Saturday, April 29, 2017

Checking Out DinoDrac's April FunPack!

So there I am, coming home from work, when I discover that my apartment was invaded by Dinosaur Dracula!




Well sort of. My buddy Matt, who's been running DD, and formerly of X-Entertainment.com, does a sweet monthly "FunPack" subscription service where the delightful taste of nostalgia hits you right in your face! Trading cards, stickers, a snack and maybe a toy or two, all waiting for you in one nice package! I had been gifted a holiday FunPack years ago by my fiance but that was before these became a monthly thing.

So here we are. I decided to take the plunge. I sold a bunch stuff on eBay and decided "hey, why not try out this DD funpack? What's the worse that can happen?". A roll of the dice financially, I'm sure, but I really wanted to try to get this one. Why, you ask? Well, read on to find out!


First off, it's not a funpack without trading cards. I'm a huge fan of old trading cards and these are some packs that I haven't gotten my hands on in quite sometime. Some great packs but I haven't been this close to an Awesome AllStars cards in years. I continue to love the parody/gross-out cards to this day and it's thanks to my childhood love of going to the general store and grabbing a pack. A great mix of cards for any subscriber. Who doesn't love opening old card packs? Sends you back to your childhood in no time!!!

Oh and hey, check out that He-Man card too! Cool!



Still on that trading card high? Well, lucky you! A print featuring some memorable trading card boxes is all yours to place on your bookcase or desk or wherever the heck you want! Some favorites on here including TMNT 2, Simpsons, Harry and the Henderson and of course Gremlins, which is the first that caught my eye. I had picked up quite a few Gremlins 2 packs in 1990 and in fact have a card that was made into a magnet by a friend of mine on my fridge. I love this. It's gonna look great taped on my vhs cabinet!





Ahhhh...a "Superhero Sack" featuring one randomly chosen PVC Marvel figure. I feel like a lot of properties back in the late 80s/early 90s were given the PVC figurine but I definitely remember comic book characters getting them. With comic book characters, especially Marvel, being such a huge part of our current pop culture landscape, these are a sweet addition. Even better, it looks like Thor is laying down some serious disco dancing, so how would I not want him on my shelf next to other PVC figures?

In every funpack, Matt throws in an a personal childhood story/essay and a newsletter where he dishes out a challenge to get your creativity on. Usually something that relates to that months contents. This month's challenge was to combine two characters into one. Now, I'm not the most artistic person, but I decided to at least attempt to create something. It's not gold or even good, but I present to you "Fredsday Addams" where I combined Freddy Krueger and the Addams Family as a whole. Hence the cigar and "Thing":

Well...I tried, right?

A Power Rangers sticker was part of this month's pack as well. I got King Sphinx fighting the Rangers Zords. I am such a sucker for prizm/vending machine stickers so this is a nice addition. On top of that, a DinoDrac sticker is included every month. So the sticker fan in me is happier than a pig in crap. Two stickers to add to my collection!

A little hungry after all that drawing? Don't worry, a snack of some sort is always included! This month's snack was Herr's Deep Dish Curls. Now, pizza flavored chips or crackers are one thing that I'm sure we're all accustomed to but cheese curls? That certainly caught my eye. Normally, something like this can go awry but it most certainly delivered one heckuva punch int he taste buds. I normally don't eat cheese curls and puffs that don't have a cartoon cheetah but these...oh my these...


These are probably, next to pizza flavored Combos, my new favorite pizza flavored snack. A lot big flavor in a tiny curl. I couldn't ask for a better snack to be included in this box. On top of that, I really need to seek more of these out. I'm really having issue just describing them in words. If you see them, pick them up.


Now. The main event and the big draw in my opinion. FREDDY KRUEGER BUBBLE GUM. From 1988, these are quite the desirable items from Freddy collectors. I've already got one, but I'm always...ALWAYS...on the hunt for more.


"Freddy The Sex Symbol" is the container I got. I'm very happy with it. It's one of the containers I was hoping for. Freddy's charisma certainly projects an image that can be found attractive by men and women but I can't say I've ever met anyone who's said they can compare him to a Bradley Cooper or James Dean, but hey, I had a crush on Naomi Harper from Mama's Family as a kid, so to each their own.

