For those who were
not familiar with your show in the '80s, what was it all about?
We would show a crappy -- I mean -- classic film horror film from the
'50s, '60s, early '70s. I would introduce the movie and tell the truth
about it. What everybody else was thinking, I was saying. We broke into
the film about 10 times, including the beginning and the end, and commented
on what was going on in the movie.
And the new DVDs?
They are the first show I did starting back in 1981. Some of them are
old and incredibly embarrassing. These DVDs have my original wraparounds
and the films that we were able to find. I have been asked to do this
a million times through the years. My fans really wanted me to re-release
them, but it was a difficult process.
They were all bought up by a lot of big studios and put in packages where
you will get one horror movie, three cowboy movies and four detective
movies. So if you want to get that one movie you will have to buy a $100,000
package of movies you don't want.
What do you love
about being Elvira?
I can get away with murder. I can say the most idiotic comments to people.
I can say anything. The private thoughts that you are generally thinking,
but you would not say to people because you are a decent person, I can
say them. And they don't just sit there, they laugh. They get hysterical.
It is a very freeing feeling. You can really be honest.
Do you think it's
because you are in the costume?
Yeah and also, I figured out that Elvira is me when I was a teenager.
She's a spastic girl. I just say what I feel and people seem to enjoy
What is involved
in becoming Elvira?
That is the part of being Elvira that I don't enjoy because it's a lot
of makeup and an incredibly uncomfortable outfit. A lot of hair and hair
spray issues because trying to get that hair up there is not easiest thing
in the world. It's high and it needs a lot of hair spray and that takes
a lot of work to get that going. That part of it is really the most difficult
part. If I would have started out wearing a muumuu and flip-flops, I would
be so much happier today. After all this time squeezing myself into that
incredibly tight dress I still have the same thighs, the same pattern,
I had when I started. This is actually my 25th anniversary of being Elvira
When you first
played Elvira, did you think it would last 25 years?
I didn't think it would last 25 minutes. I was an actor so I was desperate
for jobs, so when I got the audition, $300 was OK. The fact that it went
more than one episode, I'm still shocked. It was so insane because they
wanted me to be a character that was from this comedy group I was in --
The Groundlings. I did a character that was a sexy ditzy Valley girl actress.
The director of a local television show loved the character and he said,
"You should do that while hosting these horror movies." And
he said, "You will wear something all black, something scary."
And I say, "I do? Doing that character? OK, whatever." It was
the most insane thing I ever heard. I thought is was not going to happen,
but it really took off and I am still in shock and 25 years later, I am
still doing it.
I understand Elvis
gave you some early career advice.
My early career advice came when I was a showgirl in Las Vegas when I
was 17. I got together with Elvis, believe it or not, and I thought I
had made the big time. I was a showgirl and that was my goal up until
then in life. And Elvis convinced me that I should get out of Las Vegas
and that I should pursue singing, which I immediately went out and got
singing lessons. He and I actually sang together and he said I had a good
voice. He didn't say Vegas was a bad thing, but that it was bad for me
to stay there for the rest of my life. I started off as Vegas' youngest
showgirl and, if it were not for Elvis, I might be Vegas' oldest showgirl.
Thanks to Elvis, I moved and got my career going in a different direction
and it really had a big impact. I don't think any other person could have
told me to leave Vegas and quit being a showgirl that I would have listened
I have heard that
when you are out of makeup you have been mistaken for Susan Sarandon.
Yes. I was asked for an autograph one day, which surprised me, because
I'm never recognized. I signed my name and started to hand it to the person
and he said, "Thank you so much Mrs. Sarandon." I grabbed the
paper back from him and said "Oh just a second," then resigned
and handed it back to him.
So someone out
there has Susan Sarandon's autograph -- kind of.
Yeah, with Elvira scribbled on the back!
Do you ever get
sick of Halloween?
Halloween has been my favorite holiday since my earliest memory. It's
the best holiday. It's a completely nonreligious holiday. You don't have
to get together with any relatives for dinner. You don't have to buy gifts.
You get to dress up as your fantasy. If you're a secretary, you can dress
up as Pamela Anderson and nobody thinks you're a ho. It's a wonderful
selfish holiday, and I've always loved it. And my mom ran a costume shop,
so I grew up in the Halloween business. So short answer: No, I never get
sick of Halloween. I wish I could dress as something else once in a while
What do you have
lined up for this year?
A lot of promotion for these DVDS. I'm doing a NASCAR race for NBC, which
is something I've never done. I'm doing a lot of difference appearances
around the country at various horror conventions and haunted houses, which
I always did. I'm giving a big giant AIDS benefit. It's a big Halloween
costume show for AIDS healthcare and a quite a few other charity benefits
in between that too. I'm doing QVC. I just did a Halloween episode of
the 'The Girls Next Door.'
I understand you
have a new reality series in the works?
We're still in the pitching phase but hopefully we'll be doing it next
Halloween. It's a fun project. It's eight episodes and every episode is
a parody of another reality show. I pick out 13 Elviras -- men, women,
whatever. They have to go through a series of tests to see if they can
actually be my favorite helper, like the Elvira I send out to various
appearances I can't really get to. I get a lot more appearance requests
than I can actually make, so I only take the best ones. I choose my little
Elvira clone and she gets a year contract being Elvira.