Dinosaur Dracula!

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.

Yet More Vicious Videocassette Boxes!

I’m back with another edition of “hey here are some videos sitting around the house that are tangentially related to Halloween.”

Enjoy, and make sure you’ve read parts one and two!

#11: Halloween III: The Season of the Witch (1982)
Watch the trailer!

Halloween III spent most of its life as the franchise’s laughingstock. Slowly but surely, fans have warmed up to it. In truth, it was never a bad movie (don’t confuse “ridiculous” with “bad”), and much of its negative reputation stemmed from its earliest audiences – people who just couldn’t accept a Halloween movie without Michael Myers.

Many of us adopted the same opinion because that’s all we’d ever read, and it took me several viewings to realize that the movie had merit. A LOT of merit, actually.

It’s hard to put its story in a nutshell, but I’ll try: Some crazy novelty kingpin sells thousands of Halloween masks, which are supernaturally rigged to turn their wearers’ heads into big heaping piles of bugs and snakes. I don’t know how anyone could read that and not want to see this film. I haven’t researched, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the story was conceived in the ‘70s, because it fits right in with that decade’s lean on “global damnation” in horror movies.

The film was a failed attempt to turn the Halloween franchise into a series of disconnected films tied only by title, or so the legend goes. Had it been successful, it’s possible that Michael Myers would’ve never returned. In that way, we can be glad it tanked – but we should be thankful that we got such a wonderfully screwy movie in the process. See it! Read More…

Vintage Vending #17: Halloween Horrors!

The Vintage Vending series returns with an incredibly seasonal addition. From 1994, get a load of the HALLOWEEN HORRORS collection!

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We’ve seen better prizes in the past, but on card art alone, this may be my favorite entry yet. I’ve seen plenty of vending assortments with “horror” flavors, but it’s exceedingly rare to find one that’s so undeniably tied to the Halloween season.

The design is complete perfection, looking more like signage from some ancient cheesy dark ride than something you’d find near a supermarket’s exit. Art like this can stop traffic, which is hilarious, because just imagine all of the stupid people crashing shopping carts into total strangers’ asses.

“Halloween Horrors” is a great title, yes, but please take note of the fine print:

“Plus Other Fine Toys.”

Translation: This was stuffed with the junky leftovers from a hundred other vending machines. Hell, once you get past the obvious chasers, even the shown sample prizes are utter garbage.

But what would’ve been an annoying experience in 1994 is easier to appreciate in 2013. What better topper for a “Halloween” vending machine than the knowledge that most players ended up with tiny plastic magnifying glasses? Since I can’t play, I take vindictive solace in knowing that Halloween Horrors caused so much disappointment. Yeah, I’m that guy. Read More…