Oh and yes, that is the original gum. Dare I eat it? Well, no. I value having teeth. But I have been tempted. Believe you me.





What else can I say about this box? It's pretty fantastic. I can only imagine how much fun next month's box is going to be! Keep your eyes peeled for the May Funpack as well as some great articles on pop culture, toys, video stores and more by heading over to DinosaurDracula.com !


-Chad

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kicking Off The 2017 Flea Market Season!

Ahhh...the day I've been waiting for has arrived. The day I've been dreaming of for months is now at hand. The first flea market of the year!



Yessssss!

I start going through flea marketing withdrawals earlier and earlier each year. Usually about January, but I started around December. And why wouldn't I? Thrifting throughout the year is one thing but attending a flea market is a whole other experience. An experience that can motivate even the most unmotivated slacker to get up and do something with themselves. Who can truly turn down a bright and sunny morning spent going through peoples dusty and dirty boxes filled with crap no one in their right mind should want?



Not me! I woke up pretty darn early to get to the market as quick as I can. It was a lovely day! I picked a good time to arrive too. Plenty of people, but not too many. There wasn't a lot of crazy variety but again, it's only the beginning. I didn't expect or even want to walk away with a gigantic haul. To start off that strong so early would just burn me out so quick. I'm ok with a slow start and ending big.

So instead of more rambling, let's take a look at the goods...



First, I need to get this out of the way. A seller had a bucket filled to the brim with home recordings of movies and tv shows. I was able to pick out a few but only two were safe from every VHS Collectors worst fear: TAPE MOLD. Yes. Tape Mold.  If kept improperly or in poor conditions, tape mold will build up on the actual spool and ruin the entire tape. But, I'm glad to report that one of those tapes was an Ewoks Battle For Endor/Willy Wonka double feature! The other tape, well, I picked up a homemade JEM tape from 1989-90 with commercials and all. It's quite the gem (pun intended) but I wouldn't be able to do this justice. I'm sure you'll see it pop up elsewhere. But what else did I pick up? Hmmm...

TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE VHS (.50) :



I will at least try to walk away with one vhs per visit and this was a perfect tape to walk away with. And unlike the pile of dusty tapes I had picked up, this had no mold whatsoever. I'm a huge fan of Transformers the Movie but I've never truly seen this release of the movie before, so this was a very nice surprise! Not a bad first purchase, eh?

LOTTSA RASSLERS! ($ 4 for all) :

(L to R: Shannon Moore, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Hardy and the Undertaker)

Wrestlemania was indeed running wild at this table. The woman selling these was in a big hurry to get rid of all the figures she had and I was in a big hurry to take them off her hands. Especially that Jeff Hardy, which after the surprise return of the Hardy Boyz at Wrestlemania 33, their merch has been quite the hot commodity. So, I kinda jumped at picking him up for that selfish reason. The others were just garnish. I can't help but thinking the other four were the best out of the box she had to offer. Check it out:






Yes, I'm fully aware that every flea market has at least 50 people selling outdated wrestling figures but out of I've seen in the past few years, these were in some of the better condition. Plus, a buck each? Why not!


DARK KNIGHT COLLECTION BATMAN FIGURE ($1) :


As a kid, I hated variants and only wanted the comic or movie accurate costumed figures of my heroes. That was especially true with Batman. Over the years, we've seen some cringe-worthy variants but the figures I always wanted was just straight up Dark Knight. Thankfully, while Kenner's Dark Knight Collection offered strange colored variants, they also offered just plain black suited Batman with goofy accessories. This figure in particular looks like "Powerwing Batman" but my studies show that this particular figure was released a couple of times in the line. Regardless, it's nice to just own a regular Batman from that line that doesn't look like a McDonalds toy.


REAL GHOSTBUSTERS POWER PACK HEROES EGON (.50):




Ooooooh my favorite of the entire haul! I owe my buddy and local seller, Dan a HUGE thanks (and since I know you're reading Dan, THANK YOU!) for this. Power Pack Heroes was in the tail end of the line and instead of offering more lamewad variants like making our heroes genies or construction workers, Kenner merely repainted the original figures with rad, updated new colors. Just based off how unusal these colors and suits were, make them my favorite of the entire line. For the past year or so, I've been looking for a decently priced Egon, and today I found it! Now that I have all of the MC Hammer Ghostbuster variants, I can rest easy.

