Archive for Elvira

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: AKA Elvira

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine with tags , , , , on October 2, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

This week I’m looking at Elvira’s Fangoria appearances.  Yesterday I took a look at her debut in Fangoria #22.  Next up is an interview that was in Fangoria #45 from 1985 (below left). While Fango #45 was the original issue the interview appeared in, I know this interview best from one of the yearly compilation “Bloody Best of” issues. Specifically, Volume 5 from 1986. The cover for that is on the right.

The Bloody Best of Fangoria v5 (1986) - cover

Here’s the article.

This is an interview with Cassandra Peterson about being Elvira.  It’s been three years since Fangoria featured her in the last article.  It covers some of the ground the previous article covered.  Her moving to Vegas, becoming a showgirl, meeting Elvis who advised her to get singing lessons and get out of Vegas.  Her moving to Italy and becoming an actress.  Upon her return to the states she answered a casting call to be the new Vampira, a former horror host played by Maila Nurmi.  I discussed some of this in my first article this week about Maila Nurmi, who played Vampira.  As was stated in that previous article, negotiations for the Vampira name broke down with Ms Nurmi and instead of reviving the Vampira character Cassandra and the studio created a brand new character.  Elvira.

Not only is the breakdown with Nurmi mentioned, the interviewer actually asks Cassandra about the poem she wrote in to Fangoria that was published in the letters column about Nurmi in response to Nurmi’s less than favorable comments in issue #30.  Cassandra confirms that she did indeed write that poem, and then gives her version of the story.  That the station offered her money to lease the name.  She asked for ten times the amount.  The station couldn’t pay it so they went in a different direction.  Cassandra said she feels bad for her but Nurmi turned down guaranteed money and missed out on a revival of the character and now bad mouths Cassandra about it.

Of course, along with this interview, there was a pin-up. It’s one of my favorites and I brought it up on the last Fangoria AWESOME-tober-fest.  But I’m going to show it to you again, because it’s awesome.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Introducing Elvira!

Posted in Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine with tags , , , , on October 1, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

For this first week of AWESOME-tober-fest I want to talk about Fangoria.  Yesterday, I started off by talking about one of Elvira’s predecessors, Vampira.  Including a little controversy where the actress that played Vampira was not happy with Cassandra Peterson or her portrayal of Elvira. But with that cattiness aside, let’s move on to Elvira herself for the rest of the week!

I love Elvira, I have for years.  I still do, actually.  And she shows up in Fangoria A LOT. So let’s start off by taking a look back at her very first appearance, in Fangoria #22 from 1982.

This first article on Elvira, appropriately titled Introducing Elvira!, was the second in a series of “horror host” profiles where Fangoria was interviewing past and present TV “horror hosts”.  The first profile in the previous issue (Fango #21) was for horror host pioneer John Zacherle who hosted movies on Shock Theater in Philadelphia and New York in the 50s and 60s.  Here for the second article in the series, we are introduced to the new girl on the block, Elvira.

Intro Elvira! 1 Intro Elvira! 2

Like I said, this is from 1982, which is within the first year of Elvira’s existence. I love this early publicity shot of Elvira. She hasn’t even acquired the trademark bee hive hairdo just yet.

Intro Elvira! 2

In the article we learn a bit about the person behind Elvira, Cassandra Peterson.  How she had worked as a Vegas showgirl, actress, and secretary before she got the Elvira gig. Cassandra even dated Elvis Presley for a while! But the article is mainly going over how quickly Elvira has become a national sensation broadcasting out of a small LA TV station.  She’d become so popular in Southern California, that for a 3-D broadcast of Vincent Price’s The Mad Magician, the station partnered with 7-11 stores and sold over 2.5 million red/blue 3-D glasses.

Intro Elvira! 3

Cassandra Peterson says at the end of the article that they are in negotiations for an Elvira movie as well as another movie appearance for Cassandra as herself.

As Fangoria is want to do, they place a color Elvira pin-up at the end of the article. And here it is in all of its glory.  And in this pin-up, she does have the bee hive.

Intro Elvira! pin up



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: The One and Only Vampira

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine with tags , , , , , on September 30, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Okay, I took last year off from doing AWESOME-tober-fest.  It was a nice break and I enjoyed reading other people’s Halloween countdowns without having to worry about doing my own.

