Sure, it’s actually Wednesday as I finish up this post, but I just had to get in another trio of fun-tastic spooky toy commercials before Halloween hit! First up, we have a super weird and gross example of just how, well, weird and gross the 80s got!
Meet Rude Ralph, a severed head that makes sounds when you yank on its bulging eye. Par for the course back then! But that’s not all! You could also get your hands on yet another disembodied head that stunk in the form of Breath Blasters. What a time to be alive!
Stumbling across Rude Ralph and the Breath Blasters was a nice surprise, but the discovery that really got me excited was a line called Rocks And Bugs And Things. First of all, that name is nuts, but does tell you exactly what you’re getting. Then you’ve got these super-fun play features that seem to be in line with both Rocklords and Insectoids. But, the best part of the ad is how they specifically go after G.I. Joe, Transformers AND He-Man with those silhouettes. That’s an impressive level of confidence from a toy line that I have never heard of before!
Finally, I know I posted about Manglors back in 2012 and still feel the same way about this wild toyline (I’d still like a firsthand account of their playability if anyone ever had them), but the old YouTube link is dead, so here’s a fresh one.
I’ve spilled a lot of digital ink this season talking about how much I love Kelley Jones’ work, especially on Batman (in posts here and here), but there’s another artist whose work is synonymous with horror in my mind: Mike Mignola. The genius behind Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. has done all sorts of work in the comics world and this post will give some love to a few of his other works that are lots of spooky fun! Here are some interesting comics you might want to check out if you don’t want to dive too deeply into those sprawling epics.
Way, way back in September when I started this year’s It’s All Connected, one film popped into my head that I really wanted to watch. You’ll find out which movie that is next time, but I began working on a plan back then on how to get there. I don’t mind admitting that a movie called The Uncanny became the key to the whole thing. It happened to be on Amazon Video, so I was good…until it wasn’t there anymore! With that, I began scrambling to find a replacement and stumbled upon a different Amazon Video streamer: Terror In The Wax Museum from 1976!
Several years ago, I watched the 1981 film Ghost Story and discovered a subgenre I now love: Old Guy Horror. I’m not sure if anyone else uses that term, but to me, it’s any horror flick that features three or more horror greats all performing in the same story (ie: anthologies don’t count, sorry Monster Club, you’re still great for other reasons). A few years later, I came upon my favorite example: House Of The Long Shadows from 1983! This picture features…wait for it…John Carradine, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and our old buddy Vincent Price! I’m not even going to mess around, you should definitely watch this movie just as I did for It’s All Connected!
During this scare season, I’ve been trying to focus on all manner of horror: on the screen, in comics and on the page. I’ve watched a lot of movies, read a pile of comics and even made my way through a few fiction novels. But there are also so many great true stories about the people who made this awesome art. With The Lady From The Black Lagoon, Mallory O’Meara chronicles the life and career of Milicent Patrick, the woman who designed the Creature From The Black Lagoon, my personal favorite of the Universal Monsters!
I can’t really understate how important Wizard magazine was to me during my formative comic-buying years in the 90s. I’d already become a die-hard DC fan before I discovered the magazine, but it became this window into a much larger comic landscape of companies ranging from Marvel and Dark Horse to those guys doing crazy things at Image (though this was admittedly a year or two after the initial boom). I still remember how much they hyped certain books, though, and The Darkness from Top Cow is one such example! I recently borrowed the first and second volumes of the Darkness Origins trades from Hoopla and had a fun time with them!
Alright, so yesterday’s supposed team-up of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, the awesomely titled Scream & Scream Again, may have fallen flat for not making even the remotest amount of sense. However, It’s All Connected must keep going and I wouldn’t let a minor bump in the road slow me down! No, I decided to persevere and even try for another epic old horror guy team up: The Monster Club! Would I join this club?
In the very same year that Gordon Hessler unleashed the very bad Cry Of The Banshee he teamed with Vincent Price again for another picture, the delightfully titled Scream & Scream Again. If you’re curious, Scream actually came out first in February followed by Banshee in July. Though I enjoyed his bonkers KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park, I was not sure how well his other film would land in what has mostly been a successful It’s All Connected. So, how’d it go?
After really hating Gordon Hessler’s Cry Of The Banshee, I was worried that the other two movies of his I planned on watching would fall flat. Luckily, I’ve had a much better It’s All Connected experience with his 1978 TV movie KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Less of a horror movie and more of a live action Scooby-Doo episode with a costume-loving rock band filling in for the kids and a talking dog, this is still a super enjoyable movie…if you don’t mind the title characters being VERY bad actors.
Going through Vincent Price Toy Commercials last week was a lot of fun, so let’s check out a trio of wild horror-inspired toy spots!
I have no memory of these Gruesome, Rude, Obnoxious, Silly Scarfers from Tiger, but this might be one of the most delightful ads I’ve seen in a long time. From the iconic kids at the mall to a toy that keeps topping itself, this one’s a ton of fun. I mean, you had me at “a gross puppet that makes sounds,” but then you add in the see-through stomach and this is an easy home run. If you had a G.R.O.S.S. puppet, please let me know in the comments!
It still shocks me that Troma’s Toxic Avenger made the jump to cartoons, toys and comics in the early 90s. It’s weird that Rambo had a cartoon given his big screen body count, but it’s mind-boggling to anyone who saw the classic Troma film that Toxie made the same transition! Because of this cartoon, I watched The Toxic Avenger WAY sooner than I should have and actually turned it off because I was so scandalized! I now own it on DVD and have this Toxie figure thanks to one magical flea market trip. I don’t have that rad slime-dripping mop thought, what a cool accessory!
Speaking of slime, it’s crazy how popular this stuff is right now. I’ve got two kids under 10 and they are all about making their own slime and even know of like 30 different types with different recipes and whatnot. I’m personally not a fan, but I do love a toy line like Oozers which really captures the gross-out nature of many an 80s toy line. I also really dig the line-up of characters, most of whom seem to take their cues from Universal Monsters and classic mythology, but check out the Jason Voorhees analog in there who’s rocking that tank top! These are very cool, but I wonder how well they’ve held up over the years what with all the squeezing and oozing and whatnot.