Oh but wait...I still need a Janine! Well, looks like I have something else to add to my list this season...



So was it an amazing, life altering haul? No! Don't be silly. But it kicked off the season right and that's all I could ask for!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

While a lot of people aren't too hot on DC Cinematic Universe due to it's gloomy nature and sped up production (that for some, resulting in a product that clearly shows it). Me, though? While I'm not the biggest Suicide Squad or Man of Steel fan, I have been happy with Batman vs Superman and am very excited to see Wonder Woman hit the big screen after years and years.

But...if there's one guaranteed way to satisfy even the most jaded DC Universe viewer, it's with a animated movie. If DC has done anything consistently over time, it's been their animated product. From the beginning of their relationship with Filmation in the 1960s to their current products on Cartoon Network, something about animation and DC just works.

DC's newest animated offering is Teen Titans "The Judas Contract" based off the landmark 1984 storyline which took Titans from the "Fun, goofy teenage sidekicks of their famous counterparts" to full fledged, fleshed out characters that mattered to readers. We saw the maturing and coming of age in this store and animated adaption is no different.

From the official press release:

"The Titans are on the hunt for the villainous Brother Blood, not realizing that they might have a traitor among them.
Led by Starfire, the Teen Titans—Beast Boy, Raven, Blue Beetle, Robin and the just-returned Nightwing—have built a cohesive team in their never-ending battle against evil; but their newest teammate, the mysterious and powerful Terra, may be altering that dynamic. Meanwhile, an ancient evil, Brother Blood, has awakened, and familiar foe Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows—both waiting to pounce.
Ultimately, the Teen Titans will need to battle their enemies and their own doubts to unite and overcome the malicious forces around them in this twisting tale of intrigue, adventure and deception."



Now, of course, the animated film took a few liberties and changed a thing or two, but as someone who enjoys the Titans movie so far, it didn't bother me. Without too many spoilers, I think there's enough in here for longtime fans of the team as well. The animation, voice acting and writing were absolutely top notch. In fact, out of all the DCAU movies I've seen up to this point, this may be the most emotional release. The relationship between Terra and Deathstroke, Blue Beetle and his family and Terra and Beast Boy really pulled at the heart strings and really, much like the comic did in '84, makes you care about these characters. And with the very emotional climax, it just brings all those feelings to a melting pot. And not to mention, a nice cameo by a familiar face in the geek fandom!

With bonus features featuring interviews with George Perez and Marv Wolfman, two episodes of the Teen Titans, and a few sneak peaks for other DC movies.


I'm very excited that this was released and can't recommend this highly enough. If you're a fan of real dramatic stories with great character development, then this is a must own for your collection.


-Chad

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Review: Phantasm Box Set

In 1979, Don Coscarelli gave the world a new icon in horror. A year before Jason slashed his way through camp Crystal and 5 years before Freddy was causing nightmares down Elm Street, The Tall Man, stalked his way into your deepest darkest fears. Followed by 4 sequels, Phantasm has become one of the most beloved series in horror history. If ypu're looking for any further proof, I can tell you from being at conventions where the cast were guests, fans were just as rabid and appreciative to meet them as say a Robert Englund or a Walking Dead. Maybe in not volumes as fans but with sheer fantacism. The late, great Angus Scrimm, aka The Tall Man never allowed anyone to walk away from his table without a smile. To this day, fans STILL speak fondly about meeting him and the impact he left on them.




Over the years, the entire series would be released on dvd, and just a few of the movies on bluray, from multiple companies. Anchor Bay, MGM, Scream Factory. All great releases with great features, but never have they all been released in one entire big set together on bluray. For years and years, fans have been hoping that someday that will be remedied.

Well, friends. That day. Is today.

WellGo USA, who previously released blurays of Phantasm: Remastered and Phantasm Ravager just last year, did the impossible. They released THE ENTIRE SERIES  on crystal clear, beautiful hi-def bluray for all the Phans to enjoy!

