If you are old enough to remember the drive-in, then you are probably old enough to remember horror movie ads. And though most may recall watching trailers on television, I vividly remember listening to ads on the car radio. I have been collecting these audio spots for a few years now, and I thought I would share my favorites here. They are posted for pure nostalgia only and I claim no ownership of them. Enjoy these great MP3s!
Having been born in the 60’s I mourn quite a few things that have been lost to time and technological advancements. Drive-In theaters, video stores and record shops are places that I don’t think my six year-old son will ever be able to fully appreciate or understand.
But the one thing that I think makes me sadder than all of that; Saturday morning cartoons. Now, when I was a kid, there was a two hour block of kid’s TV on a weekday and there were only three major networks and a handful of local UHF stations. After school, cartoons ran between the soaps and evening news. I pounded out my homework to watch Ultraman or Speed Racer before dinnertime.
But Saturday mornings… they belonged to me. I sat in front of the television from the moment I woke and I watched until lunchtime and my folks were glad to have their morning coffee in silence.
Saturday morning cartoon programming has been dying a slow death since 1992. It pretty much ended completely last October. I understand it. I mean, my kid watches cartoons on his tablet when he feels like it. On Demand, streaming and DVR services have made a few weekend hours committed to entertaining kids irrelevant.
But you know what my kid will also miss and it makes me just as sad? Those great toy commercials that used to air with the cartoons. Oh, my son may get an ad he can skip after five seconds on YouTube, but he will never know the joy of the retro commercials that really got you excited and made you hound your parents to get you to a Toys R Us before everyone but you had the newest Six Million Dollar Man play set. They just don’t make them like they used to!
And of course, my favorite commercials were those that advertised horror themed toys and games. So here are 13 of my favorite horror toy commercials. They run from the 50’s to the 90’s and if you are 25 or older, you have probably seen at least one of those assembled on this post. Enjoy and if you have a favorite that you don’t see here, share it in the comments!
GODZILLA 1977 Toy Commercial
Mego Planet of the Apes
Kenner Stretch Monster Commercial
Dark Shadows Groovy Horror Head Toy Commercial
Monster Cereal Toy Commercial
Mad Scientist Monster Lab Toy Commercial
Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Game
Stay Alive Vincent Price commercial
Toys R Us Halloween (1980)
Baby Laugh A Lot (not intentionally horrific, but sheesh… I would burn the damned thing…)
I love games. Board games, video games, card games, role-playing games… I dig them all. My only problem with games these days is that I don’t have the time to actually sit down and play them. So when Halloween Forevermore opened the site up to horror product reviews, I jumped at the chance to have a great excuse to play games!
The folks at Steven Jackson Games were kind enough to send me the 1st edition, 7th printing of the card game, Munchkin Zombies.
Here is a breakdown of the game from the World of Munchkin website: Game Design by Steve Jackson. Illustrated by John Kovalic. Kill the Living! Eat their Brains! Braaiiinns!
It’s the sickest, silliest Munchkin yet! You are zombies, kicking down doors and eating brains. The “monsters” you’re attacking are people, some helpless and some hazardous, with a few rogue zombies thrown in. The armor is whatever you’ve blundered across during your lurching search for brains. So bravely you’ll go forth, with mousetraps on your feet and a bowling trophy protecting your poor rotting head . . . to level up, or to die.
This is the first Munchkin game I have ever played, and it is a seriously addictive laugh riot. Every player starts as a level one zombie and the object is to be the first zombie to hit level ten. To do this, you will kick down doors and gather treasures, items, weapons, abilities and armor with the 2 card decks that comprise the game. Drawing a card can either give you a tremendous benefit or drawback. The cards themselves are very amusing and, of course, there are chase cards you are going to want to… chase (Steve Jackson Games were kind enough to send me a promo Pitcher of Cheap Beer card with their press materials). I love this game! Now, I want the expansions and promo goodies and I feel like a junkie in the making that was given his first taste on the house.
