Tuesday, April 12, 2005


In a moment of madness on Saturday, possibly brought on by the unbelievably lovely autumn weather, I bought 'Elvira's Haunted Hills' for $19 at JB Hi-Fi. I'm a big fan of Elvira, especially her performance in her eponymously titled feature film debut of 1988. How bad can it be, I wondered?

Never ask a question like that. The answer is certain to be an intensifier.

Top 10 Warning Signs That 'Elvira's Haunted Hills' Was Going To Be A Crapfest.

1. It was made in Eastern Europe by Eastern Europeans. Eastern Europe is where films that should never be made go to be made anyway.

2. Elvira herself is credited as chief screenwriter.

3. A quick imdb-ing reveals that Cassandra Peterson was born in 1949! Give it up, girl! She's kept her body in remarkable shape, but she can't quite hide the sags in her face with her trademark makeup any more. And damn, woman, would it have killed you to get your teeth whitened before starring in a motion picture? Yeargh!

4. The DVD case claims that the movie is "equal parts Austin Powers and Young Frankenstein". Presumably those parts are bad teeth and flat jokes.

5. The tagline: Evil. Terror. Lust. Some girls really know how to party! What the hell does that mean? Terror is an aspect of partying? The presence of Evil means that things are festive? What? Make sense dammit!

6. Running time is 86 minutes. Films are rarely that short unless deep down they understand that its best to get this all over and done with as quickly as possible.

7. The film opens with a homage to Jack Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" scene from 'The Shining'. I half-expected the next scene to be a reprise of Robert DeNiro's "You lookin' at me?" speech from 'Taxi Driver'.

8. Instead there's some sped-up running around, a la Benny Hill. Saints preserve us all.

9. Elvira's co-star is Richard O'Brien, whose main claim to fame was playing Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror Picture Show... in 1975. They probably found him on the side of the road holding up a sign saying 'Will work for scotch and a free trip to Romania'.

10. Comedies set in haunted castles are never funny. Weird but always true.

You know a film is badly made when, as you watch it as an ordinary member of the public, you can see exactly where they should have inserted gags and edited out lameness. I kept thinking, okay, this establishing shot would have worked with a small Zuckeresque background gag, and this scene needs a pratfall right about... now. And that running joke needs to be developed further. And so on and so forth. Frankly, if an office worker from Western Australia knows more than you do about film making, then you probably shouldn't be making films.

Question is, does Elvira know how to unjam a photocopier? Maybe we could swap?


Blogger G Dawney said...

What were you thinking!!!

4:17 AM  

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