Elves (1989)

As is the tradition, the final movie of 2022 put through the Trash or Treasure group watching was the Christmas-themed low-budget shonk-fest with the craziest premise that could be found. This time we were promised monster elves, Nazis, and some chap called Dan Haggerty. There was also the prospect of impressive hairdos, because it’s from the late 80s and that Ozone Layer wasn’t going to massacre itself.

Not sure if satire of just a display in the store they shot the scene in.

The film starts with Kirsten (Julie Austin) and her mates* heading into the woods to declare themselves the Anti-Christmas via a blood-magic ritual they found in Grandpa’s book for forbidden knowledge. Then they have to head off home as they have work the next day, a demonic-looking elf pops out of the ground where Kirsten’s blood was spilled, and her brother ogles her tits whilst she’s coming out of the shower. Oh, and we find out that her only friend in the world is her cat, which sucks for her two mates but to be honest it’s a very nice cat and humans are just garbage.

“Janice, I said “office casual””

From that point on, things get sillier. Kirsten’s mother (Deanna Lund from TV series Land Of The Giants and a whole raft of movies that paid the bills) decides to lay claim to Kirsten’s bank account and kill her cat to show she’s evil. One of the friends gets felt up by the alcoholic Santa at the department store they all work in, to either show that life is hard or that store Santas are all evil. The elf (yes, singular. The title lied to us!) starts trying to attack people, because it’s a day old and scared. Grandpa and his mates sound suspiciously German, and Dan Haggerty (he stared in The Life And Times of Grizzly Adams, so apparently he’s a big deal) demonstrates why being a convicted cocaine dealer doesn’t guarantee you delivering an animated performance.

This is how Santa delivers all those presents on Christmas Night

The plot really starts when the girls decided to invite their boyfriends over to the store, get dressed in an assortment of very 80s exciting underwear, and hump them in the camping goods section. This gets interrupted first by Dan’s character reminding everyone that he’s an alcoholic ex-cop, then by the boyfriends turning up, then by a trio of Nazis starting to shoot everyone, and then by the elf going on a murder spree with its face constantly locked in a grimace of intimate pleasure.

“Ho, Ho , H*ugh*ooooo…”

From there, things go off the rails, we find out that it’s compulsory for all small-town USA libraries to have an impressively stocked occult section, Deanna Lund steals every scene she’s in whilst Julie Austin carries the film, the Nazi plot to conquer the world with elves is… I want to say “explained” but that’s just far to strong a word… and we discover that Kirsten if the result of incest between mum and Grandpa. Meanwhile, the elf just wanders around like a badly made special effect shot with surprising care and attention to detail, whilst ganking a couple more people in mildly bloody manners.

This scene would of been moving, if you didn’t hate her for what she did to the cat.

It’s all very cheaply shot, overly lurid, and far less well-acted and scripted than you’d imagine. But for all the failings of Jeffery Manel’s script (of which there are joyfully many), he does a surprisingly good job at bringing a vibrancy and energy to the film. There was an absolute sense that (within budgetary constraints) anything could happen at any time, especially if it would somehow make the whole thing that one bit more exciting without having to go to any real effort.

“According to this book, I left the gas on”

People who like good movies will absolutely hate this film. People who can see beyond a need for overall technical ability on either side of the lens and just want to watch something ridiculous will love it. It knows its audience is up for being entertained and goes about doing that as best it can. It violates Christmas, it has 15-rated salaciousness, and Nazis and less-shitty-but-equally-deserving-people die in amusing manners. What more could you want from a movie? Other than actual multiple elves!

The Raggedyman
*I checked something on Wikipedia and they’re called Brooke and Amy, but that’s really not important.

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