First off, I'll tell you right away that I'm a devoted fan of ELVIRA, so one might expect a non-objective review. However, I have watched this movie many, many times, and can honestly say it is an entertaining and satisfying vehicle for it's gorgeous star.
If you start off by thinking you'll be seeing a sequel to her previous comedy, ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK, then you might be disappointed, because it is definitely NOT that. A true sequel can not be made, because specific plot-points and characters are owned by that film's original studio (and those who picked it up when said studio crashed). Luckily for her fans, the rights to the character of ELVIRA herself belong to her creator, Cassandra Peterson, so we were able to be treated to a second movie, simply with a different premise and setting. I, for one, am grateful for that!
ELVIRA'S HAUNTED HILLS is a lovingly crafted parody of cheesy 1960s era horror movies of the Roger Corman and Hammer House variety. Time is taken to develop plot and character, to some extent, so it is not a gag-a-minute spoof such as AIRPLANE!, but is more like YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN in providing chuckles as well as atmosphere. I'm happy to say that, although it is a period piece, the character of Elvira remains Elvira no matter what, dispensing anachronistic quips and the sense of humor for which she is famous. Many lines are laugh out loud funny, while others are funny because they are groan inducingly bad. Sure, a few gags just don't pay off, and in my opinion the editing could be tighter overall, but when it all works the movie is hilarious. Peterson gets lots of the best moments, naturally, including a terrific musical number, but many funny lines are delivered by the supporting cast, as well. My favorite scenes include Elvira's exaggerated display of grief over someone's death, and her first meeting with the 'stable stud', who is overdubbed like so many bad foreign movies of the 1960s. My least favorite is an extended torture sequence, which is very well staged, just a bit too long.
The cast does a great job, for the most part, though some get better material than others. Richard O'Brien, as the lord of the castle, provides some humor, but is actually most effective when his character is more menacing. There are actually several moments of genuine suspense, too. All in all, this is absolutely worth a look for casual fans, and worth a purchase for those of us who can't get enough Elvira. It is best viewed with a big group of friends, by the way. Every time I've seen it, whether at a party or on the big screen in a packed theater, this is without a doubt a 'more the merrier' experience!
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