Dinosaur Dracula!

Ninja Turtles: The Sad Story of Scrag.

I’ll warn you: This article is such a deep cut that only extreme fans of the original Ninja Turtles cartoon stand any chance of finishing it. The rest of you should just come back tomorrow.

So, let’s talk about Scrag. An impossible mix of Duckie and Annie Lennox, Scrag wore a pair of those sunglasses Pizza Hut gave away to promote Back to the Future Part II. He ruled.

Scrag was one of my favorite characters on the show, despite being one of the least important. He only appears in four episodes and doesn’t utter a single clear line in any of them.

In fact, Scrag was so minor that he was never even named on the series. “Scrag” is just what fans call him now, thanks to a description in some old Ninja Turtles coloring book.

Nevertheless, there were valid reasons to be invested in this “nothing” character. Scrag’s story was and remains one of most haunting in TMNT history. You just had to pay extra close attention to notice it! Read More…

That one super creepy episode of Sightings.

Here’s the story about how an old episode of Sightings ruined my life.

Or maybe made it better?

You remember Sightings, right? It was essentially a copycat Unsolved Mysteries, but with a stricter focus on the paranormal and otherworldly.

Now let me take you back to October, 1992. You’re eating Keebler Pizzarias, and the radio won’t stop playing Whitney.

I was thirteen years old, and only barely settled into my new downstairs bedroom. Thirteen-year-olds have a biological compulsion to find their parents irritating, and I sure did love the extra privacy.

I felt so mature, but I was still just an easily-spooked kid. It was darker downstairs. Weirder. I’d traded living next to my parents to living next to the laundry room, which creaked and cracked with noises that belonged on a Halloween SFX CD.

My bedroom had two windows. There was the front window, which offered a view of our driveway. That was where the burglars would break in. Then there was the side window, peering into our little-used backyard. That was the entrance for monsters.

So I’m in this room, on a Friday night in mid-October.

Sightings comes on my TV set. The one covered in Rose Tea ceramic animals. Against my better judgment, I do not switch channels to watch Baby Sinclair bang pots. Read More…

Tiny Tributes to Minor Monsters, #3!

In this edition of Tiny Tribute to Minor Monsters, I’ll be covering everything from alien bounty hunters to big spooky trees. I like to have fun.

If you missed the previous chapters, they’re here and here!

Masters of the Universe (1987)

Think of Karg as a mix of Sophia Petrillo and Warwick Davis’s Leprechaun. He was one of Skeletor’s minions in the Masters of the Universe film, which y’all really need to see. It’s like they threw He-Man in a blender with The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future and a bunch of Jordache commercials. AMAZING movie.

Karg wasn’t a terribly important character, but he arguably made a stronger impression than anyone else in the film — including He-Man and Skeletor. It all came down to the costume, which was so wicked and menacing that it almost felt out of place… even in a movie like this.

Karg was meant to be a bat-like creature, but you’ll more get the impression that someone used a Thunder Stone on one of the Crites. The fact that he was obsequious and even a touch histrionic did little to keep Karg from turning our dreams into nightmares. Read More…

Five Retro TV Commercials, Part 21!

Today is my birthday. I thought I’d celebrate by writing about Regis Philbin’s old Harvest Crisps commercial. You do you, I do me.

Burger King’s Burger Bundles! (1987)

I’ve never been wild about Burger King. As a kid, I’d only eat there out of geographical convenience or because they were giving away Ninja Turtles garbage. “Gloppy” is the first word I think of when Burger King is mentioned, and gloppy is close to my least favorite word.

There were exceptions, of course. Back in ‘87, I became singularly focused on trying Burger King’s Burger Bundles, which were these adorable three-packs of slightly-conjoined mini-burgers served in tiny cardboard pans. They were like edible play food. Holding them was Priority One.

Each burger was around the size of a small donut. The fun part was taking extremely small bites, like Tom Hanks with his baby corn. Read More…

1980s Junk Food Spotted in INTRUDER!

If you’re into ‘80s slasher flicks and you’ve never seen Intruder, stop it! It’s so good. Set in a supermarket for what ends up being a literal graveyard shift, it’s gory and tense, but more surprisingly smart and funny.

It’s also a chance to see oodles of legit 1980s groceries in their natural habitat!

From what I can gather, Intruder was shot in a California grocery store that had closed down before filming began. To stock the shelves, the crew worked with a company that specialized in expired foodstuffs.

(Expired food was doubtlessly cheaper, and probably the only hope for such a low-budget production to effectively stock an entire supermarket.)

Intruder was filmed in early 1988, and the food sure proves it. Some of the snacks are such deep cuts that even I’d forgotten about them, and I’m the guy who spends six hours a day obsessing over dead cookies.

Below are five ‘80s junk foods seen in Intruder:

Fruit Brute!

Intruder is loaded with ‘80s cereals, to the point where I could easily do a whole separate article just about those. Maybe we’ll cross that bridge next week.

If I had to pick just one to feature, it’s gotta be Fruit Brute, which was kind of the Big Dick Dudley of the Monster Cereal family.

What’s interesting is that Fruit Brute’s original run ended in 1982, many years before this film was shot. Those shelves were stocked with expired groceries, yes, but not that expired.

….which leads me to believe that someone involved with the production deliberately brought a “collectible” box of Fruit Brute to the set, simply out of werewolf respect. (Keep in mind, this was years before Tarantino orchestrated Fruit Brute cameos in his movies!) Read More…