As a horror movie host, actual film star, and all-around spooky icon, Elvira has become the face of Halloween. This October, the sultry siren of scares is raising pulses with her Elvira’s Danse Macabre show at Knott’s Scary Farm and has also published a photograph retrospective, Elvira—Mistress of the Dark, which is available from Tweeterhead Publishing.
But what horror film would Cassandra Peterson, the actress who created the Elvira character and has now played her for 35 years, recommend readers watch this Halloween? The answer is the same movie which got her hooked on horror in the first place: 1959’s William Castle-directed, Vincent Price-starring big screen scare machine, House on Haunted Hill.
“My cousin took me to House on Haunted Hill when I was about in second grade,” says Peterson. “And I fell in love with the movie and Vincent Price. He was my new hero. My parents were very unhappy that my cousin had taken me because I had nightmares for about a month afterwards. But I was both appalled by it, and fixated on horror, and begged my cousin to take me to more of those films. And that’s when Vincent Price was in a big run of films loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe, like The Raven and Tomb of Ligeia — oh my god, all those fantastic films. So, I started going to those films and Hammer Films. I just ate it up. Next thing I was reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, then I was begging for the little statues that you got to paint of Dracula, and the Werewolf, and the Mummy. So, I really really got into horror as a kid. House on Haunted Hill is still really creepy. I saw it again not long ago and I think it really holds up. They did remake of it which sucked. The original is wonderful and, of course, you really can’t beat Vincent Price, when it comes to spooky.”
You can see the trailer for House on Haunted Hill and for Elvira’s Danse Macabre, below.