Elvira & John Paragon – Transylvania 90210 (1996)

Review by Justin Tate

Fear Street, Christopher Pike, Caroline B. Cooney and other teen thrillers were big in the ’90s, but did you know Elvira had her own book series?! I didn’t before stumbling upon this old paperback. When the description compared itself to R.L. Stine, stars aligned and I felt this book must’ve been written specifically for me.

No surprise, I LOVE it! Written along with John Paragon, who collaborated with her on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (1988), Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) and other Elvira-related sketches, it encapsulates everything we love about the busty horror hostess.

Set in the town of “Beaver Hills,” Elvira is caught up in a macabre match-up with the new neighbor, a blood-sucking vampire! With the help of ditzy high schoolers who flock to her side, they band together to save the town and each other.

Along the way are many thrills and many puns. The jokes are primarily about her beehive, revealing dress and ample bosom, but all kinds of zingers are thrown in. The tone is spot-on with Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, so if you’re a fan of that movie you’ll enjoy every moment of this.

The ’90s are also fully on display, with the youngsters saying “as if,” “let’s not and say we did,” and one of the guys showcases “sensitivity and brooding introspection.” I could imagine the original audience finding this cheesy, but reading it now feels like a blast from the past.

Finding a copy of the original paperback from 1996 isn’t hard, but can be a little pricey depending on the condition. Fortunately there’s an eBook that’s easily available and includes a brief new introduction.

Although a novel isn’t as “visual” as seeing the fabulous Cassandra Peterson on screen, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture her iconic form romping about in the vampire’s musty basement and fighting off fanged fiends. I’d go so far as to say this is the best Elvira-related story since her 1988 film debut. I’ll definitely be reading her two other books in the series, Camp Vamp and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.

Unpleasant dreams! 😉

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