Dinosaur Dracula!

Classic Creepy Commercials – Volume 5!

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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…)

Dino Drac’s Tiny-Sized Halloween Store!

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As you can guess, running a site with this much content and on-hand reviews takes a ridiculous amount of time and a ridiculous amount of money. I wouldn’t be able to do it at this level without the help of readers willing to buy stupid things from me!

So, welcome to Dino Drac’s tiny-sized Halloween store! Right now, it only has two things!

The Dino Drac Funpacks are soon continuing into Month #3, with the special Halloween edition Funpack. This is your first chance to subscribe before they’re gone gone gone for another month!

I also have a limited supply of last year’s Halloween prints, which, IMO, are just as nice this year!

See below for all of the info, and thanks for supporting the site! (more…)

The Unsolved Mysteries Halloween Special!

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This one means a lot to me.

Weeks after it became a regular series, Unsolved Mysteries aired a special Halloween episode. They’d only cop to it being an “all ghosts” special, but given its debut date — October 26th, 1988 — I don’t think it’s a stretch to consider it a Halloween stunt.

I loved Unsolved Mysteries from the very start of the “Stack era” (previously aired specials had other hosts), and so at the impressionable of 9, I watched this terrible parade of ghastly ghouls and reacted accordingly.

Unsolved Mysteries ranks among my favorite TV shows ever, but entertainment value aside, I can hardly think of another show that affected me so much. With spooky segments covering everything from UFOs to satanic rituals, it fascinated me to pieces and frightened me to death.

If you’re only familiar with Unsolved Mysteries from the “Farina era,” the Stack episodes were far creepier, with an added emphasis on haunting music, bleak sets, and of course, Robert Stack himself. A guy who could read Peanuts comics and make them sound like Lovecraft.

The ghost-related segments were of particular interest. They’re the ones that “got me” the most. Today I take them with ten pounds of salt, but as a kid, I accepted every Unsolved Mysteries ghost story at face value. And boy, did that mess me up.

There’s a certain type of paralyzing fear that’s exclusive to childhood. To “achieve” it, you need a total lack of cynicism and a special naiveté. Most of us forget what that fear feels like as we grow older, but when I watch these old segments again, I remember. (more…)

CHIA PET ZOMBIES. HOLY MARY.

I never expected 2014 to top last year’s incredible Halloween season, but man… I think we’re coming close. I already feel like I’m drowning in awesome Halloween shit, and we’re not even halfway through September.

…and if I was on the fence about this possibly becoming an even more impressive season, tonight’s subject blasted me over that fence with blood-soaked fucking grapeshot.

Brothers, sisters, everyone in-between! It has HAPPENED. There are HALLOWEEN CHIA PETS.

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Well, Chia Zombies, to be precise. Gooood loooord.

Longtime readers know that I’ve owned seven thousand Chia Pets, with planters shaped like everything from Garfield to Christmas trees. This series tops them all, with ease. From the highly thematic boxes to the idea that I’ll soon grow hair on a terracotta zombie head, they’re just 100% great. There should be a sticker on each box that says exactly that. 100% GREAT. (more…)

A Halloween photo from 1992.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

This one was good for 1174.

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No, it’s not mine. I do not know these people.

I bought the photo from someone on eBay of all places. It spoke to me in ways even my own photos rarely do.

It’s from 1992, and it perfectly encapsulates the Halloweens of my childhood.

It reminds me of Halloweens from just a few years before then, when I would’ve been around the same age as these mysterious boys. (I’m guessing they were 10 or 11? For the sake of this piece, let’s assume they were.)

Everything about it is so on-target. Especially the spirited yet incomplete costumes, which were clearly the result of a quick trip to their local pharmacy’s Halloween section.

When I was that age, that’s what Halloween was like for me. My friends and I were still young enough to go trick-or-treating, but too old to act like we really cared about it. We all did the “cheap Jason Voorhees” thing. For some reason, those hockey masks felt more like cool hats than “childish” Halloween costumes. We felt safe in them. We’d found a loophole.

Preteen social stigmas aside, those were some of my favorite Halloweens. We were finally old enough to go out alone! We were finally old enough to venture beyond the same boring five blocks we’d grown up trick-or-treating around! And we were finally old enough to do it all at night. It was like we were masquerading as adults and kids at the same time.

The photo sparks more memories than that. Look at that house! Is that my house? I’m pretty sure I used to live in that house. We had the same wood paneling. The same free wall calendar. The same crappy fan!

Let’s zoom in a little closer… (more…)

The five best CHUCKY items on eBay.

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Hi, I’m Matt. Child’s Play fan.

I was a late bloomer with horror, but Chucky was an exception. From Day One, I was on his side. Of the right age to clearly recognize him as a riff on Hasbro’s My Buddy dolls, I stupidly assumed that the Child’s Play franchise was at least partially targeted at kids. It wasn’t, but I fell in love all the same. My earliest memories of horror movies come in blips and bleeps, but with Child’s Play, I was all-in.

In my mind, there’s no bad Child’s Play movie. The second one is my favorite, but even the more polarizing fourth and fifth films worked for me. Chucky started as a straight-up slasher, evolved into a sort of cartoon, and eventually settled into something approaching “outsider art.” I adored all of it.

To celebrate Chucky — because that’s what we’re doing today — I thought I’d dust off an abandoned Dino Drac series. Below are the five best Child’s Play items currently on eBay.

(And when I say “best,” I usually mean “weirdest.”) (more…)

Flea Market Finds.

I took a break from the yard sales this week, wanting to try my luck at a flea market at least once before summer was over. I begged Jay to tag along so I wouldn’t have to haggle alone, and off we went to Englishtown, New Jersey.

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I’ve written about the Englishtown flea market before. It’s a crapshoot. You’ll see plenty of desirable things there; the issue is finding something desirable and reasonably priced.

Like, you might come upon a seller with several bins filled with action figures, all lined up on the ground outside. But then you’ll notice that most of those bins are stuffed with fast food toys and generic army men. And then you’ll find out that the seller wants two dollars per figure, regardless of how destroyed it is.

There’s a lot of that in Englishtown.

The flea market is so large that you’d need to devote an entire day to seeing it all. Since it was 550 degrees on Sunday, we only allowed ourselves an hour. Here’s what I was able to dig up… (more…)