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. Read 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! Read More…

Vicious Videocassette Boxes, Volume IV!

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Oh goodie, it’s finally time to dust off one of my favorite recurring features from last year’s Halloween Countdown! Vicious Videocassette Boxes!

As y’all know by now, I have a pretty immense VHS collection, with an especially strong lean on horror movies. There are eight hundred reasons for that, but here are the most important three:

1) Horror movies remind me of old video stores more than any other genre. As a kid, I’d look at those videos with a mix of fascination and revulsion, never renting but always being so damn curious. Just knowing that those “evil” movies were in the same store as me made trips to Bill’s Video Realm so strangely exhilarating.

2) A lot of horror movies feel more effective when you watch them on VHS, and that’s not just the nostalgia talking. The tinny audio and bleached colors are mimicked by so many of today’s moviemakers for a reason: They add to the effect. Horror is the one genre where distortion is typically a plus. (So long as it’s an “accoutrement” and not a “mask,” anyway.)

3) THE BOX ART RULES.

#3 is, of course, the reason for this series. As the title suggests, “Vicious Videocassette Boxes” is less a celebration of good movies, and more a celebration of fabulously spooky box art. (Hell, my VCR isn’t even connected right now. My primary reason for collecting horror videos is that I simply enjoy looking at them.)

Here’s the next batch of five. (Scroll to the bottom for links to the previous volumes!) Read More…

The 2014 General Mills Monster Cereals!

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Oh yes, the Monster Cereals are back. After last year’s legendary haul, can General Mills top themselves? Probably not, but find out in this video review, covering both the “regular” AND Target-exclusive “retro” boxes!

(Special thanks to 2 Cool Ghouls for sending the “regular” boxes my way! You’re the best!)

Okay, so the bad news is that Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy are back in the vault. A lot of folks are pissed about that, but I’m not. From a reasonable business perspective, it was tough to imagine General Mills dusting off FIVE cereals, each in two different boxes, for a second year in a row. There’s a law of diminishing returns with this sort of thing, after all. Read 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. Read 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. Read More…

Halloween Lunchables Dessert Packs!

My time management skills are really sucking today, but it isn’t midnight yet! I have fulfilled my obligations! Here’s a new video:

Tonight I’m reviewing the 2014 Halloween Lunchables dessert packs, which include “S’mores Dippers” and “Dirt Cakes.” They’re actually modified versions of things Kraft sells all year long, but the new spooky packaging is to die for.

As is typical for me, I recorded an entire food review without telling you what anything actually tastes like. So, the lowdown:

S’mores Dippers: My favorite of the two. They’re basically inside-out s’mores.

Dirt Cake: It works, but I’d rather eat the components separately on this one. Gummy worms are already perfection, y’know? I look at this less like a “kit” and more like a “TV dinner.”

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I have a vague recollection of Lunchables sneaking these out late last year, but the packaging is definitely all new. Love that Kraft is continuing this new tradition of “holiday Lunchables,” but I do hope we get a proper “lunch kit” to go with them!

Thanks for watching. Read More…