Friday, December 16, 2011

Elves (1989): More Camels than Elves

Elves 1989 Poster

Written and directed with at least ten pounds of acid in his system, Jeffrey Mandel's Elves (1989) is a holiday horror film that goes well beyond your typical B-Movie and into a realm where nonsense makes perfect sense.

Elves is a Christmas set monster movie about an "elf" that is released from its three inch grave when a 28-year-old teenager named Kristen and her two friends (collectively dubbed the 'Sisters of Anti-Christmas'?!) partake in some cockamamie séance in the middle of the forbidden woods using her grandfather's forbidden book of magic. Or something along those longwinded lines. Anyway, releasing an elf that, in all likelihood, will go on a B.A. rampage of death and destruction is the least of Kristen's problems.

First of all, Kristen (Julie Austin) has this shitty waitressing job at the mall, where her boss is a complete dick and the mall Santa asks her for a bit of oral just before he's mysteriously murdered by the titular (and singular) creature. So, yeah, work sucks for Kristen. Things don't get much better when it comes to her home life, either. Kristen's little brother is a perv who likes to peep on his sister's "big fucking tits," as he so eloquently (and wonderfully) puts it. Her mom, well, her moms (played by Deanna Lund) is a total full-on bitch in a way that one can only find in a film from the '80s. However, very few bitch mothers were ever so asshole-ish enough to punish their daughters for going out into the woods by taking away all the money in their savings account.

Elves 1989 4

Empty bank accounts and booby obsessed brothers be damned, for they are minute issues in the big scheme of things as Kristen's biggest problem is her very own grandpa. *Spoilers ahead!* A man who is planted firmly in a wheelchair and ever so profusely gargling out the worst and most inconsistent German accent I have ever heard, Kristen's grandfather (Borah Silver) is not only a bad grandfather, he is a bad father, too. That's right, Kristen's grandpa is also her father, but grandpa's moral compass isn't so much defined by his incestuous ways as he did have his reasons for banging his daughter, and that was so Kristen could be born. You see, grandpa is a Nazi who, with his bestest Nazi friends, were planning to use Kristen's womb as a grow room for the master race. To achieve these results, at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, Kristen must be impregnated, through penetration, by the elf.

You still with me here?   

Unlike its "inspiration," Gremlins, which totally delivered on its plural title and, unfortunately, had very little in terms of Nazi incest and monster boning, Elves is somewhat lackluster when it comes to monster-induced terror. The elf itself (isn't a rapper, like myself!) is a complete and total joke, which is fine, mind you, because jokes make me laugh, and I did a lot of that throughout my time spent with Elves.

Elves 1989 2

The creature, in all its one facial expression, foam rubber glory, is super fun time awesome, but there are so many other things about Elves that really make it stand out as a true leader of the (shit) splat. One thing that immediately makes me smile in my mental Elves retrospect is the dialogue. With that said, I shall provide a few lines of said dialogue to entertain you with:

Kirsten's Mom: "You look terrible."

Kirsten: "Yeah, well, I had a rough day at work... Santa got murdered."


Some chick's off the cuff poem: "Life is long and life is hard, Kevin's is thick and Dave's is a yard!"


Kristen's pervert brother: "Is everything all right?"

Kirsten: "No, Willy. Gramps is a Nazi."

Now, while this magical dialogue is, well, quite magical, some of the best verbal wordplay belongs to the real star of Elves. A man who rains pure gold from his very being; a man who pours out of his celluloid confines and forces his way right into all of our hearts; a man known simply as Dan "The Dragon" Haggerty.

Instead of typing up Hag's brilliant dialogue, word-for-word, I nabbed this YouTube clip and set the code to start at the correct scene, just so you could hear it for yourself, right proper. Trust me when I say it's incredible.

Up until this point, there is no sort of reference to Hags ever being a detective, so this here is a straight up, talking to yourself while in a Santa suit, expositional scene.

Anyway, Haggerty owns the shit out of Elves; when he graces the screen, it is with the poise and the presence of a lion. It's as if the world simply stops to watch him run around, straight tearing shit up in his grey sweater, sleeves loosely rolled up with a continuous trail of Camel brand cigarette smoke following closely behind his flowing golden mane. And really, while talking about Haggerty in this movie (who's character's name is, 'Who Cares'), I have to go over his smoking for a second, because the amount of butts this cat puts down is the stuff cancerous legends are made of.

Elves 1989 3

There is not a moment where Hags isn't seen with a fucking Camel tucked in-between his grotesquely yellowed fingers. Early on in the film, when Hags discovers a dead body and a shootout pops off at the mall, the dude is running around the place, all stealth like and raptorial, but the entire time he's smoking a butt! He even takes the time to finish off the last few drags before he leaps into action, and when I say finish off, I'm talking down to the filter. And if that's not enough, there is a car chase where the camera randomly cuts to the inside of his vehicle as he's driving, and there was a point where I swear he was pushing in the car cigarette lighter. Ten seconds later, while still in the midst of a serious car chase, the camera cuts back to a from behind shot of Haggerty and he is actually lighting up a smoke!

Unless you go the grey market or illegal download route, Elves isn't the easiest film to obtain, but it can be watched on You Tube in parts (which is where the above video is taken from). It's unfortunate that it's not available on Netflix instant (or how about DVD?!), as they often will put up a few rare and hard to find titles for streaming, but alas, no such luck as of yet. Regardless, if you find yourself entertained by the worst of the worst, then I cannot encourage you enough to seek out an evening spent with Elves. Because, quite honestly, nothing says Christmas like incest, Nazis and a heavy dose of the Turkish blend.     


  1. You know, I wasn't sure if this was one of my movies I saw on the DVD you sent me. It certainly was. It's one of those films that make you question your sobriety while watching. It could easily give Troll 2 a run for its money.

    And still, all I remember is the shopping mall, a blonde, and Dan Haggerty and me wondering the whole time if he played the camera guy in Hellraiser 3.


  2. Ha ha, I wish he played the camera guy in Hellraiser 3!

    And yeah, I completely forgot that I sent you a disc with this film on it, and you nailed it in saying how it forces you to question your sobriety. The movie is full on bat shit in how crazy it can be, but holy hell is it fun in a way that does nip at the heels of Troll 2, and that's saying a lot!

  3. I read that there was a scene in this where Dan Haggarty was chain-smoking when brushing his teeth! Is that true?

  4. Ha ha, indeed he does! The guy is fully dedicated to the sport of smoking!

    Here's an actual image I found of him doing so when I was looking for screen grabs for the film:

  5. Elves is such a stupid movie but still entertaining to watch. Fun too.

  6. It certainly is stupid, though I think that's where the charm lies!

  7. Haven't seen it since I was a little elf myself, but I do recall being annoyed that the title is plural when the film only has one effin elf!

    Excellent review my friend. I love giggling about Nazis.

  8. Funniest review I've read in a while! Makes me want to see it, cheesy 80's horror movies like this one just arent made anymore! Where's todays cheeze??? None shall be as good as the cheez from the 80s. Ever! I recommend you check out a film called "Demon Wind", what a bad yet extremely unintentionally funny movie that was! Highly recommend searching for it if you enjoy this sort of thing!

  9. Emily: Thanks, Emily, and it is so weird that they called it Elves when there was only one elf to be seen. Maybe the were foreshadowing at the impending elf takeover had whatshername been impregnated?! Or they were simply just lying, and that is probably the case!

    TFC: Thanks, man! I've never seen Demon Wind, but the awesome 3D VHS cover is one of the coolest covers to grace video stores back when I was a kid! I'll definitely give it a watch. I love me a bad 80s horror film more than anything!


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