There’s a new documentary about Vampira coming out soon, and since this is purely being done by an individual who admires Maila Nurmi so much, he needs our help to get the film premiered in LA which would be fantastic, and also a big achievement for the director AND Vampira herself.
Please support this project by donating/re-blogging this post OR BOTH, if you’re a fan of Vampira, or any indie art/subculture scenes. She was one of the pioneers of goth/punk/horror themed art and she will always be.
When my remarkable friend Maila Nurmi died in 2008, she hadn’t achieved one of the principle goals of her later life, which was to tell her own story fully, sympathetically and in a manner that acknowledged the distinctions between the cult icon Vampira and the complex and in some ways more fragile revolutionary beneath. At the height of our friendship during the 1990s, I captured much of her story, both during our extensive luncheon conversations and in a long and extraordinarily intimate on camera interview, fully covering her life and career.
This film is my attempt to honestly show Maila’s life both as she wanted it displayed, and also from my own close but alternate perch of observation. It’s a work of love, and I hope also a work of honesty and clarity.
VAMPIRA AND ME has been made with the full support of Maila’s estate and the kind encouragement of her niece Sandra Niemi as well as others who were close to her. The film contains a wealth of archival material that has never been seen before, including some amazing and newly discovered kinescope footage of Maila as Vampira that was restored and remastered for this project, and which rewrites and broadens her legacy. Some of that rare footage is featured in the trailer on this page, where it can be seen publicly for the first time in 57 years.
As Maila herself told me, in 1954, when she began her career as the original TV horror host, it was time for a revolution, and Vampira was one of the early missiles fired off. Vampira launched gothic style as we know it today, offered women a riveting icon of strength and sensuality in a time that worshipped female passivity, and became a permanent touchstone for rebels, outcasts and misfits—one that lives on to this day.
Vampira mattered back then. She still does now.
And it’s a hell of a story, one I’ve done my best to honor.
VAMPIRA AND ME is almost completed, and will hopefully receive its world premiere this summer in Los Angeles. Premiering in L.A. is important to me, as part of the karmic debt I feel I owe Maila. It’s the Hollywood premiere Maila never got in life, for a film where Maila is indisputably the star.
Small or large, your contribution will help make all of that happen.
Thanks for considering this, and viva Vampira!
It’s my hope that VAMPIRA AND ME will rewrite American cultural history a little bit to make more space for Maila and what she achieved, As Vampira, Maila was a major broadcast pioneer, but she was also a lot more. Her friendships with icons like James Dean, Elvis Presley and even Liberace show what an early member she was of a new cultural tribe—the rebels, who were working out a fresh lexicon for personal freedom, sometimes at great personal cost. I see Maila as an inspirational figure, a cautionary tale about the perils of celebrity, and a role model who changed the parameters for everybody.
Vampira is already a lasting icon who doesn’t need my help to be remembered. But Maila was so remarkable, and her story is such an unbelievable epic of triumph and tragedy, that getting to know her more fully can only help sustain what she achieved.
And I loved her. So I want the woman to be remembered, as well as the character.
What We Need & What You Get
This project has been in production for two years, funded entirely by its makers. Retirement accounts have been depleted, paying gigs have been turned down, and debts have been incurred.
The good news is that we are very close to completed—this project WILL get there. But there are a whole range of expenses remaining, including hirings for standard contractual and legal processes, a full professional color timing session, music recording sessions, and additional post-production sound work on a state-of-the-art mixing stage. We have already done major restoration work on film and audio elements that have never been circulated previously, but there is still more to do. And as VAMPIRA AND ME gets closer to its world premiere, there will likely be some moderate promotional expenses to meet.
We’re in a pivotal stage, and your contribution will make a critical difference.
In exchange, and with the kind permission of Maila’s estate, we are offering some truly one-of-a-kind collectable premiums, including an eight card VAMPIRA AND ME lobby card set, created using rare and in some cases uncirculated images of Maila and Vampira that will be signed and numbered by the film’s director. Tickets to the premiere and after party are also available, and all contributors will be thanked in the film credits.
Other Ways You Can Help
In the trailer for VAMPIRA AND ME, we’ve included two clips of Maila as Vampira on the George Gobel show in 1955. The kinsecope this material was drawn from was bought at auction by this project, and then carefully restored and transferred to create a new full high-definition master.
These images have not been seen publicly for over 57 years, and have probably never been seen with so much clarity. They are as rare as rare can be.
If you’re a fan of Maila and Vampira, or of gothic or popular culture, we hope you’ll circulate this rare material and the trailer that houses it by linking to this page as a way of letting the world know about our campaign. “
- R.H. Greene the director of Vampira and Me