Now, this year, I decided to come back.  I currently plan on doing updates every weekday in October, but if I miss one here or there, I’m sorry.  And this year, for the first time, I’m going to do a sequel to one of my previous themes.  I’m going back into the well and do Bloody Best of Fangoria ALL MONTH.  Articles, posters, covers, ads, all from the pages of the greatest of horror magazines, FANGORIA.

Should be a lot of fun, let’s get it started.

For this first week of AWESOME-tober-fest, I want to cover one of my favorite horror personalities, Elvira.  I discovered her within the pages of Fangoria and I want to take this week to celebrate the Mistress of the Dark.

BUT FIRST, before I get to Elvira, I want to showcase one of Elvira’s predecessors.  Back in the early 80s Fangoria did a series of interviews in successive issues talking about famous horror TV show hosts.  They were very prevalent, especially on local TV stations, in the 60s and 70s.  One of the interviews in this series was with Maila Nurmi, who portrayed Vampira.  Vampira was one of the very first TV horror hosts in the 50s.  She also was an actress and appeared in Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Here’s the article:

Vampira 1 Vampira 2

I’m not going to lie, this is a *weird* interview. It’s ostensibly an interview with Nurmi about being Vampira, but it’s told almost stream of consciousness style by Nurmi, and it feels like it’s in character as Vampira. WEIRD.

We learn she originally dressed as Morticia Addams for a costume party and won first place. She was such a hit that a station manager wanted to hire her to liven up their late night movies. So she had to alter her costume a bit to differentiate it from Morticia and became Vampira. She went on the air in May 1954. And then, according to her in the article, she was off the air in December 1954. I guess she was too risque? Nurmi doesn’t really lay it all out nice and neat for you in the article.

Vampira 3 Vampira 4

What Nurmi *does* lay out all nice and neat for you in the article are her thoughts on Elvira. She said in 1981 she was in talks with the TV studio to train a new Vampira. Actually, she said the studio *insisted* that she play Vampira in a new show. Nurmi claims to have turned that down several times and said that she convinced them to let her find and train a new performer as Vampira. However, she claims, the TV station went behind her back and hired Cassandra Peterson and then created Elvira when she wouldn’t lease them the name Vampira. And then she makes it clear that she does *not* like Cassandra Peterson. As a person, or as a performer.

Fangoria, after printing Nurmi’s version of these events, then went to the TV station, KHJ-TV, and asked them their side. The program director, Walt Baker, said that yes, they did consult her for a new Vampira show. He said Ms Nurmi was to be a consultant, give them pictures, consult on constructing sets, and let them see any of the original Vampira scripts, but it was always up to the station to hire the new girl. Baker also said that he never intended Ms Nurmi to play Vampira. The person they hired was going to be the new Vampira and that Nurmi would have guest spots as Vampira’s mother.

So, as you can see, this was a pretty sticky, but interesting situation. And a few issues later, it came to a head based on the things Ms Nurmi said about Cassandra Peterson and Elvira.  Fangoria received a letter from Elvira herself. All it contained was a little poem directed at Ms Nurmi written in classic Elvira style.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest Returns!

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2019 by Paxton

Okay, I took a long hiatus. I took off Halloween last year. I had done AWESOME-tober-fest for 10 years in a row and really wanted to take a break. I hadn’t fully intended to do it again this year, but I got started and now I want to do it. So, expect AWESOME-tober-fest this year. In three weeks, to be exact.

This year’s theme will be a return to Bloody Best of Fangoria.

Awesometoberfest 2019

I first did Bloody Best of Fangoria back in 2014. I still have a bunch of unused Fangorias laying around so I thought I’d revisit the topic and use up some of that horrific content. However, the first two weeks of October will also have a second, more specific theme. Elvira.

Awesometoberfest 2019

I’m a huge fan of the goth, horror host and have been for years.  There’s a lot of Fangoria content featuring Elvira as well as a wealth of other pop culture things I can talk about specifically related to the Mistress of the Dark.  I’ve been having fun compiling the article so I hope you guys have fun reading it.

Expect AWESOME-tober-fest 2019 to start on Monday September 30, 2019.

Until then, UNpleasant dreams!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2017: The Nerd Lunch Halloween Special 2017

Posted in 80s, Halloween, holiday, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2017

It’s Halloween everyone! We made it. Another year of AWESOME-toberfest. Yay!  #HighFive

Welcome to the culmination of the countdown.

