Dinosaur Dracula!

Dinosaur Dracula loves Dinosaurs Attack!

I’ve been dancing around this subject for years, referencing it in throwaway paragraphs that have done little to capture its supreme mega greatness. Today, finally, I’m going to give Dinosaurs Attack cards everything they’re owed.

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Dinosaurs Attack (formally styled with an exclamation point, but we’ll ignore that) was released by Topps in 1988. To this day, I can’t think of another trading card series that’s nearly as gripping — or gory.

The 55-card set told the terrible tale of dinosaurs accidentally summoned from prehistoric times to present day. Instead of being the dangerous but “natural” nuisances you might expect them to be, the dinosaurs in this card set were singularly focused on the bloody annihilation of the human race. As the title suggests, all they did was attack, in unforgettably macabre fashion. It wasn’t just the story of dinosaurs set loose in modern times – it was the absolute worst case scenario.

Cited as a parody of decades-old creature features, the gore was heavier here than in any movie I’ve ever seen. It’s not so shocking now, but as a nine-year-old who hid under the pillow at the first sight of an Elm Street promo, these cards seemed downright EVIL. (Of course, that only made them all the more interesting!) (more…)

Stuff I found at Monster-Mania 27.

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On Friday, we found ourselves back on the familiar floors of Cherry Hill’s Crowne Plaza, ready to drink through the latest Monster-Mania convention.

This was the 27th Monster-Mania. The first one I went to was only their third ever. Almost ten years later, and I still get a kick out it. I don’t know whether to find comfort or shame in the idea that I might still be going to these things twenty years from now.

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I can’t give you a full convention report, because we were only there for a day, and we barely scratched the surface of what Monster-Mania has to offer. After meeting John and Jay at last August’s convention, we all became fast friends, and heading back on Friday was mainly an excuse to hang with them — albeit with the neat backdrop of total strangers wearing scary clown costumes.

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See? (more…)

Horror Spitballs, from 1989!

The rumors are true. I have eight balls.

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Made by Entertech in 1989, the SPITBALLS collection turned our favorite slashers, monsters and ghosts into… well, spitballs.

Each set came with two hollow rubber heads, with pinholes in the mouths. Squeeze ‘em underwater to fill ‘em up, and squeeze ‘em again to make ‘em… Jesus Christ, that’s too many ’ems. What I’m trying to say is that they SHOOT WATER, over a purported distance of eighteen feet. I don’t think I need to test that; Entertech was clearly exaggerating.

Would you look at this lot? Freddy Krueger! Jason Voorhees! Slimer! Dracula! Turning such beloved murderers into tiny squirt heads might seem like a waste of the licensing fees, but I look at it like this: While there are plenty of action figures for each of these characters, there’s only one Spitball. (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! (more…)

Obscure Freddy Krueger Merch!

Without meaning to, I’ve amassed a pretty diverse collection of Freddy Krueger merchandise.

I guess the best explanation is that it’s very easy to do. Especially in his heyday, Freddy Krueger really stood apart from his slasher brethren on the merchandise front. His steady evolution into a killer comedian made him a much safer bet than, say, Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. Freddy’s probably had ten times more toys and novelties than those two guys combined!

Since I’m more prone to notice the horror-related bric-a-brac peppering my many shelves during the Halloween season, I thought now would be a good time to give some of my “Freddy junk” a day in the sun. Here are five of my favorite – and most obscure – Krueger collectibles.

#1: Matchbox Character Car (1999)

“Character Cars” were standard-sized Matchbox cars with a twist: Each was topped with a movie figurine. The collection was surprisingly sprawling: Aside from Freddy, Jason and Leatherface, there were others based on the Universal Monsters, and even a few with non-horror characters.

Freddy was a gift from my friend Bill, and his Character Car is a beaut. In a neat nod to the films, he’s tormenting a Springwood Boiler Maintenance van. (Each car in the set was themed to match the specific figure. Jason’s version had him beating up a Crystal Lake “Camp Counselor” van, for example.)

The only downside is that you can’t remove the figure. I mean, you could, but it’d only ruin both the figure and the car. As great as it is, I think it’d be more interesting to shuffle a NOES van into a pile of regular Matchbox cars. God knows, that pile could use some personality. (more…)

The Unknown Phantom Costume!

While killing a few minutes at Walmart last night, I stumbled upon a costume that I could NOT leave without. This one:

The UNKNOWN PHANTOM costume!

The chances of me actually needing a Halloween costume this year are slim, but who could turn this down? It’s a full-body reaper outfit with blinking demon eyes!

BLINKING. DEMON. EYES.

Watch me try it on. It’ll only take three and half minutes:

Thank you.