INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive interview with Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira
By James Whittington, Thursday 20th November 2008

She’s the Queen of the horror entertainment scene and has been for over 25 years! Yes folks I’m talking about Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. We caught up with her alter ego, the charming and utterly gorgeous Cassandra Peterson and asked her a few questions about her cult character.

Zone Horror: First of all, can you tell us why you went into show business in the first place?

Cassandra Peterson: I think I got my first taste of audience adulation in Grand Junction, Kansas when I was two years old and my Dad ran out and stuck me on top of a horse with Hop-a-Long Cassidy, the BIGGEST TV star at the time. I heard the crowd applaud as we made our way down a parade route and I was hooked. I took up dancing when I was five and then became obsessed with becoming Ann-Margret when I was hitting puberty. Specifically Ann-Margret’s character in Viva Las Vegas with Elvis. Being the center of attention was all I ever really wanted to do.

ZH: Who were your idols or heroes when you were young?

CP: Elvis was one of my first idols. I got his record ‘You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog’ for my 5th birthday and played it until it wore out. I had every record and saw every movie he ever did. As I mentioned, Ann-Margret became my idol when she starred along with Elvis in Viva Las Vegas. I also had a love/hate relationship with Vincent Price. I loved to see every movie he was in but then I suffered for weeks afterwards with nightmares. While in puberty, I switched from Elvis to the Beatles and became their biggest fan….especially John Lennon.

ZH: Have you always been a horror fan?

CP: As a child I was very much into scary movies, particularly the Roger Corman series of low-budget rip-off…uh, I mean tributes to Edgar Allen Poe stories: Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, etc. When other girls my age were collecting Barbie dolls I was collecting monster kits. My favourite TV shows were The Twilight Zone and later the Addams Family.

ZH: Can you tell us about your time in Italy?

CP: I fell in love with Italy when I went then obstensively to study art history in 11th grade. I went back the minute I could get enough money for a ticket and knocked around looking for work for some time. I literally ran into Fellini on a street corner when he was shooting his movie Roma, and he offered me a job. I got a few small acting parts in some Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror flicks.

ZH: Is it a place you have great affection for as you can speak fluent Italian?

CP: LOVE Italy and I do speak Italian although it’s fading fast.

ZH: You formed the night club review “Mama’s Boys” and toured the circuit in the late 1970’s. What was that like?

CP: It was 7 gay men and myself (I was ‘Mama’) and we toured major gay/straight discos all over the country. It was at the height of the Disco Era and pre-AIDS so it was pretty damn wild!

ZH: Is it true that your first movie role was in Diamonds Are Forever, if so what was that like?

CP: Yes…..They actually filmed a scene of the show I appeared in Las Vegas, Vive Les Girls at the Dunes Hotel. I was on stage as a showgirl doing the show. I’m not even sure if I ended up in the final cut, but I did get to go to London later, worked a day on the film as an extra (think the scene was cut) but had a very memorable day at Pinewood studios seeing what goes on behind the scenes in a ‘Bond’ film and having lunch in the commissary with Cubby Broccoli, Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Tony Curtis (?!)

ZH: Elvira came to life on Public Service TV in 1981, was she been a character you’d been developing for a long time?

CP: No. I developed the character after I got the job.

ZH: Is she based on anyone you knew or was she an amalgam of a few people or possibly an extension of your own character?

CP: I recently came to realize Elvira is ME when I was a teenager! Scary!

ZH: Where did her revealing costume come from? Did you ever have problems with the censor as it was pretty revealing?

CP: I once got a few complaints about how low cut it was. I raised the neckline slightly and got HUNDREDS of complaints, so went back to the original!

ZH: You’ve attended a number of conventions. What’s it like meeting fans and have you ever had any weird experiences?

CP: I’ve had a LOT of weird experiences with fans

ZH: Last year was Elvira’s 25th Anniversary, how did you celebrate?

CP: I slept!

ZH: Cassandra Peterson, thank you very much.

Don’t forget that the movies Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Elvira's Haunted Hills can be seen right here on Zone Horror so keep checking the listings for transmission dates.


MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Soska sisiters-WEB-1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_PACK_ (1)

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
SHAYNE WARD NEW PROMO HEADSHOT 2020-6

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
CHARLIE STEEDS EDITED-23

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
John Carpenter's Vampires
JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES
Friday 6th August
10.45 PM
Martian Land
MARTIAN LAND
Saturday 14th August
6.45 PM
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II
Tuesday 10th August
10.50 PM