If you’ve never seen Killer Klowns from Outer Space, fix that! The 1988 film is exactly as weird as the title suggests, but it’s also just a good little movie.
Those who have seen it may remember a minor scene wherein the Killer Klowns invaded a pharmacy. That’s why I’m here tonight…
This was shot in a legitimate pharmacy somewhere in California. I don’t doubt that the crew made some modifications, but even the most talented set dressers couldn’t “fake” a mom-and-pop pharmacy so perfectly. It had to be a real one.
The scene establishes the Klowns as aloof menaces, but it subtly offers something more: A rare glimpse of a genuine candy aisle from a late ‘80s drugstore!
Many of those candies are now out of production, and even the ones that are still around have had major package redesigns. Since there’s so little footage of 1980s candy aisles, this scene is secretly super important.
Below are five of my favorite fallen candies spotted in Killer Klowns from Outer Space: Read More…
With only two weeks left until Halloween, you’re (hopefully) trying to cram in as much spooky fun as possible. We’re now at the point where if you blink one too many times, October will be over!
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But have no fear! With Dino Drac’s October Funpack, you’re guaranteed at least one solid night of macabre wonder, where you can lay on the couch and have a party-for-one. Consider this month’s Funpack Halloween in a box!
If you don’t know the drill, I run a monthly subscription box service. For as long as you stay subscribed, you’ll keep receiving new boxes of mostly-old collectibles and assorted fun stuff! The boxes are $25 a month (including shipping), and you can cancel at any time without penalty.
This month’s Funpack is super important for the site, as it helps offset the increased costs that go along with my increased productivity. So, on top of getting a neat box of retro-and-new nonsense, you’re helping to ensure that Dino Drac can continue doing what it does! Read More…
I try to work one “retro cereal box” article into every Halloween Countdown, mainly for the excuse to spend more money on old cereal boxes. Help.
Ghostbusters II Cereal! (1989)
In one form or another, Ghostbusters Cereal remained on shelves from 1985 through 1991. It was a wildly impressive run for a tie-in cereal, since those usually last less than six months.
How did Ralston do it? Constant refreshes! For starters, after the cartoon series premiered in 1986, Ralston changed the title from Ghostbusters Cereal to The Real Ghostbusters Cereal. (Remember, by 1986, kids were way more into Cartoon Egon than Skin & Bones Egon.)
Years later, when Ghostbusters II was just about to hit theaters, Ralston capitalized on the hype with another name change, this time to Ghostbusters II Cereal.
(I’m crediting Ralston, but it was more likely Columbia’s idea, since Ghostbusters II was made with a younger audience in mind. You’ve heard of cradle-to-grave advertising? This was cereal-to-cinema.)
And that wasn’t even the last rebrand! Read More…
Get set for the latest edition of Classic Creepy Commercials, the series in which I pay tribute to ancient spooky ads, or something.
On a mostly unrelated note, I never bought into the idea that essays need a strong intro.
Monster Face! (1992)
Monster Face was basically a Dr. Frankenstein spin on Mr. Potato Head, and easily the coolest toy you’ve never heard of.
Your goal: Customize a big, bare monster skull with an assortment of body parts and gruesome accessories, running the gamut from vampire teeth to demon ears to neon troll hair. You even got a batch of slime that could ooze out of the skull like toxic pus!
While Monster Face might’ve connected better during the “gross toy fad” of the mid ‘80s, it did look like something out of a Goosebumps book… and that series was just starting to catch fire when Monster Face hit shelves!
Here’s another batch of Halloween-themed newspaper clippings from the ‘80s and ‘90s, featuring everything from Fruity Yummy Mummy to free goldfish. (If you missed the last edition, it’s over here!)
World Premieres of Halloween Classics!
(October 30th, 1985 & October 31st, 1989)
It’s so weird to see mentions of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure and Roseanne’s first Halloween episode from before they made their mark.
Garfield’s Halloween Adventure debuted on October 30th, 1985. For a while, it was even more important to kids than Charlie Brown’s special. Really, it was Garfield’s work here that turned so many of us onto him in the first place.
And Roseanne’s first Halloween episode? My God! If you’re near my age, think on it: Don’t you use that episode to fill in the gaps when trying to remember your own Halloween celebrations? It may have been “exaggerated,” but it was still such a blueprint for the perfect late ‘80s suburban Halloween.
When these articles were published, nobody had any reason to think that people would still be talking about Garfield’s songs or Jackie’s skeleton pin over 25 years later. But here we are! Read More…