An Interview With Elvira:
Mistress of The Dark
By AL J. Vermette
She is truly the Queen of Halloween....and
has been the Mistress of The Dark for more
than 30 years now. With her quick wit, long
black dress and super revealing neckline,
Elvira is known throughout the world as the
most notable of all horror hosts. She is as
funny as she is sexy and the very combo of
the two make for one truly loved character
indeed. For what would Halloween or
horror for that matter be without this super-
star of the Macabre without her loving touch
upon our darken souls. But who is our Queens of Darkness
and where did she come from? A few years ago I got the great pleasure of
meeting Elvira as she appeared on one of our Blood Moon Rising covers
#34 and one of the highlights of doing this publication I must say. Now we
meet the woman behind the wig, dress and......well cleavage and get to
know Cassandra Peterson, the amazing actress who created our beloved
Elvira and find out how it all started.
AL: Please tell our readers how Cassandra Peterson became The Mistress
of The Dark?
Elvira: I have one word for your readers: Wikipedia. Haha....just kidding!
I was working in the infamous Los Angeles Improvisational Comedy group, The
Groundlings for 4 years before Elvira came along. My fellow Groundlings at the
time were Paul Reuben's (Pee Wee Herman), the late Phil Hartman of Saturday
Night Live fame, Lorraine Newman, John Lovitz, Julia Sweeny, etc. etc. Many, many
working actors have spawned careers at the Groundlings (If you're ever in LA,
check them out at their theatre on Melrose Ave!)
As budding actress's tend to do, I auditioned nearly every day, so when a friend told
me about a local TV station that was looking for someone to take over for 'Seymour'
the recently deceased horror host for the LA area, I was all over it. The ad for a
horror host on KHJ-TV had been placed in the LA TIMES, so needless to say,
everyone and their Grandma showed up. Unfortunately, I was the only one there
out of hundreds of hopefuls who didn’t know they were supposed to wear a
costume. Every man, woman and child wore black, had fangs, capes, brooms, you
name it. I think it was my comedy background and love of horror movies that helped
me land the part. That and my boobs.
AL: When you glanced into the mirror for the first time as Elvira, what were
your hopes and dreams for her?
Elvira: My hopes were that the show would actually stay on the air for at least a
week or two! The whole thing seemed so cheesy and the movies I had to show so
sub-par, that I didn't really have a lot of confidence in the show surviving.
AL: As a horror host for so many films, when did the idea of starring in your
own movie "Elvira: Mistress of The Dark" begin?
Elvira: When I discovered that people were actually interested in Elvira and the
show began airing on National TV as opposed to just local, my managers, writing
partner, John Paragon and I started thinking there might be a film here somewhere.
Brandon Tartikoff, the President of NBC television had been after me to do a sitcom
with the character, but in those days, unlike today, once you got pegged as a
television actor, there was no moving into film. I was so adamant about doing a film
first that NBC actually decided to bankroll a movie for me.
AL: Have you always enjoyed horror movies and please tell our readers
some of the ones that you enjoy the most.
Elvira: Hell to the yes! The earliest films I remember watching and loving were the
Roger Corman series of films loosely (and I do mean loosely) based on the poems
and stories of Edgar Alan Poe --- Pit and the Pendulum, House of Usher, Tomb of
Ligea in particular. (I actually have such affection for these films that my second
movie, Elvira’s Haunted Hills was a rip-off….uh, I mean ‘homage’ to them.) My #1
favorite movie as a child was House on Haunted Hill starring my main man, Vincent
Price. When that rat’s bones floated to the top of the vat of acid…WHOA!!! That
movie may have scarred me for life, while at the same time forming a significant part
of my personality.
AL: Being such a horror and Halloween icon, I would love to know what
does Elvira do on Halloween and how do you celebrate the holiday?
Elvira: It's very ironic that all Elvira gets to do on Halloween is WORK WORK
WORK! Of course, some of the jobs can be fun. For 21 years I sang, danced and
did stand-up comedy at the Halloween Haunt in California....then the largest
Halloween venue in the country. I do appearances on TV shows, interviews, live
appearances etc. etc. the whold month of October, but am especially busy on
Halloween day itself....I've done everything on Halloween from ringing the closing
bell at the New York Stock Exchange to hosting a huge costume party in Nashville at
Jack White's Third Man Records.
AL: Aside from your alter-ego, please tell our readers about the things
Cassandra Peterson is involved in?
Elvira: Cassandra is the brains behind the boobs! She's busy runnning the 'Elvira'
business from morning til night, year-round. Besides working on marketing and
licensing for the character, she's currently producing and writing a new web
series/film festival called Elvira's Horror Hunt (ElvirasHorrorHunt.com) She also
recently signed on as part owner of a fantastic new Horror/Pop Culture convention
in Los Angeles: Stan Lee's Comikaze. (ComikazeExpo.com)
AL: Are there any plans in the works for a new Elvira movie or TV project for
Elvira: YES, both! Unfortunately the details are still very HUSH HUSH - When they
happen, you'll be the first to know!
AL: What do you see in the years ahead for Cassandra Peterson and Elvira?
Elvira: I have a feeling Elvira will be around forever. For Cassandra, I see more of
a big fat pension and a quaint cottage in Transylvania.
I would like to thank Ms Peterson for this interview and having my Blood
Moon Rising readers learn more about her and her most famous creation.
Interview with Elvira:
Mistress of the Dark,
Interview with Michael
Scardillo, makeup artist
for Zombie Hunters:
City of the Dead, click
Interview with Matt
Farnsworth, Director of
The Orphan Killer, click