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Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark

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The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself. On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling wate The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself. On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price. Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul "Pee-wee" Reubens, honing her comedic skills. Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn't shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.


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The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself. On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling wate The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself. On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price. Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul "Pee-wee" Reubens, honing her comedic skills. Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn't shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl's long strange trip to become the world's sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.

30 review for Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark

  1. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tate

    Celebrity memoirs aren't typically my thing, but ELVIRA!!! Her campy affection for B-horror schlock, self-aware humor and sassy attitude is an inspiration to us all. And that cleavage. WOW! I couldn't pre-order fast enough and devoured the whole thing in less than a week. Unlike other memoirs, which tend to be surface-level cash grabs, it's clear this autobiography was written to be the definitive account of her life. Peterson is vulnerable throughout, revealing intimate details about her upbringin Celebrity memoirs aren't typically my thing, but ELVIRA!!! Her campy affection for B-horror schlock, self-aware humor and sassy attitude is an inspiration to us all. And that cleavage. WOW! I couldn't pre-order fast enough and devoured the whole thing in less than a week. Unlike other memoirs, which tend to be surface-level cash grabs, it's clear this autobiography was written to be the definitive account of her life. Peterson is vulnerable throughout, revealing intimate details about her upbringing, sexual escapades, rape, marriage problems, Hollywood failures, and everything in between. Of course she also manages to make it fun and empowering. Her message that "scars," physical and emotional, can be treated as a blessing or a curse is especially relevant within the context of her life. Peterson/Elvira faced many moments where giving up seemed the most logical decision, but instead she kept going. Now she's celebrating 40 years of embodying one of the most iconic characters in American culture—and still looks gorgeous doing it! The "story" of Cassandra Peterson, beyond her commercial success, is that she is a woman who's reached many brick walls where societal "rules" told her something was impossible, but she did it anyway. This includes being a 70-year-old sex symbol, but also the revelation that she's been in a relationship with a woman over the last 19 years. With a lifelong attraction to men, it was surprising even to her that she was suddenly in love with another woman. It took a long time to come to terms with that, despite her ceaseless support of gay rights. Her situation is a great case study showing that sexuality can be fluid, is rarely as simple as "gay" or "straight," and depends a lot on individual people rather than individual anatomy. Some may wonder why she chose to keep this a secret for so long, but I don't think that's any of their business. No one should be forced out of the closet by societal pressure, just like they shouldn't be forced into one. Her partner is a private person and maybe it was in the best interest of their relationship to keep things quiet. I also understand the career aspect of her decision. The line between Cassandra Peterson and Elvira is incredibly thin, with many of us fans believing Elvira is a real person and pretending we don't see Peterson whenever she's out of drag. Because one of Elvira's most defining traits is her thirsty pursuit of men, I understand the fear that those jokes wouldn't land if the world knew the real Elvira had a girlfriend. In any case, we can all celebrate her decision to come out now and that she's willing to share an entire book of personal details with us. The world doesn't deserve someone as fabulous as Elvira, but since we do have her, let's make the most of it. Who else is re-watching Elvira's Haunted Hills and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark??

  2. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Immensely satisfying read. Cassandra Petersen is one of my heroes, and I am a known freak professionally for well-written celebrity memoirs. They are my jam, and they don’t come around very often. I’m With The Band by Pamela Des Barres has always been a guidepost for me as a writer and a feminist. Yours Cruelly is at the same rarified level of providing gasp-worthy gossip, witty jokes, hard-won advice for surviving and thriving in a misogynist culture, and just an unbelievable life story. I spent Immensely satisfying read. Cassandra Petersen is one of my heroes, and I am a known freak professionally for well-written celebrity memoirs. They are my jam, and they don’t come around very often. I’m With The Band by Pamela Des Barres has always been a guidepost for me as a writer and a feminist. Yours Cruelly is at the same rarified level of providing gasp-worthy gossip, witty jokes, hard-won advice for surviving and thriving in a misogynist culture, and just an unbelievable life story. I spent the whole book chuckling, gasping, or mumbling “What?!?!” Cassandra Petersen has lived a truly radical life and she has been pretty quiet about it until now. Her influence is everywhere and I’m now convinced that she at least met every cool person of the late 20th century. Do not miss this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stay Fetters

