I’m going to start this article off by admitting a bias: I love Elvira.
I don’t know why, exactly. But like blue-jeans, my love of comics, and that weird clicking sound in my jaw when I eat, Elvira has been around since my childhood with no sign of disappearing any time soon.
I remember as a kid seeing her in beer commercials, as well as hosting horror films on television. And while her appearance was definitely memorable, there was something about her that really made her stand out. Well, two things, actually. Look hard. See if you can find them.
These days I understand her appeal: despite her provocatively slutty appearance, Cassandra Peterson, the woman who plays Elvira, cleverly cultivated a non-threatening, goofy personality that cuts through the sex appeal and makes the character, well, a lot of fun.
Plus she has big boobs. That always helps.
So what’s Cassandra’s story? More than just a slammin’ bod, Peterson joined the well-respected comedy improv troupe the Groundlings in 1979, where she refined her comic skills that she’s so well-known for today. Shortly thereafter, she took a job as the hostess of horror movies on a local Los Angeles television station. She was such a success that she became the first horror host to be nationally syndicated, and soon the whole country knew who Elvira was.
This success led her to star in her very own movie, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, which she co-wrote, and it quickly became a staple of local programming around Halloween.
Since then she has been everywhere for almost three decades. She has starred in national commercials for Pepsi and Coors, made hundreds of appearances on talk shows and variety shows, and been a Halloween staple in America and abroad. According to her website, the Elvira costume is the most purchased female Halloween costume of all time. And wouldn’t you know, beneath all the vampy Elvira drag, there’s quite a lovely lady underneath.
Elvira even jumped on the reality show bandwagon in 2007 with The Search for the Next Elvira. But fear not, fans, this was not an indication that she was ready to slow down, merely a way to find other Elviras to make live appearances. After all, there’s no replacing the real deal.
All signs point to the fact that Elvira is still in the thick of her career. She’s carved quite a unique niche in the entertainment world: she’s sexy without being threatening, and surrounded by spooky things but is never truly morbid. She’s adorable and clever, and I for one think we could all use a little more Elvira in our lives.