Today’s Halloween Horrors post presents the second half of an Elvira Halloween celebration to help lead us to the conclusion of this year’s festivities. As mentioned in yesterday’s series, Elvira sure knows how to help us celebrate Halloween.
Someone who knows how to help me celebrate Halloween, or at least knows how to help me put this damned series together, is my lovely wife Mandi Fallon, who presents us with today’s HH2020 entry. As she mentions early in this piece, she plays a huge role in helping put this series together, whether it be proofreading, editing, or just providing moral support, I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this alone. So, thank you, Mandi! Thank you for helping me make this series what it is every year!
Please note: if there are any typos in the following piece, it’s completely her fault.
Being the wife and Mother of Horror and Sons definitely has its perks. I have the privilege of editing most of the reviews throughout the year, and all of the pieces for the October series, which has always been very enjoyable for me! However, the biggest perk has to be that I get to learn what the theme will be for the October series pretty early on, which gives me plenty of time to consider my topic. When I heard what Dustin had planned this year, I was pretty excited!
I don’t watch new TV. I never really have. I don’t even watch new horror shows. I LOVE old TV shows. Now, I say “old”, but really, anything pre-1990 passes. I watch The Dick Van Dyke Show every Sunday night, The Carol Burnett Show most nights, The Golden Girls every Saturday morning, and I sprinkle in Columbo (my most favorite show of all time), Perry Mason, Night Gallery, Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents whenever I can. You get the picture – I love old TV of almost any genre. I say all of this to prove my point of how excited I was to learn of this year’s theme! This was going to be right up my alley.
I took our beloved host’s recommendation of going through the Wikipedia list to find the perfect Halloween episode of an older TV series. That list was filled with pure gold! I narrowed it down to a handful of episodes I wanted to preview, none of which I had ever seen before. Finding episodes that were actually available to stream proved to be a challenge, and it ultimately resulted in the elimination of 75% of my list. I watched a “Headless Horseman”-themed episode of Murder She Wrote (another fave of mine) and a really good Halloween themed episode of McMillan and Wife (that one almost won my pick – it was hard to resist NOT featuring a TV episode of Rock Hudson breaking up a satanic cult on Halloween night). When I got to ‘October the 31st’ – the 1984 Halloween episode from Season 4 of The Fall Guy, I knew that my fate had been sealed.
Have you guys ever heard of Direct 8? Yeah, neither had I. Turns out, you cannot stream season 4 of The Fall Guy anywhere. I had to resort to watching a really crappy recording on YouTube that was taken from Direct 8 – a French television channel. Immediately upon starting, the credits were in French. I almost turned it off and moved on, until I saw the guest stars – Cassandra Peterson ‘dans le role d’elvira’, Doug McClure, and the whole damn Carradine clan – John, David, Keith AND Robert. It was worth hanging around to find out if this gem had subtitles. Low and behold, after the credits, the show was in the original English. Thank God, because the only thing I know about French is the fries, and I don’t even need to know about that with all this extra baggage I’m carrying around in this ass.
Anyway, right from the beginning, I knew I would love it. It has a super spooky, atmospheric opening. Dark and stormy, big looming mansion, cat eyes, every image you could conjure up for Halloween-time. It was already cheesy, and it was perfect.
The show starts with Elvira slowly rising out of a coffin while a crazed lunatic chases his female victim around a warehouse. She shoots flames from her fingers at the monster and tells him to “dieeeee”, and he bursts into flames. A director, (Orson Bean – Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and a slew of other TV shows), yells “Cut!”, and a crew swoops in to put out the fire with extinguishers. Cue Jody (Heather Thomas), who was playing the female victim, and Howie (Douglas Barr), who help Colt Seavers (Lee Majors – The Fall Guy) out of his special fire stunt suit. If you’ve ever seen The Fall Guy, you know that the three of them make up ‘The Fall Guy Stuntman Association’. If you don’t know that, you soon will, because the logo is painted on the hood of their sweet Corvette.
Elvira gets miffed and starts complaining to the director because, as she puts it, “I trash bad movies, I don’t star in them”. She is unhappy with her role in this shlocky movie they’re making, and she calls her agent. As she is on the phone, she sees Colt out of his monster get-up, and promptly hangs up. She wants a piece of the action that most women would have died for in the 70’s, but that only Farrah Fawcett could boast about.
We learn that they are in fact making a scary movie, and the next scheduled scenes are to be filmed at the spooky, looming house from the opening credits. The house is owned by Preston (John Carradine) and Katherine Deauville (Signe Hasso). Mrs. Deauville has signed a contract with the movie studio to allow the film crew to shoot the haunted house scenes at their estate. Apparently, they are in some financial trouble and it seemed like a good idea to her at the time. Mr. Deauville is not happy about this whatsoever and tries his best to kick out the crew upon arrival, but when the contract is held over his head, there isn’t much he can do.
The film crew moves in for the next few days. It won’t be a spoiler alert to tell you that Preston Deauville falls down the stairs and dies within the first 20 minutes of the episode. Once that happens, strange things begin to occur, and some members of the crew continue to see him lurking around, seemingly from beyond the grave. In one scene, Colt is filming as a double for the leading man when he is attacked by some sort of apparition. By apparition, I mean a really bad early CGI version of a ghost. They also use reverse camera work, where the ghost is supposedly knocking Colt up onto a ledge, but you can totally tell that he jumped down from the ledge, and they filmed it in reverse. I probably sound like an idiot here, because I have no clue what the technical terms for these types of tricks are.
I won’t spoil the end, because I’m sure that everyone wants to hunt down and watch this super special episode of The Fall Guy. Seriously though, if you love 1980’s cheese, TV shows, Halloween, Elvira, seances, or Lee Majors, you should really check it out. God bless the Frenchman who recorded this from Direct 8 and posted it to YouTube. Monsieur, you gave us a Halloween gift that will keep on givin’ every year for this old TV fan.
Happy October, y’all!
Sounds like a great, fun episode, with Orson Bean (a perennial game show favorite), all the Carradines, and Elvira to top it off (no pun intended). It’s amazing that Cassandra/Elivra has been around for decades and is still going strong! Thankfully, Youtube is the platform of last resort for this kind of content — a mediocre-looking stream with French credits is better than nothing for getting a nostalgia fix. : )
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