Monday, October 7, 2013

Halloween Countdown- Brain Dead Zombies....That Grow!

Zombies have become insanely popular within the past 6 or 7 years. Between the hundreds of zombie movies, comics, novels, video games, and a hit tv show, they have invaded almost every sector of popular culture. There's even a new magazine that caters to the zombie apocalypse enthusiast. I enjoy a good zombie flick, but I draw the line at stockpiling actual food and ammo. Honestly, I was starting to get a little burnt out on zombies. When it comes to monsters, they don't quite have the panache as a Dracula or a Creature from the Black Lagoon. Then one day, I made a random trip into Dollar Tree and found this:

I was on my way out of the store, when I saw the card out of the corner of my eye. Most of the toys in the dollar stores look cheaper than they cost, and that includes their packaging as well. You're lucky if the toy makes it past the cash register before the plastic bubble starts peeling off the front, spilling your new action figure and all of its accessories on the candy shelves. But this little zombie, this looked legit. It's hard to believe that he only cost a buck ($1.05 w/tax).

Let's take a closer look at that cardback. Starting at the top, we have the yellow and black caution tape, a common sight in the world of zombies. Police are always taping up doors with the stuff, and curious people are always ripping it down so they can get a peek at the crime scene. Then zombies are ripping into their flesh because the people tore down the caution tape the police put up. Then the police have to put up more's a vicious cycle. Literally. In, the upper left corner we have a large, fresh brain, because zombies love them brains. Then we get down to the logo, and what a logo it is. "Brain Dead Zombies", with a suitably decaying "Zombies". I'm not sure we need the "Brain Dead" part of the title, since that's kinda what makes a zombie a zombie. Still, some folks take artistic license with what a zombie is supposed to be, so it's nice to know what kind we're dealing with here. We also get an arm thrusting up from the dirt, just to remind us that we're walking on dead people, everywhere, everyday. Sometimes they might get pissed off about that. After that, things get really interesting. "Grow a Zombie", it tells us. No exclamation points, no excitement. I would hesitate to call that a statement. It really comes off more like a command. I honestly believe it originally said "Grow a Zombie....Or Else". Right under there, a puzzling phrase, "Zombie Croissant". Wait, is this a figurine or a French pastry? The last item of note is the illustration of the zombie off to the left. It's actually a pretty good drawing, almost webcomic quality.

According to the package, this zombie will grow to 600% of its original size. I got really excited before I realized there's an important distinction between a percentage sign, and a multiplication sign. There go my hopes of having a zombie wingman for any Halloween party mixers.. See that little blurb to the right? The one that yells "Glows in the Dark!". Well, I didn't see it until just now. I've had this thing for over a month, and I completely blocked it out. I used to never care about things that would glow in the dark, but lately, I've become fascinated by things that glow. I bet you're curious to know what this thing looks like in the dark now, aren't you? I know I was..

This was after holding him over a light for a few seconds. Give it a couple of hours, and I bet he would light up a room. Charge him up after he finishes growing, and you can probably use him to read.

Okay, it's time to toss this sucker in some water, and start growing some zombie! When I ripped open the package, I was assaulted by the smell of mothballs. Random, I know, but there it is. This guy actually has some decent detail for what he is. It's hard to see some of the details on his arms and hands, but the face looks great. I especially love the bulging eye ball. You just know that thing is one stubbed toe away from popping out of his skull. You know, it actually reminds me of the old "Dawn of the Dead" poster.

It's not perfect, but I can see it. Going by the directions of the back of the card, the zombie will need at least 3 days of soaking for the best results. If we want the best results, it's going to take at least a week. So, pretty much the same as the Monster Eyeball from last year. Well, let's toss him in his new home for the next week, and see what happens.

Stay tuned..if you dare!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Creepy Collectible cards

This will just be a quick post tonight. Don't look for a post first thing tomorrow, but there should be one by the afternoon.

These cards were part of the consolation prize I received from the Trash Man's second giveaway. After seeing how cool the consolation prize was, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll win the actual giveaway one of these days.

