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November 7, 2011

Movie Review: Elvira's Movie Macabre: Lady Frankenstein/Jesse James vs. Frankenstein and Scared to Death/Tormented

Horror hosts we're a big part of my earlier genre film experiences. Rich Koz's Son of Svengoolie show during my years growing up in Chicago was my first big exposure to schlock and even the occasional horror classic like Creature From the Black Lagoon. Outside of Svengoolie, there was Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) and her double D delights. I had no problem oggling Elvira during her cheezy bits during on her show Elvira's Movie Macabre. Apparently I wasn't the only one because Elvira became a hit and a pop-culture icon.

Buy Elvira's Movie Macabre on DVD

Entertainment One has brought back Elvira's Movie Macabre nearly 30 years after her shows start with a similar format, a tweaked backdrop, corny jokes, a snazzier opening sequence and the Mistress of the Dark looking quite lovely for sixty years-old. If she's not a cougar, she's definitely a sabretooth. Two brand-new double features have been released recently on DVD that are part of the Elvira's Movie Macabre series: Lady Frankenstein/ Jesse James vs. Frankenstein's Daughter and Scared to Death/ Tormented.

The episodes are a mixed bag here. Jesse James vs. Frankenstien's Daughter was especially painful for me because it's just dull. Most of Elvira's jokes are really just about how boring it is. When she's not doing her segment she pops up while the movies running in a bubble (like VH1's Pop-up Video) to remark on the movie. Lady Frankenstein on the other hand is actually a fun film, even with the digital fogging to block exposed naughty bits. In this episode Elvira meets her long lost son who ties her up on the couch.

The Scared to Death/ Tormented double feature is a little more of the same with Elvira using a captive Martha Stewart during the Scared to Death segments and a highly toxic spider that just bit her massive bosom as the main gags. None of the films look particularly good, so if you're a stickler on picture quality and soundit won't be quite as pleasing . Jesse James vs. Frankenstein's Daughter in particular is extremely dark and the prints used for the other three also look pretty beat up.

The extras are pretty sparse here, but you do get an Elvira photo shoot and behind-the-scenes of the opening sequence. Also included is a trailer reel of all the other films in the series - most of which look to be some of the usual public domain fare (Night of the Living Dead, The Satanic Rites of Dracula etc.).

I had a good time with some of the different segments although a few nearly put me to sleep. These DVDs aren't going to be for everybody but they're enjoyable enough and should be a nice treat for Elvira completists.

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