    "Revenge is better than Christmas." My first ever experience with Elvira was in 1994. I was seven(ish) years old and obsessed with all things horror. She hosted a Halloween bash for Fox with George Carlin. Her spooky getup and her entire attitude sunk its claws into me and I was enamored ever since. I'll admit it, she was my first girl crush. Like the rest of the world, I only knew so much about the Queen of Halloween, the Mistress of the Dark, and the true epitome of Halloween. We only see what "Revenge is better than Christmas." My first ever experience with Elvira was in 1994. I was seven(ish) years old and obsessed with all things horror. She hosted a Halloween bash for Fox with George Carlin. Her spooky getup and her entire attitude sunk its claws into me and I was enamored ever since. I'll admit it, she was my first girl crush. Like the rest of the world, I only knew so much about the Queen of Halloween, the Mistress of the Dark, and the true epitome of Halloween. We only see what they want us to see and I was excited to get a glimpse into the life of a true icon. Cassandra doesn't hold back as she gets down to the nitty-gritty about her life. Even though she took a lot of chances and some didn't go as planned, she bares her soul to the world. Her courage shines through with every page. Your heart crumbles, shines brightly, and releases demons from hell as she tells her story. And I am here to tell you, she has lived a spicy life. Yours Cruelly, Elvira was an amazing read and I found myself zooming through it. It was truly unputdownable. We get to see the good, the bad, and the downright spooky. The best part is that Cassandra is living her truest life and I love it! She will always be an inspiration to my dark soul.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    A good cover. Toward the end of the book black and white photographs start to appear at the beginning of chapters and the photos are at best medium quality. The author dishes a lot of dirt on performers and entertainment celebrities. Very odd that Cassandra does not mention working with Sharon Stone in the movie Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Siona St Mark

    I finished this yesterday morning but couldn’t be bothered to update goodreads. This was AMAZING. Run don’t walk to your nearest book store to pick this up. Cassandra bears all in this memoir and it really endears her to the reader, and her sense of humor is amazing. Besides all of the headlines about her coming out, I think the shining moments in this book came from how she talks and deals with the abuse from her mother. Similarly, I was verbally and mentally abused by my father and I feel mysel I finished this yesterday morning but couldn’t be bothered to update goodreads. This was AMAZING. Run don’t walk to your nearest book store to pick this up. Cassandra bears all in this memoir and it really endears her to the reader, and her sense of humor is amazing. Besides all of the headlines about her coming out, I think the shining moments in this book came from how she talks and deals with the abuse from her mother. Similarly, I was verbally and mentally abused by my father and I feel myself reacting similarly to Cassandra (especially the part about getting into an argument and saying the most nasty and hateful thing you can to hurt the other person). It’s something I’ve been working on but it was nice to see another person dealing with their abuse in a similar way and coming to be healthier and growing through it. Truly, an amazing book I cannot recommend highly enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Oh. My. Stars. Just when you think you can’t love Elvira anymore OR the woman who created her, you can. Love this book so much.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Niki

