Set aside two and a half minutes and however long it takes to read 900 words, because it’s time for the 23rd edition of Classic Creepy Commercials!
If this batch doesn’t put you in the mood for spiked cider and dimmed lighting, nothing will. Except maybe pot.
Halloween III on Broadcast TV! (1987)
On an October evening in 1987, WNUV-TV 54 — which I believe broadcasted out of Baltimore — ran three movies from the Halloween franchise. This promo aired midway through the marathon, and introduced Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
I love how they presented the film so whimsically, with cartoony graphics and an almost-friendly voiceover artist. Of course, Halloween III wasn’t at all kid-safe, as the content warning that closed the promo illustrated.
Gotta assume that the film was edited for content, as there was no way a broadcast network was gonna put scenes like this on television. I’m guessing they just looped Tom Atkins’s reaction shot and left audiences to wonder why they were suddenly hearing snakes and crickets.
I Want To Drink Your Bud! (1990)
Here’s another of the million Halloween-themed beer commercials that absolutely fascinated me as a kid. It’s not that the beer itself was so gripping, but rather the idea that all adults spent Halloween partying hard in extremely high-end costumes.
Back then, I didn’t quite grasp that these were idealized recreations. I just figured that this was what you experienced once you hit a certain age, and that every bar on every street corner spent Halloween looking almost exactly like the one from, say, this Budweiser commercial. Just a sea of pretty people in hundred dollar costumes, hammered and hammy.
PS: Check out that awesome alien mummy at the 12-second mark. I think it’s an alien mummy, anyway. I so love the idea that someone would wear that costume to a dive bar, where they were guaranteed to spend Halloween sweating worse than they did in July. What devotion! I’ve named him Mummartian.
Vivarin vs. Zombies! (1990s)
Bet ya never expected to see a horror-themed Vivarin commercial, but here we are. It’s the story of some rando who stayed up late watching zombie movies, and in the process became a figurative zombie at work the next day. Vivarin to the rescue!
Gotta appreciate how they came up with a whole fake zombie movie for this commercial, and even shot footage to support it. My kingdom to live in the alternate universe where Rage of the Zombie is a real movie. It looks wicked.
(Is it just me, or did the commercial’s main actor also play the zombie? Ol’ Zombo is covered in bumpy skin and has hair like Gene Simmons, but I still see a resemblance. No wonder the guy stayed up late to watch this. Fucker was the lead!)
My Pet Monster! (1986)
Strange that I never ran this commercial before, as I’ve already written a billion words about My Pet Monster, who in practice was less “pet” and more “imaginary friend that you could really punch.”
I’ve had (too) many conversations about a potential My Pet Monster revival. Most fans want a straight-up re-release, but I recognize that the doll was simply too large to make that a profitable venture.
Instead, I’d like to pitch a *half-scale* My Pet Monster, maybe exclusive to Hallmark stores or something. It’d have everything that made the original great — the cuffs, the psycho eyes, the silvery feet — but it’d all be half the size. Less of an investment for whatever company produces them, and less of a torpedo to our savings accounts. Tell me you wouldn’t buy that!
Rocky Horror on VHS! (1990)
I didn’t see The Rocky Horror Picture Show until I was a senior in high school, but I immediately fell in love with it. My friends were all huge fans, too. We even went to see it after our prom, and were definitely the only people in that theater wearing tuxes and gowns.
Course, I “tried” to see the movie much earlier. In fact, it was in 1990 — the same year that this commercial was on TV.
My sister was watching me for the weekend, and took me to Blockbuster so I could load up on distractions. Feeling peculiarly “adult” that afternoon, I chose Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, and, for some reason, Rocky Horror, which I knew absolutely NOTHING about.
I decided to start with the Friday the 13th movie. In the opening moments, Jason used a harpoon to yank out some dude’s guts, and it was at that point that I turned off the VCR. Didn’t even get to see Jason “take” Manhattan, though to be fair, that wouldn’t have happened for another 80 minutes anyway.
On that day, Rocky Horror was another of Jason’s victims. I just wouldn’t chance any more surprise gross-outs. Really ticks me off that I could’ve been singing Rose Tint My World five years earlier, if I only had the… well, guts.
(I’ve since been told that the “guts” were just wires attached to the harpoon and never meant to be anything grosser, but I’ve spent 30 years on Team Intestine and I ain’t jumping ship now.)
Thanks for reading! If you missed the previous edition of Classic Creepy Commercials, it’s over here.