Dinosaur Dracula!

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… Read More…

Caramel Apple Twizzlers Review!

I’m getting a good feeling about this year’s Halloween candy haul…

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New for 2014, it’s Caramel Apple Twizzlers! They’re apple twists filled with caramel goo! I’d tell you more, but that’s what the video is for. Watch my review, below!

You are subscribed to Dino Drac on YouTube, right?

Good.

I can’t say that I prefer them over normal strawberry Twizzlers, but they’re still pretty good. And way strange. I wasn’t familiar with these “filled” Twizzlers before today, and, uh… yeah, they’re definitely strange.

As I mention in the video, it’s nice to see Twizzlers do something different this year. “Everyday” Twizzlers are always going to be a Halloween staple, but if Hershey wanted internet weirdos to make a fuss about the brand, this was a great step.

And now, some extra photos, for no good reason. Read More…

NECA’s Mego-style 8-bit Jason Voorhees.

Remember last year’s SDCC exclusive Jason Voorhees figure? You know, the “8-bit” one? Of course you do.

…but unless you’re a serious Friday the 13th fan, here’s something you probably don’t know: That figure started a minor revolution. I touched on this in my last Monster-Mania report, but my friend John has the story in much greater detail. “8-bit Jason” has taken the horror world by storm, and as if from nowhere, seeing Jason Voorhees with a blue mask and purple skin has become nearly as common as seeing him the “right” way.

For years, Jason’s screwy look in the old Nintendo game was something people made fun of. How couldn’t they? Why did they make Jason blue and purple, anyway?

But these days? Forget it. As strange as it sounds, that look has become a beloved part of his lore.

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So of course I was going to be all over this new figure, again from NECA. Everyone went berserk when the news broke a short while back. With nary a peep, NECA and Toys “R” Us teamed for another 8-Bit Jason figure, this time in a larger “Mego” style. (If you’re unfamiliar with Mego’s ancient exploits, the toys they made were essentially blends of “dolls” and “action figures.”)

This new Jason is a TRU exclusive, and after checking multiple stores multiple times on multiple days, I found zip. I’m not sure exactly how many of the figures were produced, but early on, they were obviously being gobbled up by dealers. Who could blame them? For the first week or so, the toys were selling for triple their retail price on eBay.

Eventually, TRU put the figures online. Never before had my fingers typed a credit card number so fast. (It’s sold out as of this writing, but since New Purple Jason doesn’t seem to be as rare as was initially feared, I’d advise against paying eBay rates. Just keep looking!) Read More…

I found some neat old Halloween JUNK.

One of my favorite Halloween activities is raiding old pharmacies and random variety stores, hoping to score some ancient spooky treasure. I’ve been running Halloween Countdowns since 2003, and lemme tell ya, a LOT of my material came from places like those.

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Over the weekend, I hit the jackpot. An oddball bric-a-brac shop had tons of Halloween junk for sale. Just a huge variety at dirt cheap prices. In tonight’s video, I show off five of my favorite finds…

Enjoy.

(I had to shoot that video twice. Some kind of memory card error turned today into my personal hell. But I guess that’s Halloweeny in its own way?)

I’m sure most of you have similarly wackadoo stores nearby. If you never pay attention to them, this is the time of year to start. If you rely too heavily on the big chains, you’re just gonna end up with the same shit everyone else has. These weirder stores are your chance to build a truly unique collection of Halloween nonsense.

Thanks for watching! I’m going to collapse now! Read More…

Pumpkin Pie Toaster Strudel!

Posting content on Labor Day is instant internet death, but I can’t shake the feeling that there are exactly three of you dying to read 800 words about Toaster Strudel, now and now specifically. I won’t let you down!

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So, let’s give a warm welcome to Pumpkin Pie Toaster Strudel! It’s a new flavor from Pillsbury, and just one of 2014’s billion new “Halloween foods” that pay tribute to pumpkins. (Seriously, it’s a huge year for pumpkins. Regular pumpkins, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice, pumpkin EVERYTHING. Nobody knows what the 2014 Halloween season will ultimately be remembered for, but judging by what we’ve seen so far, it’s gotta be the pumpkin invasion.)

I only notice Toaster Strudel when it gets wacky for the holidays, and in fact, the last time I purchased a box was around this time last year, when Pillsbury came out with that Caramel Apple flavor. I’ll beat this horse until its blue in the muzzle, but this is exactly why I love Halloween so much. For two full months, the mundane is made miraculous. All I did was buy Toaster Strudel, and here I am, feeling like I’m recounting the tale of some wild party. Read More…

The Bud Light Lime APPLE-AHHH-RITA!

