Glamour Ghoul: The Passions and Pains of the Real Vampira, Maila Nurmi

Reviewed by Saralyn Lancaster

Glamour Ghoul: The Passions and Pains of the Real Vampira, Maila Nurmi by Sandra Neimi, Port Townsend, WA. Feral House Press.2021. 350 pages. $21.95

Most people are aware of the beautiful character that was Vampira- but have you ever wanted to learn about the woman behind the Vampire? A name foreign to most ears, Maila Nurmi, is the Glamour Ghoul herself. Like every 1950’s actress, she has a story. Nurmi’s Niece, Sandra Niemi, is the author that sheds light to Maila’s life. Neimi allows readers to feel as if they are close friends of Nurmi- hearing her struggles, triumphs, and everything in between. Neimi expresses her fond interest in her aunt’s life as she describes the lift Nurmi led. Beginning with the beginning, Neimi introduces you to Nurmi’s pre-Vampira life as a daughter of Finnish immigrants living in Massachusetts. From there you find captivating pictures from Nurmi’s childhood that flow through the end of the book.

Sandra Neimi has left quite the impact as an author as this is her only book published. A biography like this reminds readers how human celebrities are. Neimi respectfully tells Nurmi’s truth behind the chaotic rumors of Hollywood. Reading the stories of Nurmi’s life feels like a diary entry progressing through each chapter of the book. Neimi allows readers to learn and relate to her Aunt’s many struggles through life. Showing how truly human the woman behind Vampira was as she battled to fit into Hollywood’s beauty expectations. Sharing details that expressed Nurmi’s pure drive for the life she had always dreamt of.

Nurmi’s life was nothing short of inspiring as told through the eyes of her niece. Sandra Neimi proves that Maila Nurmi was more than just the woman who played Vampira. She was a dedicated woman of the arts. From a young age she knew she was destined for a life of glitz and glam. She proved to witnesses of her life that she was capable of great things. Nurmi truly stepped into her power as she played the glamorous Vampira. Shuffling through her trials with flawed lovers, Neimi untangles one of the nastiest Hollywood rumors of her Aunt’s life.

Throughout the retelling of Nurmi’s life, I found myself relating to her battles and admiring her completely. Glamour Ghoul shows just how successful Nurmi truly was. I admired her will to succeed as a new woman in Hollywood.