Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira character has captured the imagination of fans from around the world for decades, including wrestling fans who remember her appearance during the early stages of WrestleMania.
She is a pop culture icon.
So it makes sense the “Mistress of the Dark” will join other celebrity guests, comic book artists, cosplay personalities and pro wrestlers for the Shock Pop Comic Con Feb. 13-15 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
Peterson calls meeting fans the best part of her career.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I don’t say that to sound sappy. It’s so moving when people come up to share things about how I helped them when they were growing up. They felt odd and different. I was odd and different, and it was okay. I was a strong female role model to them. It seems strange, but in that world of pop culture Elvira has become a symbol for a strong, outspoken woman who is still sexy.
“There are a lot of strong, outspoken woman who look like Margaret Thatcher. Then there is me. So I think fans appreciate that. They also share stories of watching me with their mom, their dad or grandparents if they are really young. Or they watched me with someone who has since passed away. They see me with tears in their eyes and say, ‘You won’t believe how much it means for me to see you. I’ve watched your show every single week with my dad who passed away. It was our thing we did together. It’s very emotional for them and for me.”
The popular horror movie host has done many guest appearances during her career. This includes an appearance at WrestleMania II. That grand WWE spectacle emanated from three different cities. Elvira commentated with Jesse “The Body” Ventura and “Lord” Alfred Hayes during the West Coast portion from the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
“I hadn’t been watching wrestling for a long time,” Peterson said. “I grew up watching wrestling with my dad. It was our thing we used to do like some people grew up watching Elvira. We always watched wrestling together. So when they asked me to do commentary I was like, ‘Oh my God, yeah.’ Even though I hadn’t watched it in years, but I had a real soft spot for wrestlers and the genre. It was cool.
“Strangely, at the time I’ve been doing different conventions, I would always show up to conventions with wrestlers and heavy metal guitarists. That was who was at these conventions with me. It was really bizarre. In the very beginning days of these pop culture conventions, first it was car shows. Then it was these wrestlers and heavy metal artists and me. So there is this connection with wrestling and me.”
Elvira witnessed the steel cage match between WWE champion Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy. She fondly remembers the experience.
“I had a great time doing it,” Peterson said. “I met Jesse Ventura, who I really got along with great. I had a lot of fun with him. He was a cool guy. It was strangely right up Elvira’s alley. At first I was like, ‘Wow, what am I doing here?’ Then I found we have a lot more in common than you think…They kind of threw me in there. I didn’t know what the hell was going on. I met a lot of them afterward, but it was kind one of those gigs.
“I have met some really great wrestlers who I like a lot, but some of them were not that friendly. Jesse Ventura was super down-to-earth, friendly and charming. Some of them were not so much. Not Jesse. He was great.
“…Mick Foley, I see him all the time. We are always at conventions together. He is an adorable man. He is so funny and sweet. He gave me the children’s book he wrote when my daughter was little. She really loved it. He is a cool guy. He is one of the ones I do see often, and it’s always great to see him.”
There is no doubt Elvira exudes sex appeal, which has appealed to the male demographic. However, the vivacious vamp says people are surprised to find out she has a stronger female audience.
“I think males like the character for a couple of reasons,” she said. “There is also the humor. Female audiences like it just as much or more because she doesn’t take any guff from guys. She stands up for her opinion, even know it’s totally wrong and wacky most of the time. She believes in herself and tries hard and ultimately conquers.”
She is excited to return to South Florida. Peterson reflects on her days working on Miami Beach at the old Playboy Club during the 1970s. She was a dancer in the Las Vegas-like show “Fantasies of Love O’ Natural” for around six months beginning in February 1973. The women known for her movie “Elvira, Mistress of the Dark,” hosting Movie Macabre and guest spots in “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” has come a long way since then.
From pinball machines to comic books, the Elvira brand is everywhere. The “13 Nights of Elvira” on Hulu introduced the character to a new audience. She says the exposure led to having her best Halloween and Christmas, as far as licensing and merchandising, since 1989 when her movie was released. The conventions are where Peterson has signed all kinds of merchandise and tattoos.
“A lot of times before you can even say things, they’ve dropped their pants, and there is the tattoo of me,” she said. “One time a girl came up to me asking if I would sign her Elvira tattoo. I told her, ‘Sure.’ She was a fairly large girl. She turned around and dropped her pants. There was my face, very large. I’ve never seen my face that large anywhere. There I am standing over signing it. Things like this pop up. I’m always very cool about it.
“…I love my fans and love to meet them…I’ll be Elvira on Saturday and Cassandra Peterson the other days. It’s funny that some people like to see me in costume. Then there are a lot of people who like to see me out of costume because they haven’t seen the real me before. It’s a lot of fun.”
- Meet Cassandra Peterson, Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger), John Waters, Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid), Diamond Dallas Page, Jake The Snake Roberts and countless others at the Shock Pop Comic Con Feb. 13-15 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale.
For complete details,
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