The hostess with the mostess has accomplished numerous records during her five-decade career in the entertainment industry and has just recently come out, but few remember that Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was the recipient of a three-part video game series released on fledgling consoles like Atari.
The most-watched horror host of all time. The highest-selling female costume of all time. A merchandise line worth millions. She even dated Elvis Presley when she was a teenager. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – real name Cassandra Peterson – is one of the biggest stars in the horror film industry and in entertainment as a whole.
She burst onto the scene in 1981 with her late-night show, “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” and became a household name despite the odds against being a campy, witchy flirt who walks viewers through low-budget scary movies. She took this small platform and turned it into a legendary career that’s withstood the test of time.
Elvira’s peak was in the 80’s and 90’s, and although she is still incredibly active in television and frequently makes appearances around America, it’s easy for the new generation of LGBT viewers to be unaware of her greatness.
A Fox reality program, “The Search for the Next Elvira,” was broadcast in 2008 and saw the A-list horror host looking for a new actor or actress to take up her mantle. A young woman named April Wahlin won the show, but failed to ever appear as the iconic character.
This was perhaps the younger gay community’s first glimpse at Elvira as an ally because her panel of judges included two drag queens, Christian Greenia and Patterson Lundquist, and featured numerous men as female characters vying for the winning spot in the competition.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve seen at least one episode of Logo and VH1’s hit reality series, “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Cassandra Peterson and RuPaul Charles developed a friendship outside of their characters and Hollywood status, resulting in RuPaul inviting Elvira to guest judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on numerous occasions. Find her lending her commentary and opinion to episodes 4.01, All Stars 1.05 and 11.05. Of these appearances, her most talked about episode was when she sat in during the tear-worthy lip sync battle between Raven and Jujubee.
So, if you’re a member of the LGBT community and you’ve become a huge fan of Elvira like I have, then you’ll be happy to know that she received her own three-part video game series between 1989 and 1992.
All three games were developed by Horror Soft and published by Accolade to Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS – primitive personal computers capable of playing video game content. A combination of survival-horror, dungeon-crawl and point-and-click, the series consisting of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus and Waxworks would make any gamer cringe in current times, if they even had a computer old enough to play the games. Yet somehow they look to have that old school charm after all these years.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a direct sequel to Elvira’s cult classic movie released in 1988. Elvira has inherited another property from another powerful ancestor, and after sprucing up the premises enough to turn it into a tourist attraction, she’s kidnapped by monsters and you, as the player, are tasked with rescuing her and restoring her powers.
Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus finds Elvira kidnapped once again on a movie set and users play as her life-saving boyfriend as you navigate different sets brought to life by monsters.
The third entry, Waxworks, resembles the story and game-play of the previous Elvira games, but doesn’t feature the horror host and is listed only as a “spiritual sequel.”
Luckily, LGBT fans who love Elvira and love to play video games can make her their avatar in the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare DLC, “Absolution.” Play as Elvira in a 1950’s beach town overrun by zombies and radioactive monsters.