The Opening Of Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark Was A Little More Explosive Than Expected

You probably clicked this article because you're already familiar with the combination of creepiness, cleavage, and camp that makes up legendary horror icon Elvira, so let's just hop right into the fun facts. As the headline states, the opening scene of the 1988 comedy horror film "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" features the titular vixen herself driving away from a fiery gas station explosion. The explosion is caused partially by Elvira's own ineptitude at safely replacing the gas pump after use, and partially by the gas station attendant's carelessness when it comes to discarding the cigarette he was foolishly smoking at the worst possible place to spark up. For those unfamiliar with the scene, you can check it out here.

Now that you've watched the scene, you may be wondering what makes it more explosive than expected. Luckily, we have the answer.

Elvira was hotter than ever, seriously

In 2013, Cassandra Peterson, the actress who has played the ultimate spooky babe since the 1980s, revealed on her Twitter profile that the explosion in the gas station scene was much hotter than she anticipated. She tweeted:

"Fun fact about the gas station scene — they didn't tell me how BIG the explosion was going to be. SO hot it melted the back of my wig!"

It's typically not considered a bad thing when something turns out to be bigger than expected, but in the case of potentially life-threatening explosions, maybe less is more. At any rate, Elvira's brief tweet actually reveals two interesting pieces of information that offer insight into both the movie and the secrets contained with the Mistress of the Dark's hairstyle.

The first is that the blazing inferno seen on screen was not created with any sort of CGI or visual trickery. Instead, it was created using good old-fashioned movie magic in the form of making things go boom in a (relatively) controlled environment. Luckily, it seems only Elvira's wig suffered any serious damage, and our favorite goth gal was unharmed. So what does this tell us?

The science of wigs

Well, that Peterson states the back of her wig melted rather than burned, reveals a bit of information that movie wig aficionados (which is a real thing and not something I made up to justify my own obsession with the wigs worn in various TV and film productions) will find amusing: Elvira's signature black bouffant was made with synthetic fibers, and not human hair! Synthetic wigs are typically made of plastic materials like acrylic or nylon, which melt rather than burn when exposed to high temperatures. Human hair, on the other hand, burns to a crisp when things get too hot to handle. The difference between melting and burning is that melting is just the process of liquifying a solid, whereas burning is the process of ruining cinnamon rolls by leaving them in the oven for well over the recommended bake time. Now you got two cool pop culture facts for the price of one article:

1. The explosion in the beginning of "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" was not only real, but really big.

2. Elvira wears synthetic wigs (or at least she did for her 1988 movie), and one of those wigs melted thanks to the aforementioned explosion.

It seems the lesson here is bigger isn't always better after all.