Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

RH Greene follows Orson Welles radio doc with new film on Vampira

Maila Nurmi as Vampira.
Maila Nurmi as Vampira.
Courtesy RH Greene

Vampira and Me: IdieGoGo Trailer from Protagonist Productions on Vimeo.

As first and foremost a film documentarian, Off-Ramp's eclectic but unified interests have been a really wonderful canvas for me. The Orson Welles documentary, Airborne, I hope you're listening to this week is a dream project of mine going back a decade, and radio, not film, was the ideal format for this particular approach to one of my cinematic heroes.

Off-Ramp also gave me the courage to embark on my latest film documentary when John Rabe invited me to dig into my archives and excavate an on-camera interview with my friend Maila Nurmi, the actress best known for her creation Vampira, a pioneering TV horror hostess who aired in Los Angeles in the 50s, and a character that became iconic when Maila wore her Vampira costume for her chilling appearance in the cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space.

Maila was dear to me, and though I wanted to make a film about her, her death in 2008 upset me greatly. Off-Ramp gave me a reason to watch my comprehensive 1997 interview with her once more, to break down the wall of separation I'd put up.

Since creating my Vampira bio for Off-Ramp, I've expanded my short-form look at Maila's bizarre and fascinating life into a full length movie. The effort Off-Ramp helped launch has literally changed the story: it was thought that no national TV footage of Maila in character existed, but I actually managed to unearth an entire NBC broadcast Vampira appeared on, clips of which appear in the trailer for our current crowdsource funding effort, along with an essay about the project's evolution and intentions. I hope you'll give it a look.