It is simply impossible to foster a love for B-Grades without developing a crush on Vampira at some point. Vampira (Maila Nurmi) was a Finnish-born actress who is best known for presenting The Vampira Show. She passed away on 10 January 2008, aged 86. I learned of the sad news from the Vault of Horror. Excellent blog, read it sometime.
The Vampira Show
Maila constructed the character Vampira from various sources, including the evil queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, several silent era actresses and Morticia Addams from the Addams Family. During the show, Vampira would drape herself over a double ended Victorian sofa, with skulls and a pet spider, Rolo, her only company. Skulls and sofa would bask in her aura while she presented a film for the night. The film would be suitable entertainment for the off screen ghosts, and similarly suitable to torment her advertisers. Sounds like a dream date!
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Directed by Ed Wood, he of the dubious title "worst director of all time", Vampira reputedly refused to utter a word of the script because she found it too terrible. Ed Wood merely took her lines out, allowing her to appear as a cameo zombie. Sort of. Since then, the film has earned the dubious title of "the worst film of all time". That is simply not true. I can think of at least 5 films worse than Plan 9: Jurassic Park III is worse; Gigli is worse; Napoleon Dynamite is worse; Spawn is worse; Catwoman is worse. Then there is The Rookie, which for all its recycled footage and leather faced Dennis Quaid can't possibly be better than any B-Grade. I wish I had seen the Disney logo before I watched that crap. I got free tickets and I still want to be paid damages for the hour and a half or so I can never have back.
Vampira had several battles with the film industry. At some point, she wanted to sue series which took her likeness and capitalised on it. Sooner or later, film makers declined working with her, and she opened an antique shop called Vampira's Attic. Apparently she was adept at making jewellery and clothes. She made a few adornments for Grace Slick and Frank Zappa among others.
She came to star in a few documentaries about schlock. Eventually these culminated in a documentary all about her, entitled Vampira: The Movie. This documentary is said to contain the last recorded interview with Maila.
Unpleasant dreams, darlings
I offer my condolences to her family and friends. Her official site asks that those who wish to show their appreciation of her life forward donations to the Much Love Animal Rescue in her memory.