Dinosaur Dracula!

Chillin’ with Chilla.

One reason I needed to take a powder back in June was the opportunity to do some promo work with Chiller.

If you don’t know, Chiller is an all-horror channel, and I’d already fallen in love with it – mainly because it was the only place to see Tales from the Darkside on television. I had my heart set on spending the summer as an extremely unsuccessful webmaster, but I couldn’t pass up this chance.

It was a blast. The Chiller team was great, and I got to work with a bunch of movies that I became a fast fan of. (If I had to pick two, I especially liked The House of the Devil and Fragile.) Better still, I got to work with some of my old favorites, like Sleepaway Camp 2.

But let’s get back to Tales for a second. I grab every episode of it on my DVR, and watch them regularly. There are plenty of great ones, but even the worst of them are bizarre in a way that’s worth watching.

I’ve mentioned this series plenty of times before. It seems weird to say considering what the show is about, but nothing turns me into a tween again quite like Tales from the Darkside. As a lonely kid looking for any way to make those late night Saturdays more exciting, there it was, on the crappy old TV in my bedroom, ready to make me afraid of the dark, the windows, and the even the faintest foreign sound.  At least for the sheltered, this was sheer exhilaration.

If I recall correctly, Tales would lead straight into Star Trek: The Next Generation – a much needed respite from whatever terror I’d just endured. So long as it wasn’t the episode where Tasha Yar got eaten by black sludge. Read More…

Vlog: TMNT Sewer Exploration Belt, from 1990.

One of the less-referenced reasons why Playmates’ old Ninja Turtles toys were so great was that they were so strange, and nothing proves it quite like the Sewer Exploration Belt, from 1990.

A kid-sized arsenal of goofy crap in the vein of Batman’s utility belt, it covered every base. A real working compass! A big plastic bear trap! A can of ooze! TONGS!

With so much glory spanning across eighteen inches of green plastic, I needed a full fifteen minutes to explain it all:

And here’s the alternate link for YouTube loyalists.

With the Sewer Exploration Belt being so impossibly up my alley, I’m surprised I didn’t catch wind of it as a child. I might have been too big for it even by 1990, but I doubt that would’ve stopped me. Even if I couldn’t wear it, who could turn down a plastic device with a side container for retromutagen ooze?

/swoon

I’d write more, but that’s what the video is for. It was carefully scripted, and guest stars one of Hollywood’s all-time greats. Enjoy it for however many minutes you can stand. I give you four, tops.

Mad Mascots: Bigg Mixx!

Through crooked senses, “Bigg Mixx” rhymes with “brilliance.” And it should.

The cereal was named after its mascot, a beast that was part chicken, part wolf, part moose and part pig. Think Foghorn Leghorn, after a mishap with Seth Brundle’s telepods. I could try to come up with some adjective that I haven’t used in 4000 other reviews, but this time, “awesome” is all that fits. Bigg Mixx was awesome.

I never tried the cereal, because as a kid, somehow, Bigg Mixx the mascot did nothing for me. I guess it takes a more sophisticated level of taste to appreciate a four-way hybrid animal monster. Back in 1990, I just didn’t have it. Shame on me. If only Kellogg’s had armed him with some kind of futuristic ice blue missile launcher.

Here’s the old Bigg Mixx commercial, as viewed on someone’s tube television… Read More…

The Trash Pack Schoolbag!

I feel I’ve committed a grave sin in having waited this long to say anything about The Trash Pack, a line of wonderful little monster figures made by Moose Toys. On the scale of M.U.S.C.L.E. but with the sensibility of Madballs, this is the exact kind of thing that someone like me should publicly support. God, please forgive me.

Well, God probably doesn’t care. But I hope Moose Toys forgives me.

There’s a veritable army of figures available, each hidden inside its own tiny garbage pail. If you like monsters, you will fall in love with the Trash Pack instantly. There isn’t a single Trashie that I don’t like.

One is based on a diseased seagull. Another looks like Frankenstein’s monster. Then there’s a Trashie who is literally a living wad of chewed bubble gum. How on earth am I supposed to pick a favorite?

Some Trashies are rarer than others. Admittedly, this is how Moose Toys gets you to buy duplicate Trashies. You may end up with ten “Rancid Steak” figures, but that’s the cost of hunting the ultra rare “Bin Scab Beetle.” Oh sure, some people will hit the jackpot on their first purchase, but if our lives have been any indication, it won’t be us.

I can’t say enough good things about these figures, but I’m going to stop here. There’s already plenty of Trash Pack info online, from the full story on their official site to a fan’s view by my buddy Jonathan.

No, I’m here to tell you about something else. The motherfucking Trash Pack schoolbag. Read More…

Dinosaur Dracula at the Beach Fair!

There was some kind of weird beach fair thing in Staten Island this past weekend. I’m never one to turn down weird beach fair things.

The event exceeded expectations. It was like a tiny-sized, bootleg version of Wildwood out there. There weren’t any roller coasters, but they did have a giant, inflatable gorilla! There weren’t any arcades, but you could pay a dollar to fish plastic ducks out of a filthy pool, and trade them in for stuffed animals!

It was an endless sidewalk of street vendors, peddling everything from movies to food to toys, set against the backdrop of what Staten Island considers a beach.

Here are the highlights, but they come with a warning. I’m writing this with a terrible headache. I can’t be funny with a terrible headache, and can only set my sights as high as “coherent.”

The biggest draw was a series of enormous inflatable rides, set up on a grass field near the concrete pseudo-boardwalk. The one above was clearly the star attraction. A giant gorilla battling a giant dinosaur, in a scene that had to be inspired by King Kong. If it wasn’t, please clue me in about the other movies featuring giant apes fighting dinosaurs. I’d love to see them! Read More…