We’re barely into the season, but if you look hard enough, many new Halloween edibles are already out there! With Halloween’s worth relying so heavily on spooky foods never seen before, it’s great to see so many different companies jumping on the skull train.

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One of my early favorites is the brand new Bud Light Lime APPLE-AHH-RITA, an apple-infused “margarita with a twist” that will only be available during the fall. (And I guess the end of summer, too.)

Last year’s Cran-Brrr-Ritas were a big hit, and I’m happy to report that these continue the streak. Here’s a four minute video detailing everything you need to know about Bud Light Lime Apple-Ahhh-Ritas, along with some things you probably didn’t.

Remember to drink them cold. I can’t stress that enough. (Oh, and because a few of your asked, yes, these taste somewhere in the realm of “alcoholic cider.”) Read More…

DINO DRAC’S 2014 HALLOWEEN COUNTDOWN.

Is it… is it true? It is possible? Could another year have really gone by that fast?

Is it seriously time for the… the… the Countdown?

YES.

Welcome, beloved strangers.

Welcome to Dinosaur Dracula’s 2014 Halloween Countdown.

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From now through October 31st, I am the Devil. That role is now mine to play, and I think it’s time for a shift towards benevolence. No, I am not here to urge you down damning paths. No, I am not here to scrub your sins with the loofah sponge that is fire. I am the Devil, and this year, all the Devil does is write long, aimless blogs about Halloween candy.

The Halloween Countdown starts…

NOW.

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Let’s assume you’re a new reader, or a really forgetful old one. You don’t know what a “Halloween Countdown” is. Well, no worries — I’m the Devil who likes to dish.

Born in 2003 on my old site, X-Entertainment, the Halloween Countdown has evolved into two full months celebrating EVERYTHING associated with the Halloween season, no matter how tangential. (The Devil is very proud of himself for using “tangential.”)

Old spooky toys! New Halloween junk food! Horror movies! Creepy art projects! Videos starring me in zombie makeup, with phony scars that look like the stitches on a baseball!

Freddy Krueger! Jason Voorhees! Pinhead! Elvira! Garlic Man! (Okay maybe not Garlic Man. Until now, “internet stardom” has never been uttered in the same sentence as “the lead villain from Little Dracula.”)

I can’t make any guarantees about how often this site will be updated between now and Halloween, but I’m supposing it will be over 40 and closer to 50. Which means that by November 1st, I’ll want to kill every single one of you. Please enjoy this breakdown-as-performance art, where my pending descent into madness will gain a firm digital footprint. I am the Devil.

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Last year’s Halloween season was one of the best ever. Maybe THE best ever. From Ghoul-Aid Jammers to the revival of Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy, we left 2013 wondering if we’d ever see a Halloween season that good again. Wellp, it’s time to find out. I have a good feeling. My feeling is in the “45% good” area.

Some of you may think that I’m starting too early. We go through this every year. I’m not. Besides, there are a lot of bloggers now. If I wait an extra week, all of the good candy will have already been written about. On the other hand, NOT BY THE DEVIL.

No, but seriously, it’s NOT too early. October flies by in the span of two hours, and I think we’re one decent scientist away from that being a proven fact. Halloween isn’t just about Halloween proper, you know. Things that are enjoyable all year become infinitely more enjoyable during the Halloween season. Hey, I’ve seen Dream Warriors a thousand times, but guess what? If I watch it tonight, it’s Paragraph Fucking One on the diary page.

At the start of last year’s Countdown, I suggested a few things people could do to celebrate early. Things like “take a walk” and “draw monsters on a legal pad.” Things that required action. But I’ve grown cynical in my old age. Nobody who reads “go do something” on their computer actually goes and does something.

So this year, I’m gonna work that schtick a little differently. Here are a bunch of Halloween things you can do right now, online, without moving from whatever atrociously tacky chair you’re sitting in. (The Devil’s newfound benevolence does not extend to chairs. It can’t.)

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#1: WATCH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD!
Some kind of colossal fuckup put George A. Romero’s zombie classic in the public domain, and their loss is our gain! The original Night of the Living Dead is one of the easiest movies to find online, and in every conceivable resolution… including some that shouldn’t exist. I chose a YouTube link with a 4×3 ratio, because if you’re gonna watch this movie on the internet, you should at least try to pretend that the internet is a dusty old tube television. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

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#2: PLAY GHOSTS ‘N GOBLINS!
Notoriously difficult but with such a splendid theme! I grew up with the Ghosts ‘n Goblins Nintendo game, and while I can scarcely recall beating the 2nd level — let alone ever even seeing Lucifer — something about it kept me coming back. Maybe it was the ballsy taunt? The game opens with Satan (not to be confused with Lucifer) materializing in the night sky and swooping in to kidnap your girlfriend. You can’t walk away from something like that, no matter how often it happens.

