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. Read More…
At the tail end of 1984, Hormel introduced the most Halloweeny of all hot dogs. Probably not the kickoff line you were expecting, but whatever, you’re here. Let’s talk about Frank ‘n Stuff!
I’ve mentioned Frank ‘n Stuff in prior articles, but I thought it deserved a proper, standalone tribute. After all, there’s a Facebook page with no less than 272 people demanding the return of these atrocious, delicious hot dogs.
If you’ve never heard of ‘em, Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs had hollow middles stuffed with chili. Literally encased within them, like mutagen in a TGRI can. Hormel later added a second version, this time stuffed with gooey cheese that exploded like god-tier zits when you bit into one.
It sounds gross through one lens, but having heard from many on this subject, I say with certainty that everyone who tried Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs LOVED Frank ‘n Stuff hot dogs. They quietly inspired their own little fandom, like Elm Street 2 or Niles Crane. Read More…
I got my hands on a spooky nostalgia bomb. Behold, Imagineering’s 1989 Halloween catalog!
If you don’t remember Imagineering, they were one of the major suppliers of costumes, makeup kits and assorted Halloween accessories. If you grew up when I did, you definitely bought their stuff.
This wasn’t a retail catalog available to the general public, but instead a wholesale catalog that was only shipped to certain stores. So like, if Genovese wanted any “Disappearing Vampire Blood,” they had to call for the price and be okay with ordering at least 72 tubes.
Below are several highlights from the catalog’s thirty awesome pages:
Elvira Children’s Costume!
Imagineering had a major partnership with Elvira at the time, with at least twenty different Elvira-branded products littering their catalog. Everything from punk rock bracelets to big black press-on nails!
For me, nothing topped their Elvira Children’s Costume, which was such an amazing blend of “perfect” and “weird” that I’m now obsessed with tracking one down. I’ll look at it once every five years while wondering if it was really worth the 80 dollars, but whatever, live and learn.
It was the basic mask-and-smock combo that was so popular in children’s costumes of the era, yet somehow a step above and fourteen steps to the side. I’m especially fond of that bonkers Elvira mask, which acted as the visual midpoint between Jem and the master of ceremonies from Eyes Wide Shut. Read More…
I’m pleased to announce that I’m finally ready to do the Dew.
Mountain Dew VOODEW, that is! Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
New for 2019, it’s a chalky white mystery flavor fronted by a faceless grim reaper in an orange cloak. I say with total sincerity that it doesn’t get any better than that.
This is easily in the running for the coolest new thing of the 2019 Halloween season. Even if it doesn’t take the title, VOODEW will be somewhere on that stage.
Here’s my video review:
You’ll have to watch if you wanna hear my guess regarding the mystery flavor, but I will at least say that this stuff is REALLY good and strongly recommended.
PS: I haven’t been able to find VOODEW in its canned form just yet, but the can design is even more awesome. Whatever you choose to drink it out of, don’t miss this soda. It’s one of the things that will be forever synonymous with the 2019 Halloween season.
Happy September! It’s arguably the best month of the year, but inarguably the month that kicks off the best quarter of the year. From now through 2020, we’ll always have some holiday-related bullshit to help us forget our troubles. Yes!
Get set for the latest edition of Classic Creepy Commercials, featuring spooky TV commercials that I’ve personally rescued from old VHS tapes. (I gathered enough to cover a few editions during the 2019 Countdown, so if this stuff is up your alley, more of it is coming soon!)
Halloween H20 at Blockbuster Video! (1998)
I’m one of those “forever fans” of Halloween H20. Actually, I had no idea that the movie was so divisive until just a few years ago! I don’t begrudge anyone who isn’t into it, but the film always worked for me.
I especially dig how it’s a nice gateway drug for people who are just dipping their toes into horror. It’s neither too gory nor too out there, but nobody would mistake it for a family film, either. (In fact, of all the films from all of the major slasher franchises, it might be the first one I’d pitch to someone who’s tentatively interested in seeing what they’re about.)
