Elvira's Haunted Hills
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The setting is Carpathia. The year is 1851. When Elvira gets kicked out of an Inn for a slight monetary discrepency, she is rescued by a local who takes her to stay in the castle in the hills high above the village. The fact that she happens to resemble the count's former "missing" wife opens a can of worms or two.
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okay, so some sequels weren't worth it, but we've had as many worthy ones. i don't just mean the entertaining pictures which, due to preconceived prejudices, get dumped upon solely for being sequels (Ghostbusters II, Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull). surely such renown specimens as The Godfather Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, Superman II, and The Two Towers/The Return Of The King are proof enough that it can be done. sequels which find a new angle and so manage to bring something new to the party go back at least as far back as Bride Of Frankenstein.
what's more, at least one sequel, A Shot In The Dark, represents the moment the franchise found it's path. it's predecessor, The Pink Panther, isn't a horrible film by any means, but it's sophisticated "heist farce" nature is a few dozen miles removed from the lunacy-for-lunacy's-sake for which the films tend to be remembered. so much so, in fact, that technically speaking, Inspector Clouseau is the villain!
even so, Elvira's Haunted Hills is something quite unique, at least in my experience: a wonderful sequel to a first installment that just plain reeked!
1988's Elvira: Mistress Of the Dark finds our heroine coming to a Massachusetts town which turns out to be stranded in the conservative proprieties of the '50s. the setup has it's moments as Elvira's uniquely sassy irreverence squares off against a tradition of stodgy bigotry. the problem is that it turned out to be such a one-note joke, as Elvira's free spirit (and/or gorgeous melons) shocks the status-quo again and again and again. it's denouement, involving her redemption of her family's history of witchcraft feels, like an afterthought. to say nothing of her dream of an act in Vegas, which results in the most embarrassingly schmaltzy finishes any film was ever cursed with.
in a nutshell, Cassandra Peterson clearly wasn't sure how to best serve her alter-ego in a movie, and made the mistake of (mostly) removing her from her schlock-horror element. it felt out of proportion because so larger-than-life a character doesn't really need such a cesspool of opinionated puritanism to make an impression. any place that isn't a Hollywood or a Las Vegas would do, really.
this film, on the other hand, is the work of someone who learned her lesson from that fiasco. it is described more than once in the special features as the Young Frankenstein of Roger Corman and/or Edgar Allan Poe movies and/or Hammer Films productions. that alone is infinitely reassuring. add Richard "Riff Raff" O'Brien to the mix, and things look even higher up.
the story finds our heroine, a diva entertainer in 1850s Europe, trying to get from Carpathia to Paris for a gig. en route she gets entangled with the Hellsubus family, a clan of eccentrics at the mercy of an ancient curse. of course the aforementioned O'Brien takes the part that was once the specialty of Vincent Price, the Lord who's reason is being worn away by said curse.
that the film delivers is all the more remarkable given the elements working against it. we film fans hear often that the moviemaking process is a tightrope at the best of times, but this one faced a particularly treacherous obstacle course. it's reported in special features how, for instance, on-location shooting took place in less than hospitable territory, and how they were unable to obtain insurance for actors, crew, or equipment.
the bottom line, this is the movie Cassandra/Elvira should've made in the first place. the only bummer is that it took more than a dozen years. where the first film comes off as the vanity project of a celebrity with a few too many "yes-men," Haunted Hills found a formula that could've made for a viable franchise. it's a truly promising setup for a series that never was. why Peterson didn't follow it up is for anyone to surmise, but either way it's a bummer.
Secondly, the film itself is shot in beautiful European locations that really get you in the mood for a Vincent Price-inspired flick. I loved Elvira's role and her iconic look; she was pleasing as usual, and her maid companion was adorable. I can't say that this was better than the first feature film, but it is good enough to watch time and time again if you're in the mood to watch goofy antics that rumble about in a spooky castle. If you love Elvira, and her big... ratings... you should check this out if for nothing else but to add to your collection.
The film takes place and of course, Transylvania. Where 05 up and her assistant are on the way to France so she can get to her next gig and I'll completely stuck in the middle of nowhere. And I would stay with this unusual family. If I am leave that a semi reminiscent of the old universal studios classic monster movies characters, i.e. Frankenstein, Dracula, the bride of Frankenstein Etc. And it was a virus premonition true well she made her demise and not make it to her gig or was it all just a fantasy. Watch the movie and find out…