Elves (1989)

When there's no room left in Hell, elves will walk the earth.
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Elves - When there's no room left in Hell, elves will walk the earth.

Jeffrey Mandel's Elves is a little shit... but, it's an endearing little shit that cannot fail to get some love from fans of crappy movies. It's not so bad that it's good, it's so bad that it has to be seen to be believed and, as the true scale of the convoluted story is unravelled, it is destined to amaze due to the childlike charm it emits. Not that it is a film for a child, more like the story was created by the overactive imagination of a child. The muddled meanderings mimic the motions of Troll 2 resulting in a similarly magical experience. By the end of the movie the audience has been exposed to Nazis, incest, biblical occultists, pagan anti-Christmas rituals, an elf (yes, just the one), cocaine snorting Santas, a seriously dysfunctional family, cat murder and a magical elfstone. What more could you want in one story? If you answered "Grizzly Adams" to that question then Elves will not disappoint.

There is no slow build up to the bedlam. It is rapid fire revelations throughout. Rather than running out of steam early it just complicates the story with more and more silliness and absurdity. Therefore it is worth dedicating some space to explain the plot.

Kirsten and her rebellious friends decide to perform a pagan anti-Christmas ritual in the forest. This results in a blood spillage that awakens a buried elf from it's underground slumber. It is a widely known fabrication that during the parts of the year when elves aren't needed to help Santa get his sack ready for little children they were part of Hitler's plans to create a half-human/half-elf master race and Kirsten's blood has restarted the since forgotten process.

Meanwhile, alcoholic ex-cop Mike McGavin (Dan Haggerty) has just secured himself a job as the mall Santa which is a double bonus for him because he can sneak back into the mall at night so he doesn't have to sleep on the streets. Unable to reign in his detective urges, Mike investigates a recent Santa murder and stumbles upon the elven Neo-Nazi plot.

All this culminates in Kirsten and friends being harassed by an elf and Nazis as she and her friends try to have an illegal teen sex party in the mall at night. Kirsten is the last pure-blooded Aryan virgin on the planet that was born as a result of an incestuous relationship. This is why her blood and her blood only has accidentally awoken the elf who must now breed with her at midnight on Christmas Eve to fulfil the Nazi vision. Luckily Mike McGavin is around to assist and chain smoke.

The plot is ridiculous and whenever it seems that it has settled on an aspect something else gets randomly thrown in the mix. The script is either equally ridiculous or an accomplishment of pure brilliance. Kirsten's younger brother describes the Elf as "like a ninja, only like a gremlin" and it is later described as a "ninja troll", Dan Haggerty straight facedly demands to "know the connection between the elves and the Nazis" and Kirsten's mother quite candidly explains to her daughter that "your grandfather is your grandfather and your father". It doesn’t seem like a lazy script, it seems like the words of a hyperactive child that discovered the Red Bull stash and neglected to take their Ritalin.

The elf itself seems like no threat at all. It is stuck with one stupid expression on its face and constantly has its mouth open like a shaved chimp that skipped its adenoidectomy. It struggles to move its fingers so its ability to cause genital harm with a knife seems implausible, yet it still happens. Will Ferrell is definitely scarier. The elf doesn't get much screen time but this could be a good thing due to the circumstances.

The acting is laboured and unconvincing but this isn't surprising based on what they had to work with. The characters are over the top and overdramatic when there is no need and blasé when something sensational happens. The music is overdramatic all of the time so the atmosphere created is perplexing to say the least. This all adds up to create the catastrophic clusterfuck that is Elves. It is undeniably bad yet undeniably unmissable and no wonder people bemoan (what's bemoan?) loving this underappreciated little elfstone in the rough.
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Categories: Slasher Movies

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