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Creator / Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

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"You'll always be my mistress
The Queen of Halloween
Haunting every midnight
On my TV screen
If I die tomorrow
Or a zombie eats my brain
I'll raise myself up from the dead
Just to sing your name!"
Ghoultown, "Mistress of the Dark"

When you hear the name "Elvira", one thing immediately comes to mind:note  the quick-witted valley girl, Halloween icon, and quintessential symbol of all things spooky: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

She was born Cassandra Peterson on September 17, 1951. She spent the 1970s struggling to make it as an actress, appearing as an extra in films like Diamonds Are Forever and Federico Fellini's Roma. In 1981, she hit the big time. Adopting the stage name "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark", she became the first nationally syndicated Horror Host, and emerged as one of the most original and outrageous characters in popular culture, with a large cult following. The movies featured on Elvira's Movie Macabre, her first show, were always B grade (or lower) and Elvira often enjoyed interrupting the movie to lampoon the actors, the script, and the bad editing. In 1995, TNBC had her star in Attack of the Killer B Movies, which followed suit but also had co-stars such as Dustin Diamond joining her in the riffing in an attempt to attract younger viewers. The movies, themselves, were also greatly cut for time and colorized.


Elvira's reign as "Queen of Halloween" has now spanned over thirty years and includes two feature films, an IMAX film and 2 motion control rides. She has appeared in national ad campaigns for Pepsi and Coors, recorded 5 music CDs, published 4 books and licensed over 400 products, including two pinball machines, two video games, BC Rich guitars, three comic book series, Elvira’s Night Brew beer, Evil perfume (recently followed by Vamp, Zombie, and Black Roses), gourmet soft drinks, "hosted" a supplement for the horror role-playing game Chill, and a slot machine from IGT. Elvira also boasts the best selling female costume of all time.

She doesn't age.. And she's a natural redhead.


Mistress herself:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Her costumes typically feature cleavage slits going down to her navel.
  • Adorkable: Part of her popularity is that despite her sultry appearance she's as dorky as the fans tuning in.
  • Bawdy Song: 2 Big Pumpkins. So big!
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Especially the men in her movies.
  • Divine Date: Denies she worships the devil, but admits she dated him once.
  • Gag Boobs: Part of the costume, leading to such catchphrases as:
    The sassy lassy with the classy chassis!
    The girl who put the "boob" back in the "boob tube!"
    The gal with the enormous... er, ratings!
    The peace (piece) that everyone's dying to rest in!
  • Guest Host: In 2004, she hosted an E! True Hollywood Story episode devoted to Scream Queens.
  • Horror Host: The first nationally syndicated one.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her curvy figure and vampy looks have gained quite a following for someone who started out hosting horror movies in Los Angeles.
  • Older Than They Look: Cassandra Peterson was born on September 17, 1951. One big advantage of playing a character who uses a ton of makeup is that you never show your age. Even out of costume, however, Cassandra Peterson is still looking pretty good.
  • Perky Goth: Pretty much the Ur-Example. Elvira, while dressed as a goth with the pale skin and black hair, is always chipper and upbeat and making terrible puns.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: As of Movie Macabre (2012), it's "What Can I Do?" by The Black Belles.
  • She's Got Legs: The Elvira costume stressed the Gag Boobs but also showed off her long legs.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase: "So, until next time... unpleasant dreams!"

The films have the examples of:

