Dinosaur Dracula!

Real Ghostbusters Mini Shooter!

As it relates to Kenner’s Real Ghostbusters toys, I was always much more into the monsters than the Ghostbusters themselves. Egon and friends were neat, but the ghosts were where the line shined brightest. They had no “template” mold or style, and each was vastly different from the last.

The Slimer and Stay Puft figures will always be my favorites, but once you got past them, Kenner came up with many incredibly creative ghouls. Some were based on the cartoon series and others were exclusive to the toy line, but all were just too delightfully weird to, as they say, “not want.”

Here’s one example. A big wormy ghost who treats smaller ghosts like cannonballs!

The Mini Shooter debuted in 1986. Admittedly, the name kind of sucks. “Mini Shooter.” Sounds like some terribly overpriced Applebee’s thing. Fuck that.

If we can get technical, it was actually a three-figure set, not to mention a toy that came with an open invitation for kids to beat the hell out of it.

It was my final find from last month’s horror convention. The dealer wanted $15, but it’s amazing what $10 can buy when you put on the doe eyes and pretend that it’s all you have left. Read More…

Cheetos Mix-Ups!

HOT NEWS: I found new Cheetos.

Cheetos Mix-Ups blend four different types of Cheetos to create what I like to call “junk food as art.” It may be unhealthy, but fans of the gloriously absurd will not be able to ignore this.

The bag doesn’t have any “limited time only” warnings, but experience has taught me that nothing this outrageous can last forever. My purchase was made at least partly in fear that I’d never have the chance to buy them again.

Would tomorrow bring a press release about how Cheetos Mix-Ups were recalled for being too bizarre? It seemed possible. It also seemed possible that I’d pinch myself in Target’s crap food aisle and wake up in a world where Cheetos Mix-Ups never existed in the first place.

These are the sorts of existential crises I endure when choosing blog topics. The Mayans had a word for people like me. Dickface. Read More…

1-900-909-CREEP.

My friend Paul from the new and improved Wrestlecrap shot me a tip about this one. Thank you, Paul! You made my week.

I’m not going to dig up the half-broken old article, but back in 2005, I wrote about my experiences with the Freddy Krueger hotline. It was just one of the many 900 numbers from the late ’80s that had something to do with scaring children. I wasn’t seriously into Freddy at that point, and dialing his number was mostly a case of my curiosity getting the better of me.

I can’t remember the exact details of Freddy’s message, but I clearly remember the details of that night.

I was young. My parents were out of town. My sister was supposed to be watching me, but she’d gotten into a tremendous battle with her then-boyfriend, and spent the evening hours locked in her bedroom.

Left to my own devices, I made the huge mistake of calling Freddy Krueger. The damn commercial kept coming on, and I just couldn’t resist forever. I doubt I allowed myself more than five minutes before hanging up, but that was all it took to make it “that kind” of a night. Suddenly, I was petrified of everything. Every creak, every shadow. Of course, it didn’t help that there was a television special about the Elm Street movies on at the time. I would’ve turned it off, but God knows what sorts of monsters might’ve grabbed me as I walked across the living room to fetch the remote.

The night ended with me falling asleep under a crude blanket tent. It sounds miserable, but it was actually kind of exciting. I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but the fear was exhilarating, and at core, perfectly safe. The thrill of horror movies works similarly to roller coasters, and I got the same jollies from listening to Freddy Krueger babble on at 35 cents a minute.

But Freddy wasn’t the only one with a spooky hotline back then…

I don’t recall seeing this Creep Phone ad back in 1988, but man, I can so imagine what my reaction would’ve been. Absolute motherfucking FEAR.

Look, Freddy was one thing. I hadn’t fully embraced him, but I’d been through enough shoddy Halloween makeup kits to know that he was “scary with an asterisk.” This Creep Phone thing was something far, far different.

Some of you will immediately recognize the clips used in the ad, but let’s put that aside for a minute. In 1988, I would’ve had no idea what those clips were from. I would’ve assumed that the people behind the hotline built ugly puppets for a custom shoot. For unknown reasons, that makes the visuals a thousand times scarier.

Watch the ad through the eyes of a nine-year-old, and take it at face value. OH GOD, THE MONSTERS. Cheesy as they seem now, those demons would’ve left me more than a little unsettled. They look like blackly religious devil paintings come to life. It’s like we went to Hell but didn’t yet know it was Hell, and blindly followed the “MUPPETS THIS WAY” sign. Read More…

Vlog: The Simpsons Easter Basket!

Easter is tomorrow. May those who celebrate spend tonight dyeing eggs and fiddling with phony grass.

I went to our city’s last remaining K-Mart yesterday. The place was a wreck. Looked like it hadn’t been remodeled since 1982. Still had an “Eatery” and everything. Smelled like bad milk.

They must have had over a hundred different prepackaged Easter baskets. You know, the ones with the generic superheroes, and plastic dinosaurs that look more like tigers. 95% of them were hilariously terrible, which is exactly what I wanted to see.

I did find one lone Simpsons basket hiding in the mix, though. Here’s a video detailing its contents!

Who wouldn’t love a bouncy Bart Simpson ball and two and a half Lemonheads?

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A Tribute to Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedias!

If you’ve never heard of Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia, you have my sincere pity. I loved these books as a child, and still do today. Not exaggerating at all: I still read these things constantly.

Originally published in 1980, the fifteen book set covered many terrific things, from dinosaurs to foreign wardrobes to our own brains. Using Peanuts characters and comic strips to make every topic relatable to kids, they weren’t very similar to “normal” encyclopedias. It was more like the Cliffs Notes version of everything. All the fat was trimmed; we just got the interesting parts.

I don’t remember how I originally came upon them. It was probably through one of those “supermarket specials” where you got a free book by inadvertently promising to buy the rest. Through yard sales and thrift stores, I’d eventually end up with multiple copies of every volume, from both the original ‘80s run and the updated ‘90s printing.

These books were and remain my happy place. To this day, I’m never more at peace than I am with my face buried in Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia. If you only know the broad strokes about these books, you might assume that the entire appeal lied in the Peanuts comic strips. Not true at all! Those added a lot, but seeing Snoopy and Linus wasn’t even close to the best thing about them.

Here are six of the REAL reasons I loved Charlie Brown’s ‘Cyclopedia: Read More…