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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:

The films have the examples of:

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)


  • Absurdly Powerful School Jurisdiction: a school faculty makes the decision to expel any student caught associating with Elvira.
  • Action Dress Rip: Happens off-screen during the climax as the Big Bad chases Elvira.
  • Artistic License – Military: Apparently in the film's universe, you can by rocket launchers at Army Surplus stores, as Elvira take one out of such a store and shoots Talbot with it not that it does any good
  • Asshole Victim: Vincent turns Chastity, Cobb, and Glotter into pigs. Considering how they treated Elvira (including trying to get her burned at the stake at the end), they completely deserve it. Better yet, we never see them again, implying they stayed pigs permanently.
  • 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played straight Elvira's ring. Oddly subverted with the dagger she always has affixed to her chest. Despite wearing it in every scene she never uses it (either as a weapon or some kind of plot device.)
  • 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!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The scene where she gets Tarred And Feathered is pretty obviously meant to resemble the infamous "blood scene" in Carrie, as, like with Carrie, Elvira is finally having things go her way for once, only to have it ruined it get humiliated by some jealous asshole.
  • 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.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The whole story is one long example: after being fired by her Slimeball boss for not giving him sexual favors, she heads to Fallwell to get an inheritance, only to find out it's just a decrepit house, a dog, an a "recipe book". Eventually, Chastity Pariah gets the whole town to hate her (although the kids still seem to like her). This gets to its worst when her Evil Uncle Vincent turns out to be a wanna-be Evil Sorcerer, who wants the book (which is really a spellbook) and tries to get her burned at the stake. She manages to get free and destroy him, but her house is ruined. Thankfully the town decided they were wrong about her and start being nice. Even better, she inherits Vincent's stuff now that he's gone, and can finally get a show in Las Vegas (which she wanted all along).
  • 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-Detecting Dog: Gonk growls at Uncle Vincent.
  • Evil Is Petty: Taken Up to Eleven with Patty. The whole reason she hates Elvira (and even tries to help burn her to death)? she's mad that Elvira has bigger boobs than she does.
  • Evil Uncle: Elvira's material uncle, Vincent Talbot.
  • Familiar: Algonquin the poodle (aka Gonk) is revealed to be one.
  • Fiction Isn't Fair: The whole story is kicked off by her getting fired by her Slimeball boss for not giving him sexual favors. Obviously, this would be a major act of sexual harassment in real life and she could sue his ass off (and likely win easily, as there were several witnesses and he wasn't at all subtle about it.) Of course then there would be no movie.
  • Fun-Hating Villain: The whole "Morality Club" in Basically, they hate her precisely because she's fun and sexy, and they see that as a threat to their way of life.
  • 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.
  • Homage: To the Roger Corman B-movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. They even went to Corman's old company, New World Pictures, so they could use footage from some of the movies they had. Elvira even says to Bob at one point "Haven't you ever seen any old Roger Corman movies?" when he express confusion over a familiar.
  • 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?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Calling Elvira nice would be a pretty big stretch, as she's often sarcastic and crude. She's still basically a good person, though.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Happens twice to the Morality Club, the first when Elvira tries to give the magic food, It's meant to turn into monsters but instead makes them all really horny and start spontaneously taking their clothes off. Later, near the end, the leaders of the Morality Club go up to Talbot and say they are still on his side. He decides he doesn't need them anymore and turns them into pigs (which is implied to be permanent as we never see them again after). As pigs are often associated with dirtiness, this seems like an especially fitting fate for them.
  • 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: A subtle example: at the Morality Club meeting one of the members talks about how Elvira had half the teenagers in town "writhing around to that jungle music". Said song is "Shout" by The Isley Brothers...
  • 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.
    • Elvira goes all Rambo during the climax.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Fallwell seems like a nice town at first, but most of the inhabitants are pretty big jerks who are mean to Elvira just because she doesn't "fit in"
  • 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
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When a gas station she was just at massively explodes early in the film, she just briefly glances back and reacts like it's an everyday occurrence.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The film is very lighthearted and deliberately cheesy, while Talbot is a sister murdering Evil Sorcerer who tried to kill Elvira as baby and almost gets her burned at the stake.
  • 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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