Elvira is finally out of costume

After thirty years of loyally portraying the same character, Cassandra Peterson is ready to shed the make-up in public.

Comikaze confirms that Cassandra Peterson, who has been portraying Elvira for over thirty years, and who is only known by that character’s name to most fans due to her ability to stay in character for long stretches during public appearances, will be making her final in character public appearance at the Comikaze Convention, 5-6 Nov this year.

“It’s about time all of my boob-tube fans who’ve never been lucky enough to say hi in person come out to meet me,” said Peterson, in character as Elvira.

“This will be everybody’s last chance to see this busty, beehived broad in the flesh (and not much else!), so jump on that Red Line and head to the L.A. Convention Center, darling. As the hostess with the mostest, I’m gonna bring a little class to this event if it’s the last thing I do. Oh yeah, it IS the last thing I’ll do. Whatever.”

“We are beyond thrilled and overwhelmed that Elvira is our official ‘Spooksperson’ and is making her final convention appearance right here in L.A., where it all started for her,” said Regina Carpinelli, Comikaze Expo CEO.

“Since she burst onto the horror scene, she’s been a pop culture pioneer, and is a gorgeous, brilliantly funny woman who never disappoints her fans. It’s an incredible honor to have her be a part of Comikaze.”

Elvira was developed in 1981 as a replacement for another late night horror film host, Vampira. Elvira’s popularity soon vastly outweighed that of the previous host, or even of the show itself, as she was poised at exactly the right time and place to become a symbol for the emerging Goth culture, which was burgeoning in LA at the time, and would slowly roll across the country from west to east over the next 25 years.

The character spawned a few of its own low-budget, films with are now considered cult-classics on par with Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horror, if not quoted by teenagers quite so often.

There were also comic books, lots of miscellaneous merchandise, like lunchboxes and calendars, and even a short-lived cartoon show. The horror film series, Elvira’s Movie Macabre, managed a short comeback in 2010: a single season which ended this May to a relatively small audience.

While interest in Elvira seems not to have much waned, interest in staying up late to watch horror films has.

Peterson started playing Elvira when she was already 30, and though she still looks great – the photo here was taken only about a year ago – it might be getting close to time to retire the character completely. 

Aging out is not Peterson’s motivation, however. In an interview with GeekChicDaily, Peterson (out of character) discussed a desire not to wear the costume for hours at a time any longer.

“I just decided that I’m not going to wear the costume anymore to appear at conventions. I’m definitely going to wear it for TV shows, movies, personal appearances, stage – but as far as sitting there for four or five hours in an incredibly uncomfortable and hot outfit, no,” she said.

“You know, I looked around at my last convention and I’m going, I don’t see Robert Englund dressed as Freddy. I don’t see [Peter Mayhew] dressed up in his Wookiee suit. Why am I dressed like this?”

One might think Peterson would have noticed that she was the only one at the convention in character a long time ago, but perhaps it only finally got to her. She went on to explain that she will certainly still be doing conventions. In fact, she might even make more appearances – now that she will be no longer be constrained by the Elvira outfit.