    'Twas okay. I don't think I'll ever think about it again, but Cassandra Peterson's life certainly deserved a book written about it, assuming most of the events in it are true (which I generally doubt) One thing I'll say is that I hate how she handled the Vampira/ Elvira feud in the book. She was dismissive of Maila Nurmi from the first time they met, and then blames the entire feud on the higher-ups, with her incurring Maila's wrath despite being just an innocent bystander who just did what she w 'Twas okay. I don't think I'll ever think about it again, but Cassandra Peterson's life certainly deserved a book written about it, assuming most of the events in it are true (which I generally doubt) One thing I'll say is that I hate how she handled the Vampira/ Elvira feud in the book. She was dismissive of Maila Nurmi from the first time they met, and then blames the entire feud on the higher-ups, with her incurring Maila's wrath despite being just an innocent bystander who just did what she was told. How very convenient to completely absolve yourself of blame when you're the successful rich one (Cassandra keeps mentioning money troubles, but also mentions living in Hollywood mansions next to Brad Pitt in the same breath) and Maila Nurmi (who walked so you could run, as the kids say) died in poverty. I'm not saying I'm completely on Maila's side about this, because I'm pretty sure she was just holding a massive grudge and lashing out to Cassandra when the higher ups indeed fucked her over, but she still deserved better given the cultural impact she left on the world, and I'm sure there're things about the feud we aren't told.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Cassandra Peterson has been playing the spectacularly funny and statuesque vamp Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, for four decades, and now the comedic bombshell has written a real bombshell of a memoir. Although Peterson's sardonic sense of humor and love of punny wordplay shines through, YOURS CRUELLY is not fluff. This memoir is explosive, surprising and written with wrenching candor as Peterson explores the physical and emotional abuse in her childhood and her family's three generations of addic Cassandra Peterson has been playing the spectacularly funny and statuesque vamp Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, for four decades, and now the comedic bombshell has written a real bombshell of a memoir. Although Peterson's sardonic sense of humor and love of punny wordplay shines through, YOURS CRUELLY is not fluff. This memoir is explosive, surprising and written with wrenching candor as Peterson explores the physical and emotional abuse in her childhood and her family's three generations of addiction. At 14, she started working as a go-go dancer at a bar, doing her school work between dance sets. After high school, she became a Las Vegas showgirl. On her 18th birthday, she declined an offer from magician Siegfried (minus Roy) to be her first sexual partner. She also fended off Andy Williams and had a career-changing encounter with Elvis Presley. Her sexual encounter with Tom Jones landed her in an ER. At 29, her agent told her she was too old to make it in Hollywood but she found success when she created the character of sexy punk vampire Elvira and landed a job hosting horror movies at a local Los Angeles TV station. Peterson's captivating tale is one of survival and perseverance. After six miscarriages, she finally gave birth to her daughter at age 43. When her abusive 20-year marriage ended, she found love with her female personal trainer, and the two have been together since 2002. (This book is her first public disclosure.) Peterson's inspiring life story is written with wit, empathy and verve. Cassandra Peterson's inspiring memoir is a roller-coaster ride of dizzying highs and crushing lows, told with wit and candor.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    "We all have our own scars. Let them be a blessing and not a curse." "We all have our own scars. Let them be a blessing and not a curse."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex | | findingmontauk1

    One of the best memoirs I've read. Full review to come! One of the best memoirs I've read. Full review to come!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Shea

    This autobiography was nothing I expected and more than I'd hope for. Cassandra Peterson has led one hell of an interesting life. How could you not and end up becoming the #1 horror host in history?A lot of the book is dedicated to her pre-Elvira days and it's fascinating. What I really appreciate is here is someone who experienced some serious family trauma, but doesn't spend the book blaming them for all her shortcomings and pitfalls. In fact, she realizes those very things are what got her he This autobiography was nothing I expected and more than I'd hope for. Cassandra Peterson has led one hell of an interesting life. How could you not and end up becoming the #1 horror host in history?A lot of the book is dedicated to her pre-Elvira days and it's fascinating. What I really appreciate is here is someone who experienced some serious family trauma, but doesn't spend the book blaming them for all her shortcomings and pitfalls. In fact, she realizes those very things are what got her here and now. A must read for all horror fans and beyond.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha Leathers