Thar she blows. That gorgeous packaging featuring our hero...er...villain The Tall Man, in all his splendid and creepy glory.

Or is that "gory"? I wanna keep this tasteful, so I'll stick with glory.

I sat down to watch all these movies as someone who wasn't a Phantasm fan per se, but as someone who still respected the impact this series has had on the fanbase. I've tried to sit down to watch these with the hopes to truly get into them and even seeing Phantasm Remastered in the theaters just didn't do it. I don't think it's a series that I'm meant to get into but I will say, after watching the entire set, it's definitely something I appreciate even MORE than I did before. Just because I don't like a movie doesn't mean I can't respect it. And after hearing all the stories of production throughout the entire series, I sincerely can respect anyone who worked on these.



Phantasm Remastered, Phantasm 2, Phantasm Ravager are all exactly the same as the previous releases. Yes, even the Scream! Factory release of Phantasm 2 was included (much like their cooperation with Anchor Bay for their legendary Halloween set) . For those who may have been waiting to pick up Remastered and Ravager for a box set, they're in luck. Not only will they receive those releases, but for the first time Phantasm 3 and 4 are hitting bluray. I've never truly seen either of these and from what I was told, I was in for a treat of low budget entertainment like I've never seen before. And oh my, were those people right. 3 and 4 are certainly no masterpieces, I can certainly picture a lot of fans getting excited about these first time releases.








If you're afan of the original cover art, worry not! You'll get the art you've grown to love so much as well as simplistic covers for a more streamlined look on your shelf!

With great covers and fantastic features as well. What? You thought they'd just give you random, barebone releases? Pashaw! Come, now, dear reader!


The real draw, I believe for fans, will be the extra features on all discs! Let's take a quick gander at all the goodies included:

Disc 1: PHANTASM
Audio Commentary with writer/director Don Coscarelli, co-producer Paul Pepperman and visual consultant Roberto Quezada
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli and actors Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thornbury
Graveyard Carz
Interviews with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm (Vintage 1979 television interview)
Deleted Scenes, Interview Outtakes
PHANTASM Behind-the-Scenes Home Movies with commentary by Don Coscarelli and Reggie Bannister, Additional home movie footage
TV and Radio Spots
Introduction, 1989 Convention Appearance, and Fangoria TV Commercial with Angus Scrimm
Theatrical Trailers, Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
BD-50

Disc 2: PHANTASM II
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli, Angus Scrimm and Reggie Banister
The Ball is Back: The making of PHANTASM II
Deleted Scenes, Workprint Scenes, TV Spots
Theatrical Trailers, Behind the Scenes, Still Galleries
Rare Short film featuring Rory Guy (Angus Scrimm)
The Gory Days an interview with Special Make-up Effects Artist Greg Nicotero
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
BD-50

Disc 3: PHANTASM III: LORD OF THE DEAD
It s Never Over: The Making of PHANTASM III featuring interviews with Don Coscarelli, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, Gloria Lynn Henry, Stuntman Bob Ivy, director of photography Christopher Chomyn, composer/sound designer Christopher L. Stone, sphere designer/mechanical effects artist Kerry Prior, special makeup effects designer Dean Gates and Production Assistant Kristen Deem
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli and editor Norman Buckley
Balls of Steel: Bob Ivy s Stunt for the Ages - The Phantasm III Car Stunt
Behind the Scenes Compilation
Audio Commentary with Stars A. Michael Baldwin and Angus Scrimm
Behind-the-Scenes
Deleted Scene, Trailer, Radio Spot, Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
BD-50

Disc 4: PHANTASM IV: OBLIVION
Death is No Escape: The Making of PHANTASM IV featuring interviews with Don Coscarelli, A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Bill Thornbury, special makeup effects artist Gigi Bannister, stunt coordinator/actor Bob Ivy, director of photography Christopher Chomyn, composer/sound designer Christopher L. Stone, sphere designer/mechanical effects designer Kerry Prior, cameraman Justin Zaharczuk and special makeup effects artist Robert Kurtzman
Behind the Scenes Compilation
PHANTASM Sequels: Conceptual Art Gallery by Justin Zaharczuk
Audio Commentary with Don Coscarelli, Reggie Bannister, and Angus Scrimm
Behind-The-Scenes
Promo, Trailer, Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
BD-50

