Younger folks may know Elvira as that vampire chick with the cleavage from all those beer commercials, but the character originated on Movie Macabre which premiered on KHJ-TV in Los Angeles in 1981. The show featured Elvira-Mistress of the Dark (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson) introducing schlocky horror films while sporting a gothic gown with a plunging neckline and an industrial strength push-up bra. Horror movie hosts were once a staple of local television, but In 1982 Elvira became the first nationally syndicated horror host, bringing Movie Macabre to stations all across the U.S.
Shout Factory DVD has recently released six episodes from the series, with all of Elvira's introductions, quips, and corny jokes preserved. The original broadcast versions used edited-for-TV prints of the films, while the DVD versions retain all the gore and nudity that B-movie hounds demand. This is interesting, because Elvira often uses clips from the films while doing her schtick, and these clips are drawn from the broadcast versions, allowing viewers to compare and contrast the two different prints. The host segments look quite good for two-decade old video tape, while the quality of the film prints varies widely. Personally, I like the fact that the scratches and bad splices have been preserved. Many films deserve a pristine digital transfer; Doomsday Machine is not one of them. I think keeping the imperfections of these old prints helps seal in the schlocky goodness. The host segments are full of campy fun, but, as in the case of The Devil's Wedding Night, can be a bit long-winded. While the series sports no extras, it does allow the viewer to choose between watching the entire episode with Elvira's intros, or to watch just the film itself. As for the movies: