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Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror Paperback – September 2, 2014

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (September 2, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593765436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593765439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Finally, Poole lovingly gives Vampira her due."—Booklist, Starred Review

"Poole is as concerned with the larger social changes afoot in mid-century America and uses the Vampira narrative to approach the second half of the 20th century from a fresh, and new thought-provoking perspective...[Vampira] provides an interesting and singular window into a time in the nation's past that can hardly be over-examined, especially as so many of the battles described are still being fought and it can often seem as if some of the hard-won gains of the era are slowly being given up." —Charleston City Paper

"Scott Poole has the chops, the Hollywood savvy, and the horror genre's insider smarts to write a killer book on Vampira. I'll be first in line to grab a copy." — Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner and New York Timesbestselling author of Assassin's Code and Dust & Decay.

"Horror hostess, bondage goddess, Charles Addams cartoon comes to life, Vampire was every first-generation fanboy's wet dream. Scott Poole takes us on an unforgettable ride through the overlapping underworlds of B&D magazines, Hollywood noir, and early political liberation movements that inspired actress Maila Nurmi to challenge a postwar culture bent on stifling women's choices, bodies, and desires. This book is a subversive masterpiece." -- Sheri Holman, author of Witches on the Road Tonight and The Dress Lodger.

“W. Scott Poole's last book, Monsters in America, was a dazzling work of cultural history: smart, funny, subversive and wildly entertaining. He showed a special gift for playfully saying serious things. His new book is even more wonderful. The life of Maila Nurmi, better known as the late-night TV hostess Vampira, is a great, strange story in itself, but also allows Poole to explore our attitudes about sex, death, fear, and difference. ‘The Lady of Horror’ was famous in the 1950s, but she is a remarkable symbol who connects backward to Poe and forward to Goth. She is as American as the Statue of Liberty.” —Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters and Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America

“Vampira is up there with Vincent Price for lovers of the macabre, an icon whose shadow and influence lingers long after death. She's not only important to modern children of the night for being the first TV horror host, but as the original ‘Glamour Ghoul,’ whose style has inspired generations of Goth Girls to adopt the sexy undead look as their own. But there is more to her story than her ability to look good screaming, and Scott Poole, whose writing on the dark side of popular culture has proven to be some of the smartest, sassiest com-mentary on American society around, is the man to tell it.” —Lisa Ladouceur, author of Encyclopedia Gothica

“An expert critic of pop culture, W. Scott Poole is one of the finest historians of all that is wicked, salacious, and sexy in America. Poole’s previous award-winning books on monsters and the devil in movies, comic books, and television have revolutionized how we think about evil and culture. Now with Vampira, he plans to wow us again. By looking into the life and times of Maila Nurmi, the former stripper turned television’s dark goddess of sex and death, Poole unveils a new side of midcentury America, the ‘American century’ in which we too often forget the steamy, scary, and sensational.” —Edward J. Blum author of Reforging the White Republic and The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America

“Scott Poole is, in my view, the finest (certainly the wittiest and most crafty) scholar working in this area and by far the most persuasive. Vampira represents a way to talk about fifties culture, especially about the political and moral pressures exerted then and what costs ensued. Scott Poole has shown how brilliantly he can unearth cultural fears and desires, both dangerous and heartbreaking, by analyzing what passed itself off as entertainment.” —James R. Kincaid, Aerol Arnold Professor of English at USC and author of Erotic Innocence and Annoying the Victorians

[Praise for Monsters in America]

"Poole brings to life American horror stories by framing them within folk belief, religion, and popular culture, broadly unraveling the idea of the monster. Thanks to Poole's insights we see the ubiquity of the monster lurking in and around us." —John David Smith, Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

"Poole's connection of the monster to American history is a kind of Creature Features meets American cultural history. Here we not only meet such monsters but also discover America's cultural monstrosity." —John W. Morehead, editor,

"A well informed, thoughtful, and indeed frightening angle of vision to a persistent and compelling American desire to be entertained by the grotesque and the horrific." —Gary Laderman, Professor of American Religious History and Cultures, Emory University

