Dinosaur Dracula!

Candy Corn Blow Pops!

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New from Charms, get a load of these Candy Corn Blow Pops!

Please don’t continue reading until you’ve gotten a sufficient load of these Candy Corn Blow Pops.

I’m no big fan of candy corn, but time has dulled burning hatred into a more casual apathy. “Oh, it’s candy corn. Not gonna eat it, but it looks pretty enough in a bowl.” The timing is fortuitous, because just a few years ago, the mere mention of candy corn lollipops would’ve made me take my demon form, which very closely resembles Transmetal 2 Megatron.

Actually, all told, I think these are great. It’s always a treat when an ancient big brand puts on a costume, and getting candy corn Blow Pops means so much more than just getting candy corn lollipops. Ya dig? You do if you’re Tom Witzky.

The wrappers are impressive, but not like, regular impressive. I mean “impressive” like the Mortal Kombat guy says it. Drawn out, and with an admitting awe. I don’t know how Charms captured the very essence of Halloween in three inches of cheap cellophane so well, but kudos to them. It sounds hard to do. Read More…

Monster Balls from the ’80s!

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You should steal that image and put it on a t-shirt. Then, when you’re out in public, pretend that walking really hurts.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for us to talk about MONSTER BALLS. I’d wanted to write about these for over ten years, but the eBay prices were always too dissuasive. A few months ago, I finally found one that I could afford.

I finally got a MONSTER BALL.

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The package doesn’t list a year, but it’s safe to assume that they’re from the late ‘80s. MONSTER BALLS were pretty obviously meant to steal some glow from AmToy’s Madballs.

It takes a certain familiarity with goofy ‘80s toys to understand why MONSTER BALLS are incredible, so for those without that certain familiarity, I’ll do my best to explain.

Madballs, those lovably gross rubber monster balls, took certain demographics by storm when they debuted in 1987. Almost immediately, other toy companies stole the concept, whether to make straight-up bootlegs, or — as was the case with MONSTER BALLS — new creations were still direct pitches to existing Madballs fans.

So what appears to just be some obscure rubber Dracula head is actually a whole lot more. My MONSTER BALL is a relic from one of the weirdest and most wonderful fads of the ‘80s!

There were four different MONSTER BALLS available. Each came in the same package — the one with the helpful suggestions on what a person could do with their MONSTER BALL. (“Throw,” “catch,” “bounce” and “hit.” I’d add “squeeze,” and maybe “tuck under your shirt to give the illusion of a misplaced breast.”) Read More…

Classic Creepy Commercials – Volume 5!

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It’s time for our fifth batch of Classic Creepy Commercials, provided once again by my friend Larry.

(Not that Larry. The other one.)

If you’ve found your Halloween spirit weakening under the weight of the real world, these grainy old commercials will fix everything. And if they don’t? Well, you’ll still get to see Vincent Price in a turban, talking about sandwiches.

March of Dimes “Haunted Manor” Promo! (1983)

OMG I LOVE THIS TO DEATH.

This was a low (looowww) budget promo for a Milwaukee-based “Haunted Manor” — a charity event benefiting the March of Dimes. It’s just like that old episode of Roseanne!

The safe assumption is that volunteers redressed some loaned building as a “haunted walkthrough,” filled with cheap-but-sincere decorations and a host of folks dressed like monsters. Visitors would donate a dollar or two, see the sights, and maybe get a free lollipop on the way out.

The promo stars Dracula (a very tired and cranky Dracula) and Igor. This Igor is unlike any other! He has a severely injured eye, a top hat, and what I’ve decided is a wrestling t-shirt. In a twist on the norm, Igor plays the straight man.

Pay close attention to the background sound effects. I’m 100% sure that they just ran a Hallmark Halloween cassette on an offscreen tape player. If there’s an idealized “flavor” of Halloweens past, this ad absolutely captures it. Just perfect. Read More…

Dino Drac’s Tiny-Sized Halloween Store!