The Garbage Pail Kids were the only cards I was familiar with from my youth. I had a bunch of these cards stuck to my bedroom windows. I don't know where they came from, or who bought them for me, but I'm willing to be they're still stuck there today. I imagine they're a little sun bleached by now though. The cards pictured here a little tame compared to some of the one's I've seen in the past. The common theme on a lot of the cards was puke, pus, mucous and various other bodily fluids. I never really liked looking at them, which makes me wonder why I would have stuck them on my windows in the first place. My favorite out of this bunch has to be Salvatore Dolly, only because I always enjoy a good pun.

Next up, we have a pack of Dinosaurs Attack! cards. I had heard of Mars Attacks!, but I only found out about this series a few years ago. The cards tell the story of a group of scientists that discover a way to look back in time, and the first thing they do is peer back to the time of the dinosaurs. Apparently someone put a decimal point in the wrong place, because dinosaurs start materializing all over the planet. The dinos immediately start raising hell, plant eaters and carnivores alike. I wish they had made this series into a movie. It's like combining Jurassic Park with Night of the Living Dead. Except, the dinosaurs are still living. My favorite from this pack is the Nuptial Nightmare card, mainly because the back of it was a bloodstained wedding invitation. Crap, I should have taken a picture of that too.

This is my first time seeing the Weird Ball cards. I'm still trying to figure out the point of them, honestly. Some of them combine the sloppy puns and excess fluids of the Garbage Pail Kids with faces reminiscent of the Mad Balls. I liked Mad  Balls, and I kinda like GPK, but I'm not so sure they work well together.  As for my favorite from this pack, that honor has to go to Humugusaki. It's such an offensive character, that I doubt we would ever see anything like that released today.

So there you have it. A nice, short post about some creepy, disgusting trading cards. That's close enough for Halloween, right?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Little Debbie Fall snackie cakes

I'm finally getting around to talking about these things. I've actually had them in my possession for a couple weeks now, but I figure now is as good a time as any to give them a taste. Little Debbie was responsible for making most of my favorite snacks. Zebra cakes, Strawberry Shortcake Rolls, Devil Squares, Oatmeal Creme Pies...I could go on and on. Little Debbie's snacks were one of my favorite things about my grandmother's house. She used to keep a cupboard full just for when I came to visit. I remember sitting at her dining room table with a couple of Zebra cakes and a glass of milk, thinking that life really couldn't get any better.

There they are in all their chemically synthesized glory. I'm not going to say too much about them here though. I'll let the video do the talking.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Time to decorate the desk!

I'm trying to fill my desk with Halloween-y items, but the local stores are not making it easy. Rite-Aid is already clearing out their scary season items, while Wal-Mart's selection still manages to be impressively disappointing. That doesn't leave me with much to go by, other than items I had around the house, and my wits.

Off to the left, I have a selection of horror books and movies. I have to say, I'm actually a little ashamed by the movies I have visible here, but unfortunately, I don't own much else. I'm not sure how that happened. At least the books are full of stories of quality horror.

In front of the monitor, we have Bob the Zombie riding Mumm-Ra, while Halloween Batman raises an arm in protest. Next, we have Stunt Zombie riding on top of the Vampyre Hearse, which will be the subject of a future post.

All the way to the right, we have Metal Face and Aracula protecting the router. I chose Metal Face, because he works great as a Jason substitute in the GIJoe scale. Aracula is big, and detailed, and looks great just standing there.

This is by no means the final product, and I have a bit more I need to add before I'll be happy with my "mood" desk. This is just all I had on hand at the moment. Stay tuned for more additions. If you're all good, I might even do a Fun Food Friday post later on today.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Playmates Skeleton Warriors Aracula.

Today's entry is about a toy that fits in perfectly with the Halloween season. Meet Aracula. He's a giant skeletal spider.

Playmates has produced some of the coolest toy lines to have ever existed. Not only are they responsible for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but they're also responsible for Exo-Squad, Darkwing Duck, and Toxic Crusader toys. The Skeleton Warriors came out in 1994, a time when my interest in toys was waning, and my trips down the toy aisles were less frequent for fear of being spotted by my classmates. Like many of Playmates' other toys, Skeleton Warriors was attached to a Saturday morning cartoon.  I can't say I ever caught an episode though. I don't remember the toys sticking around very long in the stores, and I'm pretty sure the show disappeared just as quickly. Still, my lack of knowledge about the characters and my fear of being seen by someone else in my class didn't keep me from going home with Aracula.

