Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

by Ragtimelil

I’ve been thinking about Halloween recently and, for some reason, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I decided to see what I could remember about her and her show.

Elvira hosted a horror movie show on late night TV in the 1980s called Movie Macabre. I was a late night person back then and a fan of the Twilight Zone and Edgar Allen Poe so I naturally stayed up to watch her show. Elvira, in her revealing dress, huge hair and enough eye shadow to put Lady Gaga to shame was almost more fun to watch than the movies.

Movie Macabre'

All the movies on Move Macabre' were all grade B or lower films. She would introduce them, and sometimes interrupt them, for quirky, Valley-girl commentary.

While the jokes were about as bad as the movies, her campy humor and good-natured mockery soon made her a cult icon. Some of the features were such classics as The Werewolf of Washington, November 21, 1981, Cry of the Banshee, November 29, 1981, Count Yorga, Vampire, December 5, 1981, Murders in the Rue Morgue, December 12, 1981, Baron Blood, December 27, 1981, and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, to name a few.

Cassandra Peterson

Elvira was the creation of Cassandra Peterson, a pretty normal looking woman from Kansas and Colorado. She said that while other girls played with Barbie dolls, she was playing with horror themed toys.

Peterson has a background of jobs such as being a go-go dancer, a Las Vegas showgirl and actress in movies like The Working Girls (1974). She developed the Elvira character with the slit up the leg and down the front of her dress and a huge black wig to cover her own flaming red hair.

During her career she has stayed away from more explicit zombie and cannibal films, preferring to showcase older movies. She said she doesn’t do slasher movies and thinks there is fine line between those and fantasy movies. 1982 she earned an Emmy nomination for "Best Local Program", for Movie Macabré.

Elvira Videos and Movies

Elvira began to host a series of home videos called Thriller Video in 1985 and then later, a second set, Elvira’s Midnight Madness. In 2004, Elvira’s Box of Horror’s, a series released in 2004, saw a return of Elvira hosting horror movies as she had in Movie Macabre'.

Along with the videos, she made two full-length feature films, the 1987 film, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Elvira’s Haunted Hills. Since she is a master of the double entendre, I’m not sure exactly what that last title refers to.

In 1910 Elvira’s Movie Macabre returned to cable TV running movies in the public domain. I haven’t seen it since few channels carry it and don’t know for sure that the episodes are still running.

Now that I've rediscovered Elvira, I can watch some trailers and clips on YouTube and even a few movies on Hula. When I get the chance, I'll even look into getting some DVDs for my collection. As one reviewer said, you don't review her or critique her, she's Elvira!

Note: Some of her movies are rated PG-13 and some are R. Please be aware that they may not all be suitable for young viewers.

Updated: 08/19/2012, Ragtimelil
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Ragtimelil on 08/27/2012

Yeah, I think she's about my age now and still going strong!!!

katiem2 on 08/27/2012

I love Elvira, She is so cool. :)K

Ragtimelil on 08/26/2012

She's a one of a kind.

TiaMariaMartini on 08/26/2012

Yes, yes I remember Elvira. A true legend for sure.

Ragtimelil on 08/19/2012

She's hardly recognizable in real life. So normal!

JoHarrington on 08/19/2012

I'd forgotten how hilarious she was! So she's a redhead really? I knew it was a disguise, I just can't imagine her with red hair.

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