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STAGE REVIEW : Elvira Camps Out at Knott’s : Television’s ‘Mistress of the Dark’ Turns On Some Light Entertainment

Hollywood horror has always been a little sexy--all those slinky black outfits; Dracula putting the bite on some pretty young lady. Even the Wolfman has his moments--some women just like hairy guys.

But nobody in recent years has raised the raunch factor like Elvira. The busty, jive-spouting “Mistress of the Dark"--star of her own campy TV show and a spoofy monster movie currently on the circuit--never met a double-entendre she didn’t like or a push-up bra that couldn’t find a place in her wardrobe.

Elvira, sort of a cross between Mae West and a vampiress from the Valley, brought her bawdy and frighteningly silly “Shock and Rock Revue” to conservative Knott’s Berry Farm on Friday to open a three-weekend run as the centerpiece of its “Halloween Haunt” program.

It took about two flutters of a bat’s wings for the wolf whistles to start after Elvira (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson) made her entrance while the backup singers reverently did the Froug. Clad in a tiny black (what else?) costume, hair ratted majestically and tiptoeing in spiked heels, she warbled gamely about “naughty girls needing love.”

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After the music faded and the stage fog parted, she got down to the real business at hand. At least Elvira has no delusions about what her greatest asset is.

Gazing proudly at the expanse under her chin, she shouted, “Hey, can you guys in the back see my shoes? Don’t worry about it, neither can I!” Then added, “Y’know, my movie features two of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Me!”

After a few more jokes about her physique, Elvira moved back to the movie, “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” a knuckleheaded comedy that has been hooted by most critics. Coming up with a title, she admitted, was difficult. She considered calling it “Elvira Does Orange County,” but decided that wouldn’t do. “Too exhausting,” she said.

Those were some of the tamer lines. Walter Knott must have been turning over in his berry patch.

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Elvira later dismembered a few golden oldies with the help of two beehived Transylvania backup singers (“We’re 500 years old. How do we look so young? We stay out of the sun.”) They were particularly merciless in their renditions of “Leader of the Pack” and “Chapel of Love.”

Revamped with a Halloween twist, Elvira crooned about the Wolfman as, yes, the leader of the pack. “Those villagers were always putting him down, down,” she wailed. Trying to look innocent, she rolled into “Chapel of Love.” The Elvira chorus? “Going to the chapel and we’re gonna be buried. . . .”

John Paragon scored a few points with his incredibly smarmy Latin-lover creation, Ramon Azteca. Duded up in layers of Las Vegas lounge polyester and a rhinoceros horn of a pompadour (the thing looked dangerous), he snaked up the aisles, annoying women right and left.

Elvira’s “Shock and Rock Revue” plays at 8:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and midnight on Friday, Saturday and Oct. 28, 30 and 31 in the Toyota Good Time Theatre at Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. The show is included in the park’s admission of $16.95 and $18.95. (714) 220-5005.


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