Welcome witches and warlocks,
I had the great pleasure of attending the panel Elvira: Mistress of the Dark 30th Anniversary at Midsummer Scream and figured I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow convention enthusiasts. To best describe the proceedings, I will turn to the official press release:
“Join Elvira herself, Cassandra Peterson, for a 30th anniversary celebration of the film “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.” Moderated by Jeff Tucker with live commentary between favorite clips of the 1988 film.”
This panel really is for fans of the aformentioned feature. Sure, Cassandra Peterson is present, but the discussion is less about Elvira as a character and more about how such a personality can be brought into the Hollywood fold. Those looking for some behind-the-scenes stories of how a horror host of B-list movies can make the move to movie screens were in for some real gems.
Before I get too much further, allow me to say up top that Cassandra does not come out or wear her Elvira outfit at any point during the presentation. While the look may not be the same, the charm and humor definitely remain. In fact, the back and forth between Ms. Peterson and Mr. Tucker was one of the highlights of the panel as they each managed to crack one another up at various points.
Those who were looking for a more behind-the-scenes take on this cult classic would find themselves just as entertained by the various tales told. Some of these stories were provided by Ms. Peterson herself while others were hinted at or told in the pre-recorded interviews with the other cast members that they projected onto the screens from time to time. We were treated to interesting anecdotes that included things such as Vincent Price’s near brush with playing the villain to the fact that Elvira’s Macabre Mobile was entirely non-functional and required pushing or towing to make it move. The biggest reveal for the fans was that the tassel laden end of the feature was almost not in the final cut, but Ms. Peterson pushed hard to have it included.
As mentioned above, there were pre-recorded interviews with other cast members as well as some photographs in the presentation that showed how the movie was made. One particular picture had Edie McClurg and Kurt Fuller naked in a pig pen, which provided a humorous tale of that long deleted scene. Given that the rest of the media used in the presentation was just clips form the film, these interviews and photos proved to be real highlights of this portion of the panel.
All in all, those expecting Ms. Peterson to be playing Elvira on stage might find themselves disappointed, but movie aficionados and fans of the character were sure to be entertained. The rapport between Cassandra and Mr. Tucker was so much fun to observe that the interesting behind-the-scenes tales served as frosting on the cake. Fans of the film or those who like Cassandra Peterson were sure to be entertained.