The Los Angeles Times recently ran a feature about a new biography, Glamour Ghoul, that reveals the wild life of Maila Nurmi. If you know her at all, you know her as “Vampira” from the hideous-sublime cult classic, Plan Nine From Outer Space. Nurmi rocketed to fame in the early 1950s as the original “Ghoul Who Will Make You Drool,” hosting late-night horror movies on L.A. television. I was shocked by the number of ways her life rhymed with that of our gal Clara “Mynx” Devlin.
Both Clara and Maila…
…had riotous flings with Orson Welles. Maila actually had an out-of-wedlock child with Welles. (The child didn’t discover who his parents were until he was contacted by the author of this book!)
…dressed up as vampires and hosted late night “creature feature” movie shows. (Mynx’s was in Las Vegas.)
Would “Vampira” and Mynx Have Been Gal Pals?
I suspect so. They shared a vital quality of character: each refused to play by the rules of the system. Maila tore up her personal services contract with Howard Hawks when she found the modeling sessions too demeaning. She sacrificed what might been a thriving movie career because she wouldn’t “play the game.” She even managed to salvage a shred of dignity from her role in Plan 9: she refused to speak Ed Wood’s terrible dialogue. “Vampira” was, like Mynx Devlin, an original.
These key episodes of The Atomic Bombshell really highlight their similarities: