Buzzing Thru the Pylon: Halloween Free-For-All, Pt. 5: Elvira

Count Dracula’s Great Love [El Gran Amor del Conde Dracula] (1972)
Director: Javier Aguirre
Spanish, 1:25, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven’t seen yet

The Doomsday Machine (1972)
Director: Harry Hope & Lee Sholem
Cine-Find, 1:23, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven’t seen yet

Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks [Terror! Il Castello delle Donne Maledette] (1974)
Director: Dick Randall
Boxoffice/Aquarius, 1:29, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven't seen yet

The Werewolf of Washington (1973)
Director: Milton Moses Ginsberg
Diplomat, 1:30, color
Cinema 4 Rating: haven't seen yet

As nostalgic as I seem at times, it is generally only about movies, books and music, and never about anything so ridiculous and abstract as "the good ol' days." And speak to me of my teenage years, outside of some friends I made in my last couple years of high school to whom I have remained more or less loyal in all this intervening time, and you will find that I hold remarkably little regard for that period of extreme failure and deep personal fault. Except for movies, books and music, that steadfast trio of tent-poles holding aloft the shelter of sanity above my head through those times (and onward into the future), I do not wish to be reminded of that period.

My friends from that time do not understand this attitude, and my mother recently ran into my fury over the barest mention of an incident in that time. That it was the lowest point of my existence is something others do not seem to comprehend -- and why should they? Things seem to have gone swimmingly for some of them. Anytime I do look back, I often wonder if, given a second chance at that period, I would have followed through on certain instincts and done the horrible things I considered at the time, both to others and myself. That I was lost in my head is a certainty; that I wanted retribution from both those I loved and hated is something that might surprise more than a few people. To co-opt the words of two of my personal heroes, Milk and Cheese, more so than at any other time in my life, I was a carton of hate and I was a wedge of spite.

Keeping me grounded, though, in those times was Elvira. Yes, the Mistress of the Dark, not the Oak Ridge Boys' song character. Sometime late in my high school days, I discovered Elvira's Movie Macabre, and it made me a happier person. The show was dopey as hell, it showed horrible movies, she had huge bazooms, and I was a randy teenager who needed cheering up. My outward cheerfulness masked a sincere, inner depression of unfathomable limits, and once a week, no matter how bad off I was inside, Elvira helped me climb out of that depression for a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon (and sometimes evening).

My biggest regret is that I did not tape more episodes of her show at the time, even though I was taping every damn movie in sight. I only recorded one show in that period, the one featuring the unfortunate south-of-the-border Herbert L. Strock creature flick called Monstroid, and I still have the tape to this day. Luckily, a couple of years ago, Shout Factory started releasing episodes of her old shows onto DVD, amongst them, to my delight, was Monstroid. The beauty of the discs was, just like with the Mystery Science Theatre DVDs, most of the films are released in both their hosted and original versions. This works especially nice for the horror and sci-fi nut, like myself, who wants to both add the original film to his collection, but also get the better, intentionally funny version as well.

As I mentioned the other day, I took advantage of Amazon's Halloween sale a couple weeks back and scoured their cheap, cheap, cheap DVDs to find some films that had slipped through the cracks for me. In there were four Elvira's Movie Macabre discs, each costing $6.49 or less. Like the Midnite Movie Double Features I wrote about last time, I had to jump at the chance to grab some more episodes of her show, as I only owned three of the DVDs thus far. Looking back, though, I could have saved even more money buying two of these movies on the same disc together for around nine bucks and change, but that is what happens when you make knee-jerk buying decisions like I did. Sometimes you miss the better deals. (But they made it so damn easy having all of those delectable discs all on the same page... I had no choice... I had to do it...)

Yet again, all four of these films are ones of which I have little or no experience. If I saw these episodes on the original show, I really don't recall. Some episodes, like The Conqueror Worm, The Blood on Satan's Claw and the incredibly gratuitous Mark of the Devil, I remember very well, but only in cases where the films were especially strong, as seeing these films on her show were my first and often my only experiences with those titles until years later. I suppose as I watch these discs that I might raise up memories of seeing these exact episodes, but truly, from immediate recollection, I can't recall seeing any of these films.

And that will be just fine. For to recall them, would be to recall the period. Better that I leave most of my memories of that time mainly in a sort of uncolored and distasteful mush.

And better that I make most of my memories of Elvira's Movie Macabre memories of today instead. Watch them now, and then date those memories to this year, instead of a past I do not wish to recollect. Elvira only says "Unpleasant Dreams" as a catchphrase of her charmingly titillating character. It's worse to continue to have the same ones for over a quarter century. And for the curious or those that continue to not understand, please let those days rest.

Let me watch Elvira today instead...


EH said…
I've learned to savor the selectivity of my memory. This is how I get away with remembering only the summer days and nights in Anch, and the warm ones at that. Like so much else, nostalgia is vastly improved with appropriate (i.e., hatchet brutal) editing.

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