Dinosaur Dracula!

Friday the 13th: Vintage TV Spots!

You know what today is, right?

FRIDAY THE 13th. One that’s occurring smack dab in the middle of the HALLOWEEN SEASON.

Don’t squander it, guys. Calendar blessings like this won’t happen often. I’m mandating that all of you watch at least one of the Friday the 13th movies today. I’d be happier if you watched more than one, but since Dino Drac partially appeals to people very far removed from horror circles, I’m managing my expectations.

As Friday the 13th is my favorite of all scary franchises, I wanted to do something special today. For some reason, I kept coming back to this idea of stealing total strangers’ YouTube videos.

So yeah, today, FRIDAY THE 13th, we’re gonna take a look at the original television spots for each of the first ten movies. (Which is the whole “original” franchise. Freddy vs. Jason technically belonged to Freddy, while the 2009 remake started a whole new chain.)

I didn’t crawl out of the womb loving Friday the 13th. As a kid, the series was only something that I was aware of. Cautiously aware, because I was young, easily frightened, and wouldn’t have been allowed to see those movies even if I wanted to. I dressed as Jason Voorhees for several Halloweens and loved the time he went on Arsenio, but for so many years, my only real exposure to his movies was through television commercials.

I’m roughly the same age as this franchise. When it was a baby, so was I. As I grew a little older and gained a better understanding of that “TV” contraption, nearly every year brought a new batch of Friday the 13th commercials along with it. Hardcore fans would recognize some of these ads as cutdown trailers with added voiceover, but since I didn’t see any of the F13 trailers in theaters, the comparatively shoddy TV spots mean so much more to me.

Only in retrospect can I consider these memories “fond,” but I distinctly recall the feelings I had whenever a F13 promo came on the TV in my old bedroom. It was mix of complete dread and total intrigue. Every boy my age knew Jason and claimed to love Jason, but so few of us had actually seen his work. What we imagined wasn’t far off from the truth, but looking back at these promos, it’s safe to say that I envisioned films that were way, waaaay gorier. Hey, when you let kids fill in the blanks, the results are always going to be extreme.

You’ll enjoy these promos even if you didn’t grow up with them, but I think they work best if you imagine them through the eyes of a child. Read More…

Halloween at Kmart!

Doing the Halloween Countdown involves a lot of hunting. It always has. I can’t rely on any one or two stores to “fill the tank” for two months’ worth of posts, so I’m constantly searching for more, and my core base of “retail hot spots” is always growing.

For the first several Countdowns, Kmart was one of those spots. Our local store was just a short drive away, and what it lacked in pizzazz was made up for in its… what can I call it? Genuineness? Trashy genuineness?

While other department stores kept evolving – or at least made efforts to – Kmart stayed the same. Come September, its Halloween aisles were organized just like they were when I was a kid. There was something comforting about that.

That store eventually closed (it’s slated to become a Target next month), leaving us with only one other Kmart in negotiable driving distance. It’s a longer and much more annoying drive, so while I may hit our nearest Target another hundred times before October 31st, I probably won’t see this Kmart again for eight months.

I think I’ve mentioned this store before. It hasn’t been remodeled since the ‘80s, and I’m not exaggerating at all. The layout makes no sense, the staff is comfortably apathetic, and nearly half the people who shop there are always tossing footballs to someone else, clear across the store. Whatever you imagine when you think of “old cake,” that’s this Kmart. 100%.

But, as you can tell by the photo, even the most dilapidated Kmart stores know how to work it for Halloween. This one rededicated its entire lawn and garden center (or whatever is normally back there) to spooky goodies. The Halloween section exists as a store-within-a-store, and since I seemed to be one of the very few people interested in plastic Draculas so early in the season, I had a clear stage for lots and lots of photos. Read More…

Halloween Lunchables!

Last night’s trip to Target was looking like another fruitless pile of trashy despair. The “back to school” section was still in full swing, and Halloween was nowhere in sight. This would’ve been much more depressing had frozen raspberries not been on sale.

But miracles do happen, and just when I was about to give up hope, I found ‘em.

HALLOWEEN LUNCHABLES.

This is their story, in under four minutes:

Remember how excited I was over last year’s debut? Well, the 2013 version is TWICE as great. Not only did they sneak a little chocolate witch into the party, but the drink of choice is none other than Ghoul-Aid Jammers!

