I just realized something that happened during my childhood (the 80’s) was relatively new for that time. TV show horror hosts were all the rage. There is just something fun about a host that sits with you during bad horror and sci-fi movies. You had the sardonic wit of Joe Bob Briggs with Drive-In Theater, the spooky Creature Feature host Dr. Paul Bearer, and who can forget the brash bots of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Of course for this specific trip down memory lane we are going to talk about Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and her Elvira’s Movie Macabre Coffin Collection on DVD.
It is unfortunate that outside of MST3K there are very few DVD releases of any of the old horror host shows. Elvira herself doesn’t have official releases of the original 80’s seasons, however in September 2010 Elvira’s Movie Macabre returned to television syndication in the U.S., this time with public-domain films. Twenty-six episodes were produced and are all here in Elvira’s Movie Macabre Coffin Collection. What do you get in the box?
With Elvira’s Movie Macabre you get a really cool Coffin shaped tin that houses 13 DVDs and a little booklet with the episode titles and descriptions. The films are:
A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
Attack Of The Giant Leeches (1959)
Beast From Haunted Cave (1959)
Don’t Look In The Basement (1973)
Hercules And The Captive Women (1963)
I Eat Your Skin (1964)
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1965)
Lady Frankenstein (1971)
Manos: The Hands Of Fate (1966)
Monster From A Prehistoric Planet (1967)
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Scared To Death (1947)
Teenagers From Outer Space (1959)
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962)
The Giant Gila Monster (1959)
The Killer Shrews (1959)
The Manster (1959)
The Satanic Rites Of Dracula (1973)
The Terror (1963)
The Wasp Woman (1960)
The Werewolf Of Washington (1973)
The Wild Women Of Wongo (1958)
Untamed Women (1952)
I think you can already tell what type of movies these films are. These are public domain works and quite a few have made the rounds in cheap bins at your local discount drug store. If you will note the dates of the releases you can see that these are from the era of cheesy “so bad they are almost amusing” films. No one is going to mistake these for classics and every frame of film oozes weird decisions based on a lack of budget or ability. With that being said, there is still some odd charm to them and if you are in the right mood they can be very entertaining to watch.
Now there are a couple of negatives or at least a notation needs to be made. These movies look pretty bad, there are no restoration attempts made that I could see. Everything is in full frame and the movies are edited for content. Honestly though, you are watching these for one reason, and that’s to see Elvira crack jokes. OK, make that two big reasons.
The tin box fits everything really nice as there is a hard spongy material to keep the discs in place, however all 13 discs are stacked on top of each other in the case. I haven’t had any issues with them getting scratched or not playing correctly but I think it is good to be aware of it.
Elvira does take a certain sense of humor to appreciate. She is sort of like a Gothic valley girl and puns and double entendres are her jokes of choice. She doesn’t appear during the entirety of movie to riff on it but she will pop in and out to make little references. Plus she has some sketch comedy routines during the “commercial breaks” much like the MST3K host segments. I think this is a really fun show and has tons of nostalgia value for me. It’s enjoyable to watch unintentional bad movies with friends and some age appropriate beverages.
Elvira’s Movie Macabre may not be the perfect way to start watching these episodes if you are coming into it blind. I suggest seeing an episode or two on demand first. If you have already seen Elvira, then you know what to expect and I have doubts if they will ever be put on Blu-ray so this may be the box set to get. If you already have some episodes of Elvira on DVD then you will want to make note of the movies listed because there may be some duplication here also.
Some of these films have been released multiple times and all of them might be available in individual form. The Shout Factory individual releases also had the original unedited versions of the movies as a special feature but that too is not true here, so you might want to keep that in mind if it is important to you. Again if you get this set you are strictly buying it for the Elvira parts and not really to get the definitive versions of the films included.
There are some special features too, depending on the movie but nothing amazing that would sway you one way or the other about a purchase. The run time is about 38 and a half hours long so there is quite a bit of material here. Right now the box set new seems to run around $60 however last year Amazon had a sale and I got it new for $29.99, so if you are in the market for the box set keep that in mind. I recommend the Elvira’s Movie Macabre Coffin Collection for your own bad movie watching night at home.
Elvira’s Movie Macabre