    I wish I had been able to read more about her rather than the famous people she’s met (and how most of which wanted to bang her). I stand behind her as a sexual abuse survivor, but hated that the book focused more around name dropping other celebrities that have passed through her life rather than info about her that would have connected her with the reader. It was a miss for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    If you were alive at any point in the 1980s and 1990s then you know about Elivra, or at the very least, know of her. If you're not a horror-obsessed goon, you might confuse her with Moticia Addams, Vampira, or even - heaven help you - Lily Munster, but Elivra is a pretty special and distinct personality especially when you get to know her. Or rather, once you get to know the person behind the rockin' beehive wig and Patrick Nagel inspired make-up - Cassandra Peterson. Not only is Peterson a fasc If you were alive at any point in the 1980s and 1990s then you know about Elivra, or at the very least, know of her. If you're not a horror-obsessed goon, you might confuse her with Moticia Addams, Vampira, or even - heaven help you - Lily Munster, but Elivra is a pretty special and distinct personality especially when you get to know her. Or rather, once you get to know the person behind the rockin' beehive wig and Patrick Nagel inspired make-up - Cassandra Peterson. Not only is Peterson a fascinating and engaging storyteller but the origin story of Elvira is pretty remarkable. This story reads like you just sat down with that one really cool aunt to watch a b-horror picture, a cocktail in hand, feet propped up, and she starts laying on you this amazing life story about her youthful wanderings and her path to self-discovery. All while spilling the hot goss about celebrities and places from eras past. Auntie Elvira, you have my attention! This memoir centers on a second act success story for the "past her prime" (what bullshit, huh?!) Peterson who created her most notorious character - Elvira - in her 30s. Beginning with her birth and near-death experience in Kansas, Peterson takes readers along a star-studded journey through the backroom of her mother's costume shop she explored as a child, the fan cascades and pastie twirls of Las Vegas in the 60s when she worked as a showgirl, to her time overseas scraping by in an Italian bossa nova inspired band, to coming home stateside to develop her acting career. 'Yours Cruelly, Elivra' is a great memoir about a hardworking actor, a kind soul, and an inspiring human. Peterson is both vulnerable and hilarious in her retelling of events that shaped who she is that you can't help but love her (if you didn't already). Trust me, this book is perfect for the horrorstorian in your life. Notes: I highly recommend this as an audiobook because it is read by the author!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy Andrews

    A great rollercoaster of stories, a real whirlwind of a fascinating career that. Heartbreaking that most milestone moments of Cassandra's life seem to have been defined (or tarnished, at least) but the actions and abuses of various high profile men across the years. Immensely satisfying to get to the end that suggests true happiness with her current partner. 💜 A great rollercoaster of stories, a real whirlwind of a fascinating career that. Heartbreaking that most milestone moments of Cassandra's life seem to have been defined (or tarnished, at least) but the actions and abuses of various high profile men across the years. Immensely satisfying to get to the end that suggests true happiness with her current partner. 💜

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jon Huff

    Although I’ve heard a few stories in here before in interviews and podcasts, I was slightly overwhelmed to hear Cassandra Peterson’s stories told in context, with a ton of new stories and revelations about her life. Reading about the ups and downs of her life were enlightening, and at times, frustrating as it wanted me to travel back in time and tell some of those jerk wads who underestimated or demeaned her to fuck right off because didn’t they see how special she is?!? But Cassandra Peterson’s Although I’ve heard a few stories in here before in interviews and podcasts, I was slightly overwhelmed to hear Cassandra Peterson’s stories told in context, with a ton of new stories and revelations about her life. Reading about the ups and downs of her life were enlightening, and at times, frustrating as it wanted me to travel back in time and tell some of those jerk wads who underestimated or demeaned her to fuck right off because didn’t they see how special she is?!? But Cassandra Peterson’s tale here is no easy road to becoming the icon she is. So many times things were stacked against her, or the timing was off, or she had to start over. To me this is the inspirational part of her story. Her ability to just keep going and bet on herself when it would have been safer to retreat. Which makes me admire her all the more. The best part of this book is that it is 100% so clearly HER. No ghostwriter here, which is why it took five years to write. And it’s all the better for it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ☆ BON ☆

    Just...phenomenal. From being an underage nightclub dancer, to witnessing a murder, to living in a haunted house, to her own MeToo experiences...Full of feeling, humor, and evoking a ton of childhood nostalgia, this painted a vivid portrait of one of my favorite media personalities of all time. It even made me cry unexpectedly. What a great book - and I highly recommend the audiobook, narrated by the Mistress of the Dark herself. Spectacular.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Not to be dramatic but this is definitely one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I went through so many emotions reading this -- I laughed, I cried & my arms were constantly covered in gooseflesh. I didn't want my time with Elvira to ever end. 10/10 recommend. I especially recommend checking out the audiobook as Cassandra Peterson narrates it! Not to be dramatic but this is definitely one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I went through so many emotions reading this -- I laughed, I cried & my arms were constantly covered in gooseflesh. I didn't want my time with Elvira to ever end. 10/10 recommend. I especially recommend checking out the audiobook as Cassandra Peterson narrates it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Pierce

    Sounds interesting! On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, C Sounds interesting! On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn't good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price.