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As you can guess, running a site with this much content and on-hand reviews takes a ridiculous amount of time and a ridiculous amount of money. I wouldn’t be able to do it at this level without the help of readers willing to buy stupid things from me!

So, welcome to Dino Drac’s tiny-sized Halloween store! Right now, it only has two things!

The Dino Drac Funpacks are soon continuing into Month #3, with the special Halloween edition Funpack. This is your first chance to subscribe before they’re gone gone gone for another month!

I also have a limited supply of last year’s Halloween prints, which, IMO, are just as nice this year!

See below for all of the info, and thanks for supporting the site! Read More…

Vicious Videocassette Boxes, Volume IV!

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Oh goodie, it’s finally time to dust off one of my favorite recurring features from last year’s Halloween Countdown! Vicious Videocassette Boxes!

As y’all know by now, I have a pretty immense VHS collection, with an especially strong lean on horror movies. There are eight hundred reasons for that, but here are the most important three:

1) Horror movies remind me of old video stores more than any other genre. As a kid, I’d look at those videos with a mix of fascination and revulsion, never renting but always being so damn curious. Just knowing that those “evil” movies were in the same store as me made trips to Bill’s Video Realm so strangely exhilarating.

2) A lot of horror movies feel more effective when you watch them on VHS, and that’s not just the nostalgia talking. The tinny audio and bleached colors are mimicked by so many of today’s moviemakers for a reason: They add to the effect. Horror is the one genre where distortion is typically a plus. (So long as it’s an “accoutrement” and not a “mask,” anyway.)

3) THE BOX ART RULES.

#3 is, of course, the reason for this series. As the title suggests, “Vicious Videocassette Boxes” is less a celebration of good movies, and more a celebration of fabulously spooky box art. (Hell, my VCR isn’t even connected right now. My primary reason for collecting horror videos is that I simply enjoy looking at them.)

Here’s the next batch of five. (Scroll to the bottom for links to the previous volumes!) Read More…

The 2014 General Mills Monster Cereals!

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Oh yes, the Monster Cereals are back. After last year’s legendary haul, can General Mills top themselves? Probably not, but find out in this video review, covering both the “regular” AND Target-exclusive “retro” boxes!

(Special thanks to 2 Cool Ghouls for sending the “regular” boxes my way! You’re the best!)

Okay, so the bad news is that Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy are back in the vault. A lot of folks are pissed about that, but I’m not. From a reasonable business perspective, it was tough to imagine General Mills dusting off FIVE cereals, each in two different boxes, for a second year in a row. There’s a law of diminishing returns with this sort of thing, after all. Read More…

The Unsolved Mysteries Halloween Special!

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This one means a lot to me.

Weeks after it became a regular series, Unsolved Mysteries aired a special Halloween episode. They’d only cop to it being an “all ghosts” special, but given its debut date — October 26th, 1988 — I don’t think it’s a stretch to consider it a Halloween stunt.

I loved Unsolved Mysteries from the very start of the “Stack era” (previously aired specials had other hosts), and so at the impressionable of 9, I watched this terrible parade of ghastly ghouls and reacted accordingly.

Unsolved Mysteries ranks among my favorite TV shows ever, but entertainment value aside, I can hardly think of another show that affected me so much. With spooky segments covering everything from UFOs to satanic rituals, it fascinated me to pieces and frightened me to death.

If you’re only familiar with Unsolved Mysteries from the “Farina era,” the Stack episodes were far creepier, with an added emphasis on haunting music, bleak sets, and of course, Robert Stack himself. A guy who could read Peanuts comics and make them sound like Lovecraft.

The ghost-related segments were of particular interest. They’re the ones that “got me” the most. Today I take them with ten pounds of salt, but as a kid, I accepted every Unsolved Mysteries ghost story at face value. And boy, did that mess me up.

There’s a certain type of paralyzing fear that’s exclusive to childhood. To “achieve” it, you need a total lack of cynicism and a special naiveté. Most of us forget what that fear feels like as we grow older, but when I watch these old segments again, I remember. Read More…