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

  • Action Dress Rip: Happens off-screen during the climax as the Big Bad chases Elvira.
  • Betty and Veronica: Mean girl Patty (Betty) and newcomer Elvira (Veronica) are this when both women compete for the affections of Bob (Archie), who takes a liking to Elvira.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Elvira doesn't quite demolish it in this film, but she certainly leaves a sizable hole (or a pair of them). Probably most memorably in the scene in which she learns the truth of her heritage, and she finally has sex with her Love Interest. During the Fade to Black Elvira looks right at the audience smirks as she pulls Bob down with her.
  • Bucket Booby Trap: Elvira gets this when she pulls one rope on the bucket and causes tar and feathers to fall down on her during her Flashdance to the song "Maniac".
  • Burn the Witch!: Chastity Pariah's bunch (no thanks to Uncle Vincent) invoke this trope on Elvira.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Patty is this to Bob despite the fact that they're not even dating each other nor is he interested in her.
  • Combat Stilettos: Subverts the old trope about female victims running from slasher-movie villains, then tripping and falling (and then being killed) due to high heels... Elvira throws her stiletto heels as weapons.
  • Cool Car: Elvira's Macabremobile. Later reappears on Counting Cars.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Elvira is many things that may not correlate with goody-goody, but she's nowhere near a bad person... unlike the Gossipy Hens.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Not in the film itself, but commented on during the beginning with the B movie.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Every guy in town who sees Elvira!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Makes up half of Elvira's dialogue.
  • Double Entendre: Makes up the other half of Elvira's dialogue.
  • Do Wrong, Right: When the town's sheriff prepares with the rest of the townspeople to burn Elvira at the stake, Patty stops him, telling him that what he's doing is wrong... and even Elvira's surprised that her rival wants to help save her. Unfortunately, Patty then tells them that "It'll catch faster if you light it in several places..." and proceeds to speed up the lighting of the fire by moving her torch all over it, much to Elvira's shock. Patty then finishes and as the townspeople join in, yells "BURN IN HELL, WITCH!" and smiles evilly.
  • Erotic Eating: As Elvira heads to Falwell, guess where the hot dog lands when it slides out of the bun...
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Well one teenage girl, Robin, couldn't help but stare at Elvira from legs to chest. Elvira doesn't seem to mind.
  • Evil Uncle: Elvira's material uncle, Vincent Talbot.
  • Familiar: Algonquin the poodle (aka Gonk) is revealed to be one.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When she goes to the bowling alley:
      Elvira: Bloody Mary.
      Barmaid: No hard liquor served past eight o'clock. Do you want a virgin?
      Elvira: Maybe, but, ah... I'll have a couple of drinks first.
    • When she's taking the extra "E" down from the word "Matinee", she accidentally covers up the lower part of the "E" with her hand, which makes it look like an "F", and when she tries to hold it into place next to the "-uck" in "How to -uck", Chastity Pariah is shocked when she mistakes it for something else.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: In a flashback her mother is shown dropping the infant Elvira off at a convent to protect her from the convoluted magical politics in their family. This was less than successful, in the end. Elvira is many things, but normal? Not so much.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Patty, who also suffers from A-Cup Angst.
  • Groin Attack: Elvira does this to a real estate broker who gets too grabby for his own good!
  • Helping Hands: The teens of Falwell who help the voluptuous vamp rebuild her house.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Mr. Cobb calls Elvira a "floozy", Chastity Pariah has this to say:
    Chastity: Please, I don't think we need to resort to name calling. I think what Calvin is trying to say is that this Elvira is a person of easy virtue, a purveyor of pulchritude, a one-woman Sodom and Gomorrah, if you will. A slimy, slithering succubus, a concubine, a street walker, a tramp, a slut, a cheap whore!
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Inverted when Patty confronts Elvira:
    Patty: Seems to me it's all this cheap little tart's fault.
    Elvira: Cheap? Who are you callin' cheap? What's that perfume you're wearing, Catch of the Day?
  • Knight of Cerebus: Downplayed with Uncle Vinnie, who's The Comically Serious and doesn't show much in the way of a sense of humor, and he nearly gets Elvira burned alive, thus posing the most serious threat. But once he acquires the book, he uses his magic to transform the leaders of the town Moral Guardians into pigs.
  • Lethal Chef: Elvira mistakes the spellbook for a cookbook, and when she tries to make the "Abraca Casserole", it turns into an Alien-esque monster that (unsuccessfully) tries to eat Bob.
  • Lover Tug-of-War: Bob in the middle between Elvira and Patty.
  • Mama's Boy: The hotel manager, Leslie Meeker; Mrs. Meeker, the older woman smoking a cigarette at the hotel desk is actually his elderly mother.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Chastity Pariah the Moral Guardian.
    • Leslie Meeker, the milquetoast hotel manager with a domineering, shrewish mother.
  • Moral Guardians: Chastity Pariah and the town council.
  • MST: Elvira and Bob play Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! for the kids one night at the theater, with Elvira lounging on a couch in front of the screen while riffing on the film live.
  • Noodle Incident: We never see what the hitch-hiking axe murderer tried to do to Elvira before he left the car...
  • Pet's Homage Name: This trope is used as one of many small gauges of Elvira's average smarts. Part of Elvira's Unexpected Inheritance is a poodle. Her great aunt, a powerful, savvy witch, named him Algonquin after the American Indian tribe. Elvira is much more Earthy and neither dumb or brainy, so she shortens his name to Gonk.
  • Shameful Strip: Elvira rips Patty's top off when she punches her — and exposes Patty as being flat chested to the entire town.
  • Shout-Out: When Elvira's driving along the highways, one of the signs reads "Now Leaving Kansas: The Land of Ah's"; Cassandra Peterson (who plays Elvira) is from Manhattan, Kansas.
  • Stock Footage: It Conquered the World and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! come to mind.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Elvira accidentally blows up a gas station on her way to Falwell.
  • Tar and Feathers: Elvira is tarred and feathered in a spoof of the movie Flashdance.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    "Sure, I'll do it for 50 bucks!"
    "Well, here's to my big opening. I mean..."
  • Transformation Sequence: Gonk transforms itself from a punker poodle to a rat (and then a pit bull!) to chew through the ropes that had Bob Bound and Gagged.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: The trope is applied twice. First, when Elvira got an inheritance from her Grand-Aunt, whose existence Elvira was completely oblivious to; and Second, when she inherited her Grand-Uncle's fortune. She had all reasons not to expect anything from him but, since she was his next of kin, and he never bothered with making a will, she inherited it all.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The license plate on Elvira's automobile reads KICKASS
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Vincent transforms Chastity Pariah, Harold Glotter, and Calvin Cobb into pigs and we're never shown what exactly happens to them following Vincent's defeat.
  • What's a Henway?: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is a Hurricane of Puns, but one of the most memorable is after the titular character has gotten hit on the head with a falling movie marquee letter:
    Bob: "How's your head?"
    Elvira: "Well, I've never had any complaints..."

Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001)

Alternative Title(s): Elvira Mistress Of The Dark


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