Dinosaur Dracula!

Realm of the Underworld Figures!

You’ve surely noticed the slew of “independent” toy lines that have materialized in recent years. You know, the kind you see funded by Kickstarter campaigns, which often take inspiration from retro lines?

I won’t pretend that there’s never a dud, but so many of these “microbrew” lines are fantastic. They’re usually created by people around our age, who grew up loving the same toys we did. I’ve seen independent lines inspired by everything from M.U.S.C.L.E. to Battle Beasts, but always with a twist to make them unique.

This isn’t something I write about often, because no matter how many toys I cover, “regular reviews” aren’t really my thing. It’s close to what I do, but not exact. I only mention this because it’d take something seriously great for me to be “straight and shilly.” And yeah, I think today’s subject is seriously great.

Made by Zoloworld, it’s the Realm of the Underworld collection! A series of Masters of the Universe-esque figures that blend monsters, mythology and a whole lot of nostalgia.

The story, if I have it right, involves a team of evil Archfiends (skeleton warriors) from the Underworld, attempting to wreck shit in the Overworld. Only a couple of heroes stand in their way, but since those heroes are godlike and covered in bumpy muscles, the fight is fairer than it sounds. Read More…

Deadsites #4: Edy’s Godzilla Ice Cream!

I’m no fan of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, but man, I wanted to be. I saw it way late, and hoped that its parade of awful reviews were only written by people who’d either “missed the point” or were inherently joyless.

Nah. It really was terrible.

But that doesn’t damper my memories of its incredible marketing campaign. No matter what you thought of the film, the lead up to it was a blast. It all started with this teaser:

Yeah, the sight of Zilla’s foot crushing a tyrannosaur skeleton loses something once you’ve seen the movie, but at the time, this was super effective stuff. I was going to say “like Krazy Glue,” but A) that’s lame and B) I wrote “effective,” not “adhesive.”

And so this edition of Deadsites is off to a rocky start.

It wasn’t just trailers and TV spots, either. Godzilla was everywhere. Remember the Taco Bell promotions? The fruit snacks? The “HIS HEAD IS AS BIG AS THIS SIGN” billboards? Weirdly enough, the best things about that movie had nothing to do with it.

Which brings me to today’s Deadsite!

Back in ’98, the ice cream giants at Edy’s teamed with those who represented Godzilla to create something strange, beautiful and rhyming.

It was called…

GODZILLA VANILLA! Read More…

Deadsites #3: The Craft Movie Site!

Today on Deadsites: The official site for The Craft, a film about disenfranchised high school teens who change their fortunes with witchcraft.

In more direct terms: Fairuza Balk, hamming it up as a black magician. So of course I loved it.

The Craft came out in 1996, as did its website. It had the trappings of a Tripod fanpage, with a simple design, crude graphics and an absolutely needless amount of scrollbars. That was the charm!

Modern movie sites seem like team efforts from dozens of geniuses who wear super expensive glasses. In contrast, The Craft’s felt like the work of one sixteen-year-old who holed up in her basement with a malfunctioning laptop.

On a stormy night too, I bet. Read More…

Deadsites #2: Pepsi Blue’s Official Site!

Deadsites rages on with its second edition. Today’s website is about old soda and Papa Roach.

No guesses? Fine. Here’s an obnoxiously tall hint:

Yep, we’re about to revisit the official website of PEPSI BLUE, from 2002!

I wrote about this stuff when it was brand new. (I’m old, you see.) I was hard on it, but I was hard on everything back then. Time has softened my perspective, and I can now appreciate the concept of a beverage made to look like electric poison.

Marketed as a “berry cola fusion,” Pepsi Blue was one part seltzer and ten thousand parts liquid Fun Dip. I wasn’t a fan of the flavor, but in retrospect, that had nothing to do with Pepsi Blue. I don’t like weirdo fruity sodas at all, no matter who makes them.

Unless they’re cherry. Cherry gets a pass. Because cherry blends.

Pepsi Blue lasted less than two years in Da States, but not everyone hated it. Those who did probably cared less about what it looked or tasted like, and more about it being called “Pepsi.” The difference was in name alone, but let me put it this way: If Perdue started selling grapes, they’d fail, because nobody would want a bag of grapes with a “Perdue” label on it. Funky blue soda was fine, but they shouldn’t have called it “Pepsi.”

The drink’s inability to become a big deal must have stung, because Pepsi truly gave it their all. The TV commercials were lavish in everything from staging to music licensing, and they even built Pepsi Blue its own unique website, which stood apart from their other products.

Let’s check it out! Read More…

Deadsites #1: Lake Placid Movie Site!

It’s a theme that’s come up once or twice in past articles, but I adore it too much. I must beat it into the ground.

Presenting Dino Drac’s latest recurring feature: DEADSITES. Through the power of the Wayback Machine, we’re going to look at lots of old, dead websites. Why? Because I’m screwy, and I find the strangest things interesting.

Usually, the sites I’ll be covering won’t simply be “older” versions of still-existing entities. I’m more interested in the purely promotional sites, for movies, products and random events. Sites that were never meant to stay up permanently (and technically, didn’t), but sites that were still absolutely stuffed with all sorts of great, goofy crap. So much pop culture nostalgia awaits, with a generous dash of “old internet” thrown in the mix!

For the inaugural edition of Deadsites, I’ve chosen a doozy. From July of 1999 (!!!), let’s reexamine the official site of everyone’s favorite croc-on-the-loose movie… Lake Placid!

You do remember Lake Placid, right?

Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman? Betty White? A GIANT CROCODILE?

There’s the trailer. Get reacquainted!

I love this film unconditionally. It made me stop irrationally hating Oliver Platt! Lake Placid proved that lighthearted horror could really work, and the film overachieved by every conceivable measure. It was witty, it looked good, and every few minutes, a giant crocodile ate someone. Read More…

ID4 Alien Supreme Commander!

With mere hours until July 4th, it’s only fitting that I finally write something about one of my favorite movies, Independence Day.

Maybe “favorite” is a strong word, but I saw that film in theaters no less than ten times. I memorized every line, right down to Bill Pullman’s torching of poor Brent Spiner.

(Also, watching the movie so many times made me catch the weirdness of them continually showing that random “curly-haired guy” during the aliens’ inaugural attack. I hope at least one of you knows what I’m talking about. Millions of people were being burned or vaporized, but they featured that one curly-haired guy like twenty times. WHO WAS HE?)

Independence Day came with many toys, and though I don’t know that this was the best of them, it was probably the most famous.

Released in 1996, the Alien Supreme Commander stood over a foot tall, made weird screeching noises, and somehow managed to live in toy stores for almost a solid decade after the film left theaters. (No matter how severe the clearance prices, there always seemed to be a few left. They were like giant gnats in window boxes.)

It’s a… it’s an interesting toy. That’s one way to put it.

The Supreme Commander wasn’t much fun to play with, since it was as cumbersome at it was large. Still, for purely decorative purposes, there was nothing better in the galaxy. This is a bizarre beast that does bizarre things, and I am a-okay with my new roommate. Read More…