11 February 2008

Vampira vs Elvira (two drama queens)

I´ve found out recently about Maila Nurmi´s death (the finnish woman who created and then played the character Vampira in the 50´s). So long it´s been since back then when she was a star that I almost thought she was immortal....:)
You can see her character being played by Lisa Marie (Elvis' daughter) in Tim Burton´s film, Ed Wood (1994).
Vampira, despite being a bit kitsch (we´re talking about the 1950's, remember) still had that glamourous femme fatale allure of the Hollywood divas. She was a mix of vampire and a witch. Sadly ignored by lots of gothic websites (I don´t usually see any references to her when I read something about Gothic clothing history) Nurmi herself claimed that Vampira's image was in part based on the Charles Addams "New Yorker" cartoon character "Morticia Addams", though she told BOXOFFICE Magazine in 1994 that she had intentionally deviated from Addams' mute and flat-chested creation, making her own TV character "campier and sexier" to avoid plagiarizing Addams' idea. Her image has been such a big influence on the female gothic look that in no more than 4 decades later another "vampira" was born: Elvira. So similiar and often were the comparisons that Nurmi sued Cassandra Peterson (who plays Elvira) for plagiarism. She didn´t win, why?
Much kitscher and less glamourous than the original one, Elvira was a mix between a 80´s goth who´s been caught in the post-punk transition and a Playboy girl who´s decided to dress up like a witch for a Halloween night in her hometown. Obviously, the look was still goth but the the idea was focused in a completely different way. Whereas Nurmi focused on giving her character a quite serious dramatic look, Elvira´s character is just a charicature on itself: big boobs that -I don´t know how- stay half of the way inside that dress (black witchcraft, perhaps? superglue, maybe?), made of the nastiest piece of polyester or lycra. Her hair -that wig that even Robert Smith wouldn´t have dreamed of back in the 80´s- doesn´t help either to give any kind of sophistication....In conclusion, Vampira wasted her time sueing Elvira. Vampira wasn´t immortal, she´s dead now. Elvira is tacky, she looks like a dark hooker.
If you want to know more about Maila Nurmi, check out this link:

1 comment:

Hannah Garneau said...

Actually, the Lisa Marie in Ed Wood is not Lisa Marie Presley; they are two completely different people.


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