Dinosaur Dracula!

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.)

Caramel Apple Oreo Cookies!

The weather is starting to cool, the leaves are looking less green, and I’m suddenly craving Elm Street movies on a nightly basis.

Oh, it’s in the air. Halloween is IN the air.

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For proof, look no further than Nabisco’s new Caramel Apple Oreo cookies. It may only be August, but these are utterly autumnal.

Every year, there’s that one new Halloween thing that comes out a little early, effectively ushering in the season. In 2014, this is it. To some they’re merely cookies, but I view them more as edible gatekeepers. By the time this package is through, I’ll be surrounded by plastic rats and cardboard vampire heads. Thank God.

Over the last year, Nabisco’s gone batty with Oreo cookies, releasing wild new flavors that have ranged from “pleasantly odd” to “class action lawsuit.” Clearly some of those flavors were more expected to be “noticed” than “liked.” The people at Nabisco aren’t stupid, and the amount of free press they get for Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon Oreos is worth the thousand people thinking they’ve lost their fucking minds.

Fortunately, I don’t classify these as being so intentionally divisive. Caramel apple candy is nothing new, and no alarm bells ring over the flavor’s transition to cookies. It seems like a natural way to celebrate the 2014 season in a manner that you couldn’t in 2013. Bring it on, Nabba Sco. Read More…

Krang is back, brother.

I mentioned this on Dino Drac’s Facebook page, but it’s way too important to lose in the social media ether.

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Returning as part of the Ninja Turtles Classic Collection, it’s motherfucking KRANG. One of my favorite action figures EVER, and by far my favorite TMNT character. Hell, maybe my favorite character PERIOD.

Lots of capped words, plus a “motherfucker.” Can you tell that I’m excited?

Look, Krang was my gateway drug into All Things Turtles. Not sure if I’ve told this story before, but while I got on the TMNT bandwagon early, I didn’t get on it from the very start. On a trip to the grocery store with my friend and his mom (excitement), I bought a spiral notebook with the Ninja Turtles on the cover. I didn’t know much about them at that point, and my purchase had more to do with “oooh shiny new notebook” than “oooh Ninja Turtles.”

toonBut later that afternoon, my friend showed me what I’d been missing. We watched the cartoon in its normal weekday afternoon slot, and I was IMMEDIATELY taken with Krang. By then, he already had his now-trademark robot body. (The bald guy with the bedroom in his stomach.) Between Krang’s look, voice, and weirdly laissez-faire approach to villainy, he was “my guy” from Minute 1.

HE WAS A TALKING PINK BRAIN.

LIVING INSIDE A HALF-NAKED ROBOT’S STOMACH.

FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.

Now firmly turned onto TMNT, I became a megafan. I watched everything. I collected everything. I ate Crunchabungas and gained 20 pounds. I saw the first movie on opening night. Same with the second. I’ve had many obsessions, but TMNT was up there with the biggest of ‘em all.

Of course, I was waaay into the action figures. Hobbies have often turned me to lunacy, but man, I was especially crazy when it came to Ninja Turtles figures. When a new wave came out, I’d force people to bring me to toy stores every single day. Maybe I was spoiled, or maybe it was because my pleading was on the level of someone begging off a serial killer.

“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. THIS MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. I WILL QUOTE THE ROOM FIFTEEN YEARS BEFORE IT GETS MADE. TAKE ME TO GEOFFREY NOW.” Read More…

Cool junk I saw at Monster-Mania 28!

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“Came, saw, bought a few things, made a fool of myself, went home.”

That would be the summary of my experiences at the 28th Monster-Mania horror convention, which took place in Cherry Hill last weekend.

I fear I’m not in any position to give you a full report, since we spent so much of the evening away from the convention areas. The closest I came to celebrity hobnobbing was sharing an elevator with Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Actually, I wasn’t planning to write anything about Monster-Mania. We were mostly there to reconnect with friends, and so I could pay too much for “zombie red” contact lenses. (Both missions were accomplished.)

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…but when I got home, several readers asked for a review, having come to rely on Dino Drac for some small glimpse into this long-running and now practically legendary horror convention.

So FINE. I’ll play your game.

While I can’t give you many specifics about the guests or the events or even the gory cosplayers, I at least took enough photos to provide highlights of the best part of any Monster-Mania: The dealer rooms.

I’ve trained myself to treat those rooms like a museums. Convention swag rarely comes cheap, and too often, I’ve come home with a pile of unneeded stuff that I could’ve bought online for less. After all, the thrill isn’t in the prices, but in the hands-on exposure. It’s one thing to see a bunch of old toys and new memorabilia when you’re browsing websites, but it can be downright intoxicating when you’re surrounded by it in person.

I picked up a few choice items for future posts, but here are the best things I didn’t buy at Monster-Mania 28: Read More…

Dino Drac’s Funpack Subscriptions – Now Open!

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Dino Drac Funpack subscriptions are back on sale! $25 a month, for a new box of weird junk, every month!

Subscribe now and you’ll start with the SEPTEMBER 2014 FUNPACK — which, since the site will be firmly entrenched in the Halloween Countdown by then, has a nice dose of scares!

If you’re already subscribed and would like to stay that way — do nothing! You’re all set.

If you’re NOT subscribed and you’re pretty sure you want to be, I would advise you not to wait too long. Subscriptions starting with the September Funpack are available through 9/7, but there is a pretty fair chance that they will sell out before then. (Once I’m out of supplies, I’m out of supplies, and you’ll have to wait another month!)

Let’s see what September has in store!

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(An almost complete sample of a September Funpack!)

While the Funpack shown here is for example purposes (some contents may vary), ALL existing and new subscribers WILL receive the following:

* The first of two Halloween-themed Ugly Mini Posters! (Not shown in the photo.)
* An all-new DINO DRAC SPECIMEN, which I’ll tell you about in a minute!
* An incredible Aliens digital watch from 1993, still in package! Your new Halloween mascot!
* Packs of old trading cards! (Yes, some packs have a spooky theme!)
* And other things that you’ll have to wait to see, but the photo above will give you some example of what you may find.

I think these will kick off your Halloween season in excellent fashion.

Oh, and about that specimen… Read More…