The Search for the Next Elvira

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 21, 2007 11:13pm | Post a Comment

Two of my heroes growing up were Rod Serling and Elvira. I am a bit surprised that I actually turned out sort of well adjusted. I absolutely loved watching The Twilight Zone on television. One of my babysitters let me watch it and I really thought that Rod Serling was the coolest man in the world. His shows were nothing short of brilliant. I still look forward to the yearly marathons even though I have the episodes on DVD now. I also watched a lot of the "Movie Macabre" hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The show originally aired in 1981. I also became obsessed with Elvira and watched her late night movie show any time I got the chance. The movies were absolutely horrible, but her hosting and commentary was hilarious. It probably helped develop my love of horror movies and just bad movies in general. But also my love of sarcasm. Elvira got her start in Hollywood with the comedy group the Groundlings. Both the Elvira character and Pee-Wee Herman were created at the Groundlings. I got to meet Elvira at Midnight Mass last year and the lady is still as great and beautiful as ever. I was excited to find out she had a new reality show coming to TV. The show finally started and I just finished watching the second episode. The reality show is on the Fox Reality Network. A channel that I am sure I will probably never watch again after the Elvira show. But the show itself is great. Elvira is basically looking for "the next Elvira." I am sure that she gets tons of appearance requests that she can't always fulfill and needs somebody to basically help run the Elvira business. Imagine how popular she is in the month of October. Maybe she should pick live five new Elviras.

The first episode was filmed in my hometown of Long Beach aboard the Queen Mary. I was excited since I worked there for two summers. The ship is seriously a little creepy and a great place to film an Elvira Reality show. I still have never stayed on the boat. But someday soon I will. All the rooms are still decorated like they were when the ship  was originally an operational ship. Now it is permanently docked in the port of Long Beach. This episodes went through all the american idol style tryouts and got the girls down to the "Unlucky 13." They really only showed the worst "Elviras." I was surprised that there were actually ladies that showed up with blond hair that looked nothing like Elvira. But most of the goth and rockabilly types that showed up knew what they were doing. The show is actually done pretty well and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) obviously had a lot to do with the writing and production of the show. The show is co-hosted by two "manviras." They two gothy dudes that co-host look like better Elvira's than almost all the contestants. Only one man actually made it into the first group of thirteen. Elvira still has her same sarcastic valley girl style. So the show is mostly Elvira and the manviras making fun of all the ladies trying to be the next Elvira.

The set for the show is great and she even has her own little person maid "Helga" to clean up the debris once she has electrocuted the girls that get eliminated. Instead of being "in" or "out" the ladies "rest in peace" or "the nightmare continues." The second episode gets the list down to seven. They have to act out an Elvira scene and it quickly becomes obvious who is gonna last on the show. The best 5 of the remaining 7 have to pick the best one out of the other 2 of the 7. So the contestants are now the "sexy six." I already have my favorites. And after the next episode the list gets down to only three. The TV audience then gets to pick the final winner. My favorite so far is "Kitty." But I also like "April." But it really is gonna be hard to become the next Elvira. There is really nobody like her. Nobody that could possibly have the influence she has had on countless kids and teenagers first getting into horror movies. She has just had a huge influence on popular culture by creating a unique and endearing character that will be with us forever.

Shout Factory started releasing Elvira's original "Movie Macabre" shows on DVD last year. They came out in great double feature two packs. Last year we got Legacy of Blood/Devil's Wedding Night, Count Dracula's Great Love/Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, and The Doomsday Machine/The Werewolf of Washington. This year we get Maneater of Hyrda/The House that Screamed, Blue Sunshine/Monstroid, and Gamera, Super Monster/They Came from Beyond Space. The movies are all horrible as you would expect. They would have all been forgotten and never talked about again. But Elvira revived these old horror films from the 50s and 60s on her show in the 80s. And she is now doing it again with these releases on DVD. Not that these movies really need to be remembered. It really is all about the Elvira introduction to the film. She also comes on screen throughout the movies to make fun of the bad acting and ridiculous scripts. I love that set with the red couch and candles and the creepy Elvira background music. The movies are pretty easy to make fun of. But Elvira just does it so well. There was a TV pilot filmed in the 90's for a show called "Elvira." The should would of course star Elvira and Katherine Helmond (Soap, Who's the Boss?). The show was about witches living in a small town and I am sure it was amazing. Unfortunately it never aired. Maybe this will be out on DVD some day as well.

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The Search For The Next Elvira (1), Movie Macabre (1), Elvira (6)