Like so many of my heroes recently, it looks like I’m going to have to give my final respects to Maila Nurmi, who created the character Vampira in the fifties, her tight corset and shroud proving that death and sex are two great tastes that taste great together.
I saw a documentary years back about her–then got to see her read poetry at Beyond Baroque in Venice (same gig as Ellyn Maybe and Pleasant Gehman) seven or eight years ago, back when I didn’t have a phobia about going west of the 405. Like Nico, Vampira was a beautiful young woman who aged into a gleefully haggard crone, who she seemed to delight in her witchiness. Oh, and yes, she billed herself as “Vampira” even when reading poetry in a sweater. Though she’s been out of the spotlight for years, she’s a true Hollywood legend and she’ll be missed.
For those who want to give her a rousing send-off, you may be reaching for a Misfits CD. Instead, reach for Bobby Bare’s “Vampira,” a slightly better tribute done when Bare was still a rough rockabilly cat. You can get it on Horror Hop from the Buffalo Bop label. With a line-up of songs that includes Mickey Lee Lane’s “The Zoo,” the Frantics’ “Werewolf,” and some other classics, you’ll be filled to the brim with ghoulish delight.