This photograph warms our horror-hosts-loving hearts: Rhonda Shear and Elvira herself, Cassandra Peterson, together. For kids in the ‘80s and into the ‘90s, Elvira was our foremost educator in the school of cinematic snark as host of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, while Rhonda continued our education during the '90s with USA Up All Night! Rhonda and Elvira are, without question, two of the most formative ladies in the childhoods of pre-adolescent and teenage geeks during those years. Those of us with encyclopedic knowledge of bad movies, sarcastic senses of humor, and a serious appreciation for low culture, wouldn't be who we are today without these two women.
Joe Bob Briggs, host of Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater and later MonsterVision, and Gilbert Gottfried, Rhonda's Saturday evening counterpart on Up All Night!, were also important to our developing bad movie aficionado tastes. To young boys like me, though, there was something special about Rhonda and Elvira. I'd had plenty of young pop culture crushes as a kid—Chrissie Hynde, Bailey from WKRP in Cincinnati, and even fictional women like Jean Grey from Marvel Comics—but Elvira was definitely one of the first that seemed approachable. She was talking directly to us, bringing us in on the joke of it all. Rhonda brought that same approachable sense of humor to her hosting duties, meaning they've both endeared themselves to legions of Gen Xers, to this day.
I've written about Elvira quite a bit recently, including right here and elsewhere, so you might ask, why more? Well, this photograph was simply too good to pass up an opportunity to comment on and archive here. If you'd shown thirteen- or fourteen-year-old me this photo, my head would've exploded. It's also wholly appropriate that my second post of October is more gushing about famous horror hosts like Elvira and Rhonda. This time of year, with Halloween right around the corner, it's worth remembering the legends that made celebrating horror movies such a blast for so many of us growing up.