At an hour before midnight each Saturday on many Los Angeles TV screens, a gaunt, black-wigged mistress of ceremonies steps out of ominous, drifting mists, screams hysterically into a shuddering camera, intones the greeting in the headline above and then signs morbidly, "I hope you have been lucky enough to have had a horrible week."

With this beginning the macabre lady, who calls herself  Vampira, invites her audience to watch a program of choice horror films, including such relics as White Zombie and Fog Island. Between movie reels Vampira provides eerie interludes of her own - a ghoulish hospital plan for would-be suicides called The Yellow Cross, a foaming cocktail "that will absolutely kill you." Vampira was born Maila Syrjaniemi in Finland (in 1954 she was 31-years-old) and her real hair is blonde, but she has thrown herself wholeheartedly into her role, going abroad dead-panned and beshrouded even in daytime to enlarge her horror-loving public. 


images and info provided by the LIFE Magazine / LIFE Magazine International / LIFE Magazine Atlantic ARCHIVE from the Zetu Harrys Collection