Monday, January 28, 2008

Plan 9.5

In which the remains of a beloved Hollywood horror icon will hopefully be interred in a place equally suited for peaceful rest and shameless tourism.

Early last week some friends of the late Maila Nurmi (better known as the original late-night TV horror host, Vampira), who died on January 10 at the age of 85, issued a release detailing plans to have the actress immortalized in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The group has established a MySpace page to solicit donations (they need to raise $8,000 – no word on where the running total sits).

Hollywood Forever is a morbid wonderland of celebrity memoriam nestled in vintage Hollywood, right next to the Paramount Pictures backlot (the close proximity of the two provided the setting and inspiration for Ray Bradbury’s novel A Graveyard for Lunatics). Part resting place, part theme park, part coffee shop, the relatively small cemetery is the final home to some of classic cinema’s biggest stars, including several horror notables like Peter Lorre Fay Wray, and as such draws many more visitors than the average graveyard. Local wanderers frequently haunt the place, some picnicking or sitting watch among the tombstones daily, and in October the gates are opened for outdoor screenings of classic horror movies. Originally known as Hollywood Memorial --, the park fell into disrepair over the latter half of the last century, but was purchased and restored by St. Louis-based Forever Cemeteries. The HBO documentary The Young and the Dead is a great chronicle of the refurbishment process.

If there's anyone in Hollyweird who truly belongs in such auspicious surroundings for all of eternity, it's Vampira. Help her legacy live by donating here.