(Interview Conducted 02/26/2019)
You got your start in entertainment at an extremely young age. I honestly did not know much of your personal background until I began researching for our interview. So let me get this straight, we have Elvis to thank for the creation of Elvira?
When I met Elvis, I was the youngest show girl in Vegas. It was Elvis that told me that Vegas is really no place for a young girl to begin. He convinced me to take singing lessons and get the heck out of Las Vegas. I thought that I had made it and reached the pinnacle of show business success by becoming a showgirl, something that I had wanted to do since I was about thirteen of fourteen years old. If it hadn’t been for him telling me to keep going, I really do think that I would be the oldest showgirl in Vegas.
That is awesome! You went on to Europe and eventually got the role playing Elvira on a television show. That obviously blew up into the sensation that we have today. What accounted for this surge in popularity?
A lot of it had to do with Halloween, the holiday. Ever since 1981, it has been growing by leaps and bounds. I kind of hitched my wagon to it and became known as the Queen of Halloween. Having a national holiday each year where you are queen of it really helps your business.
But why are people so obsessed with Elvira to the point that she has become a pop culture sensation that has spanned generations?
There are different “parts” of why they are obsessed with Elvira. Some people really enjoy the humor, others the scary horror element, a lot of them enjoy the sexy part, and some of them enjoy all three parts together.
Most of the world sees yourself as Elvira. Do you see yourself in her?
I didn’t really for a long time, but I suddenly realized one day that Elvira’s personality is pretty my personality when I was as a teenager. I was a smart aleck, know-it-all. You know how teenagers can be. I think Elvira is that part of me that never grew up.
As I said before, your career has been going strong for over thirty years by breaking into tons of diverse entertainment outlets. What would you consider to be the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career? I have had a lot of really great highlights. It is probably a tossup between becoming a pinball machine and doing my movie Elvira Mistress of the Dark. I always was a pinball fanatic. Those two things really furthered my career and were really exciting points in it. The movie certainly helped cement my career and longevity.
Elvira was even recently featured in the Call of Duty franchise. What can we expect next from her?
I have an amazing amount of stuff coming up that I am working on. Of course, everything that is in the works doesn’t mean that it will happen for sure, but I am working on an animated project that has been going on for a while. I am finally putting my autobiography together after years of working on it. I am also working on another Elvira feature movie with a couple of writers and producers. I am also working on a television show that I have been asked to do. I have a lot going on. I am even going to be doing a live show in Vegas, believe it or not. All of these awesome projects are in the works, but which of these will come to fruition you never know. I have more going on now that I think I have ever had going on at one time; it’s rather bizarre.
With you being the Queen of Halloween and all, your opinion on the horror genre is gold. What would you consider the best horror movie of all time?
There’s a lot of levels when it comes to picking a favorite horror movie. I happen to like the old, schlocky movies. One of my favorites, that even began its own giant cult, is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I am really into those movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It made an amazing statement and really started the whole zombie/walking dead genre that is still going strong.
You will be coming to Texas Frightmare Weekend soon so I have to ask, “What is your biggest fear?”
My personal biggest fear would probably be doing this interview right now. [Cassandra Laughs] I don’t know; there is nothing that I’m really truly scared of. There are things that worry me and may keep me up at night, but just little things that everybody cares about. When it comes to real fears like “Who’s going to get you? Am I going to die?” and so on, I don’t think about those things.
I am sure you have experienced some strange encounters with fans. What was the weirdest?
It is always strange when people like Michael Jackson come up to you and tell you how big of a fan they are. It is pretty amazing when somebody that is an icon tells you that they are a fan. Those are always nice. I would say the weirdest fan encounters would be people getting my image tattooed on their body. The first time it happened I was blown away. Now, it is an everyday occurrence that I meet someone with an Elvira tattoo when I am at a convention. I literally have thousands of pictures of people with Elvira tattoos on them. Some of the stranger encounters are when people want me to sign them and they have them tattooed in really bizarre places. Sometimes I get a peak of a lot more than I am counting on. I always wonder how they have a relationship with something like that in a place like that. You can use your own imagination on that. In one strange encounter a fan came up to me and said, “My father was your biggest fan in the world. He loved you so much and was just waiting to meet you someday, but he unfortunately passed away. These are his ashes. Could you please sign his urn?” So, I signed his urn “Better late than never” and his son was very happy with that. I have since signed a lot of urns with ashes. At first it was weird but now it has become the norm.
That would definitely be interesting. I don’t envy you when it comes to signing obscure tattooing in nether regions. Obviously, Elvira is many fans’ guilty pleasure. What is yours?
Guilty pleasure? That is like a test question. I have to give some thought to that… My guilty pleasure would probably be when I get to stay home, sit on the couch, and watch tv. It may sound boring, but that is something that I rarely ever get to do. I love to lay around and catch old episodes of The Twilight Zone. It was one of my favorite tv shows when I was growing up.