There are currently four expansions to the Munchkin Zombies game and a ton of goodies and accessories available at the World of Munchkin site. There are several games on the site that would be of great interest to a horror/fantasy gamer.
Yes, this game comes highly recommended! More braaaiiiiinnnsssss…
Disclosure of Material Connection: HalloweenForevermore.com received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in the hope that we would mention it on this website. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and believe will be of interest to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
We are Halloween Forevermore. We love horror and things that make you sit up in bed at night and exclaim, “Holy Crap! What was that?” But like Frankenstein, who will scare the crap out of you if you encounter him under moon’s light, but who also melts at the sight of a sweet little girl with pretty flowers, we love the creepy and crawly with a heart. We may like to don spooky, dark and gothic fashions, but we still want the world to be a bright and beautiful place. Chavez for Charity has designed bracelets that combine the perfect “mwah ha ha ha” factor with compassion and generosity, donating 25% of proceeds to multiple charities. In other words, Chavez For Charity is scary philanthropic.
They have a variety of bracelets fashioned with skulls. These are made of weighty, quality materials strung together with a thin elastic cord, which stretches to fit any sized wrist. These bracelets create a nice sound when they rattle against each other. It’s the kind of sound that indicates quality – like when you know a set of crystal glassware is top-tier by the sound of its “clink.” Worn in combination with other colors and styles, the bracelets make a trendy and spooky statement. Each color supports a different charity. Chavez for Charity also designs bracelets of other themes, sans the spine-chilling skull flavor, for the more traditional bauble-wearer. They also make lovely necklaces of varying colors and designs.
From the Chavez for Charity website:
“When we launched our Chavez for Charity Collection in early 2013, our goal was to create a line of colorful bracelets that people would love to wear and at the same time allow us to contribute, in a significant way, to charitable causes that we care about… What we’ve come to realize is that every color tells a story and that through our collection, we are able to facilitate conversations that unite, inspire, and motivate people to fight for what is right and to stand up to what is wrong. mariechavez was established over a decade ago by designer Julie Marie Chavez. Julie’s on-trend and distinct designs have earned raves from fashion-forward shoppers and celebrities alike. Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Rosario Dawson and Kate Bosworth are just a few of the celebrities who have adorned mariechavez… From playful stackable bracelets of graywood, jade and bronze, to a layered statement necklace of riverstone and agate, Julie’s talent for tastefully balancing colors and textures makes her unique collection consistently sought after.”
Red Riverstone Skull Bracelet
Red riverstone bracelet with skull detail. Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet, 25% of gross profit goes to V-Day.
Black Skull Bracelet
Black skull bracelet with silver “CFC” tube. Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet, 25% of gross profit goes to Little Kids Rock.
White Skull Set of Five
Assorted white skull bracelet set of five. Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet set, 25% of gross profit goes to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.
Each bracelet comes with a pouch and a hang-tag detailing the charity’s mission.
Disclosure of Material Connection: HalloweenForevermore.com received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that we would mention it on this website. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and believe will be of interest to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
November 1st is always the worst day of the year for horror fans. Fall is quickly hardening into winter, and the creepy goodness of Halloween becomes just a memory as the more feel good holidays turn those grand creepy store displays into ones of green and red jolliness.
I am not saying that horror fans don’t enjoy Christmas, because I know a good portion do. But for many horror fans, it is easy to see the macabre blueprint for terror in December 25th. Saint Nick himself can go from benevolent toy bringer to horrifying entity of evil with just a change of light.
So, if you are like me, you enjoy a little dark undercurrent to the cheery festivities. I have compiled a list of the top five dark Christmas films for the horror fan to enjoy and counter that syrupy goodness of December 25th.
And I am going to start with an Honorable Mention that is not a movie, but an episode of a television series:
The Aquabats is a BRILLIANT kid’s show on the HUB network that centers around a rock band/superhero team and if you were a fan of the cool, off the wall freakiness of the late 60’s/early 70’s kid’s TV, you have to check this show out. I enjoy it as much as my six year-old, and he loves it. This episode makes the grade because of the smack down battle between Santa and his evil counterpart, Krampus!
