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Yes, it’s that Madame of Macabre, Vixen of Violence, Queen of Kitsch, that Mistress of the Dark known as Elvira (aka, Cassandra Peterson), and she’s back to captivate the distorted minds of fantasy and horror fans on a weekly basis.
If you survived the ‘80s, there’s no doubt you either stumbled upon or were a fan of late-night television’s Elvira Mistress of the Dark’s Movie Macabre. And, finally, after 22 years of being dearly missed the quirky, creepy, sexy, and always electric Elvira is haunting our airwaves once again – with black nails, B movies, big hair, and bigger… plunging neckline and all. While we’ve had smatterings of her here and there through the years, perhaps it was her reality TV series from 2008, The Search for the Next Elvira, that ignited the comeback and the demand for Movie Macabre. And since the horror movie “hostess with the mostest” is helming the new Movie Macabre, it’s safe to say that there will never be a next Elvira. There can only be one. Hell, trying to replace her would be like running a contest for the next planet Earth.
On her coming back from the dead, which, by the way, is the premise of her debut episode, Elvira says, “I have to admit, even after doing two movies, my Number One love is hosting horror films. Always has been, always will be. I mean, doing the reality show was fun, and I enjoyed being on it, but hosting is really what I want to do.” We honestly couldn’t encourage her more.
So, what’s the appeal of Elvira, besides the obvious? Elvira is pushing 60, so the original appeal has likely changed, replaced by one of nostalgia and respect for her craft, witchcraft that is. Aside from exposure to some B-movie classics, what Elvira really gives us is a sense of acceptance, a sense of belonging, and a sense of everything is all right.
Whether you’re the popular jock with underlying self-esteem issues or the sweaty kid with Coke-bottle glasses and a pocket protector or the post-secondary guy with a ponytail that should have been cut off 10 years ago who still plays Magic, Elvira makes you feel welcome. Here’s a busty woman with a twisted sense of humor who likes low-budget film who could have easily had a career in a more mainstream setting emphasizing her sexy elements (think Christina Hendricks of Mad Men), yet she prefers catering to a niche horror market from the comfort of her sofa. What more does anyone need but the reinforcement of do what makes you happy?
Just a note, Cassandra Peterson did start out down that mainstream road, becoming the youngest Las Vegas showgirl after graduating high school and appearing in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds are Forever.
The world just seems like a better place with Elvira in it.
On September 25th, the “debut” season of Movie Macabre kicked off with one of the best of the best, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. The rest of the season is filled with 25 films resurrected (handpicked) by Elvira from the public domain. But she hasn’t just gone out and grabbed what was free, despite a low-budget show featuring low-budget movies, she’s also remastering them and producing the show.
Other films she’s shown so far include The Terror, The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, The Giant Gila Monster, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Scared to Death, The Werewolf of Washington, Eegah, and Teenagers from Outer Space. Check your local listings for what’s coming up.
Also, check out Elvira’s official site, Elvira.com.