SciFiUpdates – normal text / Cassandra Peterson – in italics

Hi, all kinds of phone problems,

Yeah, that’s what she (Cassandra’s assistant) was telling us.

Yeah, probably ghosts in the wire.

Normally happens that way!! I’m Chris, and I’m Amy, and we run SciFiUnited.com. We’re big fans of yours, especially Amy, and we’ve really been looking forward to this interview… I’ve loved you for years! And growing up, I swear, my brother – he wanted to marry you! I wanted to be you, no “next” Elvira, the original Elvira!!

Well thank you!!

Well we’ve got a few questions for you, and we are running you next week for our Profile of the Week, because you are the Queen of Darkness, or the Mistress of Darkness [Doh!! Chris gets slapped at this point!!], and the Queen of Halloween.

Make sure you say, Mistress of the Dark

Mistress of the Dark, yes ma’am! So you’re still using that; you’re not going to change over to Queen of Halloween?

Well, yes, I’ll still use Queen of Halloween, but, you know, I have multi-titles!! (laughs)

Well, I want you to be the Mistress of the Dark because that’s every day. You’re not just the Queen of Hallooween.

Yes, I know, I’ll never give that one up, because really I started out with that and I don’t want that to go away.

Good, because that’s been worrying me, when I read that you were going to be the Queen of Halloween instead, and some people have implied that the winner of the contest [The Search for the Next Elvira] would now be the Mistress of the Dark, and I thought “that’s just wrong!”

No, no they wont. No, I’m actually sitting here trying to think of what she is going to be called, but, something like Handmaiden of the Dark? Or Maiden of the Dark? Or Slave of the Dark? Something like that.

I read some of your past interviews, and I know that you and the costumer & make-up artist came up with the character of Elvira. But I’ve also read about your past history, how you used to wear costumes as a kid and all that, so what I want to know is: Was the Elvira persona in there all along, just waiting for the chance to come out, or was it really just born out of the character that you made to host the Movie Macabre?

Well, … I was growing up kind of in Halloween-world – I really did, because my mother and my aunt ran a Halloween costume shop that did most of their business around Halloween. And it was a party shop that also had all kinds of Halloween stuff, and that was the biggest time of our year. It was bigger than Christmas, it was bigger than anything! All my relatives and myself, everybody pitched in to work at the costume shop, because it was so insane there during Halloween. And, you know, I just grew up having the best costumes, because my mother and my aunt would make me the very best costumes. So I would, every year, when all the kids were wearing those dorky little plastic masks, you know those awful masks, I’d be decked out in something fantastic, you know? A costume of whatever television show was the most popular is what I’d be dressed as. I remember the first one, I was dressed as Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke, you know, a can-can girl. And I won a $100 bond, and was just thrilled. So I think that might have given me the bug, you know, like “Wow, dress up in a costume and get big bucks!!” Halloween was always my very favorite holiday of the year, still is obviously! Also, I do think my personality – and I’ve just figured this out in the last few years – I decided that Elvira’s personality was me as a teenager, which is kind of a frightening thought – especially if you’re my parents! But I was very, very sassy and smart-alecky. Didn’t take any crap off of anybody, I was kind of a tough kid. So I really think that’s sort of where Elvira, the character of Elvira, came from. And then combine that with the costume background and there you have it!

And I know that Elvira definitely has that sexual slant, there’s no way around that, but at the same time she’s a good role model because if you think about when Elvira came out, she’s a strong woman and she’s not putting up with any crap, and a lot of girls needed to see that.

I think Elvira is a very, very good role model. I know it sounds a little twisted sometimes, because there she is with everything hanging out, but I think it’s important that Elvira is sexy, and she’s not ashamed of her sexuality or who she is. She’s a woman, and it’s kind of like “she’s got it so she flaunts it.” And she’s strong and confidant, and I think she really does make a good role model for young girls. I get tons of mail from teenage girls and girls in their twenties saying “You were my role model growing up,” and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I don’t either. I think it’s a good thing.

Assertive, strong, sexy personality, and I think you could certainly do worse as far as role models go. You could be into Britney Spears or Paris Hilton – that’d be worse!

Well that’s one question I had down for you too – it was down [for later] but since you touched on that: I noticed that your star rating has really jumped out and you’re really hitting close to number one. How do you feel about that – really reaching out to …

Where’s that?!? What rating??

IMDB – Internet Movie Database – They have profiles on thousands and thousands of celebrities, and they rank you, and you’re ranking has shot up sky high!

Well they always get my age wrong – which really makes me crazy!

Do they get that wrong? Well you might want to tell them!

Oh I’ve told them a hundred times – they never change it! They say I’m 58, and I’m 56 years old. And the bad thing that always embarasses me is that everybody knows I graduated in 1959, so that would not only make me old, but really stupid ’cause I would have graduated when I’m 20!

