With October comes a familiar chill, resplendent in falling leaves and orange sunsets, with Jack o Lanterns at every door. It’s the Season of the Witch, of horror and mischief; a period when we dare to peek behind a sinister curtain, entertaining thoughts of ghosts and monster. It’s the Season of Halloween and Trick or Treating, a time to don masks and make-up in rituals of shared transformation. It’s a season for embracing one’s darker sides and so, of course, it’s the Season of Elvira.
“I’ve been riding Halloween’s coat tails for years,” she told me during a recent sit-down to discuss her upcoming book Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
AKA Cassandra Peterson, Elvira’s 35-year reign as the “Queen of Halloween” includes two nationally syndicated television series, two feature films (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Elvira’s Haunted Hills), an IMAX movie, and two motion control rides. She has also recorded five music CDs, written four books and is the best-selling female costume of all time. Her latest book, a stunning addition to any coffee table, comes out on October 5th and features many never-before-seen photos of her throughout the years.
Join us now as we stroll down “Mammary Lane” with the incomparable Elvira!
Horror Freak News: What were the most rewarding and challenging aspects of putting your latest book together?
Elvira: Just getting to see all photos that had been in storage units, going through them and seeing how the character has changed and evolved. That was the most rewarding aspect, but it was also the most challenging. When I did most of these photos, there was no PhotoShop. At first I wanted to PhotoShop the older pictures before putting them in the book, but then I wanted to keep it real so I left them as they were. So I’m gritting my teeth and baring it. I hate them but others said they’re great, so well see!
HFN: Are you surprised by your longevity as a relevant figure in horror?
E: I am! I’m surprised every single year, and I’m surprised with the fact that I’m still here. It has to do with Halloween. I’ve been riding Halloween’s coat-tails for years. The horror genre has grown tremendously since I created Elvira, but somehow I keep getting gigs year after year.
HFN: As the quintessential horror hostess, what advise do you have for up-and-comers aspiring to be the next Elvira?
E: Stay out of the way of the front of my car. No seriously, my advice is to go for it! Contact cable outlets or find a movie to host. Keep horror hosting alive! I was afraid it was going to go the way of the mastodon, but there’s been a real resurgence on the internet. Keep the tradition alive!
HFN: Have you met or seen anyone who you think has the potential to become the next Elvira?
E: No one I know personally, but I really like those chicks [Jessica Cameron and Heather Dorff] doing the Scream Queen Stream. I’m very impressed by them and see definite potential. Of course, there can be only one, so they’ll have to battle to the death!
HFN: Since you obviously don’t age, our readers are curious: Are you a Vampire or did you sell your soul to the Devil?
E. Both. I sold my soul, and now I’m hoping my contract isn’t expiring anytime soon. Believe me, if I could sell my secret, I would. Maybe clean living and drinking vodka has pickled me.
HFN: Is Elvira looking towards retirement?
E: Every decade I say I’m going to retire, so I don’t know. I said I’d quit when I turned 40, and then I said I’d quit when I’m 50, and now… But I won’t ever completely retire. I love it so much. And I’ve got other stuff in the works like an Elvira animation project, and my autobiography.
HFN: What are some of your favorite recent horror movies?
E: It’s weird, but I’m not a giant fan of newer horror movies. I’m a huge fan of the old classic, black and white films from the 50’s 60’s that I grew up with as a kid. I just watch horror on TV now. I’m a huge Walking Dead fan.
HFN: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
E: Unpleasant Dreams!