Playmates has always been great about including a ton of eye candy on the back of their figures. Not only do we get a brief rundown of the Skeleton Warriors story, but they also provided a shot showing all the other figures.

I have to admit, other than Grimskull, the good guys in this line are pretty bland. Prince Lightstar and Vasah: The Guardian both look like rejects from the New Adventures of He-Man. The villains were definitely the best part. Even Shriek, who is easily the weakest of the Skeleton Legion figures, still kicks ass compared to the Legion of Light. Aracula is my hands down favorite of the baddies, but Baron Dark comes in at a close second. I think it's because he looks like Evil Ash from Army of Darkness. In third place, I'd take Grimskull. He's the most interesting out of all the Legion of Light characters, and he comes with a bad ass cape. I also like the fact that he comes with appears to be a skeletonized dog. It reminds me of the "pets" that used to be included with the Sectaur figures.

We also get detailed descriptions of Aracula's weapons.  First up, we have the spring powered bone-crushing tarantul-axe.

I'm not sure what makes it a tarantul-axe, but I do know that this thing launches with enough force to knock a tooth out. You've gotta be careful around that little trigger, lest you want to make an emergency trip to the optometrist.

Next up we have the Goo-gun.

It's basically a spider with a handle jammed up his ass, that shoots webbing on Aracula's enemies. Unfortunately, the seller I bought this from was a little clueless, so my figure was missing the Widowmaker Shield. It's a shame, as it was one of the better looking accessories. Speaking of, I'm a little disappointed by the lack of paint apps on both the weapons. They both look completely different compared to the pictures on the back of the card. I know things change between mockup and actual production, but the tarantul-axe went from black with gold trim to a dark green and red with no painted details.

Much like the TMNT figures, we get a file card that shares vital information about the character. Apparently Aracula is the arachno-assassin of the skeleton legion. Well, there goes my hopes of seeing platoons of six armed skeletons on the battlefield. One thing that continues to puzzle me is the statement that he is the most powerful spider to shed his skin. So, does that mean spiders on this world are just six-armed humanoids, or that they're normally just regular ol' spiders, and Aracula is just one gigantic freak show? Also, do spiders actually have a skin to shed? I think the bio actually raises more questions than it answers..

Enough with the details, let's check out the main attraction.

There's Aracula in all his eight limbed glory. Playmates is known for putting out large, highly detailed action figures, but all their previous lines couldn't compete with the amount of detail present in the Skeleton Warriors. I don't remember how much these guys cost when they came out, but it couldn't have been much more than five or six bucks. An amazing deal considering you can barely buy a knockoff figure for that price these days. He still has the limited articulation common to the Playmates figures, so he's kinda stuck in one pose. Aracula can still stand on his own though, so it's not a total loss. He's pretty durable as well, but I still wouldn't go around tossing him out of trees or knocking him down the stairs.

Those of you that are interested in collecting the Skeleton Warriors line are in luck. They still seem to go pretty cheap on e-Bay, at least, the Skeleton Legion guys do. By the time the Legion of Light figures were released, the cartoon had been cancelled, and the baddies had already been sent to the clearance bins. This means the good guys are a bit harder to find, and tend to go for a bit more money. I don't really count that as a negative though, as this is one line where it's good to be bad.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it'!

That's right, folks. For a short time I was actually Superman. What's that, you don't believe me? Lucky for me, I have photographic evidence.

Ah, the Halloween of 1986. I was able to leap a sofa in a single bound. I was faster than an angry parent, more powerful than a hyperactive chihuahua. In my imagination, I was Superman. These were my favorite pajamas, and they were used as a Halloween costume two years in a row. I'm not sure if the general public knew they were pajamas, but if they did, they kept it to themselves. The cape that was included with the outfit attached to the back with a couple of velcro patches. It wasn't particularly impressive, and was a little short even for my pint sized proportions. It didn't flow in the wind like Superman's cape did in the movies, but it puffed out a little bit if I ran fast enough.