The big draw of this particular commercial is its Blockbuster branding. Halloween H20 was “guaranteed to be there,” which just meant that Blockbuster locations were shipped so many H20 DVDs that it would’ve required an actual act of God to deplete the supply. God was too busy to fuck with random Blockbusters on a lark. Read More…
The return of the Halloween Countdown means that I get to dust off one of my favorite spooky-themed article series, Old Halloween Newspaper Ads.
It’s a deep dive into aspects of the season you’ve probably forgotten, all thanks to clippings from ancient newspapers. Get set to bask in the glories of Lionel Kiddie City and giant bottles of Coke.
Taco Bell’s Black Jack Taco!
Ten years later, and I’m still ticked that I heard about this promotion a day too late. On Halloween night in 2009, Taco Bell gave free “Black Jack Tacos” to anyone who dared to go trick-or-treating there. Unbelievable!
The taco innards were standard fare, but the crunchy shells were dyed jet black. It’d only rate as a cool gimmick in 2019, but back then, many news outlets treated it like the weirdest thing imaginable, practically daring people to suffer through it. (Generally speaking, the further back you go, the more histrionic the fast food coverage becomes.)
Even in 2009, word traveled across the internet far slower than it does today. If Black Jack Tacos debuted this year, they’d be trending on every social media platform, and 85% of the people I communicate with would be yapping about them nonstop. Read More…
People like you and me, we spend most of our time just surviving. We distract ourselves as often as we can with whatever we can, but there’s always this quiet pulse of survival, like it’s what we’ll settle for even if it’s nowhere near what we’re hoping for.
But then, for two months each year, we say “fuck that” and live. Really, truly LIVE.
Welcome to Dinosaur Dracula’s 2019 Halloween Countdown.
I started the Halloween Countdown back in 2003. If I’m being honest, it’s what made me such a nut for the season. In my quest to write about Halloween stuff nearly every day for two months, I discovered that the season had soooo much more to offer than I’d ever given it credit for.
It makes me sad to think that there are people who hear “Halloween” and still think it’s just about, say, pumpkins and costumes, or worse, just about that one night. The beauty of this season is that it’s everywhere and limitless. Trips to supermarkets, neighborhood walks and even just flipping through TV channels all take on a new meaning. Halloween makes the mundane magnificent. It salts everything.
Over the next two months, I’m gonna prove that to you again and again. Whether I’m covering this year’s spooky junk food, some old ghost-filled movie or a trip to Yankee Candle, I hope the real message comes through: The magic of this season is that you never have to be bored, and that adventure is literally always achievable.
Never forget that, even if all you have time for are Starbucks runs and the occasional deep dig on Netflix.
We are going to have quite a time, my friends, starting RIGHT NOW. Here’s what new to kick off the 2019 Halloween Countdown:
After you watch this year’s Countdown intro video, join Madd Matt as he shows off yet another bag of Halloween junk. This is the first of several-to-many videos this season, so if you’re not already subscribed to Dino Drac on YouTube, go do that!
There will be a huge pile of new articles during the Countdown, starting with the sixth edition of Old Halloween Newspaper Ads. Dive into Halloween seasons past by way of ancient newspaper clippings, and remember a world with Black Jack Tacos and three-liter Coke bottles.
Dino Drac’s Halloween Jukebox has returned, and it’s better than ever! Now stuffed with *150* spooky tunes, the Halloween Jukebox finally works on both desktop and mobile devices! Let it be your background noise, all season long!
(To access the jukebox on desktop, look for the jukebox graphic on the right-side column of any page. On mobile, it’s on the dropdown menu at the top.)
Dino Drac After Dark never went away, but now it’s back in season! This is the site’s “secret” late night section, where people chat about whatever while watching weird YouTube videos. Dino Drac After Dark will be updated all season long, and hopefully every night! Make it a regular stop!
I’m so excited to dive into this season, and I’m insanely thankful that so many of you have chosen to do that with me. Your encouragement means that I have legitimate reasons to bake under hot lamps while wearing zombie makeup, and to blow my car payment on skull-shaped candy. There is no “this” without “you,” and I am SO grateful for your support.
Enjoy the new stuff, and get ready, because there’s so much more of it to come.