Elvira: Mistress of the Dark by NECA

It’s hard to remember when and where I was first introduced to Cassandra Peterson’s alter ego, Elvira. I was a full-on horror hound by my early teens, so it’s likely I first met her on her 1980’s Movie Macabre series. She was certainly just the thing to make young, pubescent me sit up and take notice. It’s safe to say at that age, I often found myself watching horror as much for the gratuitous sex and nudity, as for the gore and violence. Either way, I was familiar with her by the time her own feature film came out in 1988, a campy romp which I remember enjoying well enough, but I haven’t revisited it in a while. Anywho…. last year was the 40th Anniversary of the Elvira’s creation, and NECA showed up to celebrate with this release. And naturally, I showed up to pre-order it!

Well, the package looks outstanding! You get a collector friendly window box with some lovely pictures of the super-sexy Elvira on the front and side panels. The top of the box has her signature sign-off catchphrase, “Unpleasant Dreams!” and there’s a 40th Anniversary logo down in the bottom right corner. I guess this figure counts as part of NECA’s clothed retro-line. I like those figures well enough, but I’ve only picked up a couple over the years. Regardless, Elvira here feels like she’s a bit more premium than those retro cloth releases. Let’s get her out and set her up!

This is one of those cases of the actual figure living up to the superb prototype tease that NECA did when they first solicited her release. Elvira sort of strides the fence between realism and a stylized look, and that really works for me. Her signature black dress sports some excellent tailoring and it fits the figure quite well. The bottom edge of the dress is ragged cut, along with both sleeves, and she has a wide pleather-like belt girded around her waist with a loop for her dagger accessory. Everything about the outfit looks great, although while it does show off a satisfying amount of cleavage, even the package photos depict Elvira’s dress showing off even more. Maybe they scaled back a bit for marketing purposes, but either way it still looks fine.

You get two heads to choose from, and both are pretty damn great. The first is a standard look, with Elvira wide-eyed and smiling. Her signature mascara is wonderfully recreated here, and the paint used for her lipstick, blue eyes, and eyebrows is applied nice and sharp. She even has her beauty mark just off to the side of her right eye. Her iconic beehive hairdo towers on top of her head, and the the hair cascades down to her shoulders. The sculpt does a good job of resting on her shoulders for most poses, without hindering the neck articulation too badly.

The other portrait has Elvira giving a saucy wink to the camera. She’s still got a beaming smile, although this time her mouth is a little more open. I honestly didn’t think I’d gel too much to this look, but now that it’s in hand, I dig it quite a bit. It’s very much in character, and I could see myself swapping it out from time to time for display. If I were a greedy sort, I’d say a third head with a shocked expression would have been a very welcome bundle. But, if we were only going to get two heads out of the deal, I’d say I’m glad they went with the wink.

The articulation here is pretty good, with a fairly wide range of motion in most of the points. The arms are definitely the best, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinged pins in the wrists, and double hinges in the elbows. It can be a bit tricky to get the elbows turned right under the cloth sleeves, but you can always roll them up to see what’s going on under there. I also like that NECA gave her a pair of black wrist bangles to help conceal the wrist joints a little bit. If I were to complain about anything, it’d be the knees. I really wish they had given her double jointed knees. It might have been a little less aesthetically pleasing, but it would have helped with her signature reclining pose, which this figure can’t really do. I will say, that I’m beyond impressed with the figure’s balance, as the only time I resorted to using a stand was to show off the one included in the box. Sure, a couple times I had her leaning on something, but still it’s pretty impressive for a figure wearing high heels!

As for accessories, Elvira comes with three! First, you get the little dagger, which she can wear in the belt loop. It’s kind of silly, because it actually looks like all adorable and super-deformed. with a squat golden hilt and a tiny little silver blade. Neither of her hands are really ideal for holding it, but I was able to make it work OK.

Secondly, you get this chalice, with some mystical green smoke coming out of it. I really dig the sculpt on this piece. Her right hand seems best suited to holding the chalice, but I was able to make it work in either one. Again, the hands provided seem to be more for gesturing, and that’s fine, but a second set of hands wouldn’t have gone unappreciated.

Lastly, Elvira comes with this absolutely amazing skull candle holder. What can I say, other than it’s glorious, and I’ll bet someone at NECA had a blast designing it. It looks like just the sort fo thing you’d find on the set of a cheezy late-night horror movie hostess. The paintwork is also worthy of high praise, from the patches of brown flesh rotting off the skull, to the bloody eye sockets, and the glossy green on the snake slithering in and out of the mouth. There’s even a black spider nesting on the side of the the skull. Quite magnificent!

As I mentioned earlier, you do get a stand for the figure, but it’s just a generic black disk with a peg hole. Still, I’d definitely recommend it for keeping Elvira from taking shelf dives during long term display, but again, I was very impressed that I didn’t really need it for any of the pictures I shot. Well, except for this one leg standing pose. Ultimately, I may just use a Kaiser doll stand to keep her upright on display.

Elvira retailed for $39.99, and she can be found at a few online retailers for a little less. But, this was one of those figures, that I was willing to jump on the pre-order, and not worry about saving a few bucks. She really turned out great, and I had loads of fun playing around with her and snapping pictures for this review. I’d often hoped that TBLeague would secure the rights to give her the sixth-scale seamless body treatment, and maybe that will happen some day, but for the time being, having this figure in my collection will certainly get the job done.