I’m uber excited about the release of Disney’s film “Maleficient” coming up next month. Was even more jazzed when I stumbled on an interesting article over on Salon.com regarding the link between the 1950s Vampira actress and Disney’s villain Maleficent.
The Salon piece was written by documentary filmmaker R. H. Greene who wrote and directed “Vampira and Me.” This film is an in-depth look at the life of the gothic starlet Maila Nurmi who played Vampira. Vampira was one of TV’s first horror hosts and later inspired the iconic ’80s vampiress character Elvira.
According to Pam Keesey’s 1997 book “Vamps: An Illustrated History of the Femme Fatale,” Keesey claims that Nuri channeled the evil queen from Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” while acting. It seems that inspiration worked in both directions.
During production of Disney’s “Maleficient,” archives were pulled from “Sleeping Beauty.” With some sleuth work, R.H. Greene was able to confirm Nurmi’s “participation as a ‘live action reference’ model” for the animated Maleficent character.
Upon close inspection of Nurmi’s photo, I’d say the cheekbones and eyebrows say it all. Don’t you think? Pretty wicked!