It’s time for the next batch of Classic Creepy Commercials!
(If you read that in the voice of a game show announcer and hum happy music afterward, it becomes a stronger open.)
Collected below are another five spooky TV commercials from the ‘80s and ‘90s, covering everything from toys to movies to a TV show I’ve never watched. Some of these are from my collection; the rest, as usual, were donated by Larry P.
Enjoy the show! (Or the commercial break. Whatever.)
Slime Time Watches Commercial! (1986)
One of the less remembered “gross-focused ‘80s toy lines,” Slime Time was a series of digital watches released by Hasbro, each nestled somewhere under (or in) a “creepy” rubber animal. (Frogs and snakes were included, as was the line’s high point: An adorable black bat.)
Wearing the whole mess on your wrist, the toys were part functional, part decorative, and part flabbergastingly insane. I loved them, but I imagine that I was in the minority of kids who might look at a garter snake and think, “Someday, I hope I get one of you, but as a timepiece.”
My inner conspiracy theorist says that Hasbro was going to lose the rights to the killer “Slime Time” name if they didn’t do something with it, and after an all-hands-on-deck last minute brainstorm, we got a frog with a clock down its gullet. Thank God!
Ghostbusters II Movie Promo! (1989)
By objective measures, I’d never claim that Ghostbusters II tops the original. At the same time, I personally prefer it. It’s just so goofy and weird, and it has that part with the Janosz ghost dressed like Fifi the Maid.
I didn’t learn until adulthood that many considered the movie a misstep. I understand the gripes, intellectually, but I still don’t agree with them. If the film had a problem, it’s that it wasn’t sure if it was a kiddy movie masquerading as an adult movie, or an adult movie masquerading as a kiddy movie. Buy hey, I was 10 when it came out. That “problem” was my favorite genre!
Dracula: The Series TV Promo! (1990)
I’ve never seen Dracula: The Series, but it was another one of those weird independent shows that either lived or died in syndication. As previously explored on Dino Drac, I adored shows like that.
The bulk of them aired in odd but effective time slots, and for me, they served as the sole means of entertainment during the hours when there was literally nothing else worth watching. I look at shows like this, and they just scream “4PM… Saturday… on the channel you never remember until every other one simulcasts golf.”
I could be wrong. For all I know, Dracula: The Series got a primetime push on a major network. But couldn’t you see it airing in the midst of six hour weekend block that starts with Xena and ends with Tales from the Darkside? You know I’m right.
Ask Zandar Commercial! (1990s)
This won’t seem like a natural fit for Classic Creepy Commercials… until you consider its inspirations. Ask Zandar blended attributes from Zoltar and Ouija boards, with a few Magic 8-Balls thrown in for good measure.
While presented as a competitive game, I’d assume that most kids tossed Zandar’s accoutrements and just used him as a direct oracle. Like, seriously, I don’t care about collecting plastic gems. Just tell me if I’m going to be Prom King.
The commercial shows a group of girls asking boring questions, but it was easy to add severe spookiness to the fray. “Will I die before 20?” “Is there an intruder in my house?” “Will I be attacked by vicious alien spiders?” Zandar held nothing back. If he thought that such things were likely to happen, he’d motherfucking tell you.
Freddy’s Nightmares TV Promo! (1990)
Freddy’s Nightmares was the infamous attempt to make a TV series out of the ANOES franchise. Were the results worth watching? Hell yes!
Even the people responsible for the show admit that it got to the point where they were just trying to see what they could get away with. As such, Freddy’s Nightmares became this weirdly artful clusterfuck that was just too impossible to ever be boring.
Freddy Krueger acted as the host, introducing each story with a series of gory puns and gross visual gags. Believe it or not, you’ll see some of Robert Englund’s finest “Freddy work” on this series. (Or at least the most bizarre!)
The show is also full of appearances by horror icons and as-of-then still-rising stars. You’ll be saying “hey wait I know that guy” at least once per episode. Pair that with its crazy stories, and this one’s well worth marathoning.
Thanks for reading! We’ll see more of Classic Creepy Commercials as the Countdown rolls on!