Showing posts with label elvira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elvira. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Elvira Halloween Watch: Messiah of Evil (1973)




Watched:  10/31/2021
Format:  Elvira Special on Shudder
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz


A while back, JAL suggested we watch this film together, and I was "ok" and then things occurred and that didn't happen.  But as we were prepping to get together for a film, I noticed that this was the fourth entry in Elvira's 4 film 40th Anniversary celebration on Shudder.  I asked Justin, and he said "oh, yes.  Watch with Elvira."  And so I did.

Elvira seemed quite taken/ amused by the movie.  So that's a good sign in my book.  She broke into the film several times, not least because she was excited Elisha Cook Jr. was in the movie, and so say we all.  Anyway, if you've got Shudder, check out Messiah of Evil (1973) as part of her 4-film cycle.  

This movie very much wants to be a horror film in a certain classic sense of horror - of creeping dread and mystery slowly overtaking our heroes as they succumb to madness, violence of others, etc...  Letters are read from people not in the story who are gone missing.  People wander languidly in a dream-like state.  Our narrator starts off confined to an insane asylum, warning us of doom before telling her tale.  It's that kind of film.

It's not *that* bad.  The pacing is a mess, as are a lot of low-budget horror films from this era that think they're building tension but they're... killing time.  But it has two legit actors pop up as guest stars (Royal Dano being the other), and had two - frankly- really good, creepy murder sequences that feel like an electric jolt in this otherwise plodding movie.  

I don't think this movie is dumb, but it just feels like it's not quite sure what to do about its limitations.  And all of the actors seem like they're on Quaaludes.  So when you add zombie cultists into the mix...  and I have every reason to believe all of this was intentional.  

The pair behind the movie, Huyck and Katz, went on to do work on good movies, including American Graffiti.  And bad movies (Howard the Duck).  It's one of the folks in famous-people film circles who didn't quite become famous themselves.  

Anyway - check it out sometime!  And we can figure out why the main guy refuses to ever be seen without a vest on.





Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween 2021

May the Queen of Halloween bid you an Excellent All Hallows Eve

Well, 2021 is in the books at our house.  And we had a good one.  

Halloween sort of starts for me now in July as I start working on podcasts and actual Halloween night is pretty chill.  But we did 5 episodes of Podcast, five Watch Parties and I watched a bucket ton of Halloween/ horror stuff this year.  


Elvira would want you to trick or treat

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Elvira Special Watch: City of the Dead (1960)




Watched:  10/24/2021
Format:  Shudder Elvira Special
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  John Llewellyn Moxey

I am unfamiliar with this studio, Vulcan Productions, but it's out of Britain.  That said, in theory the movie takes place in Massachusetts, and is a witchy story about a small town where there's still witchy business afoot 400 years later.  

The movie stars a whole bunch of people I didn't know, and I think English people playing Americans, which would explain at least one guy's voice.  But it's got Christopher Lee!  So, super double bonus points.

The movie isn't bad!  It's mostly thriller as young people first try to do some research for a college course, and secondly when others go to look for the first person.  The sets, acting, etc... are all good stuff.  I particularly liked Patricia Jessel as a creepy inn owner.  

Anyway, I mostly watched it as past of Elvira's 4 movie hosting gig on Shudder, and she's terrific!  Good bits in there and what I believe to be a true story of her running into Christopher Lee in a window that I believe would have had to have been pre-Elvira.  Anyway, she has a kicky song at the end I very much enjoyed.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Queen of Halloween Watch: Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001)




Watched:  10/10/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Second?  third?
Decade:  00's
Director:  Sam Irvin

This movie is a curiosity on so many levels, the mere fact of its existence tends to overwhelm the actual content of the film.  

Elvira was a pop culture phenomenon back in the 1980's, but it's probably fair to say that the 1990's weren't as good to her.  After the commercial failure (but, I think I can say, comedic success) of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark in 1987, big media interest in Elvira waned.  Back then, that was it.  You basically got your shot, and the idea of revivals wasn't huge at the time.  The roaring return of Elvira as a talk-show staple, baking show staple and general presence and gadfly in the universe is mostly due, I think, to people who liked Elvira and had access to the internet.

But in 2001, we were just barely getting past GeoCities and convincing our parents that getting a computer was actually something they needed to do.  I had dial-up.  It was a different time.

The 1993 attempt at an Elvira sitcom had fizzled (and, frankly, I DO NOT GET HOW.  The pilot is as good or better than 90% of what was on TV at the time, and came loaded with Elvira), so the Hail Mary of the moment was Cassandra Peterson and John Paragon writing a movie, self-funding it, and then grabbing a bunch of people and heading to Romania to film.  

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Elvira Watch: "Elvira - Mistress of the Dark" (1988) - part of "Elvira's 40th Anniversary Very Scary, Very Special Special"

Just in time for Halloween!