No, not the Jim Carrey film. I am going back to the original 1966 animated special. Voiced by horror legend, Boris Karloff, the Grinch is a black-hearted monster out to destroy what he feels is the central fabric of Christmas. Of course, realizing that the holiday goes much deeper that the rampant consumerism associated with it, the Grinch’s tiny heart grows and he finally understands the true meaning of Christmas. For many children who grew up with this holiday classic, this is the first holiday special with a sinister air.
Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg’s outrageous creature feature that was the first film to earn the PG-13 rating for its cartoon-ish violence. Filmed in 1984, Gremlins is a black comedy set near Christmas that concerns a young man receiving a strange pet from his never around father. Gizmo, the adorable Gremlin, is given to Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) with a specific set of rules. Of course, all are broken and in no time several evil reproductions of Gizmo run amok.
Bob Clark’s extremely effective and moody 1974 chiller hits number three on my list. A sorority house is targeted by a psychopath who makes threatening phone calls and then begins murdering the sorority sisters. This film features an early performance by Margot Kidder and genre favorite John Saxon stars as well. Black Christmas is considered one of the earliest works to feature two horror film conventions: one, the slasher, and two, the killer calling from inside the house.
If you notice, this is the only psycho Santa film featured on this list, and that is because I consider it to be the most memorable of Christmas/Santa slasher films. I am not saying it is a masterpiece, but for holiday horror fans, it is as necessary as mistletoe. Charles E. Sellier Jr.’s cheap B-movie tells the story of Billy, a troubled teenager who witnessed the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a psycho in a Santa suit (played by one of my favorite character actors, Charles Dierkop). Billy of course eventually dons the red and white suit and begins creating his own naughty list. Linnea Quigley appears in a very memorable death scene involving antlers.
Okay, it is not a horror film, but nothing speaks to the horror fan around Christmas time like this classic Tim Burton animated film. It is a love letter to those of us who die a little inside every time we hear a Christmas song before Thanksgiving. You can take me to task over declaring Jack Skellington’s attempt to reshape Christmas for the lovers of the macabre as my number one pick, but I will insist that nothing warms my black heart as much as this classic.
There is a blood sucker born every minute on the page. Well, that may not be an actual statistic, but if you are familiar with the ever-swelling ranks of vampire books (of all styles and sub-genres within sub-genres), it sounds accurate, right? While an argument can be made that the zombie is currently the most used supernatural creature in horror fiction, the vampire has appeared in the peaks of commercially successful horror fiction more often than any other monster.
And while there are a great many commercially successful books that have hurt the mystical essence of vampire horror fiction, there are still many books to dive into where the vampires are vicious predators without a romantic bone in their cold corpses.
So I have compiled a quick list of vampire reads that will wash the nasty taste of magical realism and romantic fantasy right out of your mouths! Some of my picks are here because they are lasting classics and some are here because they take the vampire concept in a unique direction. You won’t find Bram Stoker’s Dracula, because quite honestly it is the backbone of the modern vampire tale and in a class all it’s own. So, here are my picks:
I can’t say that I have read everything Anne Rice has written, but this is one book that has stuck with me since its release. What Rice did here was present the vampire as the cold predator who uses seduction merely as a colorful plumage to trap prey. And I also love that the vampire grows more distant from its humanity as it ages. Sure, some might have a spot of remorse here or there, but eventually the monster reconciles with its nature and violence becomes a reflex. Vampires don’t necessarily love; they hunger. And though they may wish for companionship (usually among their own ranks), they are asexual beings of pure impulse. Rice may have had added some sexual synergy to the mythos, but she never let you forget what Lestat and Louis truly were.
