Ludicrous straight-to-video anti-Christmas trash from the eighties!
ELVES is popular with bad movie buffs, but donít expect much.
ELVES debuted on VHS in 1989. Itís a typical product of
the eighties straight-to-video industry in many respects, complete with
an above-the-title ďstarĒ in the form of Grizzly Adams himself: Dan
Christmas movies were popular in the 1980s (see CHRISTMAS
EVIL, DONíT OPEN
TILL CHRISTMAS and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT), with ELVES
being a late arrival. This explains why it isnít as well known as its
predecessors--aside from the fact that itís a rotten movie!
One night three chicks, who dub themselves the ďSisters
of Anti-Christmas,Ē perform a ritual in a forest that causes a
hunched-over, pointy-eared creature to emerge from out of the ground.
The thing makes its way to a local department store, where the luscious
blond Kirsten--one of the gals from the opening scene--is working, and
kills a guy dressed as Santa Claus.
The next day a new Santa is chosen by the store
manager: a disgraced ex-cop named Mike. He and the sisterhood find
themselves shut up inside the store that night, and some guys break in
who the girls initially think are their horny boyfriends. The guys are
actually gun-wielding German-accented miscreants looking for the elf
creature--who it turns out is loose in the store. One of the gals is
killed in the melee and the following day Mike is fired.
Mike uses his time off to do some research on what the
elf thing might be, and learns of Nazi experiments designed to bring
about a new master race by having a specially bred virgin impregnated by
just such an elf on Christmas eve. As it happens, Kirsten is that
intended virgin, having been raised as such by her Nazi grandfather and
bitch mother. Will Mike manage to rescue Kirsten, and the world, from
her intended destiny?
I think itís safe to assume that writer-director Jeff
Mandel wasnít too into his job. ELVES isnít merely low budget and
amateurish (those things I expected), but also painfully lackluster in
every department. The acting by all the performers, the experienced Dan
Haggerty included, is atrocious, although in their defense the script
gives the cast little to work with: none of the characters are developed
beyond the most basic perimeters, and none ever display much emotion
over all the killings in their midst--nor, for that matter, do they ever
seem all that scared by the elf monsters.
The idea of Nazi elves invading a townís Christmas
celebration has definite promise, but Mandel and his collaborators have
woefully failed to do it justice (see John Christopherís novel
THE LITTLE PEOPLE
for a much better treatment of similar material). All the film really
has in its favor are a lot of cheesy eighties action movie elements--car
chases and crashes, some explosions, shootouts, gratuitous T&A--that, in
keeping with the overall tenor, are too lackluster and uninspired to
hold oneís interest.
Fitzgerald Films Corp./Triangle Film
Director: Jeff Mandel
Producer: Mark Paglia
Screenplay: Jeff Mandel, Mike Griffin, Bruce Taylor
Cinematography: Ken Carmack
Editing: Tom Mathies
Cast: Dan Haggerty, Julie Austin, Deanna Lund, Borah Silver, Mansell
Rivers-Bland, Christopher Graham, Laura Lichstein, Stacey Dye, Winter
Monk, Jeff Austin