"With Monsters in America, W. Scott Poole has given us a guidebook for a journey into nightmare territory. Insightful and brilliant!" —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Patient Zero and Dead of Night

"An unexpected guilty pleasure! Poole invites us into an important and enlightening, if disturbing, conversation about the very real monsters that inhabit the dark spaces of Americas past." —J. Gordon Melton, Director, Institute for the Study of American Religion

"From 19th century sea serpents to our current obsession with vampires and zombies…Poole plots America's past through its fears in this intriguing ...sociocultural history." —Publishers Weekly

"Poole ... has set the bar ridiculously high for any future research exploring the locus of historical and cultural studies, particularly as it pertains to the horrific. ... Monsters In America challenges, enlightens, and, quite honestly, frightens in its prescient view of American history, as well as the seeming ubiquity of the monsters of our past and probable future." —The Crawlspace

"After reading Monsters in America, a reader will view monsters in a completely different light. No longer just something that goes bump in the night, Mr. Poole showcases that monsters have more meaning and shed more insight into society than one might have previously suspected. Well-written and engaging, Monsters in America is a must-read for anyone fascinated by history or monsters or both." —That's What She Read

"While we can never isolate all the elements contributing to our horror stories, Poole looks at the distinct soil that produced Monsters in America. He lurks in the forests and depths that gave rise to Moby Dick, the Headless Horseman and even Bigfoot. Writing from his faculty position at the College of Charleston, Poole locates many of our manias in racial fears and tensions.” —Purple State of Mind

"The story of monsters, Poole rightly observes, is actually the "underground history of the United States.... American monsters are born out of American history." Monsters reveal what simultaneously enthralls and repels us, whether it's leviathanesque sea monsters off the shores of 17th-century New England or Stephenie Meyer's puritanical, defanged Edward Cullen addressing contemporary America's split-personality longing for a supersexy Ozzie-and-Harriet family." —Jana Riess, Beliefnet

About the Author

W. Scott Poole, who teaches at the College of Charleston, has written widely about American history, horror, and pop culture, including most recently in his award-winning history, Monsters in America , which received the John G. Cawelti prize from the Popular Culture Association and was named among the "Best of the Best" by the AAUP for 2011. Monsters received nominations for the Bram Stoker and the fan-sourced Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards. Poole is a regular contributor to Popmatters and his work has appeared in the Huffington Post , Religions Dispatches and Killing the Buddha . He has been a guest speaker at Authors@Google and has collaborated on films for the History Channel, PBS, and, most recently, the Banger Films project, Satan: The Movie . He blogs at his website,

More About the Author

W. Scott Poole is the author of numerous books and articles on monsters and mayhem in popular culture.

His forthcoming book _Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror_ looks at the life of 1950s horror host Maila Nurmi (a.k.a. Vampira) to explore the history of American sexuality, gender relations and the rebirth of the horror film in post-WW2 America. Its a story that begins with the history of the dark lady of late night horror and branches out into a discussion of the Beats, Bebop Jazz, the birth of rock and roll and the social protest movements of the 1960s. Novelist Sheri Holman calls the book "a subversive masterpiece."

He is also the author of _Monsters in America_ from Baylor University Press (2011)._Monsters_ explores the American fascination with vampires, zombies, serial killers and even sea serpents, showing how these creatures of our dark obsessions help us to understand the dark and forboding places in American history.

In 2009, Poole published _Satan in America: The Devil We Know__ (Rowman and Littlefield), a cultural history of the image of Satan in American religion, history and popular culture. This exciting work blends the study of horror films, comic books, religious texts and newspaper accounts of "satanic panics" into a highly readable analysis of the concept of the devil in American cultural history. Penn State folklorist Bill Ellis called the book "required reading for anyone who wants to understand the dark roots of America culture." I

Poole is also an associate professor of History at the College of Charleston where he teaches courses on monsters in American history, Satan in folk belief and pop culture and the history of religion and race in American life .

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Machine on September 11, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. Thank you for the fast service.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DS on September 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
A great read! I didn't know much about Vampira and this book explores her life and places her in the context of post war American culture. Really page-turning history.
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