The Q&A

The Queen of Halloween

Mandi Bierly chats with Elvira -- a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson -- about today's horror movies, her dream costar, her reality show idea, and more

PETERSON'S MUSEUM Six classic episodes of the Elvira's Movie Macabre series finally have been exhumed from the vault for DVD release
Image credit: Elvira: Paul Smith / Featureflash / Retna
PETERSON'S MUSEUM Six classic episodes of the Elvira's Movie Macabre series finally have been exhumed from the vault for DVD release

For 25 years, Elvira has been the unofficial Grand Marshal of Halloween. Finally, the series that made her famous, Elvira's Movie Macabre, has hit DVD with the release of six titles: Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, Count Dracula's Great Love, Legacy of Blood, The Devil's Wedding Night, The Doomsday Machine, and Werewolf of Washington. (She's hosting new screenings of more campy horror films for Comcast On Demand through Nov. 15.) How long will actress Cassandra Peterson remain the Mistress of the Night? Oh, as if you'd even want her to stop.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us something we don't know about Elvira.
CASSANDRA PETERSON: It would be horrible if people knew that Elvira loves watching that reality show where the person is really broke or their husband left them, and they get a brand new house. What's that show?

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition?
I watch that and cry. I try not to turn on the TV so I don't accidentally find it. Mostly, I'm just sitting around watching really bad horror movies. All my time gets taken up watching this crap — I mean, these classic films.

What do you think of today's horror resurgence?
There hasn't been a movie in quite a long time that I categorize as a true horror movie. I don't consider slasher movies horror movies. There was House of Wax with Paris Hilton — but I call that a comedy. The last fantastic horror movie, I think, was The Sixth Sense.

Which of your new DVDs should we pop in first?
I'll tell you, Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks is a real winner. It's funny — the first year, I didn't really quite a have a handle on the Elvira character. She started out really slow and slutty. And I became fast and slutty. [Laughs] No, I became fast and edgier. What's also funny is that I can sorta tell the year by the height of my hair. Like in 1981, my hair is so flat. In 1982, it starts getting bigger. By 1987, my hair is so damn high I look like a conehead. Then I have to bring it down, and finally it evens out to be the normal Elvira hairdo that we know and love.

What's one of your favorite wrap-arounds?
There's one where I'm singing a song that we wrote called ''Cubicle of Love.'' It was for the movie [The Doomsday Machine]. They were kept captive in a spaceship, in a small cubicle, and then they fell in love in there, so we wrote the theme song. [Sings] ''Here I am, in my cubicle of love.'' Oh my God, it's so stupid and embarrassing, but funny at the same time. I'm assuming people were laughing at me, not with me.

What would be Elvira's dream role?
I would love for Tim Burton and I to team up on an Elvira project. I have it all together. I'll just tell you the title: The Queen of Halloween. I came so close to having him direct my first film, Mistress of the Dark. Pee-wee Herman was also trying to get him for Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and Tim went with Pee-wee because he was backed by a major studio and they offered Tim more money. I did get a small part in that, as myself, because I'm a good friend of Paul Reubens'.

Anyone else Elvira would kill to work with?
Well, obviously, Brad Pitt would not be a bad choice. He never goes out of style. It would probably be some kind of an S&M thing, where he's the S and she's the M. It would involve a lot of ropes and things.

You're shopping around a reality show in which you would search for a second Elvira, a sanctioned ''helper.'' What would her duties entail?
She'd be someone to go out and do all the jobs that don't pay me enough. [Laughs] I get a lot of job offers, and I can't be everywhere, kinda like Santa Claus.

So how much longer will you be Elvira?
I just wondered about that again yesterday. [Laughs] I had a certain birthday that was a cutoff, and then I went past that. And then another five years, I had that birthday be the cutoff — but here I am, still doing it. I just don't know. Really, I don't want to be like 85 years old doing this — just the cleavage alone will scare people.

Originally posted Oct 30, 2006
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