I also had a set of Batman pajamas that were just like these, but I never really wore them. I tend to think it's because Superman had three movies out by this point, while Batman's first theatrical release was still several years away. It didn't hurt that I also owned the Superman action figure from the Super Powers line. I distinctly remember running around in my Superman pajamas, holding my Superman figure, and humming the theme from the movies. You can't tell from the photos, but the outfit needed a couple of touch-ups before I was ready for the big show. Since I didn't own any red boots, my mom improvised by pulling a pair of red socks over my shoes and up to my calves. The socks were usually ruined and ragged by the end of the night, but they lasted long enough to do the job. We also had to safety pin the cape to the shirt. Otherwise, I would have lost it almost as soon as I got out of the car. For some reason, I remember wearing a pair of red underpants over the pajama bottoms. Maybe I wasn't finished getting dressed when the pictures were taken. That, or I have a subconscious need to make my memories even more embarrassing.

This photo is from the Halloween of 1987, and as you can see, the pajamas are getting a little worn by this point. The neck was getting stretched out, and the "S" emblem had faded. I'm pretty sure the velcro tabs that held the cape on had to be reattached a couple times by now. The lack of red underwear makes me think that my initial assumption was in fact, incorrect. The pants were starting to get a little short, and I couldn't pull the red socks as far up because my new shoes were too big. The Halloween before, the socks lasted the entire night before they fell to pieces. This time, they were stretched out so much that they fell apart after the first couple of houses. I pulled the tattered remains off my shoes, and finished the rest of the night looking like I was wearing a Superman track suit. It had become obvious that this was my last year going as Superman, and it upset me a little bit. It quickly passed though, as those feelings tend to do when you're a 6 year old.  I continued on my way, gathering a metric ton of candy by the end of the night.

Oh, and I was wrong. That wasn't the last time I got to go as Superman.

Trust me, you're lucky I didn't have any tights.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halloween Countdown: Dancing and Talking Trick or Treater!

Welcome, to what was surely a bad idea. I promised 31 days of posts for the month of October, and I don't make promises I don't plan on keeping.  I was actually looking forward to blogging the entire month, and then I realized just how much work it's going to be. It's not like last December, where all I had to do was open a box and write about what was inside. Oh no, this time I actually have to go out in the world to find things to present to you all. I'm not trying to whine about having to keep my promise. I just want you to appreciate the stress I'm putting myself through for your entertainment. Just remember, this is my first year doing this, so don't expect the same caliber of material you've grown to expect from the likes of I-Mockery or Dinosaur Dracula. Enough bitching, let's get this countdown started!

This little guy has been a part of the household for a few years now. Unfortunately, his actual name has been lost to the crypts of the past. I think I'll call him Gus. He looks Gus-y to me.

The little fella stands just over two feet tall, or about the size of your average five year old. Something I've never been able to figure out about Gus, is he a child sized Frankenstein's Monster  dressed as Dracula, or is he a kid dressed as Frankenstein's Monster dressed as Dracula? I think I'm going to go with the former. The Monster did end up with a Bride, so it's only natural that they eventually had some baby Monsters . Still, it has to sting a bit when your son dresses up as a guy that's tried to kill you several times over the years. Just explain that some folks want to dress up as the bad guy, Gus. I think he'll understand.

Gus really went all out on his costume. It seems to me he chose a more hip version of Dracula, since I'm positive he's wearing Converse sneakers. I'm not sure if I'm feeling the orange shirt, but I'm sure that wasn't up to him. "You don't want to get run over by those crazy villagers", his mom would say. Safety first, Gus. Over the orange shirt, Gus is wearing a royal purple shirt, made of the finest fabrics I'm sure. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the bottom of his cape says "Happy Halloween", just in case people forget what day it is. Gus has decided to complete his outfit by tying a couple of bats to his arms. They may have been alive at one time, but now they hang limply from Gus' arms, only moving when he decides to dance. Speaking of dancing, we haven't even gotten to the best part. Check this out:

That noise you hear is me snapping my fingers. Gus is sound activated, though he usually only works at the worst times. When I'm walking past him in a pitch dark room, for example. Or when I'm greeting people at the door and I forget he's standing next to it. Some times he goes off for no reason at all. That only ever happens when I'm in the middle of a deep sleep though. I'm not sure if you can hear it, but one of our cats was growling at him the entire time I was filming. If you're paying attention, you can even see her attack him at one point. I don't know what Gus did to her, but she sure does hate the sound of his voice. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to wake up one morning and find parts of Gus strewn all over the house. I guess the real monster isn't always who you expect.

Coming up soon, more monsters, movies, and a lot of crappy food. Stay tuned!

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