The Queens of Halloween: Elvira

In a brand new series of articles I am putting together, I wanted to introduce you all briefly to the "Queens of Halloween" - the iconic horror characters who carved out a world dripping in dark fabulousness. Today's spotlight comes out the coffin with Elvira, the fictional horror hostess played by American actress Cassandra Peterson.

With the tagline "Mistress of the Dark", Elvira appeared on her own TV show Elvira's Movie Macabre in the 50's in a revealing, black, cleavage-enhancing gown, making her way into gothic hearts everywhere with her vampish appearance, quirky and quick-witted personality, and rampant sexuality.

Elvira's Movie Macabre was a show that was created to replace a horror show called Fright Night, which ceased to air after the death of the host Larry Vincent. Peterson and her friend came up with the sexy punk/vampire look that ended up garnering a cease and desist letter from the original host of the show Maila Nurmi, who quit when her friend would not be cast in the show. The cease and desist court order was ruled in favour of Elvira, who indicated she had based her look off Morticia Addams instead.

Elvira's campy humour, sex appeal and good-natured self-mockery meant that she soared to popularity. Adopting flippant tones and a satirical, sarcastic edge to her commentary, Elvia frequently would drop risque double ententes and jokes about her cleavage.

The character of Elvira soon evolved into an obscure cult figure and lucrative brand, cashing in on things such as costumes, comic books, action figures, Halloween decor and dolls. DC Comics distributed a series called Elvira: Mistress of the Dark which ran for 166 issues, and three Elvia based novels have been published since 1996. Eventually her film Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was released in 1988 before the sequel Elvira's Haunted Hills was shot in Romania in November 2000. She later began work on a home video hosting series called ThrillerVideo. Despite the character being introduced in the early 1980's, Elvira is still very much so alive and kicking today! The quintessential symbol of all things spooky, Elvira has carved out a niche in popular culture that is sure to endure for decades to come.

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