  19. 4 out of 5

    A Cesspool

    First & foremost: Cassandra Peterson's story is not a Hollywood (cinematic) memoir, which admittedly, i gathered was. Peterson's background, legacy, is primarily [Vegas] "Entertainment" or "Broadcast" [host]. Any 'movies,' 'filmmaking,' 'film/video' tags/genres associated with her autobiography ought to be squashed. I guess I always assumed Cassandra would be closer to Lindy West or Tina Fey (away from her on-screen persona); But she's not even a writer, nor comic (albeit, not for lack of trying First & foremost: Cassandra Peterson's story is not a Hollywood (cinematic) memoir, which admittedly, i gathered was. Peterson's background, legacy, is primarily [Vegas] "Entertainment" or "Broadcast" [host]. Any 'movies,' 'filmmaking,' 'film/video' tags/genres associated with her autobiography ought to be squashed. I guess I always assumed Cassandra would be closer to Lindy West or Tina Fey (away from her on-screen persona); But she's not even a writer, nor comic (albeit, not for lack of trying ...according to me and Lorne Michaels. re: Chapter 22: Saturday Night Dead) I did learn... 1) Mistress of the Dark (1988) was way more autobiographical than I ever could've imagined [i.e. Her character's grandiose, small-minded (aka "valley girl") persona isn't schtick (e.g. still correlates hip hop rapping with youth/adolescence)], 2) Cassandra's comedic denomination is genuine hack (à la wannabe Rodney, more seemingly vaudeville-Artie Lange) 3) She's only a casual cinephile, at best; A neophyte in perpetuity. Easily the least Hollywood acumen of her counterpart exploitation features hosts: Svengoolie, Joe Bob Briggs, Uncle Don ...she aint. 4) She has some "traditional" ideals (aforementioned 'small minded') regarding race [see: Chapter 19: A Hollywood Horror Story. pg. 179] Cassandra's a exotic dancer "showgirl" who exploited her Elvira persona/audience to showcase what she's most proud of professionally: her striptease artistry. She isn't a "former-dancer" who utilized their prior entertainment experience to develop a signature licensed enterprise into success & prestige. Not once does she even mention her lone, prominent, non-Elvira gig as Queen Sorais in Golan-Globus' Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986); She'd rather reserve an entire chapter to her brief Coors Beer spokesmodel campaign! I always presumed she should have [could've] gone further (e.g. children's animation might not be my first preference, she still deserves recognition for expanding her brand/audience demographic); Yours Cruelly illustrates just how exceptionally well Peterson did for herself (in consideration). Her primary life goal was to not '...still be dancing in Vegas when she's 40'; That's, absolutely, it. Anything after that was just creamy. Cassandra closes (her memoir) on a note of surreal flaunt: neither surmising, nor highlighting, her fandom, conquers, or livelihood, she takes a glib swipe at her (view spoiler)[deceased (hide spoiler)] sister's lifestyle & shortcomings -- exemplifying just how truly lucky she was or how much worse her life could have been!? # # # # # Also, Cassandra appears to of developed a mild speech impediment [part Sylvester the Cat/part saliva-speak] that's apparent throughout (as well as recent Shudder features host-mini series) Never Meet Your Heroes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Drew Praskovich

