Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001)

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Connections: Elvira

The setting is Carpathia. The year is 1851. When Elvira gets kicked out of an Inn for a slight monetary discrepancy, she is rescued by a local who takes her to stay at the castle in the hills high above the village. The fact that she happens to resemble the count's former "missing" wife opens a can of worms or two. --IMDb
Cassandra Peterson
Cassandra Peterson
Richard O'Brien
Richard O'Brien
Mary Scheer
Mary Scheer
Scott Atkinson
Scott Atkinson
Heather Hopper
Heather Hopper
Review by Chad
Added: May 11, 2005
Our movie takes place back in 1851, where we find that Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) and her servant Zou Zou (Mary Jo Smith) are en route to Paris, France, where Elvira will be performing a song-and-dance show. While walking from the little village in which the movie starts to her destination, a man in a horse-driven carriage shows up and offers the two ladies a ride. The man introduces himself as Dr. Bradley Bradley (Scott Atkinson), and says that he is headed up north to visit the Hellsubus castle. So, Elvira tags along with the intent of staying at the Hellsubus castle for the evening, and heading off to Paris in the morning. When she shows up at the castle, she meets the residents... Vladimere Hellsubus (Richard O'Brien, better known as the guy who wrote and co-starred in The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Vlad's wife Ema Hellsubus (Mary Scheer), and Vlad's niece Roxana (Heather Hopper). Not only does Elvira meet these fine folks, but she also scares the living hell (ha ha) out of them... you see, Elvira is the spitting image of Elura, Vlad's first wife that died ten years ago today. Elvira also finds out that Elura still haunts this house, and also finds out that Ema isn't too happy with her being here... throughout the course of the film, she must find out why Elura still haunts this house, and what secrets the house holds.

Back in the eighties, Elvira was quite the popular lady. She hosted various television shows and movie releases (most all of which dealt with b-movies from the fifties and sixties), earned a spot in Playboy, had her own comic book, and even had a short-lived cartoon to call her own. Of course, she also starred in Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark, a hilarious movie if I do say so myself. Thirteen years after the release of "Mistress Of The Dark", she starred in this film parodying the Hammer films (The Pit And The Pendulum, House Of Usher, etc), and although a considerable amount of time has passed since we last saw the character of Elvira in anything other than brief television appearances and cameo roles, she hasn't lost a step nor changed a bit. If you found the character of Elvira to be devoid of humor and annoying (as some poor souls do), this film will do nothing to change your mind; the style of humor hasn't changed, the constant boob jokes are still intact, and the general feel of the character is much the same as it was during her run of popularity in the eighties. For fans of Elvira such as myself, however, seeing her in one more film was quite a treat, and seeing that she hasn't lost it made the film that much better.

If the three people in the world who haven't seen Elvira in action happen to be reading this review, here's a basic rundown of her character - imagine combining the airheadedness of Alicia Silverstone in Clueless with the wardrobe of Wednesday Adams, and then throwing a razor-sharp wit into the mix. This would give you Elvira, more or less. The jokes poke fun at various things, with the main topics being her ample breasts, her slutty behavior, and her general dislike for anything "normal" or "cute". The style of humor certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I find the character and her movies to be quite entertaining.

Now then, the movie itself. It does a great job of parodying the old Hammer films while still paying its respects to them, a balance which is rarely achieved in these types of parodies. All of the staples of the Hammer films are intact - the old, Gothic-looking castles, the typical dungeons, and of course, the evil men (and women) intent on causing our hero bodily harm. In the "Making Of" section of this DVD, Cassandra Peterson says that she was a huge fan of these films as a child, and it really shows in the movie... all of the little details are here, and it really comes off as feeling like a true Hammer film. That is, of course, if those Hammer films were full of jokes poking fun at themselves and starring an ample-bosomed leading lady. The jokes fly out in rapid succession, especially in the opening half of the film, and while you'd "get" more of them if you've seen a few Hammer films, you certainly wouldn't find a shortage of humorous material if you haven't.

My only gripe with the film is that after the first half passes, it starts taking itself a little too seriously and losing sight of the fact that this is supposed to be a comedy. We still get the occasional joke and one-liner, but there's way too much storyline and not nearly enough jokes in this segment. When you consider that the storyline itself was a joke setup to parody those Hammer films, it's not too difficult to see how this could turn out to be a bad idea. Things pick up at the end, where we're treated to a nice finale featuring the true star of "The Pit And The Pendulum" and an excellent rip on the finale of "Titanic", but that twenty-thirty minute stretch of material really hurt the overall film in my eyes.

Still, this is an excellent movie if you're a fan of Elvira, Hammer films, or just looking for some crude comedy. While it's not quite as good as Mistress Of The Dark, it still turns out to be an excellent movie, and shows that the character of Elvira isn't dead quite yet. 7/10.
AttnDefDis #1: AttnDefDis - added 06/28/2009, 04:08 PM
8/10 Yeah, it's not as good as "Mistress of the Dark". I wish they would have let her make a sequel a long time ago, but she finally did it and it's still good. Like you said, she hasn't lost a thing and she still looks awesome, but overall, a little disappointing.
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