My Target only had the “nacho” version. There’s a more exciting “pizza” version out there somewhere, which I plan to find/buy/eat/love at the first given opportunity.

I don’t want to add much else since that’s what the video is for, but suffice to say, this is another BIG ONE for the 2013 season. I look at these Lunchables, and suddenly the idea of raising children doesn’t sound so bad.

Good job, Kraft. You’ve proven yourselves capable of so much more than cheese.

Additional pics: Read More…

Vicious Videocassette Boxes!

NOTE: This is an expanded redo of an article I wrote on X-E’s defunct Tumblr account back in 2011. My hunch is that most of you have never seen it, but if it seems familiar… that’s why.

A few years ago, we did a massive cleaning/purging of our apartment, clearing out a decade’s worth of “collected junk” so this place could stop looking like a Hoarders set. During this, I ditched hundreds of old videocassettes. (Literally hundreds.)

I know that sounds wasteful. It was wasteful, but it’d truly hit a point where I needed to restore order to our lives as quickly as humanly possible. Keeping two dozen enormous bins full of mostly-irrelevant videocassettes was not in the cards, no matter how many yard sales or eBay marathons I imagined.

The only “branch” of tapes that survived that purge was my horror collection. Even during the thick of a “GET RID OF EVERYTHING I OWN” mentality, I couldn’t bring myself to trash those tapes. I’ve written about my lifelong fascination with horror videos too many times to get away with it again, but the gist of it is that I don’t look at them as just “tapes.” Some are mementos, others are art, but all are more than the mere means to watch movies in an archaic way.

Here are five of the old scary videos still in my collection – a collection I’ll have until I’m dead or surrounded by fire. Read More…

Roseanne’s LETHAL LODGE.

One of my favorite posts from last year’s Countdown was this tribute to Roseanne’s first Halloween special, titled “Boo.” The Emmy-nominated second season episode kicked off a tradition that would last until the end of the series. Every year, you could always count on the Conners to do SOMETHING Halloweeny.

“Boo” was by far the best of the show’s Halloween episodes. Most of the others had their moments, but you’d do fine scanning only through the highlights. It’s a case where the legend may exceed the reality, because even if Roseanne *probably* still tops all other sitcoms for Halloween goodness, nearly all of that reputation was won during their first at-bat.

…which isn’t to say that the others aren’t worth a glance. Actually, I like the Conner’s second Halloween adventure almost as much as the first, even if I’m probably in the extreme minority on that. From the third season, let’s take a look at “Trick or Treat!”

I could best summarize this episode as “the one where Roseanne dresses like a lumberjack.” That’s all most people remember, anyway.

After her car breaks down, Roseanne and Jackie are trapped at the Lobo Lounge on Halloween night. Jackie’s simple cat accessories are easy enough to shed, but Roseanne has no choice but to wait around in full bearded costume. At first embarrassed, Roseanne soon realizes that she has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to infiltrate “male territory,” and spends most of the episode seeing how men act when they think that there aren’t any women around to hear them.

And that’s the last you’ll hear about Roseanne’s gender-bending adventures, because they’re not at all why I’ve chosen to feature this episode. No way. This one’s all about THE LODGE.

The LETHAL lodge. Read More…

The “Terror Tires” Art Expo!


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Well guys, you didn’t let me down.

Almost eighty of you participated in the Terror Tires Art Expo, successfully changing a boring ass tire graphic into incredibly Halloweeny works of art.

Thanks a million to everyone who joined the fun. If you missed the deadline, don’t worry… there will be more crafty things to do during this year’s Countdown. Before I show you the entries, just a few notes:

1) There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the order below. This was just for fun – not about judging.

2) I’d say that around 80% of you followed the rules as I meant them, while another 20% took them a different way. But I was incredibly vague, and it’s not like it matters, anyway.

3) If you don’t see your entry, it means I goofed, so please email me. Also, a few entries needed to be resized/cropped to fit, so if they appear a bit different from what you sent… that’s why.

There are so many bizarre and wonderful things in this collection. If any really strike a chord with you, be sure to let their creators know in the comments!

Let’s roll. (Because tire.) Read More…