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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Cassandra Peterson is the actress-comedienne-dancer who has found fame as Elvira, the hostess of the syndicated television show "Movie Macabre." She's the well-endowed witch who lounges seductively on a couch and cracks bad jokes during the showing of horror and science-fiction movies. Here she brings her TV character to the big screen in this campy comedy. The film opens as Peterson concludes one of her shows (a screening of Roger Corman's 1956 classic IT CONQUERED THE WORLD). When she rejects the sexual overtures of the TV station's new owner, she is fired. Dejected, but hopeful that her upcoming stage act in Las Vegas will rejuvenate her career, Peterson is shocked to discover that the producers in Vegas want her to come up with $50,000 for the show. Luckily, at that very moment she receives a telegram informing her that her aunt has died and left her part of her estate. Peterson's arrival at the Fallwell, Massachusetts, estate causes a major scandal, and the sourpuss elderly population gives her the cold shoulder. The town's bored teenagers, however, flock to her. Peterson and her new friends set about renovating her aunt's mansion in the hopes of selling it and using the money to finance her Las Vegas debut. Things get complicated for Peterson, however, when she discovers her aunt was involved with witchcraft. Making full use of the freedom a PG-13 rating allows, this movie must set the all-time record for the number of sophomoric double entendres and amount of sexual innuendo spewed into a feature film. But despite its mildly raunchy tone and obsession with Peterson's considerable cleavage, the film is a decent, good-hearted comedy that never takes itself seriously. In fact, the screenplay is an old-fashioned 60s-style slam against the establishment that takes a playful poke at Reagan-era morality. With the town named "Fallwell" (as in Jerry Falwell), no one can doubt where the film's sentiments lie. Peterson is shown to have a definite moral code; she believes in truth, justice, and romantic love. The self-righteous, hypocritical upholders of social order, however, are seen to be the truly sick and sex-obsessed ones.