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#3: GO ON AN IMDB HORROR TRIVIA BINGE!
This is one of my private passions. Head to IMDB, look up every horror movie you can think of, and lose countless hours to their trivia sections! Did you know that Linda Blair needed bodyguards after shooting The Exorcist, thanks to death threats from religious nuts? Now you do! And everything you learn tonight, you can pretend to have known forever! I’ll never understand why Wikipedia disallowed trivia sections on movie pages. Spend a night on IMDB, and you’ll agree that they’re the best parts!

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#4: MESS WITH A VIRTUAL TARANTULA!
It’s not quite a “game,” but it’s more addictive than Tetris. On this page, you push and pull a virtual tarantula all over his home, which is apparently a three foot concrete square. (And when I say “pull,” I mean it. You can even drag the poor guy around by one leg.) Double-clicking will leave insects behind for your spider to feast on. The insects don’t move, and look more like rat droppings and spoiled pizza. Somehow, these traits blend into pure creepy magnificence.

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#5: LEARN THE TRUE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN!
What we’ve come to accept as “Halloween” is a strange mash of traditions with roots that span thousands of years. This season, why not take the time to learn more about Halloween’s secret origins? Or maybe see how people who aren’t “us” celebrate it? I admit that linking to the Wikipedia entry on “Halloween” is weak, but it is pretty informative, so use that as your start-point. Some write Halloween off as a Hallmark holiday, but with a little research, you’ll see how completely wrong that is.

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#6: READ LOTS OF “REAL” GHOST STORIES!
The best ghost stories are the real ones. Or at least, the ones that are supposed to be real. “Your Ghost Stories” is a site collecting ten trillion reader-submitted tales of actual ghost encounters, and even if you only buy into 2% of them, it’s still good for a browse. The stories range from simple unexplained moments to full-on ghost encounters, and under the right light at a late hour, they’re an excellent way to self-creep. Brew some tea and light a scented candle before visiting this one. That’s the right way to do it.

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#7: PLAY HALLOWEEN HANGMAN!
In this spooky spin on the classic Hangman game, you must correctly guess the mystery word before a hanging skeleton collects his bones. Guess the wrong letter, and the skeleton gets snarky. “Oh great, another rocket scientist.” Well fuck you too, ass. Online hangman games are usually too easy or too impossible, but this one straddles the line. Plus, even if you lose, you at least get a complete skeleton out of the deal. (The game also features fantastic music. Music that could score a person tiptoeing into the kitchen to steal cookies. Only more Halloween-like.)

I spent forever digging up those links, by the way. “Look up Halloween on Wikipedia!” Do you have any idea much thought and research goes into something like that? Ugh, here’s a picture of gummy worms on a cardboard grim reaper head:

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The Countdown is one part me and one part you. To get the most from it, I invite you to become involved. Join in the comments and take part in discussions. When I do an art project, send in a submission, even though you’re still waiting for me to put up the results from the last one. Share this site and its articles all over social media, which I admit helps me a lot more than you. I just wasn’t sure where else to stick that. Didn’t really work after “Garlic Man.”

Together, we’re gonna experience Halloween as it was meant to be experienced: Via complete and total overkill. Nothing orange is out of bounds, even if it’s a clementine. No day shall pass without a macabre celebration, so long as we can stretch the definition of “celebration” to “five minutes spent gushing over Candy Corn Blow Pops.” For the next two months, we’ll enjoy that brief period where pain is muted and the air is tainted with good drugs. Nothing can hurt us, so long as we have popcorn and Halloween 5.

Nothing can ruin it. Actually, a lot of things could, but they won’t, because I’m the Devil and I have powers. I hereby decree that everyone who reads this will have a perfect Halloween season. I know I will.

I goddamned better. Winter, spring and summer were such balls.

Welcome, beloved strangers, to Dinosaur Dracula’s 2014 Halloween Countdown.

It starts now. It started ten minutes ago.

Now here’s Madd Matt’s review of a “Clown Tangler.”

Thank you for reading/watching/being. Ave Santanas!

I mean Satanas. God, I almost hailed Tito Santana.

PS: Huge thanks to Jason Week for continuing his streak of awesome Dino Drac Halloween logos, and to Cliff for stepping in multiple times to turn my terrible CSS into delicious cake.

PPS: The Halloween Jukebox is now REACTIVATED. A relic from my past. A relic from yours, too. Enjoy around a hundred haunted songs, including two by Garfield. Just look for the blazingly obvious orange-tinted jukebox graphic on the right-side area of this page. And every other page on the site. Even the ones about how Christmas is the best time of year. (I was lying.)