Disc 5: PHANTASM V: RAVAGER
Audio Commentary with co-writer/director David Hartman and Don Coscarelli
The Making of PHANTASM: RAVAGER
Friendship and Phantasm an interview with A. Michael Baldwin
The Lady in Lavender - an interview with actress Kat Lester
The Name is Chunk - an interview with actor Stephan Jutras
Behind-the-Scenes Promo
PHANTASM: RAVAGER Red Credit Sequence
Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary by David Hartman and Don Coscarelli)
Phuntasm: Bloopers and Outtakes
A Moment with David Hartman
Teaser / Theatrical Trailer
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo
BD-50

Disc 6: BONUS DISC
Featuring over 4 hours of extras
Phantasm and You a comic recap of the first 4 films by PHANTASM V: RAVAGER director David Hartman
Flashback Weekend Chicago Convention Panel Discussion(2008) & (2014)
Flashback Weekend concert performance by Kat Lester
Fantastic Fest Q&A(2016)
Phantasmagoria: a documentary and Interviews with the Cast & Crew
Phantasmagorical Mystery Tour with Reggie Bannister
Phantasm Genesis
Phandom




If you ask me, the special features are more than worth the price alone. For what you pay, you're getting documentaries, commentaries, behind the scenes footage, interviews, a short featuring Angus as Abraham Lincoln, part of Graveyard Cars featuring the iconic car, and my personal favorites, footage from conventions as well as a Fangoria TV spot! That's just a small fraction! If you're dedicated to this series, this is the end all be all release. I just can't imagine any future set topping this although, if it does, I'm going to be amazed!


Also included in the set (yes, there's more!) are a beautiful poster and a book called "Phantasm Companion" which features interviews with cast and crew. A someone who enjoys the behind the scenes stories and production tales, this book was a fun read and something I couldn't put down.



Do I recommend this set? Absolutely. I can't recommend it enough. The effort put into providing extras, the artwork, the book, the poster, everything is flawless. I know it's still early, but I'm nominating this to be "box set of the year".




One final note, for those who miss our Tall Man, don't worry. The Companion's last line is something we can all appreciate. A beautiful quote from Angus himself. Warning, it may make you cry a bit. I know, after meeting him in 2011, I did. There's never been a convention guest who was such a genuine gentlemen and so appreciative of his fans. I know, despite what the Tall Man may have said, Angus went straight up to Heaven and is looking down and smiling at how many fans are remembering him for generations to come.



Angus, this one's for you...boyyyyyyy!



-Chad

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: Cathy's Curse from Severin Films

Ever see a movie cover/poster that just captivates you? Something you've never seen before and after seeing the art, you can't take your mind off it? It's happened to all of us at video stores in our childhood, sure. These days though, it's a little hard. But thanks to Severin Films, it happened.



See the poster above? That there is Canadian classic Cathy's Curse (alliteration not intended) has been resurrected from obscurity by the friendly folks at Severin for a delightful release. Available in it's uncut form, only seen on bootleg discs and third generation VHS before, the story of a little girl named Cathy (possessed by her dead aunt) intent on killing everyone and anyone who dares gets between her father and her having the perfect relationship, is quite...memorable...to say the least. Now, it sounds like that's a lot of insanity but it gets better.



Cathy's Curse is the Canadian lovechild of Carrie and The Exorcist, but don't let that stop you. Movies that borrow concepts are usually dull and unoriginal. But Cathy's Curse really takes this "possessed children" concept and found a way to put it's own spin on it. I'm sure a lot of people would pass on it but Canuxploitation should never be ignored. It has a certain creative charm that sometimes gets passed over in other productions. The acting, the outrageous scripts, the camera styles, the ambiance. If you see a movie that was made in Canada in the 70s/80s, it was a guaranteed good time.

