|Curse of Frankenstein|
|Horror of Dracula|
Vampirella's orgins began in 1969 when Warren Publishing's owner Jim Warren wanted to launched a new title to supplement their ongoing series of Horror magazines. Eerie & Creepy were the flagship titles, with a motley selection of horror stories in each issue. As a counterpoint to the male, ghoulish presenters of Uncle Eerie & Cousin Creepy, it was decided that the new title should be fronted by a female - & a Sexy one at that!
|Creepy Magazine #1|
|Eerie Magazine #46|
|Jane Fonda as Barbarella|
|Vampirella Magazine #1|
|Forry J Ackerman in the Ackermansion|
|James Warren with model Marion Moore for Famous Monsters cover|
|Artist Frank Frazetta|
In an interview with Park Cooper of Silver Bullet Comics, Trina states "It's true -- I described it over the phone to Frank Frazetta, who to this day, I've actually never met. His original cover art of Vampirella looked a lot like my idea, but her costume shrunk more with each issue & by now it doesn't bear any resemblance to what I designed."
|Vampi by Trina Robbins|
The Producation began in 1975 with Hammer Studio head Michael Carreras going into a partnership with Warren Publisher Jim Warren, who did not want to give up any creative control on his character.
|Vampirella Movie Poster|
|Michael Carreras at Hammer House 1977|
Jimmy Sangster wrote the outline, which was embellished by John Starr, Lew Davidson and Christopher Wicking, makes Vampi an alien from the planet Drakulon who works as an agent of the SODS (Space Operatives for Defence & Security) with her partner, a elderly magician named Pendragon (who replaces Vampi's more sexier boyfriend Adam Van Helsing in the comics, which made no sense to Me). Together they fight the Akrons, an invading alien race.
For the Director, Carreras thought of ethier Gordon Hessler or John Hough who were Hammer Films main stays.
|Caroline Munro in Dracula AD 1972|
|Munro 's Hammer Screentest|
|Valerie Leon in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb|
|Valerie Leon in Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971)|
There was one Hammer Glamour Girl during this time that I remember who would have been a nice choice, Polish actress Ingrid Pitt, who starred in Hammer's The Vampire Lovers, a film based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla (which pre-dates Bram Stoker's Dracula novel), and Countess Dracula, a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth Báthory. In both movies she appeared nude, which made her a perfect candidate. Unsure if Hammer even auditioned her around this time. She had a sexy accent & body to boot!
|Ingrid Pitt in the Vampire Lovers|
|Ingrid Pitt in the Vampire Lovers|
|Ingrid Pitt as Countess Dracula|
Two more interesting canditates I thought of both appeared as Vampirella in 1973 at the 6th Annual New York Comic Art Convention. A sexy actress & exotic dancer named Angelique “Destiny” Trouvere & a 14 year old girl Heidi Saha They were featured in a November issue of Vampirella # 29, “2 Vampirellas stun 5,500 at 1973 Comic Art Convention.
|1973 Comic Art Convention|
Angelique Trouvere was well known at convetions for appearing in sexy homemade costumes & would have liked to portrayed Vampirella in a movie, but Jim Warren felt that she was way to "stutty", wanting someone with more "class" (What did he think he was making? High Art? It was a Horror movie with Nudity!)
|Angelique Trouvere as Vampi|
|Angelique Trouvere as Satana|
|Angelique Trouvere as Red Sonja|
14 year old Heidi Saha is undoubtedly the youngest Vampirella model to wear the costume in public. Now a day a young girl wearing such a skimpy outfit in public is normal, but in 1973 it raised many eyebrows! Heidi was the daughter of Art Saha, a well known sci-fi editor & was President of the New York Science Fiction Society & President of First Fandom, so it is no surprise that she should accompany him to the 1973 Comic Art Convention. Heidi appeared wearing a professionally tailor made Vampirella costume, which many felt was unfare. Heidi's parents had befriend Warren Editor Forrest J Ackerman, who was so taken with Heidi that he published one of the rarest & most sought after
magazines - the infamous "Illustrated History of Heidi Saha", a single issue magazine that Warren Publishing released in 1973. Vampirella, Creepy, & Eerie carried large advertisements for the magazine & for a poster with Heidi dressed as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Her parents had hoped that this would help Heidi with an acting career. It's unsure if Ackerman even suggested the young Heidi for the Vampirella role to Jim Warren. Warren
|Heidi Saha as Vampi|
|Heidi at 1973 Comic Art Con|
|Heidi and Forry|
|Sexy Wet Barbara Leigh|
|Barbara Leigh & Steve McQueen on the set of Junior Bonner|
For the role of Pendragon, Carreras considered casting a well known American actor like Gene Kelly to appeal to the US Box office, but his agent wanted to much money. They finally settled for a Hammer Film Alumnus, Peter Cushing, who had played Prof. Van Helsing in 1958 Horror of Dracula film, later better known as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (1977). He seem to be looking forward to working on the project with his co-star, sending her a letter about it.
Shakespearean actor Sir John Geilgud was Carreras 1st choice for the Commander of the SODS, adding some class to the film.
|Peter Cushing's letter|
|Sir John Geilgud|
Barbara Leigh did a photo shoot for Warren & Hammer as Vampi, which did appear on a number of Warren's magazines. Carreras even sent Cushing & Leigh to the November '75 MonsterCon to publicise the forth coming movie.
|Barbara Leigh prepares for photo shoot|
But the movie began to fall apart when Jim Warren started to argue over merchandising rights. Hammer Films resources were also stretched, having gone over budget over the proposed Co-production of a Loch Ness Monster movie with Japanese studio Toho called Nessie movie with Euan Lloyd. By 1978 the Vampirella movie was dropped (as well as Nessie), Barbara Leigh's movie went nowhere & both Hammer Films & Warren Publishing were soon bankrupt by the 1980s.
|Barbara Leigh & Forry J Ackerman at MonsterCon '75|
|Nessie Movie Poster|
In 1996 a direct to video movie starring Talisa Soto as Vampi (who played Princess Kitana in 1995 Mortal Kombat movie), Roger Daltrey (lead singer of the Who) as the villain and Corinna Harney,& directed by Jim Wynorski. Movie got bad reviews from critics & fans (who hated the crappy costume to the bad script).
|The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey|
|Barbara Leigh as Vampirella|