What’s been your strangest fan encounter?
Elvira: There was a girl who came up to me and said, “Oh, Elvira, I’ve been waiting to meet you, and I’ve been practicing this for so long.” Then she took out a 2-by-4 and nailed her tongue to it.
When was the last time, or the first time, you were starstruck?
I’ve been starstruck just a few times. Let’s see … with Michael Jackson. Then Jack White of The White Stripes, who I’m a big fan of and who does a song for my new show. And Ann-Margret. I ran into her again recently, and I’m just as starstruck over her as when I was about 13 years old. She’s such a cool lady.
If you’re at a magazine rack and you can pick three magazines, which ones do you pick?
Fangoria, MOJO and House Beautiful.
If you could only have three shows on your TV, what would they be?
True Blood. That’s my Elvira side coming out. I also like Top Chef and Lockdown. You learn so much from those.
Other than the Elvira suit, what’s your favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
I’ve worn a lot because my mom ran a costume shop, so I dressed up as everything you can imagine. Maybe my favorite was dressing as [Jeannie from] I Dream of Jeannie a hundred years ago when I was about 12. I found that costume gives you lots of attention, so I got into this business.
When did you know that the Elvira persona was going to come to define your career?
It was about a month after I started. It was like, “Holy moly, this is happening.” I never would have dreamed it would happen, and then, really, like three or four weeks [after starting to wear it] — which happened to be right around Halloween — I was getting invited to everybody’s birthday party, bar mitzvah, you name it. I go, “Oh, my God, this thing is taking off.”
Do you ever foresee a time when you won’t be Elvira?
It looks like I’m going to do it till I drop, because every decade, or every big birthday, I say I’m not going to do it anymore. And then I keep doing it! So, I have no idea. Mae West did it till she was 82, so I’ve got a couple of years left to go.
What are the main traits that make a movie a good fit for Elvira’s Movie Macabre?
They have to be really crappy — I mean, classic. They have to be black-and-white, and they have to be shot for a budget of less than $1.59.
Elvira (a.k.a. Cassandra Peterson) is back on TV introducing so-bad-they’re-good horror movies (e.g. Werewolf of Washington, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter) on her syndicated show Elvira’s Movie Macabre. Check your local listings.
Here are the movies included on this season of Elvira’s Movie Macabre:
Night of the Living Dead
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
Giant Gila Monster
Scared to Death
Werewolf of Washington
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
The Satanic Rites of Dracula
I Eat Your Skin
Don’t Look in the Basement
Teenagers From Outer Space
Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter
Wild Women of Wongo
Bucket of Blood
Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric
Beast From the Haunted Cave
The Killer Shrews
Monsters From a Prehistoric Planet
Attack of the Giant Leeches
Manos, the Hands of Fate