Dinosaur Dracula!

Monster-Mania XXV Convention Report!


The Monster-Mania horror convention returned to New Jersey this weekend, and for the sixth or seventh time, we were thurrrrrr.

Over the years, my visits to Monster-Mania have devolved from weekend-long adventures to quick trips through the dealer rooms. Even with a blockbuster celebrity lineup including everyone from Christopher Lloyd to Carrie Fisher, I had no plans on getting autographs, or even the inkling to stay more than my usual two hours.

But this particular visit was destined to become something different. A few of my “internet pals” were also attending, and though it broke every rule in the Official Matt Playbook, I’d grown too close to these guys to do my usual thing where I say “hope to see you there” and then spend the two hours hiding under a hood and sunglasses. (Nobody should be offended; I’ve pulled the same trick after spotting my sister in Target.)

My fears were unwarranted. These guys (and gal) were awesome. I was barely a foot into the hotel before running into Jay from The Sexy Armpit, who is one of those people you meet and swear you’ve known for years. The Sexy Armpit is one of my longtime favorite blogs – an “anything and everything” deal with a heavy lean on Jersey-centric pop culture. The guy behind it always seemed fifty times more talented than he knew, and too nice to be disliked by anyone. The real Jay was just the same. On the way home, as we were listing the pros and cons of our Monster-Mania experience, the only thing I could criticize Jay for was being taller than me.

Not two minutes later, we found John Squires of Freddy in Space, and his wife, Jen. You’ve probably picked up on my respect for John’s work, since he runs one of the few sites that I’ll mention without some bullshit unspoken mutual back-scratching code of webmaster ethics. I latched onto him years ago, on a much less sane internet, seeing him as one of the few who both “kept it real” and “just did it.” (For the record, when I put John in that category, I don’t think I would’ve put myself in that category.)

John is even funnier in person, and I think 85% of the people at the con knew who he was. We didn’t get to really know Jen until this weekend, but she’s awesome. And, as I suspected, she and Ms. X may actually truly be sisters. They’re our new favorite couple, narrowly defeating Sophia and the Japanese gardener.

Now, I kind of had to give you a long introduction to these people, because they will take center stage in the most important parts of this report. We’ll get to that shortly.

We remained a group for the first few minutes, but it was a little too early to be doing that thing where you turn the exchange of pleasantries into an all-night bond. After a few minutes, everyone splintered off to do their thing.

Course, my thing was the dealers’ room. (Well, dealers’ rooms would be more accurate.) If you came here hoping for candids of celebrities signing glossy photos, you’re gonna be disappointed. I didn’t seek them out, and the only ones I saw were by pure coincidence. (Thanks for almost knocking me over, Bruce Davison.)

Sure, 75% of the dealers’ wares are the same things you can find on eBay for lower prices, but here’s the catch: You’re not even aware that most of this junk exists until you see it here. That’s worth the premium. Read More…

Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy ARE BACK.

UPDATE: I got ’em — and here’s a video taste test!


Just a quick note for people who haven’t seen today’s onslaught on Facebook or Twitter. This is huge news, and it deserves as many eyes as possible.

Frute Brute (formerly “Fruit Brute”) and Fruity Yummy Mummy are RETURNING this Halloween season, as part of General Mills’ Monster Cereal lineup!

If you don’t know much about these guys, here’s a primer.

Obviously, I’ll be buying and covering both as soon as they’re available. This is shaping up to be the best Halloween season EVER.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and for posterity, I’ll try to piece together the events of this crazy news day:

1. Between 10AM and 12PM, I received word from three different readers about the cereals. At that point, Frute Brute was only a “possibly-maybe,” but I had a confirmed Fruity Yummy Mummy sighting from an employee of a certain national chain.

2. At 1PM, “swhte” chimed in on Twitter with this photo — an apparent teaser from Serious Eats.

3. At around 5PM, Mike T. from the site’s Facebook page located the images above, tied to a site that listed the cereals’ nutritional info. I took this as final, no-fail confirmation.

Doesn’t sound like much when I summarize it, but you didn’t see the hysteria! It was great!

Yet More Old Comic Book Ads!

Since this will obviously just be another of my “random old comic book ad” reviews, there isn’t much point in slaving over a meaningful introduction. Instead, I’ll use this space to tell you about last night’s dream.

I went into a sporting goods store, which I guess was the first clue that this was going to become a nightmare. Indeed, as soon as I stepped inside, I realized that the entire store had been taken over by the goblins of Nilbog, from Troll 2. They’d transformed the place into a mossy Swamp of Death, with puddles of skin-melting slime all over the tile floors.

In that weird way that dreams change without any rhyme or reason, the swamp suddenly vanished, as did Nilbog’s goblins. In their place was a horde of Gremlins. Specifically, the Gremlins from the original movie, not the sequel. The more uniformed and bloodthirsty kind.

If the Troll 2 portion of this nightmare was only a creepy mindfuck, the Gremlins portion was an all-out action movie. These things were AFTER ME. They chased me around the aisles, always grabbing at my feet, until I finally lost them by zipping into a wing of the store that hadn’t been there a moment prior.

It was there that I found an official Craftsman Curved Shaft WeedWacker. Or maybe a generic version of one. Thank God this sporting goods store moonlighted in lawn care!

With my new weapon, I turned the tables. Suddenly, the Gremlins were running from me. Whenever I managed to hit one of them, the WeedWacker’s business end cut through ‘em like butter. I must have killed twenty of the things before I woke up, startled.

I don’t know why I was startled. I was winning!

That was last night’s dream. Lest anyone believe that I made this up and included site-appropriate movie characters for bonus points, fuck you. If I was gonna fabricate, I’d come up with something much more interesting than killing Gremlins with a WeedWacker.

And now, old comic book ads!

7UP Soda-Licious Fruit Snacks!
Silver Surfer #76, January 1993

Soda-Licious fruit snacks were soda-flavored and bottle-shaped, gooey on the insides but with rough sugar coatings. Since soda-flavored candy was never my strong suit, I remember the commercials much more than the snacks, which starred two-dimensional children who literally fattened up by eating packs of Soda-Licious. An interesting conceit for a junk food commercial, if you think about it.

Somewhere along the way, magic happened. Soda-Licious teamed with 7UP for co-branded bits of deliciousness that gave all corresponding promo materials the excuse to be covered in Cool Spot. (The red guy. I guess there was more than one. Cool Spots?)

Arriving in both original and cherry 7UP flavors – complete with distinct bottle colors – the snacks turned skeptics into fanatics, and if you believe the stories, caused Jesus himself to travel to Rob’s Bagel Palace in Birch Tree, Missouri, all for the one thing that kept Heaven from living up to its name.

Look close at the ad. Did they really include Spot-shaped fruit snacks, too? That sounds impossibly cool, but they were pretty clearly hinting at that, no? I need answers. Somebody give them to me. Read More…

Deadsites #6: Ghost Ship Movie Site!

In this edition of Deadsites, we’re taking a look at the official movie site for 2002’s Ghost Ship.

Starring Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies, it’s about an abandoned luxury liner stuffed with treasure and torment. Here’s the trailer:

I saw Ghost Ship exactly once, on a night when I was too wired to fall asleep, but not lucid enough to fully absorb the weird shit on television. Regardless, I remember liking the film. After a freakin’ killer opening (where we see the ship’s original passengers die in comically gory fashion), Ghost Ship settles into something best summarized as The Shining mixed with Event Horizon… on a boat. Read More…