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A scary femme fatale peddles old horror films on TV At an hour before midnight each Saturday on many Los Angeles TV screens, a gaunt, black-wigged mistress of ceremonies steps out of ominous, drifting mists, screams hysterically into a shuddering camera, intones the greeting in the headline above and then sighs morbidly, “I hope you have been lucky enough to have had a horrible week.”

With this beginning the macabre lady, who calls herself Vampira, invites her audience to watch a program of choice horror films, including such scary relics as White Zombie and Fog Island. Between movie reels Vampira provides eerie interludes of her own—a ghoulish hospital plan for would-be suicides called The Yellow Cross, a foaming cocktail “that will absolutely kill you.” Vampira was born Maila Syrjaniemi in Finland 31 years ago and her real hair is blond, but she has thrown herself wholeheartedly into her role, going abroad dead-panned and beshrouded even in daytime to enlarge her horror-loving public.

DEATH’S-HEAD SOFA is used as a perch when Vampira addresses TV audience. She boasts her fingernails are hemorrhage red.

SPIDER SEARCH with flickering candle is favorite Vampira interruption. Her fictitious pet spider, called Rollo, can never be found.

ON TOUR of city Vampira sits regally in back of old Packard with chauffeur provided by TV station. She screams at stop lights.

HAUGHTY Vampira ignores people on the street. “I like them to stare if they know who I am” she admits, “but not if they don’t.”

HOPING FOR GLOOM, Vampira puts up umbrella on sunny day. She tells signature seekers, “I give, epitaphs not autographs.”

  1. Hirudinea says: March 18, 201111:30 am

    Is here waist like 3″ or what?

  2. JMyint says: March 18, 20112:14 pm

    Maila Nurmi her measurements were 36″ 21″ 35″. According to her Bio she had modeled for Vargas.

  3. John says: March 18, 20112:18 pm

    Clips of the opening may be viewed/downloaded at…

  4. jayessell says: March 18, 20114:19 pm

    Also…. she appeared in the classic
    “Plan 9 from Outer Space”.

    Too bad she never met Elvira… OR DID SHE???

  5. John says: March 18, 20114:28 pm

    jayessell: No love lost between Vampira and Cassandra Peterson http://www.vampirathemo…
    I think they only met in court through their lawyers.

    Plan 9 from Outer Space can be viewed/downloaded here as well

  6. Mike says: March 18, 20116:25 pm

    I think Elvira was based on or replaced Vampira.

  7. Stephen says: March 19, 20117:08 am

    According to the closing titles of “Ed Wood”, a film I much recommend, Vampira “unsuccessfully sued Elvira for stealing her act.”

  8. John says: March 19, 20117:29 am

    Stephen: And according to the link I provided.

  9. Mike says: March 19, 20115:37 pm

    I am sorry John, don’t know why I didn’t see your link when I wrote my comment. I am not sure where I saw it, perhaps the Plan 9 extras DVD I thought Elvira was the replacement for Vampira at that TV station.

  10. John says: March 19, 20117:02 pm

    Mike: That’s fine. Vampira ended her show in 1955 and then was hired for a revival but she didn’t actually play Vampira, and then she quit and Cassandra Peterson was hired and became a different character.

    Part of the confusion is that we only have dueling interviews by Peterson and Nurmi as to who did what to whom and when.


    See what I mean?

  11. Mike says: March 22, 20113:11 pm

    Thanks for those articles John

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