Is there any truth to grand prizes? There’s always some big, luxurious prize offered with a product that seems too good to be true: meet a celebrity, take a trip to an exotic location, or receive a large sum of cash. I always wonder if they’re actually real or just used to boost sales. If they’re real, who wins them and what happens? Do they go through with the prize or do they get a cash settlement instead? I was recently given the truth to one of the greatest contest prizes ever: a party at the Bates Motel with Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark.
Back in October, I was contributing articles to another horror-site that has since demised. A four-part piece was posted each week before the 31st, containing several obscure commercials that would help readers get into the spirit of Halloween. Besides Anthony Perkins talking about oatmeal cereal and Freddy Krueger’s 1-900 hotline, I picked a humorous Elvira ad for Slice soda (I’ve never had it but I’m guessing it was like Sprite) with the Mistress Of The Dark promoting the product and a grand prize: a party at the Bates Motel. To any horror-buff out there, that would be considered a dream and outright surreal. “Had a bash at the Bates Motel in Universal Studios” would be etched on your tombstone. While a party at Norman’s is rad enough, it was ten times more enticing due to Elvira being your host for the event.
After I wrote a small blurb about the commercial, I started to think it over: wait a minute, isn’t the Bates Motel set just a shell? A “shell” is a term used for movie-set structures of homes and buildings that are partially or completely furbished on the outside but hollow and empty on the inside. This allows studios to not use extra time or labour to completely build a home, considering they can simply film interior scenes in a sound-studio elsewhere. So if the Bates Motel set contains nothing but a dirt and gravel floor, how the hell do you have a party there? My conclusion was they must have put up work-lights and picnic tables with sandwiches and milk inside the empty house or that the party was actually held in a large hotel room made to resemble the Psycho house.
At the recent Comic Con Ottawa event, I had the opportunity to ask Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira about the Slice prize during her panel. She laughed and said that the party was held in a big tent outside of the Bates House area and that she didn’t remember much of it, hinting she maybe was drinking something other than Slice. So there you have it. The “Slice Bates Motel Party with Elvira” grand prize was held in a large tent outside of the shell set. Had I won that contest (and been alive/of age at the time), you can bet your ass that Eddie Spaghetti would have invited her for a tour of Cabin 1.