Bright Lights Film Journal

I Knew Vampira, Ms. Peterson. Vampira Was a Friend of Mine. And You, Mademoiselle, Are No Vampira!

Much as I actually like Cassandra Peterson (Elvira) and goth women generally, Maila Nurmi (as Vampira, above) was the greatest of them all. More stunningly beautiful than her successors. Funnier. Sexier. And scarier. (That scream…)

Bet you didn’t know she was brought to Hollywood by Howard Hawks. Not for her latent goth qualities (she was a natural Scandinavian blonde), but because he wanted to create another Bacall.

For much, much more, check out Chris Stangl’s superb tribute at The Exploding Kinetoscope. You’ll also want to visit Maila’s personal site, VampirasAttic.Com, for photos, merchandise, and more clips – including one shot by James Dean!

Incidentally, the music that accompanies the above clip was later used by Stanley Kubrick in The Shining. Was Kubrick a Vampira fan? How could he not have been! He knew all about Fear and Desire.