Yes, Elvira, I’m angry at someone

But not you. I’ve long been a fan of Cassandra Peterson, AKA Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, because she’s goofy and kitschy and flamboyant and doesn’t take her persona at all seriously. Now she has come out, and revealed that she’s been in a same-sex relationship for almost 20 years, but was afraid to go public about it.

The two have been together for more than 19 years now, with Wierson taking on the role of Peterson’s assistant. They had to keep the relationship quiet because, as Peterson writes, the couple felt they had to protect the Elvira brand. “Would my fans hate me for not being what they expected me to be?” she shares in the book, adding, “I’m very aware that there will be some who will be disappointed and maybe even angry, but I have to live with myself, and at this point in my life, I’ve got to be truthful about who I am.”

And Peterson’s truth? She writes that she’s never been happier. “For the first time in my life,” she writes, “I’m with someone who makes me feel safe, blessed, and truly loved.”

Her fans would not hate her or be disappointed or angry with her for being her true self. The only disappointment is that we have to live in a culture that makes love something to be ashamed of.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    So I never really would’ve had a chance to serve as her grovelling love slave after all??!?

    sulks *

  2. WhiteHatLurker says

    Good for her – she’s had some tough times over her life, and it’s good to hear that she is in a good place now.

    And I completely agree that Elvira is an awesome character.

  3. PaulBC says

    I can’t say I ever gave a moment of thought to Elvira’s sexual orientation. But yeah, good for her.

    I grew up with Dr. Shock as the B-movie host in the Philly area. I wonder how many of these TV personas there were in the prime of rebroadcast B-movies. I also understand why Vampira would think Elvira stole her act, though I guess she lost the lawsuit.

  4. microraptor says

    There weren’t any such shows in my area (and my parents likely wouldn’t have let me watch them if there were), so my first exposure to Elvira was seeing her pinball game in an arcade.

  5. stroppy says

    Hey, why don’t we have regional horror hosts anymore?

    Svengoolie is still at it. He’s broadcast over the air Saturday nights on MeTV.


    The jokes are so corny, even I cringe, but he does seem to have a dedicated fan base.

  6. captainjack says

    On Friday late nights in Cleveland in the early 60’s, it was Ghoulardi in Shock Theater. The best part was when he used the early chroma key to put himself into the movies. He also made cracks about the movies on the breaks and during the movies. Mystery Science Theater 3000 took a few pages from his book.

  7. PaulBC says

    Though I understood the concept of a “horror host” I admit I did not know that was the term for it until today. I see there’s even a wikipedia page: It explains semi-plausibly why they exist while there are no “soap opera hosts” or “romantic-comedy hosts” as far as I know:

    In October 1957, Screen Gems released a bundle of old Universal horror movies to syndicated television, naming the collection “Shock!”.[1] They encouraged the use of hosts for the broadcasts. This is why many of the early programs were called “Shock Theater”. Viewers loved the package, as well as the concept, and ratings soared. A “Son of Shock!” package was released in 1958.[2]

    (but that was after Vampira, so I call shenanigans).

    For anyone who didn’t have a real horror host on their local station, there’s always SCTV’s Joe Flaherty as the fictitious Count Floyd (Scary stuff!)


    Hey, why don’t we have regional horror hosts anymore? It was a great tradition.

    Honestly, I don’t even have a clue what they show now on local stations. I’m not sure they show old movies at all, do they? Also MST3K may have killed off the genre (just another victim of GenX irony; yeah, my generation sucks and I know it).

    Funny thing about Dr. Shock. I was absolutely certain he had been part of the Philly TV scene forever. In fact his 10 year run from 1970 till his untimely death in 1979 simply coincided with my childhood TV-watching years. I really did look forward to seeing him and it added to the entertainment, corny humor and all.

  8. zagnut says

    Yeah, I’ve been a fan of Elvira from way back and learning that she is coming out doesn’t change the way I think about her at all, except that I’m glad she has been in a happy relationship for twenty years and I wish she had always been able to openly show it. I wish her all the good things.

  9. =8)-DX says

    @Pierce R. Butler #2
    Apparently she hasn’t found a comfortable label for herself, but it appears she is bisexual.

