Dinosaur Dracula!

The RETURN of the SCARY MARY HOTLINE.

1

Uh oh!

It’s the return of Dinosaur Dracula’s…

SCARY MARY HOTLINE.

If you don’t know what this is about, I’d suggest reading this article from last year.

Or, if you don’t feel like clicking around, I’ll just repeat myself!

Back when pay-per-minute telephone hotlines were a huge deal, it seemed like every kid-targeted “thing” had one. Teen idols had them, musicians had them… hell, even cartoon characters had them. We gobbled them up! Needlessly protracted messages from our favorite stars may sound like a waste of money, but in a world with far fewer ways to kill a few minutes, they were pretty great. Stupid, but great.

The best of them — in my humble opinion — took us deep into the bowels of hell. There were TONS of horror hotlines in the ‘80s and ‘90s, featuring everyone from Freddy Krueger to Grandpa Munster to ghouls of a more generic sort. What made them special was that they weren’t just for hardcore fans. Kids who were typically petrified of “horror stuff” could test the waters, listening for as long as their nerves (or wallets) would allow.

Hotlines being what they were, keeping you on the phone for as long as possible was the goal. Sometimes, you’d have to wait for the end of the message to find out how you could win a free bicycle. Other times, your narrator just spoke very, very slowly. The only kids who listened to the entire messages were the ones who gave no fucks about what their parents would do when the bills came in. The rest of us hung up early, satisfied that we “talked” to Freddy Krueger for even one measly minute. What a story to tell at school!

It’s easy to make fun of those old hotlines. They were exploitative and goofy, and in 2014, it’s hard to imagine paying for such a “privilege.” Still, I have nothing but fondness for my own experiences. Those hotlines put unique stamps on otherwise boring days, and in the case of the horror hotlines, the thrill was more akin to a roller coaster — but one you could step off of whenever the going got rough.

…which leads me to the return of Dinosaur Dracula’s SCARY MARY HOTLINE! (more…)

Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 7!

top2

Welcome to Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 7! (It was either this or another edition of Five Spooky Action Figures. The folks on Twitter voted for more commercials. If you would’ve preferred to read about plastic Draculas, blame them. #notmyfault)

Larry P. generously provided the first four ads in this batch, while The Mysterious Spencer tossed in the fifth. Thank you, guys!

Coca-Cola “Monsters of the Gridiron” Commercial! (1993)

Oh, boy. If I covered every last nuance of Coca-Cola’s sprawling Monsters of the Gridiron campaign, we’d be here forever. Instead, I’ll give you the basics.

In Monsters of the Gridiron — at heart a contest but really so much more — various real life football stars were turned into horrible Halloween monsters. And holy cow, they were CREATIVE!

It wasn’t just like, “Hey, let’s take this quarterback, put him in vampire makeup and call him Vlad Pigskin.” There were devils, scarecrows… even giant snakes! All of the actual players took part, and photographs of them in their monster disguises live on in promotional Monsters of the Gridiron trading cards. (Note to self: Find those fuckers on eBay.)

Even if you never dug deep into the promotion, you’ve gotta remember the TV commercials, which featured football players morphing into macabre creatures. You didn’t have to care one bit about football to love this. I sure didn’t. (more…)

Madd Matt’s Vampire Doll, from 1988!

Madd Matt is back, and he has a new doll!

Actually, the doll isn’t new. It’s from 1988. Many of you should recognize this animated vampire figure, which for a time seemed as common a Halloween decoration as fake webs and plastic spider rings.

Part of a larger line of battery-operated monsters, I’ve long thought of them as cheap imitations of the much nicer Telco figures. (I don’t mean “cheap” as an insult. On the collectors’ market, those Telco “Motionettes” can go for several hundred dollars apiece, while this cruder Dracula frequently sells for a mere ten bucks. That’s how much I paid. Score!) (more…)

“Chamber of Horrors” Halloween Tape!

This is going to be one of the shorter Halloween Countdown entries, but make no mistake, today’s subject means as much to me as anything else I’ve covered.

main

From 1988, it’s the famous/infamous Chamber of Horrors cassette, which I’m sure will be immediately recognizable to a fair chunk of you. “Halloween sound effect tapes” were October mainstays at card stores and bric-a-brac shops, but this specific one REALLY got around.

