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Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  30 September 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 8,421 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 43 critic

When her great aunt dies, famous horror hostess Elvira heads for the uptight New England town Falwell to claim her inheritance of a haunted house, a witch's cookbook and a punk rock poodle.... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phil Rubenstein ...
Elvira (as Elvira)
Damita Jo Freeman ...
Edwina Moore ...
Mario Celario ...
Lee McLaughlin ...
Bill Swearingen ...
Charles Woolf ...
Messenger (as William Dance)
William Cort ...
Lawyer / Game Show Host
Sharon Hays ...
Bill Cable ...


When her great aunt dies, famous horror hostess Elvira heads for the uptight New England town Falwell to claim her inheritance of a haunted house, a witch's cookbook and a punk rock poodle. But once the stuffy locals get an eyeful of the scream queen's ample assets, all hell busts out and breaks loose. Can the Madonna of the Macabre find love with a studly cinema owner, avoid her creepy great uncle, titillate the town's teens and become a Las Vegas dance sensation all without being burned alive at the stake? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unpleasant dreams... See more »


Comedy | Horror


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Elvira  »

Box Office


$7,500,000 (estimated)


$5,596,267 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After Cassandra Peterson made a small, cameo appearance in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), her good friend Paul Reubens wanted to return the favor for her film vehicle. Unfortunately, his film, Big Top Pee-wee (1988), and her film were being filmed simultaneously. See more »


(at around 78 mins) The police officer says, "By the power invested in me by the sovereign state of Massachusetts." It is actually "the Commonwealth of Massachusetts." See more »


Vincent Talbot: I must apologize for my behavior in the office, it's just that your appearance was a bit of a shock to me.
Elvira: It's OK. My appearance is kind of a shock to everybody.
See more »


Referenced in 220 Volts: Anos 80 (2012) See more »


I Put a Spell on You
Written by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (as Jay Hawkins)
Performed by Joanna St. Claire
See more »

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User Reviews

Q: Can Elvira carry a feature film? A: YES!
31 August 2002 | by (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

"Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark" is a sort of "Harper Valley P.T.A." with touches of the supernatural. Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) walks off her job as television horror movie hostess after the new station's owner gets fresh with her. She's now relying on a Las Vegas show to carry her through, but learns she needs to come up with more money to get the show started. Things look hopeless to raise that money until she receives notice of her aunt's death, which then takes Elvira to Massachusetts for the reading of the will. A house in need of repairs, a dog, and a cookbook are all that is left to her by her aunt, and again it seems Elvira is having trouble coming up with the money for the Las Vegas show. The adults of the small and narrow minded town make things worse by making things more difficult for Elvira. Only the local hunk (Daniel Greene), and a group of teenagers will befriend her. Elvira's Uncle "Vinnie" (W. Morgan Sheppard), presses to make a deal with Elvira for the cookbook, but Elvira soon learns of her powerful heritage that includes spellcasting, and a couple very effective casseroles. Elvira no longer wants to sell the cookbook to her uncle, but he is determined to get his hands on it knowing of its power. Elvira then faces being burned at the stake on the town's old charge of witchcraft, and the showdown between her and her uncle. The plot is pretty simple, but the humor and well developed characters keep it moving at a nice pace. "Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark" is full of cute, gross, bawdy, and clever humor carried through by the many sight gags, puns, props, songs, and parodies. The film's touches of the occult make this one of the best horror parodies ever made. It is a well made film with terrific acting by all performers; including Edie McClurg, and Jeff Conaway (of "Grease.") There are also nice special effects. Many people (including myself) wondered if the Elvira character could carry a feature film, and the answer is delightfully, YES!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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