Halloween is a time to celebrate all things horror, including the ladies of horror. And there is one fine lady of horror I always think about this time of year. The Mistress of the Dark Elvira. She is one of many female icons that represent the sexy side of the creatures of the night. And no one but Elvira can make a beehive hairdo still look hot these days. she's friggen awesome.
Elvira was created in 1981 (which is the year of my birth btw) when she was asked to be a local Hollywood horror movie hostess. She was tossed into the role, and with her wit and charm, she made the character of Elvira become real. The Queen of Halloween was born, and viewers tuned in late nights to watch terrible horror movies on the show Movie Macabre.
There is no denying the similarities between Elvira and Vampira. That was done on purpose. They tried to revive the Vampira show back then, but things fell through and they ran into complications. Because of this they needed a new female hostess with the mostess. And though Elvira looked similar and had some catch phrases that sounded close to Vampira's, in the end Elvira was her own creature. It was Cassandra Peterson that made the creature Elvira truly her own thing. Vampira didn't have the same kind of sassy, silly personality that Elvira did. Cassandra was just having fun in the role. She knew she was coming from a campy horror world. She wasn't representing the serious side of horror. And she was okay with that.
Eventually the icon of Elvira grew to such epic proportions that she became a franchise. Books, movies, Halloween-themed ads, TV spots on other shows, dolls made in her image, and so much more spread through the media. She became a horror diva. And people knew what to expect with her and wanted her to bring it. A fun, campy romp through the world of horror and Halloween that would make you laugh your face off. She reminded people that the horror genre had many sides to it.
She is still a cult figure within the horror genre, and is invited to many conventions in North America. I got the pleasure to meet her once at Festival of Fear when I was working it. Festival of Fear is a convention in Toronto Canada run by Rue Morgue Magazine. You can meet tons of horror icons there. I met Cassandra at the same convention I met my hero Clive Barker.
So I tip my hat to you Mistress of the Dark! May your image continue to remind us what Halloween is about!
Also, if you'd like to see some fun videos of Elvira, she's got a whole bunch up on her site. Go check them out!