Scream Gems #2 - Movie Cars That Go Bump in the Night


For an unexplainable reason, the mid-sixties through the early-seventies was a very popular time for ghouls, mostly comedic, on TV. But there were also similar movies which may have paved their way to success. Not as much for their original impact, but for their extended showings on TV.


Many of us grew up watching re-runs of Frankenstein this, Dracula that, the Mummy, and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. There were also numerous "serial" movies where Our Gang, the Bowery Boys, Abbott and Costello along with many others co-starred with the monster icons of the time . 
They were pretty mundane as compared to the Friday the 13th-type movies some of our younger readers were introduced to in their teens. But it was also a time when these B-Rated "scare-movies" were introduced to television audiences who had never seen them before. I distinctly remember while watching a Frankenstein movie with my Father, I jumped up from my seat and flung the tuner to a new "safe" channel where no "monster" could "get me".  Yes, I was very young and yes, I meant I used the rotary channel changer. No monsters on UHF, just PBS.

In addition to the Munsters TV show, the Addams Family ran for the same two seasons. There were also several "g-hosts" (ghoulish hosts) such as Zacherly, "The Cool Ghoul" and there was even a new daytime drama, "Dark Shadows" in which Barnabas Collins introduced viewers to a "new" kind of vampire.

Out of all of these shows, movies and TV series, the Munsters were the only ones with their own special cars...right? Wrong. The was another "g-host" who like Zacherly hosted a variety of shows including the late night weekend horror show, "Fright Night"...and had her own special car.

Her real name is Cassandra Peterson, but you probably know her as Elvira. Peterson's Elvira character quickly gained notoriety with her tight-fitting, low-cut, cleavage-displaying black gown. By adopting the flippant tone of a California "Valley girl", she brought a satirical, sarcastic edge to her commentary. She reveled in dropping risqué double entendres and making frequent jokes about her cleavage. Her campy humor, sex appeal, and good-natured self-mockery made her popular with late-night movie viewers and her popularity soared. 
That popularity reached its zenith with the release of the feature film Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, co-written by Peterson and released in 1988.


The movie called for Elvira to drive a car, but not just any car. So she called upon George Barris to design a build her a special "Bat Car" based on a 1958 Thunderbird convertible. Unfortunately, the movie's budget didn't include the cost of converting an increasingly rare convertible, so George and his team found a 2-door coupe and cut the roof off.

The car was chock full of the sort of details Barris was well known for; a leopard skin interior, skull and cross bone hub caps, skeleton arms with hands replaced fender trim and the grill a spider's web. Shortly after the film's completion, Peterson sold the car to an admirer, photographer Lynn Goldsmith. Ten years later, Goldsmith contacted Peterson. She was moving to New York and wanted to sell the T-Bird back to her.
Peterson bought the car, then invested more than $35,000 into restoring it. She’s owned it ever since. “It’s sitting in my garage, it looks fantastic, and it drives pretty damn good." The "Macabre Mobile" is used for many of her public appearances, as well as in promos for the reality series.“You can’t believe the attention that it gets. People love it whether they know it’s Elvira’s car or not.”