* * *1\2
Directed by: Jeffrey Mandel
Starring: Dan Haggerty, Julie Austin, Stacey Dye, Christopher Graham and Laura Lichstein
Kirsten (Austin), and her friends Brooke (Lichstein) and Amy (Dye) are group of young gals interested in the occult. They call themselves “Masters Without Slaves” and go to the woods at night for seances and things like that. And no wonder, as Kirsten’s family is quite the creepy lot, and her younger brother Willy (Graham) is a perverted little brat that likes to dress up like Donatello from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and peep on her in the shower. As is wont to happen, the group of girls accidentally unleash a malevolent Nazi elf into the town at large. As part of a breeding experiment, the Nazis did various experiments using not guns, not bombs, not planes to take down their enemies, but elves.
Meanwhile, unemployed ex-police detective Mike McGavin (Haggerty), who is so down on his luck, he’s evicted from his trailer, reluctantly accepts a job as a department store Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. But those mischievous girls are camping out in the department store that night waiting for some boys to appear. But there’s another unwanted guest - here’s a hint: it’s a three-letter word, and it’s not “imp”! But to destroy this nasty elf, McGavin will have to unravel a complex web of history, deceits and lies from Nazi elf experts. Will he and Kirsten live to see another Christmas?
Ah, Elves. Such fond memories. This is one of the first (if not the first) AIP’s we’d ever seen. Needless to say, we were hooked. The plot of the movie is just so endearingly bonkers, you can’t help but love it. Anyone who would release this gem into the world should really receive our thanks. It’s packed with nutty ideas, hilarious dialogue, enjoyable fun, and a Nazi elf. Yes, just one elf. The title is a bit misleading. But we, as the audience, are treated to “elf vision” as he’s walking around, so we can see the world through the eyes of this lonely, but murderous, elf.
National hero Dan Haggerty is at his absolute best here. He continues his tradition of great sweaters, and, somehow, his beard actually matches his sweater selections. And his pinky ring. But who else could bellow “Tell me the connection between the Nazis and the elves!!!” with a complete straight face and utter conviction like Mr. Haggerty. We salute you, sir. Pretty female lead Julie Austin has quite a career under her belt, having also appeared in Night of the Wilding (1990), Twisted Justice (1990) and Extreme Justice (1993).
Taking some of its cues from Dawn of the Dead (1978), but others from God-knows-where, Elves is a strong contender for best Christmas-themed horror/unintentional (?) comedy ever. This extremely enjoyable and fun outing shot in Colorado in the golden year of 1989 should be in your collection. “Dan” we now our gay apparel and watch Elves tonight, even if it’s not Christmas.
Also check out our buddy, The Video Vacuum's funny review!
Comeuppance Review by: Ty and Brett