Horror icon Cassandra Peterson owes her interest in everything spooky to a horrific childhood burning accident - because it made her feel like a monster.

The actress, also known as ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK, was hooked on horror films as a child because she found them strangely comforting.

She says, "I was severely burned, and I felt a little like a monster myself.

"I think I related to people like Frankenstein and The Mummy. The burns made me feel like an outcast and a loner. I certainly was not popular. I was a major geek.

"Thirty five per cent of my body was skin-grafted, and I spent three months in the hospital."