Halloween must not pass without mention of Astoria’s very own home-grown glamour ghoul with a 17-inch waist, VAMPIRA, pictured, aka Astoria High School grad MAILA NURMI, who was recently featured in a Huffington Post blog posting by W. Scott Poole, author of “Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror” (2014).
The author describes her as “the most famous person you’ve never heard of,” who “transformed American culture” (http://tinyurl.com/astorvamp).
In 1954, in Los Angeles, Vampira was the first late night horror movie mistress on Saturday nights, introducing painfully bad movies wearing talon-length fingernails, long black hair, a vampy black dress and ghoulish makeup. She would start the show by walking straight up to the camera and belting out a glass-shattering scream. Then, smiling coyly, she would say, “Screaming relaxes me so.” Hear it here: (http://tinyurl.com/vampscream).
As a side note: Maila/Vampira sued Cassandra Peterson for her Elvira persona, claiming unauthorized use of her likeness, but lost. The court documents are at http://tinyurl.com/astorvamp2.
The article is essentially about Vampira’s influence on horror movies and culture, but there’s also a link to an excerpt from his book (http://tinyurl.com/astorvamp1), which provides a minibiography of her career.
As Pool so eloquently summarized, “She’s still haunting us. It’s a haunting we need.”
— Elleda Wilson