Since a relative few used the tapes for any on-the-nose purpose, I can’t accurately claim that they were “necessities” of their era. Still, we all had them. Even if you didn’t have this one, I’m sure you had one like it. And if you were anything like me, you devised some pretty strange uses for it.

By and large, tapes like these included one long string of — for lack of a better term — Halloween garbage. Music mixed with howls mixed with creeping door sound effects. Flapping bat wings, ominous moans and rattling chains. Things like that.

There were two primary purposes for them. One, you could throw it on as background noise at a Halloween party. Two, you could blast it from your porch to give the decorations on your front lawn a boost of audible spookiness. (Just by looking at this tape, so many memories of cardboard graveyards come flooding back.)

I bought this cassette a while back, confident that it was the same one I grew up with, but not positive. As soon as I listened to the first five seconds, I knew I had the right tape. (more…)

The Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Donuts Review!

I woke up at 4AM. By 5, me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit were on the road. Exhausted and delirious, we drove in darkness, finally reaching our destination around 90 minutes later. This was a big day! A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

gah1

Yes, THE GHOSTBUSTERS DONUTS HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED AT KRISPY KREME.

Sweet Jesus. Two brand new limited edition Ghostbusters donuts, PLUS an amazing plastic Ghostbusters pail! See all of the incredible goodies in today’s video, which I shot and edited on ABSOLUTELY NO SLEEP!

Here are the major bullets for people who can’t spare four minutes: (more…)

Five MORE Spooky Action Figures!

Okay, it’s Saturday night and none of you are here, but I’m already panicking about how close we are Halloween. A scant 48000 hours away! I don’t want to miss the chance to get even one more horrifying thing posted before the big day, so here I am. I’m so lonely.

Here’s another batch of spooky action figures, covering everything from The Real Ghostbusters to Masters of the Universe to other long titles that look shitty in italics. Enjoy!

2

The Wolfman Monster
The Real Ghostbusters, 1989

Part of The Real Ghostbusters “Monsters” series, this Wolfman was in some respects the plainest villain in the entire line. That’s not so much an indictment of Wolfman as a tribute to the sheer creativity Kenner put into their RGB figures. If a werewolf in tattered casual wear with a snapping jaw was the plainest guy in the line, you can just imagine how endearingly odd the rest of them were.

The “Monsters” series is sometimes criticized by fans. The thrill of RGB’s villains was in their collective lunacy, so a bunch of “regular” monsters naturally paled in comparison. It’s not quite a fair judgment, since there isn’t much in this world that could compare to three-eyed blobs of purple flesh, or alien skeletons that trapped people in their ribcages. If this set seemed boring, it was only because the bar was set so high.

Actually, they’re some of my favorite representations of classic movie monsters. (There were five others in the series, including Dracula and Frankenstein.) Whenever old school monsters were made into action figures, it was usually done in a “stoic” way. The figures generally looked calm and well-mannered. By contrast, RGB’s looked excitable and active, and very much like cartoon characters… even if they never did appear on the show. (more…)

Doritos’ 1991 “Monster Match” Sweepstakes!

5

Back in 1991, Doritos and Pepsi teamed to give away cash prizes in a special Halloween promotion. It was called Monster Match For Monster Money, and for a short time, it was the best thing on the planet.

1

On specially marked packages of Doritos and Pepsi, we got game pieces that could’ve (potentially) been combined into winning sets. Prizes ranged from five bucks to a cool million, but I’ll get to the money particulars later. For now, can we all just bask in the glory of that Doritos photo? GOOD GOD.

Yes, that’s a vintage bag of Jumpin’ Jack Doritos. Well, sort of. I had the bag but not the old chips, so I filled it with Cool Ranch Doritos, and resealed the package with an iron and aluminum foil. The things I do in the name of presentation! (Alternatively: I need help.)

Jumpin’ Jack Doritos briefly returned a while back, but I only remember them from their original run. If you never had ‘em, JEEZ do I feel bad for you. Jumpin’ Jack Doritos were arguably the best chips ever made!

Blending a monterey jack cheese flavor with all sorts of colorful spices, they were twenty times better than Cool Ranch Doritos. Since Cool Ranch Doritos are already twenty times better than regular Doritos, you can just imagine how amazing those chips were. In the early ‘90s, my muse was edible. (more…)