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page added: 5/31/11

The Spin Sheet

DVD reviews by David Steigman of The Digital Bits

Elvira's Movie Macabre: I Eat Your Skin/Night of the Living Dead (DVD)

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Elvira's Movie Macabre: I Eat Your Skin/Night of the Living Dead
1964/1986 (2011) - Entertainment One
Released on DVD June 14th, 2011

Dolby Digital

Film Ratings (Skin/Dead): C+/A+
Disc Ratings (Skin - Video/Audio/Extras): B/D/D
Disc Ratings (Dead - Video/Audio/Extras): B/A/D

For nearly six decades, horror hosts and hostesses have blessed us on the screen to entertain us while we, the viewers have sat through some of the best (or worst) B movies in cinema. The likes of Vampira, Zacherley, Bob Wilkins, John Stanley, Mr. Lobo and countless others have all left a legacy as a horror movie host or hostess.

One of the most famous horror hostesses is the lovely, bodacious Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She also starred in her own film, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and appeared in various TV commercials, mainly for beer. Elvira hosted the first Movie Macabre TV series from 1981 until 1986. In 2010, she returned to the modern horror hosting universe to entertain us all with her humor and her charms while we watch more wonderful B movies. In her first season back, Elvira's given us twenty new TV episodes. There are already two DVDs available with more coming later this year. The best thing about these first DVD releases is that we get two full length Elvira's Movie Macabre episodes for the price of one. On this first DVD set we have the original 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead paired with I Eat Your Skin, certainly to have a zombie themed DVD.

Night of the Living Dead is one of the all time greats, that set new standards when it comes to gut wrenching, gut munching gory zombie movies. Seven people are trapped in an abandoned house fighting off the zombies while thinking of ways to escape. The story, acting and suspense in this is incredible. The cast (consisting of unknowns, save for Duane Jones who went on to Ganja and Hess and Bram Stoker's To Die For) have all become permanently remembered due to the extreme popularity of this movie. Even Elvira doesn't have anything negative to say - the movie is just that good, well beyond your typical B movie. She's absolutely correct when she says that if it wasn't for this movie, we would not have Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and many other gory zombie films. The movie is also a favorite of this reviewer as well.

I Eat Your Skin is about a writer who goes to Voodoo Island to search for materials for his new novel. What he winds up getting is chased all over the island by zombies. These zombies are pretty creepy with their crusty faces and fried egg looking eyes. We find out that these zombies are made with snake venom by a group of scientists. Elvira pops up (in more ways than one) at certain moments of the film. Her segments come at the right moments, when we need a breather from the movie (and a chuckle). I Eat Your Skin is actually an alternate title as it was originally called Zombies, Voodoo Blood Bath, among a few others. It was given the title I Eat Your Skin by Jerry Gross, who wanted a co-feature for his film I Drink Your Blood. No skin is eaten in this film, not a single piece.

The transfer of Night of the Living Dead on disc is good - not as crisp as the releases by Elite Entertainment but still is quite watchable. A few scenes were cut to fill up a two hour time spot for Elvira's show but nothing that would take away the viewing experience. I Eat Your Skin has been released several times on DVD and I have to say the full frame transfer from Entertainment One is very good. This would rank number two behind the widescreen transfer used by VCI for their release, which released in a double feature under the title Zombie. Despite the good transfer there is, however, one huge flaw on this I Eat Your Skin disc: the audio. It's a few seconds behind the video - extremely awkward and disappointing. This badly needs to be corrected.

The bonus materials on this DVD are decent. There is the behind the scenes look at Movie Macabre, a photo shoot of Elvira by Christopher Ameruso who pretty much shows us what parts of her body he's interested in photographing. There is a mistress of the dark music video by Ghoultown which is pretty cool and a behind the scenes look at the music video. There are also sneak peek previews of all of Elvira's new Movie Macabre series.

Overall this is a decent DVD package. Two movies for less than the price of one, the movies aren't bad, especially Night of the Living Dead. Between that, the decent transfers, seeing Elvira return to horror hosting and driving men wild with her amazing cleavage, this is easily recommended pending a fix to the audio problem.

David Steigman

Elvira's Movie Macabre: The Satanic Rites of Dracula/Werewolf of Washington (DVD)

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Elvira's Movie Macabre: The Satanic Rites of Dracula/Werewolf of Washington
1973/1973 (2011) - Entertainment One
Released on DVD June 14th, 2011

Dolby Digital

Film Ratings (Rites/Werewolf): D+/C
Disc Ratings (Rites - Video/Audio/Extras): B/A/D
Disc Ratings (Werewolf - Video/Audio/Extras): B/A/D

Elvira is back with a vengeance. In 2010 she returned to horror hosting life with a whole new television series and now they are coming to DVD. This second DVD double feature release from the series brings two horror films, both of which happened to be released in 1973: The Satanic Rites of Dracula and The Werewolf of Washington.

The Satanic Rites of Dracula is the final entry of the Christopher Lee Dracula series. It has the Satan-loving vampire scheming to poison the Earth with a deadly plague. Peter Cushing returns as a descendant of Van Helsing to thwart the proceedings. The movie does not really pick up until the climatic confrontation between the two. There is some gore and nudity in this film which unfortunately was blurred out - most likely in case the program is viewed by youngsters. Elvira mentions throughout just how boring this movie actually is, keeping herself busy with knitting and paying bills to pass the time. This was the premise throughout this episode. You won't be bored watching her, that much I can guarantee.

The second feature on this disc is a satire known as The Werewolf of Washington. Dean Stockwell stars as Jack Whittier, the President's press secretary, who gets bitten by a werewolf. As with the traditional werewolf movie, he becomes a wolf during the evenings when a full moon occurs and goes on a murderous spree throughout the streets of Washington D.C.. There are quite a few awkward scenes in this movie, including several conversations take place in the men's room and a disturbing scene of the werewolf licking a midget. Even though the werewolf isn't all that impressive, the transformation scenes were very well done. Elvira's segments in this are hilarious, as she incorporates political campaigning skits during the movie. At one point she dresses up and does her best Sarah Palin impression, complete with hairdo and glasses. It's comical seeing red, white and blue balloons in the background of her macabre set.

The transfers for both films are full frame, slightly better than a VHS print, while the segments with Elvira are excellent. The Dolby 2.0 sound is flawless.

As with the previous Elvira Movie Macabre release we get a few bonus features: Movie Macabre behind the scenes, a photo shoot with Christopher Ameruso and a Mistress of the Dark music video. While these are the same as the previous DVD, a new feature is included too called Elvira's I'm not a Witch promo. This was used to promote The Werewolf of Washington movie.

Overall, while the movies obviously are not masterpieces, they do serve their purpose for B movie enthusiasts and the segments with Elvira certainly add to the fun. Between the good transfers, funny segments, and the affordable price, I can definitely say "highly recommended" to any fan of Elvira's Movie Macabre.

David Steigman

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