Hello, darling! Yep, it’s me: Elvira, Mistress of the, Uh…. Dusk? … the Dank? Dim? Whatever.
If you’re wondering why I’m so foggy, it’s because I just finished re-watching one of my all-time favorite flicks – Roger Corman’s fog-laden HOUSE OF USHER starring Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey and my secret husband Vincent Price. (Oops! Sorry, Vinnie. I let the black cat outta the bag!)
Now I suppose I could tell you how it’s based on a story by the great Edgar Allan Poe, how it forever changed producer-director Roger Corman’s career and how it was shot in fifteen days… but, like, since you just read that stuff, it’d be super weird for me to tell it to you again. Duh!
I love every teensy, tiny detail of this movie – from the swirling mists to the walls of cobwebs, from the lush sets to the pulse-pounding score (Which, coincidentally, is what they used to call me in high school.) As Roderick Usher, Vincent was at the top of his game – a polished and seasoned professional, instilling vulnerability into the portrait of a not-so-nice guy. It’s no wonder he knew what he was doing; by House of Usher, Price had already acted in – what – nearly 60 films?
Now I’m not so sure about Mark Damon (And please don’t be mad, Mr. Damon, because I know you grew up to be a very successful producer who could buy and sell me ten times over.) And, fine – yes – as the idealistic young lover who’s thrust into the wildly strange world of the Ushers, Damon is very convincing. That is, until he’s called upon to cry. Seriously – it looks like they just wiped some vegetable oil on his cheeks, sat him in front of the camera and called it a day. To be fair, it’s not Damon’s fault; Corman and his crew were used to filming black-and-white features at this point — so you might write this off (along with the butlers gruesome theatrical greasepaint job) as a makeup ‘learning curve.’ I, of course, wouldn’t know much about these things since I don’t wear makeup. That’s right. I’m a natural beauty.
A scary mansion, a weird butler, awesome Victorian furniture, dressing gowns and manners, manners, manners! This movie has everything that me and a creepy old British librarian could want. There’s even a trippy, psychedelic dream sequence that makes use of that crazy new-fangled “color” format while introducing us to the spirits of dead Ushers and a terrifyingly smiley Roderick.
Oh – this is weird – apparently somebody is making a sequel! It’s called CURSE OF THE HOUSE OF USHER and it’s being written and directed by some dude who’s made a name for himself filming He-Man fan fiction — which sounds really dumb until you realize that’s pretty much how Corman got his start.
Anyway, whether the sequel is good or bad, I can’t wait to trash it! After all, nothing can possibly take the place of the 1960’s HOUSE OF USHER, the first of eight Poe adaptations from Corman and his pals at American International Pictures. As a little Nipper of the Dark, I loved all these films so much that I ripped off….uh….I mean, paid homage to them in my film, Elvira’s Haunted Hills.
I still find it interesting that all but one of Corman’s “Poe” films (and I do mean Po’! The budget was like – what? – $1.57?) starred the Merchant of Menace himself, Vincent Price. And, if you ask me, when it comes to Poe, Price is right.
Until next time, darling… unpleasant dreams! XX
“A Knott’s Scary Farm legend returns to the Ghoultime Theatre – Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – stars in her all-new stage show: ELVIRA’S SINEMA SEANCE! Elvira is back in all her ghoulish glory bringing her own brand of sexy sass and comedy to a fast-paced, multi-media extravaganza featuring the unique hiphop/freestyle dance team The Academy of Villains direct from America’s Got Talent!” – Click here for info. Appearing live 9/26 – 10/31.
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