Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

New Universal Monsters Bend-Ems Figures!

Well, here’s one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 Halloween season: Walgreens is now selling Universal Monsters Bend-Ems figures!

Beautiful, aren’t they? The set includes Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, all wearing expressions that do little to betray their murderous intents.

My friend Dan Nations told me about the figures on Monday, and I responded by hitting six different Walgreens stores before midnight. None of them carried the monsters, and none of the employees had even heard of them. Unless they were lying, just for kicks.

They’re so new that most stores haven’t received them as of this writing, which has inspired eBayers to try selling the figures for four times their retail price. Be patient, if you can stand it. They’re not gonna stay rare for long.

(Fortunately, Dan offered to sell me a set at cost. Thanks, Dan! I wouldn’t get to spend Thursday night writing about bendable ghouls if not for you.) Read More…

Pumpkin Spice SPAM Review!

If you missed the news, Pumpkin Spice Spam is a real thing that really exists. It went on sale this past Monday, and sold out in mere hours — partially thanks to the many resellers who are now trying to flip goddamned SPAM on eBay.

I set an alarm to make sure I wouldn’t miss it, and now I’m armed with enough Pumpkin Spice Spam to survive three weeks in a fallout shelter.

When this stuff was announced back in August, I’d like to think I was a voice of reason. Some people have a negative Pavlovian response to pumpkin spice foods, because there sure have been some weird ones, and on its face, pumpkin spice MEAT definitely sounds weird.

I knew better. There are plenty of pork dishes that call for the same spices, and Spam is, after all, pork in Play-Doh form. I wasn’t surprised to find out that Pumpkin Spice Spam is legitimately good. If you’ve ever had, say, apple sausage, the flavor profile is in that vein. It’s Spam with a dash of nutmeg and a hint of cinnamon. If you can imagine the salty meat version of pumpkin pie mix, this is basically that. Read More…

Purple Stuff: Spooky Songs Part VI!

It’s that time of year again! The Purple Stuff Podcast is back with the sixth edition of Spooky Songs. It’s probably our favorite type of show to record!

If you weren’t around for the last five editions, this is where we select tracks that y’all need to add to your Halloween playlists. Since we’re now up to the sixth volume, the episode is stuffed with seriously deep cuts. In fact, some cuts are so deep that we’ll need to hire lawyers to convince you that they’re spooky.

For the 2019 edition of Spooky Songs, me and Jay from The Sexy Armpit are ready to sell you on ten more terrifying tracks. The episode runs nearly 75 minutes, so like, make a cup of coffee or something.

Click here to listen to this week’s show!

As a reminder, the Purple Stuff Podcast is also on Patreon, where you can gain access to exclusive bonus shows every month. (September’s will be dropping in a few days, because we like to live life to the wire.)

Below are some spoiler pics for our song choices in this ep: Read More…

1981 TV Premiere of Halloween, on NBC.

On October 30th, 1981, John Carpenter’s Halloween ran on television for the first time ever. Included as part of NBC’s Friday Night at the Movies series, I’m not sure that anyone could’ve predicted that this one specific broadcast would become as famous as it did.

See, as part of the arrangement, Carpenter and producer Debra Hill agreed to add 12 minutes of footage to help fill NBC’s two-hour time slot. (…which may sound extreme considering that Halloween was already 91 minutes long and NBC would surely be stuffing it with commercials, but when you account for all of the spooky/sexy scenes that needed to be trimmed for this airing, it made sense.)

It’s those extra minutes that make this broadcast so famous. Carpenter may not have been an enormous fan of the agreement with NBC, but he certainly put in the effort to make it work. New scenes were filmed during the production of Halloween II, which, incidentally, debuted in theaters the exact same day as this broadcast!

While the theatrical cut of Halloween is still THE cut, this television version — which has since been released on home media — has its share of fans, too. Since the scenes were filmed during production of Halloween II, Carpenter and Hill obviously knew where the series was headed. This “extended edition” didn’t have quite the same masterful pacing, but it did improve the “marriage” between Halloween and Halloween II.

A few years ago, someone sent me a copy of that NBC broadcast, complete with all of the original commercials. It’s the greatest. While the extended cut is hardly rare, the “feel” of it is so much different when you experience it with all of NBC’s bells and whistles, and all of those weird ads for Freshen-Up gum.

I’ve prepared five short videos that will give you a clearer understanding of what it was like to watch Halloween on that October evening. (And for the record, I didn’t see it that night, because I was, uh, two years old.)

NBC Friday Night at the Movies Intro!

I adore this. Not just NBC’s awesomely cheesy packaging, but the sinister Halloween promo that ends it. Gotta imagine that the “parental discretion advised” warning made many kids all the more determined to watch this.

For context, the film’s strongest competition came from Dallas on CBS, which it failed to beat in the ratings. CBS also ran It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown earlier that evening. Halloween was on from 9 through 11 EST, so if you planned your night accordingly, you could’ve dived straight from Linus van Pelt into Laurie Strode. Read More…

Old Halloween Newspaper Ads, #7!

Here’s the latest edition of Old Halloween Newspaper Ads, where I excavate spooky things from ancient newspapers and see what sorts of memories they jog. Picture me reading this paragraph to the guy who makes turkey sandwiches at the corner deli.

Madballs Halloween Masks!
(October 1986)

Yes indeed, Madballs had official Halloween masks. Actually, they weren’t strictly Halloween masks, as I remember them being sold during decidedly non-Halloweeny months.

I had a couple of ‘em, and for lower-end masks, they were pretty fantastic. The masks were big and bulbous enough to make your head look like a legitimate (if somewhat deflated) Madball, and when you had a choice between that and another one of those paper-thin plastic masks that cracked in half the second you sneezed, fuck, guess you’d be trick-or-treating as Screamin’ Meemie!

Fun fact: Me and the neighborhood kids used to film really bad sci-fi/monster movies. I usually portrayed Emperor Guillotine, dressed in a Beetlejuice mask and one of my father’s discarded raincoats. In that role, I was always seconded by a silent guard in a Madballs mask, who packed heat in the form of a battery-less Photon gun.

I wish I could find those videos, so I could watch them once and then smash them with hammers. Read More…