Dinosaur Dracula!

Arachnophobia!

I wouldn’t call Arachnophobia one of my favorite movies, but I do love it. What’s not to love? Jeff Daniels and John Goodman square off against displaced killer spiders, which quickly turn a small California town into a human graveyard!

The film has a memorable flavor, and not just because it’s about spiders that kill people. It’s a horror movie, of course, but it’s a weirdly friendly one. Arachnophobia wasn’t targeted at the same audiences who might see a Friday the 13th movie. Its producers wanted everyone. From cast to script to music, Arachnophobia is surprisingly smart and thoughtful. At least, it’s smarter and more thoughtful than a film about murderous spiders has any right to be.

Even with my own arachnophobic tendencies, I’ve always been a spider nut, and I totally saw this on the big screen back in 1990. I sat through most of the movie with my knees against my chest, and believe me, I wasn’t only one. (Leaving your feet on the ground was as good as taping a “LADDER FOR SPIDERS” sign on your leg.)

Below are my five favorite “spider moments” from Arachnophobia. Admittedly, this post works better if you’ve already seen the movie. If you haven’t, give it a shot. Even if you’re not particularly interested in maniacal spiders, it’s worth it for the random music that accompanies John Goodman whenever he walks onscreen. Over twenty years later, and I still get a kick out of John Goodman’s stupid entrance theme. Read More…

Patriotic Pull ‘n Peel Twizzlers!

I found some new Twizzlers today. Most of you wouldn’t think that a new Twizzlers flavor is just cause for a complete and total shift in one’s religious beliefs and personal trajectory, but before you put a stamp on that stance, check out the photos in this review. Because Holy Jesus.

To correctly identify these takes a lot of words, so I’m only going to do it once. Officially, they’re Raspberry Wild Berry Lemonade Pull ‘n Peel Twizzlers. These are the Twizzlers that sit on Santa’s lap and ask for everything.

I’m calling them Patriotic Pull ‘n Peel Twizzlers. It’s shorter. More alliterative.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure that they’re meant to celebrate our great nation. The colors are right, and the package is adorned with several fireworks, but the Hershey Company refused to take things any further. I guess that lets them sell these in other countries without making people explode. Read More…

Vintage Vending #12: Dinosaur Museum!

In this issue of Vintage Vending: More dinosaurs!

I would’ve been all over this Dinosaur Museum set as a kid. (And given that I would’ve been of the appropriate age in 1985, I’m sad that I missed the chance.)

The stars were a series of skeletal figures, meant to represent museum-assembled dead dinosaurs.

Of course, if you didn’t want to play that way, you didn’t have to. Most kids probably skipped the “museum replicas” idea and headed straight for “living monster skeletons” territory, treating their tiny dinos as supernatural demons, sent to terrorize whatever other one-inch figures happened to be in their collections.

The teaser card’s bright reds and blues make me unnaturally happy, to the point where I felt compelled to research “color psychology.” Believe it or not, that’s a legit thing. Blue is supposed to relax you, while red is an “action color” that can actually raise your blood pressure. Looking at this card is like mixing uppers and downers. Read More…

Five Random Action Figures, Part 3!

I’ve been away for a while, slaying dragons, righting wrongs, and drawing crude character concepts for a gaming universe populated exclusively by warrior snails. I can’t say that I’ve been very successful with these endeavors, but they’ve given me many stories to tell.

To ease myself back into the role of Person Who Writes About Stupid Things For The Internet, I’m going to dust off an easy concept. Here’s another batch of random action figures! (Part 1 and Part 2 limited the choices to the ‘80s. For Part 3, NO DECADE IS SAFE.)

Rat King
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1989

In all his many adaptations, Rat King is one of the best characters of TMNT lore. This figure represents Rat King from the original Ninja Turtles cartoon. I hate to go all caps so soon after “NO DECADE IS SAFE,” but there’s no other option. In the first cartoon, Rat King was INCREDIBLE.

Without bothering to confirm the validity of my memories by cross-referencing with online episode guides, Rat King was a psychotic hermit who lived in the sewers. (Or maybe some other, sewer-like structure?) He looked like a crack addict in a cheap mummy costume, and much like any crack addict in a cheap mummy costume, he only seemed dangerous part of the time.

Don’t get me wrong. Rat King could pull some seriously nasty shit. He just seemed really passive about it all.

Through supernatural communication with rats, Rat King really was their king. He could order them to swarm into what looked like hideous ocean waves, made of rats instead of water. I loved it when he did that.

He looked great on the cartoon, but the figure is even more demented. The unnatural bald patches and unholy red eyes really set the stage, and there is literally no body part that isn’t covered in something awesome. Look close and you’ll even spot a giant centipede embedded into Rat King’s chest, thereby clarifying the character’s brief flirtation with the alternative alias of Centipede King.

Also, is it just me, or does Rat King look slightly like Biff Tannen? I wish “Rat to the Future” read as good as it sounds. Read More…

Say hello to Mr. Wasp.

I knew that big hole in my window screen would eventually lead to trouble.

This afternoon, a wasp flew straight through it. Big one, too. He looked pissed.

A funny thing happens to wasps when they come indoors. They just completely lose their grace. Outside, this wasp may have entranced me with its impossible flight patterns. In my office, it acted like a drunkard, smashing into walls and bumping into every obstacle.

I tried to ignore it, but how could I? This was a wasp. A wasp that was growing more and more agitated as it kept crashing into things. I had work to do, but it’s difficult to concentrate when there’s a giant wasp looking to vent its frustrations by way of Ass Needle. Something needed to be done, and fast.

No, this story isn’t about to take a turn for the gory. I try not to kill insects if it’s at all avoidable. Sometimes I think that our passage to Heaven is only granted after we endure the sum of our sins. If you squash a bug in life, a giant bug squashes you in the afterlife. I don’t want to die and then have to deal with a titanic wasp chasing me with comically oversized newspaper. It sounds lousy. And I bet Satan would hire Howard Shore to score it.

Instead, I did that old trick where you trap the offender in a glass, and slide a book under the open end so it can’t escape. Voila, instant wasp prison. Read More…