    Echoing PZ’s post and congrats to Cassandra “ELVIRA” Peterson!

  10. stuffin says

    I liked Svengoolie , but Elvira was better. Good for her, may all the best come her way and screw the people who decide not to like her because of the way she choose to love.

  11. maireaine46 says

    I’ve always loved Elvira, including her movie I saw years ago. I am so happy for her she found someone to truly love and be happy with. Anyone who can’t accept that is the one with the problem, not Elvira.

  12. stroppy says

    It explains semi-plausibly why they exist while there are no “soap opera hosts” or “romantic-comedy hosts”

    My theory is that the horror hosts format is an outgrowth of early children’s programing (before Sesame Street changed everything) but aimed at a slightly older demographic. Like a lot of early programming, the roots were in vaudeville or even earlier forms. And it does stick in my mind that well before MST3K there were a few sci-fi themed kid’s shows with hosts.

    Elvira, was in a class by herself with a slightly more sophisticated version of that outgrowth that skated by on her ironic, demure soubrette version of burly-Q.

    I occasionally look-in on Svengoolie. Though I usually can’t sit through more that a few minutes here and there. He does get interesting when he opines on the history of the show and why he’s the last horror host standing– that and the movie trivia which I also find interesting.

  13. jenorafeuer says

    Honestly, my first exposure to Elvira was on an early ‘blooper reel’ show from the early 1980s, I think. We’re talking the ‘Real People’/’That’s Incredible’ sort of TV era, well before ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’. Elvira came in, in full costume and mostly in-character, and showed off some of the blooper reels from her own show. Having grown up in Canada and definitely not in a location where I’d had her show available on the air, it was the first time I’d seen her, but she certainly seemed to be having so much fun with it, and quite obviously wasn’t self-conscious about things.

    Of course, thinking about it later, it was obvious that doing shows like the blooper reel shows were a marketing approach to expand out beyond her local market, and it very definitely worked.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    John Morales @ 7
    When the Sky Channel (or maybe it was the Super Channel) launched its satellite TV service in Europe, they resurrected the Deadly Ernest show (it was in color, so it was not simply a re-hash of earlier series) with the same concept of commentary of really, really bad horror films.
    This might have been my gateway drug to God Awful Movies.
    Btw we did not get to see Elvira but she looks cool.
    Speaking of GAM, they have introduced me to horror films from all over the world. I feel a little racist when I laugh at West African or Indian horror films, but Jeez they are bad (hums the theme of “Vultures of Horror”).

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Unintentional comedy in horror films. Look up David A. R. Wright. And wossname the son of Chuck Norris.
    When evangelicals make films to scare people into christianity with a five-dollar budget, you can just lean back, grab some popcorn and enjoy the ride.

  16. birgerjohansson says

    BTW When I watch a comedy/horror show I am more interested in the comedy interactions between the host and the zombie/vampire minions than their possible sexual orientation.
    -Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews has a ninja that sometimes turns up in the window, makes threatening moves with a knife and holds up a sign saying “MOAR GODZILLA!”. This is the right stuff for a show.

  17. cartomancer says

    I have absolutely no idea who this is. None whatsoever. Does that make me too young or too old or just too not-American?

    But, surely when your name is Cassandra you just tell everyone everything and wait for them not to believe you?

  18. dorght says

    Meet her in costume at a bar event in Wichita, more than 20 years ago. She sat down at a table with my friend and I. Two early 20s engineer nerd type casts. What I remember most is she went out of her way to make us feel comfortable. Really wish I had the social aptitude to return that graciousness.

  19. ColonelZen says

    We love you Elvira.

    While you are stimulating in the ways women often are to men (as well as a funny and engaging hostess)/actress), I never expected more from you than you were willing and happy to share.

    So thank you for what you have given, and please, be happy.

  20. kaleberg says

    A friend of mine was the editor in chief of the Elvira, Mistress of the Dark comic books. Her arch-rival was Spooky Susie, another horror show hostess with a similar shtick. Given the dark corners of their rivalry, I’m sorry he never got to put out the book where the two of them run off together.