Well we looked on your starmeter, and of course every Halloween, you know it gets close to Halloween and your rating always goes up. But this year… You are way up there, so that means you’re reaching out not just to us, because I’m a little bit older, but to the new generation.

I tell you, I have noticed lately, when I go somewhere it is mainly the kids, teenagers and young kids, who are really into the Elvira character. It used to be people more my age, and I was going “Oh my god, my whole fanbase is gonna die off!!” And that’s kind of why I am doing The Search for the Next Elvira show, because I think that really the character has become an icon, and is very much engrained into popular culture, and anybody who’s under 30 has grown up in a world with Elvira, always, she’s always been there. So I think they think of her more like they think of Santa Claus, in a way; an icon that is synonymous with a national holiday.

I think it also comes back to what you were saying: You are a positive role model, and there are so many negative role models out there for girls right now. You are one of very few positive role models that is not boring by any stretch of the imagination! You’re postive and fun, and that’s a really hard combination, and when people see that I think they just latch on to it. You’re just a class act, and that’s something that is very rare today out in Hollywood.

[laughs] Well let me tell you, it’s hard for me to be called classy too. When I’m called classy, then you know the rest of them are really worthless! Yeah, now we’re in trouble!!

Well, yeah, but in the movies, Elvira is always such a nice person. Elvira’s never rude or witchy with anybody unless they deserve it. Elvira helps the community and all that.

Only to people who really deserve it. And she really does, even though she’s got this tough exterior, she really kind of does have a little soft spot in her heart, and does try to help out people when they need it, you know? And also, one of the things I’ve done over the years very very strongly and haven’t ever swayed from this, is whenever I do a project or a film or whatever, when Elvira really gets into trouble, she always gets herself out. Even though she’s always got a hunky boyfriend around, he’s never the one that bails her out, he doesn’t come and rescue her. She saves herself, and usually him too.

What is Elvira’s all-time favorite horror flick – you’ve seen them all!

Oh boy! Well those fall into different categories, you know? … I tend to like, the old, low-budget, kind of cheesy black-and-white films from the fifties and sixties. I really have a thing for those kind of movies. I mean, I love horror films too, but nowadays, I don’t know. There haven’t been a lot of horror films for a while that I really want to see. Certainly, I don’t think that movies like Saw II and Saw IV and Hostel or those types of movies are horror movies. I don’t think they’re what horror movies are supposed to be.

I call them “gore movies.”

I think they are their own category. I don’t what the hell you want to call them; maybe you want to call them the six o’clock news. I don’t know… To me, a horror movie is still kind of the old definition. And that’s like a fantasy, where there’s a fantasy character, or a metaphysical character, whether it has to do with ghosts, vampires, or any fantasy character, communing with the dead, zombies, that type of thing. A character that, if you go out in the street you’re not going to run into that character, and he’s not going to kill you, you know? So anyway, I’m going all off here, but in the cheesy world of film, I think my favorite, doesn’t get any better/worse movie, is Plan 9 From Outer Space with Ed Wood. I just love that film – I think it’s brilliantly bad! And as far as really good movies, good horror movies, I don’t know – I still like the classics. I like the [Bram Stoker’s] Dracula movie that Coppola did not long ago; I like The Hunger with Catherine Deneuve that was out I think in the early 80’s; and I still, I went and saw The Exorcist not that long ago, and it’s still the scariest damn movie ever! It just scared the hell out of me! I couldn’t even, I could hardly sit through it! And also I love Carrie – oh my god Carrie was one of my favorite favorite all time movies.

What do you think about all the remakes that are happening right now?

Well I haven’t seen one so far that I thought beat the original, that’s for sure. My favorite movie as a child was House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price, and I went to the remake of that just because I love that movie so much, and I thought it wasn’t nearly as scary, nearly as exciting – nothing. It was just blah! The first one still holds up as really really scary and creepy. Even though it’s pretty cheesy by today’s standards, and pretty low budget, and no special effects to speak of, it still has this real sense of creepiness and dread! It doesn’t show much happening – it’s still scare-filled.

I agree – that and a lot of the Alfred Hitchcock movies were the same.

Oh yeah, I like those – I love television, but lately I’ve been renting Twilight Zone for some reason for my daughter. She’s 13 and she’s just getting into that now, and there are some damn scary ones! They’re so short, and low-budget, and no special effects, and man they can scare the heck out of you! I think that what’s happening is, films in general and horror films, they’re becoming about how much money can you spend, and how many special effects can you do? And it just becomes a special effects movie, which to me is just, whoop-dee-doo.

Sometimes the mind-scare is better than the special effects scare?

Yeah. What happens in your own mind is a lot better, even when it comes to a book, like, I think the scariest book I ever read in my life was [Stephen King’s] The Shining… And the movie, although I like the movie, didn’t get you half as scared as what the book could do, as it’s going on in your own brain… Your imagination is the best source for everything.

Can we change tracks now and ask about the show a little bit?


