffes and irrelevant pablam that this film has to offer, I did actually laugh a couple of times, and it did resonate at the end as a worthless, cheap form of entertainment. Elvira made this film because she's Elvira, not because she wants anything life changing or star worthy. The setting is pure eighties, the music is rocking New Wave, the comedy is adorably juvenile, and most of the time it's fun and stupid. I praise this film for how dumb it is, how tired and silly. If it was anything other, I actually would have been quite disappointed.
March 27, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Chastity Pariah: Excuse me? Is this face taken?
    – Submitted by Eric J (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Elvira, Maîtresse des Ténèbres (FR)
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