Watched:  09/28/2021
Format:  Shudder
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Signorelli

Well, it's now an annual thing that I watch Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988).  So, I won't belabor y'all with yet another pondering of the film. 

This year, Cassandra Peterson is marking 40 years in the dress as Elvira, originally a late-night horror hostess character that somehow has spun out into a cultural icon.  These days, Peterson does conventions, co-owns/ed a convention, does talk-shows, cooking shows, whatever it takes to pay the bills - including selling comics in which her character partakes in comedically spooky adventures (currently at Dynamite).  And! she's got fashion lines, shops and a bit of a merchandising empire.

She also just turned 70, and released a tell-all biography that is sitting on my coffee table.  Recently she's been a hit on talk shows making the rounds plugging the book as it contained the revelation she hasn't been single in 19 years (which I couldn't personally figure out) as she's partnered up with a lady friend.  It's all been very buzzy in a very positive way.  


One of those films - Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.  So, yeah, it's a heavy serving of meta wrapped in a meta tortilla.   She's still every bit herself after a small stretch of time away from the divan (but not the internet), and so it's great to have her joining you for the movies.  

Honestly, I could never sort out why one of the streaming services didn't do this forever ago.  It just makes sense as a format.  And, if anything, Elvira is maybe more popular now with people willing to spend money on her than at any time in the past three decades.  She genuinely has generations of fans after 40 years.  I guess Shudder finally did the math on that.

Still, only four movies!  And who knows if Peterson will want to do it again.  She sounds very ready to not have to put on the outfit anymore, and I don't blame her.  So, maybe she'll go animated, try again to find a replacement, or figure something else out.  Whatever she wants to do, I'm good with it.

In the meantime, get the Shudder App.  There's a free week of trial, and you can probably blaze through her show in that time.  


Friday, September 17, 2021

Happy Birthday, Cassandra Peterson




As we're like to do around here, we're wishing actress, activist and savvy business-person Cassandra Peterson a happy birthday!  

You know her best as Elvira, Misteress of the Dark!  She and Shudder are teaming up for a Halloween special this year, she's got projects going in comic books, and she's got fashion lines and collectibles out there, as well as her work with fan conventions and whatnot.  

Anyway, she's got a lock on October as the spookiest of all months, so check in on what she's up to!  

Here's the announcement of the Special Special:


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween Cartoon Watch: Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo! (2020)




Watched:  10/31/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Maxwell Atoms

Uh.  So, I guess there's a rabid fanbase of adult fans of Scooby Doo, which, you know, I really like Superman, so, no stones shall I throw.  I was just never a big Scooby Doo fan, even as a kid.  I mean, it was what was *on* in the few hours I was allowed to watch TV as a kid, so I watched it, but I didn't take to it.  Nor did I get onboard with the live action movies from a couple of decades ago.  Basically -  I am out of the Scooby loop.

But...  this year Hanna Barbera/ WB Animation released Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo! (2020), an animated movie featuring the voice talent of Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson as herself/ Elvira.  I gathered from something I read that she didn't just wander in, do a joke, and disappear again, so I paid to rent the film.  




As I mentioned, there's a rabid adult fanbase of Scoob-o-philes, and I was kind of curious how they felt about this movie.  The Scooby Doo I remember had the bland Fred and Daphne, Velma trying to keep things together, and Shag and Scoob as two slackers who had no business in the monster-chasing business and made dangerously large sandwiches.  The new take looks like classic Scoob, but Fred is... dumb?  I couldn't figure it out.  Daphne is... insane?  and the other three felt like how I remember them.  And, honestly, Scooby Doo himself was deeply back burnered, which is not how I remember the show working.

Elvira was allowed to be more or less a PG version of herself, and they went weird with some bits I can see Peterson finding pretty funny.  Bill Nye also plays a sort of Q role for the team, air dropping them a new mystery machine.

Well, according to what I saw online, the adult fans hate this take.    Which - sure.  Key characters are out of character, even with the fan-base approved voice cast.  

The movie is kind of weird, structurally - from including a Batman villain, to an extended road chase that just keeps going.  

Anyway, I probably enjoyed it more as an Elvira movie than as a Scooby Doo movie - and actually understand if fans are weirded out by their favorite characters acting out of character.  See: my confusion about recent DC Comics movies.  I'm not sure I've ever really been much of one for the Scooby Doo formula, but it was interesting/ weird to see the characters looking the same but (especially Fred and Daphne) updated to be more like modern animated characters.  Not sure it worked - but it was something to ponder.  






Thursday, September 17, 2020

Happy Birthday, Cassandra Peterson

 


Happy birthday to Cassandra Peterson, who you may know better as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

She's a bit of a thing around here at The Signal Watch, and we're hoping she's having a good birthday!

If you're not following her on social media, do so!  She's active and has been doing sketches and updates in-character during lockdown.  And, of course, no one gets fired up for Halloween like The Queen of Halloween.  