Trying to describe the importance of this novel to the vampire and horror genre is like trying to explain the importance of the cordless phone to the phone industry. Besides being a ferociously different take on the vampire novel, I Am Legend was also a huge inspiration to filmmaker George Romero while crafting Night of the Living Dead. George substituted the vampire menace with the zombie, and NOTLD would go on to shape the modern zombie genre. So, in a weird way, without I Am Legend, we might not have The Walking Dead today! Masterson’s tale, written in 1954 and set in 1976, deals with the lone survivor of a plague that has turned the population into blood thirsty vampires. During the night, Robert Neville hides, boarded up in his home turned fortress. During the day, Robert destroys any slumbering bloodsucker he can get his hands on. The twist at the end of this story is monumental and all three film adaptations have failed to properly convey the role-reversal element where the last man on earth has now become the fearsome creature of legend. If you consider yourself a fan of horror and you have not read this book, you should have your membership card taken away and torn up!
I just recently got my hands on a replacement copy of this great anthology from the (then) Horror Writers of America (now the Horror Writers Association). This 1991 shared world collection was edited by the great Robert McCammon and you can definitely find the seeds from which modern vampire fair like True Blood sprouted. The premise of Under the Fang is the terrifying concept of vampires taking over the world. Imagine this as a Gothic take on Planet of the Apes. With an impressive lineup that includes McCammon, Ed Gorman, Richard Laymon, Chet Williamson, Nancy Collins, Chelsea Quinn Yarbo and more, you can bet your ass that the only sparkling that vampires do in this collection is caused by the moonlight on their blood-soaked faces. This has been long out of print, but you can buy used copies which are reasonably priced (I scored mine for a penny and shipping costs) on Amazon. The Horror Writer’s Association recently reissued Freak Show, an anthology that followed this one in 1992, and I am sure a reissue of Under the Fang is forthcoming as well!
Though advertised as a crime novel upon its release in 1956, this book, written in epistolary form (as military files, doctor notes and transcriptions), centered upon a young soldier named George Smith. Some of your Blood takes the notion of the bloodsucker and points a starling light of realism upon vampirism (much like Romero’s obscure vampire classic, Martin). George Smith is a creature who does not morph or hypnotize or prowls only at night. He is as real as you or me; he just happens to enjoy the act of drinking blood. Though not explicitly a horror novel, this book should still be required reading for lovers of vampire tales of all styles.
Okay, now this is straight up my stranded on a desert isle with one vampire book choice. What is great about King’s novel is that he takes superstitions from ages ago to weave horror so thoroughly and deeply researched that those less astute with vampire lore would take it for King’s own set of rules. King took all of the actual myths that the vampire legend was built upon and he created a soulless, hungry creature with no conscience which taps on the foggy windows of friends or family members; looking for easy prey (like most predators). King didn’t create the concept of vampires appearing to their loved ones (neither did Stoker, for that matter). It was common folklore that vampires hunted their own family and they stayed in areas that they were familiar with in life. Among the rich characters that breath in King’s fiction, the vampires spread quietly and in shadows and the horror is dismissed as bad dreams or a flu bug until ‘Salem’s Lot is nearly sucked dry. It is King’s refusal to reinvent the wheel in this book that makes it special. It doesn’t read like a vampire novel; it reads like a King novel that vampires have been randomly dropped in to.
I am happy to announce our featured Halloween Haunt of 2014! Spook it Up Entertainment and The Mix 101.3fm present The Mix Monster Bash! It will be held at the Lake Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore, CA. There will be Spookitup scare zones, bars, a VIP section and live music. Among the local bands featured will be Oingo Dance Party, a band that consists of many former members of Oingo Boingo. Here is the press release from Spookitup:
Flynn Messenger, aka the Halloweenkeeper, creator of Spookitup Entertainment has been “spooking up” events since 2007 but creating monsters for over 27 years. Flynn enjoys building terrifying tombstones in the hundreds, dozens of creepy coffins to fill his zombie graveyards and placing over one hundred hand built monsters in every scene imaginable.
The Halloweenkeeper has had the pleasure of sponsoring a few horrific haunted hayrides with his “Spook Crew,” actors that rise from the dead to eat hayride passengers, the Spook Crew also entertains by twirling swords, playing music, singing like angles of the dark and more. In the past, Flynn has spooked up Ontario City’s Deanza Commu-nity Center with fifteen spooky Halloween scenes, many private parties and has performed as the Halloween-keeper, MCing contests and games while singing and dancing to the delight of many creatures of the night.