As if anyone could replace you and be the next Elvira, there will will never be a next Elvira in real life! But we’re gonna give these girls a chance – so whoever wins …

I’m not replacing myself! Definitely I’m still being Elvira, but I really am taking a cue from Santa Claus, and adding additional Elviras. It’s funny, because now when I go out to appearances it is unbelievable how many people, and again 30 years old and under, say “Are you the real Elvira?” Well, YEAH! So I guess they think there’s a hundred of them out there!

Well they have to! We go to the cons, and the big example where we see a lot of you is at Dragon-Con in Atlanta, Georgia, which is one of the biggest fantasy cons out there. And there’s a ton of people out there that dress like you – they’re Elvira.

Well I guess that people are starting to think that they’re like Santa Claus – they’re all over the place!

Will the winner of this thing – is this gonna be likely a permanent gig for this person, or long-term gig, or is this probably going to become an annual competition, where you have, say, an apprentice for the following year?

Well you know, this is, it’s really a test right now. And so we don’t know. This person will have a year-long contract. And I imagine she will mainly be working next October, that’s when most of the gigs will come in. And we will try her out at that time in different public venues and see how it works. One of the things I’m working on is getting a mall, a shopping mall chain, involved and setting up a little scene, a little Halloween scene with a throne, at various shopping malls around the country, and sending my various Elvira look-a-likes out to pose for people, for photographs for Halloween. Like they do with Santa Claus and even the Easter Bunny now… And it will still be the “official” Elvira – and you can’t do that now, you can’t set up your own little thing and put your own little Elvira in there, because … then you’re in my territory, because I own the character.

Are there any early cuts from the show that you regret – you’d like to bring them back from the dead?

There were some! There were some girls that I, honestly, the more I see the shows, I wish I would have kept! A few of them, and I can’t give away too much because the show, the final episode hasn’t aired but, there were definitely some that I wished I hadn’t axed so early on. And of course it wasn’t entirely up to me, it wasn’t 100% my decision, it was all kind of decided by committee. I wish I would have fought a little harder for a few of them, because now I see them and I go “Oh, I should have kept them!” There were a lot of really good girls. And guys!

Well we’ve been calling in every night!

You are? Who are you voting for?

We’re voting for Jenny – and what we’d like to know is, if she wins are you going to buy her some breasts?

[laughs] Oh god! I have my special super-duper steel belted radial bra that I think we can really fix her up without surgery! I don’t think that’s going to be a problem with her! I love all three of the girls [who are] finalists; they’re just adorable. Each one has a different thing about them that I really like. I kind of wish I could combine all three of them – there are things I like from each one – into one Elvira. Then they really would be Elvira! Each one has their aspect, you know, that’s really good. Hard for me to know which one – I would be happy with any one of the three, they’re all adorable.

Well … of course with us being a website, most of our audience has also logged on to your website, or to the show’s website and watched the clips [there] … in addition to the show. And they asked these girls two questions: one, who is your nemesis, or arch-villain? And two, what army of animals would you use to take over the world? Is there a correct answer to those questions?

My answer to those questions? What was the first one again?

Who is your arch-enemy, or your nemesis?

Hmm, my arch enemy?

And the girls ranged from “nobody” to “Mary Poppins.”

Yeah, well there you go. I was thinking, somebody like, oh gosh who would it be? Somebody like Regis & Kelly… Oh god, my arch nemesis? Some goody-goody-two-shoes, I don’t know if there are any anymore? (assistant – what about Barbie??) Well I don’t know if I should say that, since they are doing my one-of-a-kind Barbie this weekend!

Oh yeah, we better we leave that off!

Yeah, better not put Barbie down! We love her too much now that she’s dressing up like Elvira!

Hey she’s got the proper body for it. She’ll make a good Elvira.

Yeah, she definitely will. Yeah, it’s a good fit! But I was thinking maye Pee-Wee Herman? Then we can have a giant mud-wrestling thing and see who takes over the world – me or Pee-Wee Herman, I don’t know.

Well my god I wanna watch that! Sell me a ticket! [laughing] I’m ready to come to that – I love him too!

I love him too, he and I, we’re very good friends, so … I guess I he and being arch-enemies would be very funny! Yeah, Pee-Wee Herman. We’ll have the big mud-wrestling contest and see who comes out on top! And for the army of animals, mine would definitely be cats, no doubt.

Black cats I guess?

No – any kind of cats, I know they’re capable of taking over the world.

And I guess the last thing, and we’ll wrap up here, is what’s the next big thing for Elvira – what have you got coming up?

Well … as soon as I wrap up this Halloween, I’m starting to work on a couple of different feature movie ideas I have that I would really like to get going. And they may take a while – one is, it has to do with my first movie, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, possibly creating a sequel. And the second idea is a movie called Queen of Halloween, which I plan to do animated so it could take a long time, but with the animation I’m going to always stay looking good!

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