As I watched these two installments of "Elvira's Movie Macabre," I flashed back to the days of horror movie hosts and hostesses. In today's day and age, we no longer have any late-night weekend horror movie spotlight programs. Instead, re-runs of "Law And Order," sitcoms, and big-budget Hollywood movies rule the tube. Thankfully, our friendly neighborhood movie format (DVD) once again gives viewers the opportunity to experience these long lost treasures.
Disk 1- "Blue Sunshine"
The story: After Jerry is blamed for the death of a balding, murderous friend, he begins to search for the truth. In his clumsy investigation, he discovers that individuals who took a batch of LSD (known as "Blue Sunshine") 10 years ago are having critical side effects- notably a loss of hair, murderous tendencies, and crippling headaches. Now he must set the truth free and prove himself innocent.
"Blue Sunshine" can best be described as a less comical version of "Reefer Madness," only the story centers around LSD acid. That does not mean "Blue Sunshine" is without humor. On the contrary, a number of scenes had me grinning. My favorites include: a mother screaming at her son to stop eating pudding, a random Barbara Streisand/Frank Sinatra puppet show at a political rally, a LSD lunatic terrorizing a discotheque, and the late Brion James (of "Blade Runner" fame) pretending to be Rodan.
Aside from the goofy antics on screen, the movie primarily fails to work because the lead actor who plays Jerry (Zalman King) is awkward in every scene. The droopy faced doofus stumbles around like Mr. Bean and gets in everyone's faces. He's never more than 7 inches apart from someone. He's also the least stealthy person I have ever seen. He makes a scene wherever he goes, and yet he's trying to avoid the police.
As for the hostess segments, Elvira may be an airhead who cracks corny jokes, but she has a certain charm about her. Her Hippie days sketch and the gun instructions song did raise a couple chuckles from me. Still, I would prefer watching Joe Bob Briggs any day of the week.
Disk 2- "Monstroid"
Elvira's sketches of falling asleep during the movie pretty much sums up this snail paced horror flick (supposedly "based on a true story") about a chemical company that accidentally created a giant lake monster which begins to terrorize a Colombian town. Aside from 4 brief appearances by the giant puppet head creature, the movie happily gives us non-stop scenes of bland characters talking about how nothing is in the lake and how the nosey reporter should stop snooping around. Only in the final 10 minutes does the movie get down to business, but by that point we are all ready to hit the eject button.
As for the Elvira sketches, they were on par with those on the first disk. The highlights were Elvira bashing the movie and reading fan/non-fan letters. My main complaint with Elvira is that she laughs at her own jokes far too much. Just a tip Elvira: You can't be your own laugh track.
Note: Each disk gives you the option to watch "Blue Sunshine" and "Monstroid" with or without Elvira.
I realize Shout! Factory is basically transferring the original programming to disk, but the picture quality of "Monstroid" and "Blue Sunshine" is enough to make your eyes bleed. "Blue Sunshine" fares a little better than "Monstroid" in that the widescreen picture is actually visible, but there are loads of print scratches. However, the full-screen "Monstroid" print is so jumpy, faded, blurry and scratch filled that it gets to the point of being unwatchable.
The mono sound track may be nothing to ride home about, but it's far superior to the video quality! The sound is fine in both the films and the Elvira segments, but there are cases in which the audio skips or is too low and garbled.
Shout! Factory had an opportunity to put some nifty Elvira extras on this set, but instead all we get are 3 trailers for "The Search For The Next Elvira" on Fox Reality, "Stubbs The Zombie" videogame soundtrack, and "Good To See You Again, Alice Cooper."
Elvira and cult movie fans will no doubt go ape for these "Movie Macabre" releases. As for myself, I hope these Elvira DVDs will encourage Shout! Factory to release Joe Bob Briggs MonsterVision or Drive-In Theater sets.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.