Sunday, December 25, 2011

ELVES (1989) - When there is no more room in hell, the elves will walk the earth* *actual dialogue

When three very 80’s chicks get together to hold an illicit ceremony in the deep dark woods, you except them to pray to Satan for a Porsche (or three), maybe sacrificing some Barbie dolls covered in their own blood (Satan had lower standards in the 80’s). However, these girls are the “Sisters of Anti-Christmas”, hoping to eradicate Christmas as a corporate media event (or whatever). In order to do so, they worship the “Virgin of Anti-Christmas”, which is a drawing of a chick with big “art-deco” boobs (they have a little pattern drawn on them) that looks like it was drawn by a high school speed metal freak. Anyway, how much pull do they think this “Virgin of Anti-Christmas” has? Extracting corporatism from Christmas would akin to extracting evil from the entire human race. Even if she were to just kill Santa Claus, some other fat jolly asshole would just take his place and the holiday would continue as normal. Not only that, but what are the chances that a big haired 80’s honey who is perpetually showing off her giant painted rack is actually a virgin? I smell shenanigans.

Anyway, lead girl Kirsten’s (both in terms of the sisterhood and the movie) home life is truly not righteous. Her mom is a “mom from hell”, to paraphrase Richard Lewis, and she also lives with her creepy wheelchair bound grandpa. Her only friend in the world is her cat Agamemnon, but her mom soon drowns her cat in the toilet, quickly landing her in the “cunt-y dearest” hall of fame. Her little brother is an obnoxious brat who peeks at her in the shower and yells out “you got big fucking tits and I’m gonna tell everybody I saw ‘em!”. Look, guys, we’ve all peeked at our sisters as they were showering or getting dressed. The way to do it is to be DISCRETE about it…like a gentleman. Wait, you’ve never tried to see your sister naked? Well, of course I’m kidding in order to make a point. Obviously. Anyway, mom and grandpa catch wind of Kirsten using grandpa’s magic books (including the nudie pic) to prey for anti-Christmas, and mom gets rid of Kirsten’s art school savings account as punishment. Kirsten remarks “that is so totally outrageous!”, and truly it is. Truly, truly outrageous.

Oh yeah, there’s one more thing. A Nazi elf is trying to rape Kirsten so she can birth the anti-Christ. Now, we’ve all had a disappointing Christmas season or two, where we didn’t get that Thundercats jumpsuit we wanted, or we got a flat tire driving to Uncle Shecky’s holiday barbecue. However, poor Kristen’s string of bad luck brings holiday disappointment to a whole other level. If that wasn’t bad enough, her two best friends are murdered (collateral damage because of this whole elf Nazi thing) during a sleep over at the department store where Kirsten works. Her boss fires her as a result, and Kirsten frustratingly adds “I’m sorry my friends bled all over your fucking store!”. No wonder she’s so “anti-Christmas”. Wait a second…”anti-Christ”…”anti-Christmas”…there’s a connection right? Holy shit. That’s pretty deep.

Now, I know what you’re thinking folks…haven’t the Nazis done enough damage? Now they’re enlisting elves into their sick plans? And creating the anti-Christ to boot? Luckily, Grizzly Adams (oops, I mean Dan Haggerty) is on the fucking case. Dan gets a job as Santa Claus at the department store after the original Santa is castrated by the elf (there’s subtext in there but I’m too loaded on egg nog to pick up on it). He witnesses the elf first hand and decides to help Kirsten and see what all of this “Nazi elf rape” fuss is about. He visits several experts on the topic of Nazi elf rape so they can rattle off breathless exposition in order to make everything logical and crystal clear to the audience (or not). In one pretty hilarious scene, Dan has to interrupt an expert while he’s getting ready to enjoy Christmas dinner with his family, and the expert rattles off all of the Nazi elf rape plot points while his two adorable little daughters stare at their father quixotically (basically a cutie pie version of the audience). I won’t give everything away, but the movie builds to some crazy, V.C. Andrews-esque family gothic plot twists, if V.C. Andrews was a glue-huffing goofball Slayer fan.

While this sounds like broad camp, everything is grounded, in a sense, by the somber performances of the two leads (well, somber considering the script) and the adult contemporary score played on a dimestore keytar (which slowly becomes ironic as the movie progresses). Elves doesn’t make it clear that it is a comedy, and it’s actually funny as a result. The humor comes from the oddball deviations from the standard holiday monster movie, like the “gift ideas for mom” shotgun display in the background of a shot. There’s also the odd twists of dialogue, whether an incongruous F-bomb, or Dan asking “what happened to the beautiful youth of today?” when he finds out Kirsten is against Christmas, or Kirsten’s brother describing the elf as a “fucking little ninja troll” (he’s a TMNT fan, so I guess that is his point of reference). It’s a bit like if Santa was running down the street from a mall cop after he was caught sticking his hand down some kid’s pants. Santa accidentally knocks over John Waters, who hits his head on the curb and damages his brain. Waters then decides to spite Santa and his stupid holiday by making a Gremlins rip-off with no money. That’s Elves, in nutshell. Got that? So, it’s probably too late this year, but I suggest that the next time you are sitting in front of a TV “enjoying” a big ass ham (or Chinese food for our Jewish friends) with the family during Christmas, pop this fucker into the VCR and reap the rewards of Christmas anti-cheer. Remember, if you want to counteract the fake corporate cheer of Christmas, you can’t just worship some big titty goddess and hope for change. If you want to change the word, you have to act yourself, and not just sit around hoping some bullshit magic takes care of everything.

P.S. Merry X-mas! Really.


  1. Ha! I haven't seen this since I was a kid, but now I want to revisit it if only to consider how V.C. Andrews would have novelized this family's plight.

  2. @Emily
    I WISH I would've rented this as a kid expecting Gremlins. My mind would've been blown/turned to mush.