Dinosaur Dracula!

Vintage Vending #18: Rotting Vermin!

Okay, this has gotta be the weirdest edition of Vintage Vending yet. LOOK AT THIS THING!

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No formal title for the collection was provided, I guess because “Bugs & Fish Guts” would’ve been more polarizing than fetching.

Everything about it is off. I’ll describe the individual prizes in a minute, but each is stapled – literally stapled – to the card, and in entirely erratic positions. The card itself is impossibly flimsy, and for reasons I can’t even guess at, smothered with purposeless holes.

It’s another treasure from the Folz company, who also produced the Halloween Horrors collection. While this would’ve worked as “Halloween Horrors II,” the card forwent any title in favor of the word “FOLZ,” presented in multiple neon colors in a font more suited to football team logos.

The set’s enigmatic qualities only add to its appeal. In my view, throwing a bunch of rotting fish over a hot pink background reads less as “lazy” and more as “art.” Whoever assembled this was clearly trying to make a statement. I bet he wore a painter’s cap and teensy tiny glasses. I believe that with all of my heart. Read More…

Preserving the Monster Cereals.

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After spending half of August gushing over Monster Cereals, I deliberately took a break from covering them – even as those swank retro boxes started piling up at Target.

Please don’t confuse my silence with dispassion. I bought those fuckers in bulk the second I saw them. Even over a month later, I still do a double-take every time I pass them. The 2013 Halloween season has had plenty of highlights, but make no mistake: The Monster Cereal explosion is this year’s biggest.

There’s little point in describing the retro boxes. Many of you own them, and those who don’t have surely seen the photos a hundred times already. I’m not here to regurgitate common knowledge, a turn of phrase that for some reason reminds me of frogs.

No, I’m here to make good on a vow.

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My video review of Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy came with a theory. I believed that fans (or at least, serious fans) would stockpile the hell out of these cereals, fearing that they wouldn’t return next year.

Five Monster Cereals, each in “normal” and “retro” box styles. That’s arguably ten cereals. I don’t have access to General Mills’ receipts, but they’d need to be making serious cash for this to happen again next year. The specialness of the revival can only happen once, and there’s a law of diminishing returns with this sort of thing. I’m not saying that they won’t be back at this level… just that I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t.

That’s why I bought 42,000 boxes of Monster Cereals. To PRESERVE them. Read More…

Halloween Pancakes!

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Halloween is JUST TOO CLOSE. Since it falls on a Thursday, I can’t shake the feeling that everything will putter out like the last season of Heroes. For all intents, Halloween is this weekend, and that is JUST TOO CLOSE.

So I’m sort of just grabbing at everything now, determined to do as much Halloweening as humanly possible. I’ll pass something seasonal in a store and think, “FUCK, THAT’LL BE OLD HAT IN FOUR DAYS!” If luck is on my side, the thought will remain in my head and never escape my lips. Holy shit, I’d have to run out of Target fast if I said that out loud.

I’m absolutely drowning in stuff I want to cover before Halloween. It’s paralyzing. With so few days left, there’s no way to get to it all. Which things do I pick? Are the Dollar Tree bats more interesting than my Stretch Screamers Frankenstein doll, mint in sealed box? I don’t know! All I can do is panic!

And THEN, just last night, I found something ELSE! Luckily, this something else was too obviously awesome to bench with the other “potentials.” No, this was something that required a SPEED TRIBUTE.

I’m talking about pancakes!

Hungry Jack’s Easy Pack Halloween Funfetti pancakes!

I was floored. I’m still floored. I don’t know if they’re new-for-2013, but I’m pretty sure that they’ve never been released in such small, adorable packages.

(I should’ve thrown a quarter into the photo, so you’d have some sense of scale and wouldn’t need to guess at how small and adorable they are. Ah well. There’s always next year.)

See, this is what I’ve been talking about all along. Halloween isn’t just about the surface bullshit. It’s a chance to do so many things you wouldn’t otherwise do. The last time I made pancakes was so long ago that I can’t even definitively state that I’ve ever made pancakes. I had no reason to suspect that I’d be making pancakes anytime soon, or EVER, really.

And yet, here I am. I stand (sit) before (away from) you as someone who MADE PANCAKES TODAY. No, it wasn’t a life-changing experience. No, I didn’t wear my glee like an Axis Chemicals Joker smile. But it did make me happy, and it did mark 10/21 in a way that no date anywhere near it could be marked.

That’s what Halloween is really about. A collection of tiny events made super special by their gross tonnage in a limited time. At no other time of year will I make so much over so little, so many times in a row. Read More…

Classic Creepy Commercials – Volume 2!

With another assist from Larry P., here’s the next batch of Classic Creepy Commercials! (You’ve read Volume 1, right?)

Exactly zero of these have any clear link to the Halloween season, and yet, all of them are undeniably Halloweeny. If you’re in need of a late October spirit boost, these should fix you right up.

Aurora “Ghost Racer” Commercial! (1987)

The appeal of Aurora’s Ghost Racer set lied in not needing a friend to race against you. Though the set had everything you needed for a two-player race, you could also opt to go it alone, squaring off against a deadly black car driven by NOBODY.

It wasn’t the only set with that gimmick, but no one else packaged it so magnificently. The idea that your “computer” opponent was a spectral entity? That’s awesome.

No matter how good the toy was, the commercial made it seem so much better. Between the spooky music, the liberal use of fog, and the interpretation of Ghost Racer as a semi-translucent sneaky bastard with his sights set on imaginary trophies, the ad turned even the most disinterested kids into outright gearheads. Read More…

Madd Matt reviews SPIDER BITES candy, from 1990.

Madd Matt sure spent a long time making this video!

Never heard of Spider Bites? Made by Topps in 1990, it was a collection of ghoulish spider figurines that dispensed awful, colorful candy.

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They came in a really great box!

Thank you.