Dinosaur Dracula!
Dinosaur Dracula

Old Halloween Newspaper Clippings, #8!

Welcome to another edition of Old Halloween Newspaper Clippings — and the first for the 2020 season!

I’ve always loved writing these articles, even if they’ve never exactly stirred Dino Drac’s audience to chant my name at sports games. Really, you’d think thousand-word essays about junk from thirty-year-old newspapers would be a bigger deal.

In this series, I post old newspaper clippings that have some tie to the Halloween season, or at least to the horror genre. It’s a chance for me to work in some real deep cuts, and for you to imagine a world without color.

Count Chocula Double Fudge Pops!
(June 1995)

Count Chocula Double Fudge Pops came and went in a flash. They arrived in 1995 and didn’t make it to ‘96. In that respect, the pops were not unlike The Yeti from World Championship Wrestling.

The low-fat treats (made with NutraSweet) lived up to their “double fudge” name with hard, icy outsides and soft, chewy insides. If you remember chocolate Bonkers, picture them as popsicles.

The box — blazing yellow and bursting with common fonts — looked like something I would’ve thrown together on Jasc Paint Shop fifteen minutes after installing the program. I’m not saying that to be mean, because I really do love it. Read More…

Classic Creepy Commercials, Volume 26!

Get set for the 26th edition of Classic Creepy Commercials, featuring spooky ads that I rescued from decaying VHS tapes. This series is as old as Dino Drac itself, and it wouldn’t be the Halloween Countdown without a few new chapters!

The Real 976-EVIL Hotline! (1988)

If you’ve never seen 976-EVIL, it’s about a “novelty” hotline secretly run by Satan, who possesses anyone who calls in. It’s a fairly famous film that I’m sure you’ve at least heard of, but here’s something even hardcore fans don’t know: 976-EVIL inspired a *real life* hotline!

That hotline promoted the film, sure, but it was mostly there for a quick buck. It even borrowed 976-EVIL’s “horror-scope” concept, which I assume involved protracted descriptions of the terrible things that would happen to callers after they hung up.

In this extremely rare TV spot (I think I’m the first to put it online), you’ll note that every single shot is from 976-EVIL. As I was only nine when this commercial aired, I consider myself lucky that I never caught it during any of those late night Cheers reruns. Shit would’ve wrecked me! Read More…

Halloween on the Ancient Internet: Part 1!

Welcome to the first edition of Halloween on the Ancient Internet!

I spent way too many hours poring over the Internet Archive, searching for spooky gold. It was a huge reminder of how much the internet has evolved over the last 25 years. In the late ‘90s and very early 2000s, there was a simplicity that seems downright primeval by today’s standards. Even so, there was a sincerity in that simplicity, when nobody was trying to “go viral.”

Halloween being “big online” is nothing new. Even decades ago, the internet was helping to redefine Halloween as a whole-ass season rather than just a few scattered October days. I know this for a fact, because I was there!

In this series, I’ll be showing off snippets from old websites that have some tie to the Halloween season, no matter how loose. We’ll do five quick hits per article, starting with those below!

Halloween H20!
(September 1999)

Halloween H20 is young enough to have had an official site, yet old enough for that site to have only been slightly more complicated than the average GeoCities page.

At the time, official movie sites were rarely “destinations.” Some were — Godzilla ‘98 sure had a big push — but they more often felt like glorified EPKs. Regardless, on an internet that was still forming, even the smaller sites were a blast. If you were “very online” at the time — and far fewer people were — you felt like such an insider, gobbling up those director interviews and 640×480 desktop backgrounds.

There wasn’t much to Halloween H20’s official site, though they did sneak in a screensaver and a few super tiny video clips. Retconned canonicity aside, I adore this movie, and I loved digging up this little lost part of its history. Read More…

Dino Drac’s Spicy Sweet Potato Fries!

If you’re gonna survive the 2020 Halloween season, you’ll need to make your own fun. Many of the things we formerly relied on will be closed, or altered to the point of pointlessness. It’s a DIY-or-die situation.

Here’s an idea: Cook spooky stuff! Buy one of those overpriced recipe mags from Stop & Shop’s impulse section, make some mummy hot dogs, and see where life takes you. I’ve done that sort of thing plenty of times, and it’s never failed to make the Halloween season feel like the Halloween season.

I’ll start you off with an easy one. Here’s my recipe for spicy sweet potato fries, because sweet potatoes are autumnal at heart, and appropriately orange.

Some of you aren’t big on sweet potatoes. I’m not, either. I came out of the womb cursing sweet potatoes, and was of legal drinking age by the time I could eat a forkful without complaint. If you’re not quite ready to jump in the pool but are maybe okay with dipping in your toes, these fries are perfect. Read More…