    The Queen of Halloween. Elvira’s memoir is unabashed and confident. It’s a true testament to her perseverance that makes the legacy of Elvira so powerful. Bogged down by misogyny, sexual harassment, and more she rose above it all to cement her place as a cultural phenomenon. There’s some really fun “tell all” moments age divulges throughout the course of her truly crazy life like go go dancing at 14. The real heartbreak of much of this memoir is how many opportunities she got so close to with th The Queen of Halloween. Elvira’s memoir is unabashed and confident. It’s a true testament to her perseverance that makes the legacy of Elvira so powerful. Bogged down by misogyny, sexual harassment, and more she rose above it all to cement her place as a cultural phenomenon. There’s some really fun “tell all” moments age divulges throughout the course of her truly crazy life like go go dancing at 14. The real heartbreak of much of this memoir is how many opportunities she got so close to with the Elvira character that would’ve pushed her into huge mainstream success, but sadly didn’t pan out. The Elvira Scared Stiff Pinball Machine is the best pinball machine in history also.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Ever since I heard just a coupleOf her stories at wizard world I wished and, payed she’d grace us with an autobiography. I knew it would be interesting, but her life is made of once in a lifetime chances, and tales. I’ve read plenty of Hollywood elite’s biographies, but Elvira’s blows theirs away.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick Melloan-ruiz

    Working actor vibes can’t get enough, could do without the fatphobic comments about Divine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    Like many, I’d been waiting for years for Cassandra to write her memoirs, and it does not disappoint.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen Mcswain

    Well, the opening paragraph was intriguing and well written, but it was all downhill after that. She’s definitely had an interesting life, but this book reads like a super boring book report. Don’t waste your $29.

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Roller

    I am unabashedly an Elvira fan. Growing up a horror fan in the 80's, it was hard not to idolize her. T This autobiography fills me in on all of Cassandra Peterson's life, both pre-Elvira and in the 40 years since she has become the Queen of the Macabre. I learned she is a sure-fire fighter. From the traumatic events of being burned with boiling water as an 18 month old, to being in a happy relationship with another woman, Elvira has seen a lot of upas and downs in her life. Trough it all, she nev I am unabashedly an Elvira fan. Growing up a horror fan in the 80's, it was hard not to idolize her. T This autobiography fills me in on all of Cassandra Peterson's life, both pre-Elvira and in the 40 years since she has become the Queen of the Macabre. I learned she is a sure-fire fighter. From the traumatic events of being burned with boiling water as an 18 month old, to being in a happy relationship with another woman, Elvira has seen a lot of upas and downs in her life. Trough it all, she never gave up. These book has a lot of heart, wisdom, sadness, and insights on what made Elvira an Icon, and Petersen the person a legend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenni Spinner