Facebook

Twitter



Monday, August 24, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Elvira - Mistress of the Dark (1988)



Watched:  08/21/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  certainly not the first
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Signorelli

I've both watched and discussed Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) numerous times here on Ye Olde Internets.

I noticed it's currently streaming on Amazon Prime, and so - breaking with tradition where we watch a less-than-amazing movie and discuss in real time, knowing that most people dismiss the movie out of hand, I decided to foist it upon those who joined us.

Frankly, I enjoyed watching a not-bad movie!  In fact, one people seemed to enjoy!

Anyway, I forgot to mention while we were doing the Watch Party I actually have an Elvira sticker on my current laptop, but I think - after Jenifer and I kept dropping Elvira trivia on them left and right - they got the idea that we happen to like Elvira.

further evidence
I will be able to identify my laptop in case of theft

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Friday Amazon Watch Party: Elvira - Mistress of the Dark! (1988)



Where:  Amazon Watch Party
Day:  Friday, 08/21/2020
Time:  8:30 PM Central time

This Friday, we're doing something unthinkable and watching a movie I genuinely really like!  Normally, I watch this film annually around Halloween, but I'm not taking the risk they're pulling it from Prime between now and October 1.  So we're doing it now, friendos!

It's 1988's Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, a goofy supernatural comedy featuring a lead with two terrific things going for her:  acting chops and a terrific sense of comedy.

In the 1980's, Elvira started with a local show in LA hosting creature feature movies, made some appearances on Carson, and went national.  I am 90% sure we never got Movie Macabre in the Austin market, but by 1987 or so, she was in beer commercials, guest starring on TV shows and generally everywhere.  By 1988, she released a movie, and maybe it didn't do so great at the box office?  But over the years, folks have found the movie and watching it now, in a way, it was just ahead of its time.

It's a classic fish-out-of-water story, a journey of self-discovery and has some truly quotable lines (and visuals).  If ever you doubted the power of Elvira, this may be your game changer.  And you're really gonna want to hang in there for the final sequence.  You are not prepared.

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Happy Birthday, Cassandra Peterson


Today is the birthday of Cassandra Peterson, who you may know better as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

Happy b-day to the hostess with the mostest!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween Watch: Elvira Mistress of the Dark (1988)


Watched:  10/29/2018
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Unknown.  10th?
Decade:  so, so 1980's, and, yet, timeless


I still think this movie is hilarious.  I dunno - my sense of humor has always run sort of toward the "Bugs Bunny"/ Marx Bros. school of comedy, and so a movie about a wise-cracking horror movie host as fish-out-of-water in small-town uptight Massachusetts is more or less my sweet spot.  I like me some double-entendre, visual gags and Edie McClurg.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Happy Birthday, Cassandra Peterson


Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson - our own Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!

These days, whether it's in full Elvira get-up or in her red-headed civvies, Ms. Peterson is doing great and seems like she's managed to make a career out of just being herself.  That ain't half-bad! 

Here's to our Queen of Halloween - whose birthday should really be considered the start of the Halloween season.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson


Today is the birthday of Cassandra Peterson!  Reason enough to have some cake yourself.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween from The Signal Watch! (The Finale!!!)



As has become our tradition, we're closing out this spookiest of evenings with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (aka: The Queen of Halloween).

I hope your Halloween has been spooktacular.

Happy Halloween, every buddy!

Halloween Watch: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988)



In some ways, there's no way in hell this movie could have been made any other time than a certain window post 1985 or before 1991.  In other ways, this world is just now catching up to what Cassandra Peterson and company were saying, and an idea that I suspect people of my generation (and older) have a harder time grappling with than the kids today.

I'm not here to argue that Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988) is a bleeding edge comedy, because it has more in common with a sort of groan-inducing shenanigans with a sort of Looney Tunes style of thinking, topped with a winky, we're-not-taking-this-seriously vibe that lands pretty squarely in my wheelhouse.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson, AKA @TheRealElvira


Happy birthday to Cassandra Peterson, better known to the masses as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

May Ms. Peterson have a great year ahead of her!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from The Signal Watch!

As we now conclude every Halloween, let's wrap it up with the Queen of Halloween! Ladies and Germs... Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Watch: Elvira - Mistress of the Dark (1988)



I'm a firm believer that the 1988 film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is both underrated and was ahead of its time.  Fortunately, in the ensuing 20-something years, the movie found its audience on VHS, cable and DVD.

While certainly there were female-centric comedies in the 1980's (see: the career of Goldie Hawn), Elvira's persona was considered something more to gawk at during her first wave of popularity when seen through the filter of media like The Tonight Show than it was seen for its own merits or as something folks were bothering to pay attention to.  Sure, she had genuine fans out there, and the oddly specific nature of Elvira translated surprisingly well to beer ads, etc...