To celebrate I have something very special to share. The Nerd Lunch Halloween Special. Special guests? Yes, we got ’em. How about Matt and Jay from the Purple Stuff podcast? They are back and ready to talk with Jeeg and I about Elvira’s 1986 MTV Halloween Special.

This particular special is like FOUR GIANT HOURS of Elvira hosting videos, doing skits and interviewing random people on the streets of Salem, Massachusetts.  It’s wacky, it’s weird, it’s everything you want in a mid-80s Elvira Halloween special.  And we cover all of our favorite parts of the broadcast including some of the vintage commercials!  Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Fangoria’s Video Eye of Dr Cyclops VHS reviews

Posted in Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2014 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Today I’m going to take a look at a couple of examples from Fangoria‘s video review column, The Video Eye of Dr Cyclops.  Dr Cyclops was a VHS video review column and it was a fixture in the magazine for years.  It was one of my favorite places to check because I’d see movies covered in the column that I’d never heard of or that I’d never seen because they’d never showed up in my local video store.

At first, like most of the magazine content, the column was in black and white.  Below is an example of the column from Fangoria #67 (1987).  It’s still in black and white and you get reviews of two of my favorites; Troma’s The Toxic Avenger and Hammer’s Curse of the Werewolf.  Also check out reviews for the bizarre Italian horror flick The Horrible Dr Hitchcock as well as the awesomely named And Now the Screaming Starts.

Dr Cyclops 1987 1 Dr Cyclops 1987 2

Next up is a color version of the article from Fangoria #81 (1989).  In this column you can see reviews for the Lyle Alzado serial killer epic, Destroyer, the fourth Jaws film, Return of the Killer Tomatoes, Cheerleader Camp and Joan Collins in The Devil Within Her.

Dr Cyclops Apr 1989 1 Dr Cyclops Apr 1989 2

Now, let’s take a closer look at the movies in this particular article. I actually have chosen tomorrow’s Fangoria Movie Friday review from here.  Like my other Fangoria Movie Friday choices, I have been fascinated by the movies in this article for years.  That Destroyer cover with an oiled up Alzado and a jackhammer looks amazingly bad, but I’m in LOVE with the Cheerleader Camp cover.  And the Devil Within Her cover looks like it could be a porno film.  Plus, I’ve never watched any of the Killer Tomatoes movies.  So they’re all fair game.  HOW DO I CHOOSE?!  I’ll give you a hint, I’ve already seen Jaws the Revenge.

More hints.  for much of the time I was having trouble deciding, I was going back and forth between Cheerleader Camp and Destroyer.  The latter stars football all-star Lyle Alzado as a serial killer who comes back from being electrocuted as a “half dead” monster who stalks the crew of a horror movie that is filming in his old prison.  Oh, and it also stars Anthony Perkins.  Sounds awesome, right?  The former stars Leif Garrett and Lucinda f**king Dickey, my friends. Yeah, Cheerleader Camp has Lucinda Dickey three years after she starred in the most awesome ninja movie in the world.  That alone would be enough to choose Cheerleader Camp, but if you look at the cast list, you’ll also see other cult 80s names like Betsy Russell, Lorie Griffin, Teri Weigel and Rebecca Ferratti.  It’s a veritable cornucopia of 80s ladies awesomeness.  So, after days of deciding, I actually wound up picking the no brainer and decided finally to review Cheerleader Camp.  But it was close.

As you saw, the cast of this movie was too good to pass up.  Plus it’s a slasher movie at a camp for cheerleaders.  Oh, and mascots.  Lucinda Dickey is actually the mascot.  *shakes head*  Yeah, I need to see this insanity.

Catch you tomorrow, friends.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2014: Fangoria movie ads

Posted in Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2014 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Fangoria always had great ads for new movies and/or home video releases. Many of them in glossy color and many others were awesomely full page.  This year I’ve already showed you full page ads for The Pit & the Pendulum and Zombie Nightmare.  Now let’s take a look at some more of my favorite movie ads  from Fangoria magazine.

A 1988 full page ad for the first Hellraiser movie on home video.  This is truly a gorgeous ad.
Hellraiser home video ad

Next up is a great color half page ad from 1987 for the home video release of Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.
Nightmare on Elm Street 3 ad

Fangoria would usually only show movie ads for new video releases.  Only sometimes would you get an ad for a movie that was out in the theater.  This is one of those times and it’s a huge full page color ad for the Tales from the Darkside movie in 1990.
Tales from the Darkside Movie

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