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Elvira = Oranges. Vampirella = Apples . . . big, bloody, red ones from outer space. Thus, when comparing Elvira to Vampirella, you are comparing apples and oranges. The two are not mutually exclusive, they are just very, very different. We have Captain Marvel and Superman, and there is plenty of room in the world for both of them. That said, it's time to enter the world of do-it-all, super-hyphenate Jim Wynorski, President of the production/sales company Sunset Films International. He runs a tight ship in his AFM suite. He's got his sales staff working at full-steam, selling an array of action and other genre material that Wynorski usually writes, directs, produces . . . you get the picture. This is the man with the plan, the man in charge, the top dog, the one who believes that to get something done right, you have to do it yourself. So, he usually does.
Wynorski minces no words and if a bit of cynicism creeps into his voice, forgive him because he's been doing this for awhile. He loathes incompetence and comes off as the epitome of pragmatism. "The only way to know what's hot at the next market is by guessing, and listening. If one buyer asked for a family film, you'd pay little mind, but if 10 buyers tell you the same thing, then maybe you'd bring a family film to the next market." What did he learn at this market? "Urban action is still popular and you can sell sci-fi action with a hook, like Vampirella. "
Oh yes, Vampirella. She's big news here. In fact, a close to life-size cut-out of the temptress fans lovingly call "Vampi" stands just inside the entrance to the suite, luring in buyers from the congested hallway. She's the star of a sexy, sci-fi actioner Wynorski plans to shoot in May 1996 for a Halloween month debut on a pay cable channel. Whether she knows it or not, this cardboard incarnation of the comic book diva is successfully doing some of Wynorski's work. She gets them in the door and he pre-sells them on the movie. Wynorski's been tracking this project since 1987. He's got trading card, comic book and other movie-related merchandising rights sure to bring in good money if the film gets decent exposure.
Wynorski struggles to explain to this comic book neophyte that Elvira and Vampirella have nothing in common and there won't be any competition. Well, maybe not initially. Elvira was never anyone's hero. Though not supernatural, she does exploit the unquenchable (despite its undesirable nature) voyeuristic needs of some through seductive attire and plenty of cup-size jokes. She is also known as actress Cassandra Peterson. Vampi, on the other hand, is supernatural, though she is not a conventional vampire. For starters, she's not from planet earth. Crosses, sunlight, garlic and holy water do nothing to her. In fact, one Vampi web-site keeper explains that "if you saw her eating a slice of pizza with garlic at the beach during the day with a cross around her neck and drinking a glass of holy water it'd be like any other day to Vampi." She's basically an avenging vampire out to do justice. She lives off a synthetic blood serum developed by the Van Helsings and she's held tons of jobs on this planet from magician's assistant to actress to teacher and has even found time to halt the incursion of the Cult of Chaos. At least this is what she accomplished when she was published by Warren Magazines some years back. Today's Vampi vamps in Harris Comics publications and appears occasionally on Topps bubble gum card packs. Vampi wears the skimpiest outfit any superhero-type has ever worn. Her red body suit (body strap?) looks like a 90s version of Wendy O. Williams electrical tape ensemble of the 1980s. Maybe Wendy O. got her inspiration from the space vampire vixen because Vampirella has been around for decades. It's clear that Wynorski thinks Vampirella outclasses, out sexes and could easily overpower lil' old campy Elvira, despite his protestations that comparing them is comparing apples and oranges.
Vampirella is Wynorski's biggest budget film to date, costing just over $2 million. Other titles offered at the AFM include: Assault, an explosive action/adventure film directed by Wynorski; Demolition High, starring Corey Haim, Alan Thicke and Dick Van Patten and directed by Wynorski; Street Corner Justice, a vigilante action film (not produced or directed by Wynorski!); Stripshow: Midnight Tease II, erotic fare produced by Wynorski; and the thrillers Sorceress 2 and Vice Girls. Wynorski heads both the production and sales side of his company. He's the only cross-over. Every job he can do himself, he does. Because, as Wynorski matter-of-factly observes, it allows him to eliminate the middlemen and he makes all the money. Sunset is owned by Wynorski and Cinetel films. Cinetel focusses on bigger theatrical titles and Wynorski concentrates on genre. Sunset has output deals with both Triboro Entertainment and Concorde/New Horizons.
For those interested in seeing more Vampirella before Wynorski's film is released, check out Michael Carnell's Vampirella Home Page, Scott Stockwell's Vampirella Page, Michael Jee's Vampirella of Drakulonne page and Dave Froman's Vampirella Page. For the sake of equal time, also check out the Elvira Mistress of the Dark site.