Dinosaur Dracula!

Halloween Kid Cuisine: 2015 Edition!

Warning: Today’s post is about Kid Cuisine, so stop here if you don’t want to read about Kid Cuisine. Funsucker.

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I was elated to see the return of Halloween Kid Cuisine meals, even if they never actually use the “H” word. The secularization of Halloween? No, not really. This year, they’re positioning them as strict promotions for Hotel Transylvania 2, which hits theaters sometime between tomorrow and whenever my bat-shaped chicken nuggets expire.

Still, I don’t think it’s a stretch to call these Halloween editions, especially since they borrow traits from previous KC Halloween meals. From what I can tell, every variety of Kid Cuisine is currently redressed for Hotel Transylvania 2, but these were the only two that went all-in on the creep. Read More…

The Purple Stuff Podcast: Episode 6!

Such a nice night! It’s finally cooling off, the leaves are starting to turn, and there’s just enough creepy wind to make September feel like October.

I think you should waste it by sitting inside and listening to me and Jay ramble on for an hour.

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The sixth episode of The Purple Stuff Podcast is now live!

Last week, Jay from The Sexy Armpit sent feelers out for reader questions. Tonight, we’re tackling ten spooky questions sent in by various listeners, covering everything from lame Halloween candy to our favorite scary video games. Give us a listen on the player below, or click here to access the MP3 directly!

Hey, we’re on iTunes and Stitcher, too!

Many thanks for the millionth time for making the show a success. So long as you keep listening, I’ll keep spending every damn Saturday trying to cut out all of our “uhhhs.”

And hey, wanna play along? Check out the graphic below, and in the comments, let everyone know how you’d answer the same questions raised in this week’s show. Read More…

2015’s Best Halloween Junk Food, Part 1!

I’ll say it again: This is a banner year for spooky junk food. Never before have I seen so much of it, and for those who sustain their spirits through creepy-looking chocolate, 2015 is freakin’ amazing.

Below are five scary things that you can eat and drink this year, mixing new commodities with some older favorites. If these don’t put you in a Halloween mood, you have better muscle tone than me.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M’s!

Larger and lumpier than regular M&M’s, I was a little confused when I first bit into one, as its flavor profile seemed unchanged from the norm. Then came the aftertaste. WOW. If we can assume that these were meant to mimic Starbucks’ famous autumnal offering, it’s a dead-on match.

Many pumpkin spice candies seem like they’re only in it for the novelty factor, with companies spying the movement and thinking, “Yes, yes… we can do this too.” By comparison, these come off as an honest attempt to make something delicious. The flavor is sharp and complex, and almost incongruously extravagant for M&M’s. They’re the fanciest M&M’s I’ve ever tasted! Read More…

Mad Scientist toys were gross and great.

Whenever I wish I was ten years younger, I try to remind myself of all the great toys I would’ve missed out on. Sure, it’s irritating to have hit that age when people start suggesting invasive exams of my most unmentionable areas, but at least I got to play with Mad Scientist toys as a kid.

Look, it works for me.

Unleashed by Mattel in 1986, Mad Scientist was a strange line of playthings that would best be described as the demonic love children of action figures and chemistry sets.

The commercial embedded above promotes the collection’s peak offering: The Monster Lab, which let you bring monsters to life, and then kill them in vats of acid. (Metaphorically, but also pretty literally.)

This and the other larger Mad Scientist kits had the air of arts & crafts projects, but whereas crayons and construction paper only let us satisfy our collective desire to create, Mad Scientist also let us satisfy our desire to destroy.

Between Madballs and Boglins and everything in-between, this was the golden era for “gross” toys, and Mad Scientist fit right in. Since most of the sets included parts that were never intended to last thirty years, you rarely hear about them in today’s collectors’ circles. Make no mistake: They were pretty popular!

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Even more charming to me were Mad Scientist’s smaller kits, which were presented similarly to action figures, in everything from packaging to price. While lacking the “science experiment from hell” aspect of the larger sets, these had a sort of quiet charm. As much charm as an alien pig who blew fake snot from his snout could have, really.

The smaller kits had wildly different gimmicks, but they all boiled down to messing with some kind of toy slime. Sammy Sneeze — the weirdo shown here — was only worth five minutes of fun, but man, they were a great five minutes. Read More…

The Novelization of Halloween III!

I love that Halloween III’s reputation has improved so dramatically over the years. Once commonly reviled, it seems like most people love it now — and for the very same reasons that others used to… not.

For those who don’t follow the series, Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the franchise’s black sheep. It’s not a “Michael Myers movie,” and hell, it isn’t even a “slasher movie.”

The film was originally conceived as the startpoint for what would’ve been an annual run of completely unique horror movies, with only the “Halloween” banner to tie them together. Iffy box office returns changed those plans in a hurry, and by Halloween 4, Michael Myers was back for good.

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For some, if the removal of Michael Myers was arguably forgivable, the fact that Halloween III featured such a drastic shift in tone wasn’t. If I said that the film was more “sci-fi” than “horror,” I’d probably lose the debate — but only after a strong showing.

Ironically, that uniquity is part of why so many of us have come to adore the film. Look at the pile of movies classically thrown into homemade horror marathons. There’s nothing like Halloween III in that pile. That counts for a lot.

…but it’s just as true that Halloween III is a plainly great movie. It’s creepy as hell, always moving, and it has a kickass ending.

The story, in a nutshell: Mad novelty entrepreneur Conal Cochran has big plans for Halloween. To the general public, this only involves making sure that millions of kids are glued to their television sets on Halloween night, for his big “Silver Shamrock” giveaway. The truth is far darker, and it’s up to King Tom Atkins to save the world. (Tom Atkins isn’t really a king, but trust me, he’s really a king.)

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The movie isn’t without its share of schlock and cheese, but with the story being so gripping, strange and haunting, Halloween III is impossible to forget. It’s one of those films that stays with you forever.

Perhaps that’s what drove me to pick up the official novelization, from 1982. Written by Jack Davis (a pseudonym for Dennis Etchison, who has a pretty storied career in horror movie novelizations), I was immensely curious to see how the events of the film played out in print.

Novelizations sometimes get a bad rap. In my (albeit limited) experience, the books add to stories you already love in ways that movies never could. Since authors would end up with unattractively short novels if they simply described films like play-by-players, the good ones reevaluate and reinvestigate everything: The characters, their motivations, the settings… everything. Here, Dennis Etchison (sorry, Jack Davis) certainly did.

As much as I enjoyed the book, the main reason I bought it was to see how it tackled THAT SCENE. If you’ve seen Halloween III, you know the one. If you don’t, here you go: Read More…