When it comes to horror pop culture figures, none can quite cast their shadows on Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. As seen on the TV program, Elvira’s Movie Macabre, this wickedly alluring hostess introduced B-class horror and science fiction movies by providing viewers with commentary and jokes. Known for her cleavage-revealing charcoal gown, onyx-colored wig, and sarcastic sense of humor, Elvira expanded her fame in the years to follow with Mistress of the Dark collectibles taking their place in horror history. Played by the beloved performer Cassandra Peterson, there are many devilish facts that horror aficionados still don’t know about her. So, we’re here to offer up some ghoulish trivia!
#1: Her mom owned a costume shop
Growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Peterson found herself drawn to horror-themed memorabilia from a young age. Perhaps that attraction was fueled by her mother, who was the owner of a local costume shop? Not only did she model a variety of eccentric outfits, but she also enjoyed dressing up as popular TV characters from the era, such as Ginger from Gilligan’s Island and Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke!
#2 She was badly burnt as a toddler
At two years of age, Peterson climbed onto a chair to reach the stove, pulling over a pot of boiling water that left her permanently disfigured. Suffering third-degree burns on a third of her body, she required skin grafts on her neck and shoulders to cope with her early injury. Since kids can be cruel, she was often bullied about her condition, leading her to wittingly make fun of herself to cope. In later years she would use her self-deprecating humor to triumph as her character, Elvira Mistress of the Dark!
#3 She had her own line of comic books
In the ‘80s, DC published a series called Elvira’s House of Mystery. It lasted 11 issues and was later purchased by Claypool who re-dubbed the series Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. This series ran for 14 years with 166 issues.
#4 She starred in movies as well
From 1981 to 1986, Elvira was the host of Movie Macabre, but in 1988, she made a film of her own. Directed by James Signorelli, the movie gave her character a little backstory. Following the inheritance of a small New England property, Elvira’s provocative and dark demeanor clashes with the locals. Since this horror installment had a mix of reviews for its time, having made only $5.6 million, it was quickly removed from the screen, but that didn’t stop Peterson from staring in other horror films such as Jekyll and Hyde… Together Again, All About Evil, and more recently, In Search of Darkness.
Do you have fond memories of watching Elvira on your TV or did you discover her charm later on after you became more interested in the horror genre? Drop a comment below to share.