The new spookitup.com will be geared towards the DIY Halloween enthusiast from little trick or treaters to mad monster maniacs, a site where spooky fans can learn where to find materials, how to create their own “monsterabilia” and hosting killer Halloween events “for pennies on the dollar!,” Don’t forget, “Spookitup will show you how!”
This year the Halloweenkeeper has been summoned from beyond to set up “Spookitup Scarezones” at the Diamond Stadium home of the Lake Elsinore Storm, a Class A– Advanced Minor League affiliate of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres and the legendary FIELD OF SCREAMS, an event held eight years consecutively with great success hosting five scary mazes. This year, 101.3 The Mix FM from Temecula, CA has hit a home run with live music from the Boingo Dance party (members from the original Oingo Boingo), Indie band Oliver Trol-ley and The Forty Nineteens.
Spookitup and the Halloweenkeeper are committed to bringing the spooky fans of Southern California live Hal-loween entertainment for years to come while spookitup.com can help spread the tradition of Halloween world-wide, so check us out and remember what the Halloweenkeeper always says, “We’re dying to see you!”
I will be at this event Saturday November 1st. If you live near Lake Elsinore and you aren’t quite ready to give up the Halloween ghost, maybe I will see you there!
Director: Kelly Fitzgerald. Writer: Mark Leake. Stars: Darren Bolk, Gary Brown, Mark Colegrove.
Synopsis: When an unscrupulous scientist drags his stepchildren out into the forest to use them as bait in the hopes of luring out a big foot, not even the team of hillbillies he hired can contain the horror they find: the horror of Mutantis! Only the adventurer Dr. William Fury may be able to stop the beast, but hope dwindles fast once Dr. Fury realizes that the monster is not only intent on murder but procreation as well. Could this be the end of the world as we know it? For the answer watch, Mutantis!
Okay, I have to start off this review by stating that Mutantis is a bad movie. But I am aware that the producers were aiming for that. Having made a few stinking homages myself, I know the whiff of this cheese and there are few as qualified as I to pass judgement. I will say that the makers of Mutantis definitely nailed the look of a grind-house cheapie that, with a few cuts, could play easily on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The dubbing is often very hilarious as well.
When a filmmaker sets out to make a bad film, they often forget that the films they are trying to emulate weren’t considered bad by the people who were making them. Still, the genuine affection the makers of Mutantis have for the films they are aping shows. If you are a bad horror movie connoisseur, then yes, Mutatnis will have a space on your shelf next to Laserblast and Mantos.
I also have to warn that the explicit sex advertised consists mostly of the gory erotic rampage of the title creature and there are several shots of an F/X created monster penis which, ahem, erupts quite often. I wish I could show you the trailer, but it is too explicit for me to post here. Bottom line: the bad movie masochist or Troma-esque gore fan will have to have this. The average horror movie fan will probably want to skip it.
I was thrilled to receive a review copy of America’s Most Haunted. It is an extremely informative and detailed travelogue of famous haunts across the USA. It will appeal to both the paranormal enthusiast and dark tourist alike. The cases are recounted in great detail and recent TV paranormal experiences are mentioned (most notably discoveries made by Ghost Hunters and Fact or Faked).
Some of the haunted places mentioned in this book are TheQueen Mary, The Stanley Hotel, The Willoughby Coal & Garden Center, The Villisca Ax Murder House and the Knickerbocker Hotel. Nearby accommodations are listed with each haunt. If you are a paranormal researcher or a fan of haunted locations, this should be a dog-eared resource to carry with you on your travels.
I haven’t enjoyed a book of this type since the Weird NJ magazine and book series dealing with the strange legends of US cities and states. I devoured America’s Most Haunted in a day and my only complaint was that I wanted more!
I hope this book spawns an entire series. This is a must have for the paranormal fans out there. This book is a brisk read for the armchair investigator or a road map for the more adventurous ghost hunter.