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…)
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.
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…)
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!
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…)
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!
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…)
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.
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…)
You should steal that image and put it on a t-shirt. Then, when you’re out in public, pretend that walking really hurts.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for us to talk about MONSTER BALLS. I’d wanted to write about these for over ten years, but the eBay prices were always too dissuasive. A few months ago, I finally found one that I could afford.
I finally got a MONSTER BALL.
The package doesn’t list a year, but it’s safe to assume that they’re from the late ‘80s. MONSTER BALLS were pretty obviously meant to steal some glow from AmToy’s Madballs.
It takes a certain familiarity with goofy ‘80s toys to understand why MONSTER BALLS are incredible, so for those without that certain familiarity, I’ll do my best to explain.
Madballs, those lovably gross rubber monster balls, took certain demographics by storm when they debuted in 1987. Almost immediately, other toy companies stole the concept, whether to make straight-up bootlegs, or — as was the case with MONSTER BALLS — new creations were still direct pitches to existing Madballs fans.
So what appears to just be some obscure rubber Dracula head is actually a whole lot more. My MONSTER BALL is a relic from one of the weirdest and most wonderful fads of the ‘80s!
There were four different MONSTER BALLS available. Each came in the same package — the one with the helpful suggestions on what a person could do with their MONSTER BALL. (“Throw,” “catch,” “bounce” and “hit.” I’d add “squeeze,” and maybe “tuck under your shirt to give the illusion of a misplaced breast.”) (more…)
It’s time for our fifth batch of Classic Creepy Commercials, provided once again by my friend Larry.
(Not that Larry. The other one.)
If you’ve found your Halloween spirit weakening under the weight of the real world, these grainy old commercials will fix everything. And if they don’t? Well, you’ll still get to see Vincent Price in a turban, talking about sandwiches.
March of Dimes “Haunted Manor” Promo! (1983)
OMG I LOVE THIS TO DEATH.
This was a low (looowww) budget promo for a Milwaukee-based “Haunted Manor” — a charity event benefiting the March of Dimes. It’s just like that old episode of Roseanne!
The safe assumption is that volunteers redressed some loaned building as a “haunted walkthrough,” filled with cheap-but-sincere decorations and a host of folks dressed like monsters. Visitors would donate a dollar or two, see the sights, and maybe get a free lollipop on the way out.
The promo stars Dracula (a very tired and cranky Dracula) and Igor. This Igor is unlike any other! He has a severely injured eye, a top hat, and what I’ve decided is a wrestling t-shirt. In a twist on the norm, Igor plays the straight man.
Pay close attention to the background sound effects. I’m 100% sure that they just ran a Hallmark Halloween cassette on an offscreen tape player. If there’s an idealized “flavor” of Halloweens past, this ad absolutely captures it. Just perfect. (more…)