    I could not have loved this book any more than I do. Funny, touching, surprising, and all around entertaining.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I loved this book! It’s one of my favorite memoirs I’ve read this year. Cassandra Peterson doesn’t pull any punches and isn’t afraid to name names in this very honest account of her life. If you’re a fan of Elvira, you’ll become an even bigger fan of Cassandra Peterson after reading her funny, insightful, thoughtful, poignant book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you are a fan of Elvira, I would recommend skipping this book. I LOVE Elvira, have since I was a kid. I was excited to read this when I first heard about it. Kinda wish I never had. It was one of the strangest memoirs I've ever read in that it focused on things most readers won't care about much- like the beer advertising campaign (seriously who gives a shit?) while glossing over situations like her marriage, her pregnancies, her friendships, her late life relationship. (I want to know the age If you are a fan of Elvira, I would recommend skipping this book. I LOVE Elvira, have since I was a kid. I was excited to read this when I first heard about it. Kinda wish I never had. It was one of the strangest memoirs I've ever read in that it focused on things most readers won't care about much- like the beer advertising campaign (seriously who gives a shit?) while glossing over situations like her marriage, her pregnancies, her friendships, her late life relationship. (I want to know the age difference...) It was hard to tell which were real friends/friendships in this memoir, and which mentions were just about dropping names, since everything skimmed the surface. I tried to just go with the flow at the beginning, because young teenage girls are shallow. But then... there wasn't a lot of growth. The person who wrote the book stayed shallow as a puddle. She was naturally beautiful with huge boobs and that is really it. The book could easily have been titled "Life is Easier When You're Hot" because so many of the opportunities she was presented with were simply because she was there. Not talent, initiative, or drive. She literally was just walking by or sitting there, and would be approached with opportunities. I will say once that happened, she would work hard. But nowadays... it would not happen. Different generations, more competition. Nowadays you have to be hot AND talented. Or know someone. I think my biggest disappointment was that Cassandra Peterson did not create Elvira. Everything about Elvira- from her hair, make-up, clothing, corny jokes, script, even the name- was created or written by someone else. Cassandra even says she is no good at creating chatacters; she learned that while part of the Groundlings. The only thing she seemed to bring to the character was the slinky way of standing she learned while being a Vegas showgirl. That, combined with a particularly nasty fatphobic rant about the (clearly superior) performer Divine, has really soured the Elvira character for me. I hope in time I can separate the character from the actress and like her again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    You know, I’m not a celebrity memoir fan. I’m just not all that interested in who boinked who where and when or what have you. I think this one is probably more suited to people who care more about celebrities that I do. Elvira stuff doesn’t show up until about halfway through, maybe even later, and that portion wasn’t as central as I thought it would be. It was the part I was most interested in, so there was some letdown there. It’s not a bad book by any stretch, but it’s probably only for mega You know, I’m not a celebrity memoir fan. I’m just not all that interested in who boinked who where and when or what have you. I think this one is probably more suited to people who care more about celebrities that I do. Elvira stuff doesn’t show up until about halfway through, maybe even later, and that portion wasn’t as central as I thought it would be. It was the part I was most interested in, so there was some letdown there. It’s not a bad book by any stretch, but it’s probably only for megafans or people who love 60’s/70’s celebrity gossip. I’ve long considered my horror host character options, as I assume everyone does. Here are a few I came up with: The Reelman This is a guy who owns a movie theater in 2020/2021 and is desperately trying to save it. So he tries to interest people in all these shitty movies so he can keep the business alive. But he can only get shitty movies because he has zero budget. I don’t act very well, but I could probably pull off depression and desperation mixed together. The Film Student This is a jerkoff film student who’s been trapped in a basement and forced to watch lousy horror. He’s only seen stuff like Citizen Kane, so this is all very shocking. I do own glasses, and I could probably watch Citizen Kane and make this work. Clearance Clarence This guy gets all his movies from the clearance bin at a cursed Walmart. But he enjoys watching people go through horror because it makes him feel better about his own life. The bonus of this one is it can be filmed in any crappy apartment. Convenient!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Dunn

    ⁣“You’d think the first time I showed up onstage baring my boobies would have been traumatic, but I was totally fine with it. I knew what being a 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘸girl entailed, and I was ready to show it!”⁣ ⁣ As a Las Vegas native I found Cassandra Peterson’s recounting of her Vegas Showgirl days to be one of my favorite parts in a memoir filled with fun, fascinating stories. ⁣ ⁣ As someone who made her living reveling as “Mistress of the Dark” and the “Queen of Halloween” she sure did suffer some supremely bad ⁣“You’d think the first time I showed up onstage baring my boobies would have been traumatic, but I was totally fine with it. I knew what being a 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘸girl entailed, and I was ready to show it!”⁣ ⁣ As a Las Vegas native I found Cassandra Peterson’s recounting of her Vegas Showgirl days to be one of my favorite parts in a memoir filled with fun, fascinating stories. ⁣ ⁣ As someone who made her living reveling as “Mistress of the Dark” and the “Queen of Halloween” she sure did suffer some supremely bad luck as if Satan really wasn’t on her side. But she grew a thick skin and powered through her dramas and bad breaks and came out the other side happy and honestly? ICONIC. ⁣ ⁣ I grew up loving Elvira and I remember when I first discovered that the girl under that black bouffant wig was a redhead like me. I was tickled and endeared to her forever. ⁣ ⁣ Cassandra is honest in telling her story, warts and all. You think misogyny is bad for everyday women? Try being a boobilicious babe making a living off your sexuality. Elvira, the character, is empowered and feminist and owns her sexual prowess, but it wasn’t that easy for Cassandra in a male dominated profession. There are stories in this book that are not easy to hear, but I commend her for having the bravery to tell them. And for keeping her sense of humor intact. ⁣ ⁣ I highly recommend listening to this on audio as read by the author. For me, Elvira’s voice is just as iconic as her image. Please DM me for trigger warnings.

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