After 20 years off the air, Cassandra Peterson is bringing her cult-favorite character Elvira back to television airwaves.
“Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” the reincarnation of the 1980s horror film spoof show, is back for a 26-episode season, airing in Columbus Fridays at 3 a.m. on WWHO. This week’s episode spoofs the film, “Scared to Death.”
The first incarnation of “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” aired from 1981 to 1990. It featured horror films with occasional interjections from its host. Peterson has since worked to bring the show back but has been unsuccessful until now.
“I decided to come back to TV 20 years ago, but nobody wanted to do the show,” Peterson said in a roundtable interview.
Though the show is now airing films that are public domain, getting them to air was not without cost. The films themselves have to be fully intact, and getting them to a quality level sufficient for broadcast required re-mastering, which is not cheap.
Now, “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” is back for a new generation of viewers.
“I think it’s gonna be still pretty damn funny and hip and crazy,” she said. “It’s pretty off-the-wall. Many people liken my show to a car wreck.”
The show, similar in style to “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” was actually the predecessor to the cult-favorite sci-fi spoof program.
“I hate to brag, but my show was actually the forerunner to that show,” she said. “I’m coming back to take their slot.”
Peterson’s iconic look for Elvira — a provocative low-cut dress, long black hair and bright make-up — originated from her appearances on a local TV show, where producers originally wanted a much different look.
“They said, ‘You need to have black hair, black dress’ and I was like, ‘Oh God, so typical,'” she said. “We had all kinds of ideas that didn’t involve being in all black.”
Peterson’s roles have not been limited to television. Her film credits include “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” and even the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds are Forever.”
Peterson said unfortunately she can’t even spot herself in the film.
“I was not a Bond girl,” she said. “Far from it.”