The Deeper Meaning of the Dark Mistress Under Comedy


1988’s Elvira: Mistress of Darkness is undoubtedly a laugh, but Elvira’s treatment in Fallwell hides a powerful message about acceptance.

years 1988 Elvira: Mistress of Darkness is a horror comedy full of sexual innuendos and branding jokes for the titular horror host. However, beneath the comedy, the film hides a surprisingly deep message of acceptance that came to light during Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) ‘s trip to the fictional town of Fallwell, Massachusetts.

With big plans to stage an act in Las Vegas, Elvira jumps at the chance to travel to Fallwell after learning of her ex-great-aunt Morgana’s promising legacy. However, small town dwellers are less than thrilled that the ‘heavy metal nut’ is corrupting their high school students – even though Elvira’s ‘bribery’ is just about encouraging kids to let go and see some horrifically horror movies. Wrong. Despite this, the majority of the city frowns on her aesthetic, which is one of the reasons they use Elvira’s Uncle Vinny’s plan so quickly to burn her at the stake for witchcraft. In reality, Uncle Vinny is in fact Elvira: Mistress of Darknessis the real villain. However, the townspeople are too concerned about Elvira to notice.

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Elvira Mistress of Darkness - bowling

Of course, Elvira saves the day and the city from Vinny’s magical wrath. And at the end of the movie, the previously rude residents of Fallwell are lined up to thank her. While the Razzie Award-nominated film is certainly far from a masterpiece, it nevertheless hides a powerful message of acceptance. When Elvira first arrives in town, residents cannot ignore her appearance. From the low-cut black dress and dramatic makeup to the skulls and cobwebs on her car, they immediately sum her up as a gothic “weirdo” whose main purpose is to tempt their children with sex, drugs and rock. ‘n’ roll.

And while Elvira can’t resist a good sex pun, her ambitions couldn’t be further from the assumptions of the townspeople. In fact, she is a businesswoman looking to be successful in Las Vegas. However, no one asks her what she does for a living, and when she tries to find a job later in the movie, every store turns her down based solely on her appearance and the prejudices that come with it.

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Elvira Mistress of Darkness - Chastity Pariah and Elvira

His appearance also explains some uncomfortable interactions with a number of Fallwell men. From Vinny’s henchman to her real estate agent, everyone assumes she must be “easy” because she shows a bit of skin. As such, they sexually assault her, forcing Elvira to push them back by any means necessary. The handy real estate agent even goes so far as to report the meeting to the board, claiming that Elvira contacted him. Sadly, her false claim only cements the fact that she must be a “slut” and a “prostitute,” as Chastity Pariah calls her not so fondly.

Through Elvira: Mistress of DarknessThe climax of, people are willing to burn Elvira alive just to look different. It is an exceptionally cruel punishment for someone who has done nothing wrong or illegal. When they’re belied by Uncle Vinny’s misdeeds, it’s a powerful reminder to audiences not to judge a book by its cover. As such, Elvira’s rise to hero status is well deserved. Because while the city spent most of the film pointing fingers at someone “different,” it let evil creep into the shadows.

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