I really hope this release brings Cathy's Curse more attention and builds a fanbase behind it. This is the kind of movie that will play perfectly with a midnight movie crowd at filmfests such as Hudson Horror or Exhumed. There's a lot to enjoy with a crowd in this movie, a lot of goofs to laugh at and a lot of fun horror to enjoy. I simply cannot recommend this movie highly enough for those in the mood for just a fun horror flick that doesn't take itself too seriously. Cathy is a more than welcome addition to my "killer kids" shelf that also has The Paperboy, Mikey and another Severin release, Bloody Birthday.




So order this great movie (on bluray for the first time!) from Severin Films today!

Monday, April 3, 2017

What I've Been Watching: WB Edition

Goodness, it's been a while since I've sat down to review movies. But no better time than the present! So let's dig in:






FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM:

Truth be told, I'm not a Harry Potter fan but I was super excited to check this out.  The trailers made it look like a lot of fun , which is all I ever ask for in movies, and would provide me with a lot of fun characters to enjoy. Well, thankfully, the trailer was very spot on and I enjoyed this movie.

 I was a bit worried that I'd have trouble following this because I wasn't into the Potter movies but thankfully, I didn't need to be one to fall in love with the creatures, characters, magic and out of this world mayhem involved in this movie. I found it pretty easy to follow the story and no previous knowledge was necessary. I know a lot of people sleep on CGI but if I was to point to an example as to why it works for movies, it would be this movie. So many small details were turned much bigger details. The visuals, the sound, the atmosphere made this movie quite the entertaining and engaging experience.

I definitely can see what makes this "Wizarding Worlds" so fascinating. If this movie is any indication, I'm looking forward to the next movie. And heck, maybe I should go back and check out the Harry Potter movies after-all.


LIVE BY NIGHT:


I'm a big fan of Ben Affleck. I think he's a tremendous acotr and a very skilled director, as proven by his Oscar noms and wins. He has definitely grown from a total bro from Boston to well respected performer by his peers and by the millions of his fans all across the world. He's got a great eye for creating stories involving great characters that are always dealing with internal and external conflicts.

Now that said, I was excited to check Live By Night for all those reasons. The expectations of Affleck as a conflicted gangster really had a lot of potential. Sadly, that potential wasn't there.  The story of Affleck going from bootlegger to gangster in 1920's Boston was based off the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, who also authored Mystic River and Shutter Island. I've never read the novel itself, but I have to believe the movie was vastly different than the book.

The aspects I did enjoy from the movie were pretty simple. I love a movie that takes place in the 1920s. I can't explain it but I do. And this movie nailed that perfectly. The cars, the language, the costumes, everything. Definitely a high spot. The score for this movie delivered a terrific soundtrack for an otherwise bland movie.

Ben Affleck really tried his hardest but in the end, this movie was just a small bump in the road. I'd love to see Affleck stretch his directing chops. He's done it all in Hollywood and I don't think this can stop him. And as a fan, I'll be in line for his next movie.

(PS-Doesn't Ben kinda look like Dick Tracy in that poster?)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Celebrating Batman And Robin

Ya know guys, I get asked all the time one major question: "Chad, when are you gonna do a blog post on your favorite Batman movie?". Wow. You're right. I just haven't covered it like I've wanted to. When you think about it, there's only so much time in the day, that sometimes we get distracted and lose sight of what's important.

And to be quite honest with you, the real reason, I got into blogging was to eventually give this movie it's just due. I know, I know. Everyone says it's their favorite superhero movie of all time and it's very easy to see why. If you were around in 1997, it was the golden age of superhero films. Steel, Spawn,  Star Kid, and of course that amazing Justice League TV movie. But one beats them all out. One stands above and beyond as the greatest depiction of Gotham City's finest. One changed all our lives and the superhero game forever. Yes, fans. I must be referring to...BATMAN AND ROBIN.


Released in 1997, I was 14 and still on that unbelievable Batman Forever high. In my mind, this movie couldn't fail. The weeks leading up to seeing this in the theater was downright painful. All I could think about Batman and Robin. Everywhere I turned, there it was. Staring me in the face. KB Toys had the toys on their racks, Taco Bell was offering cups and a special promotional giveaway, TV spots, posters, everything...I couldn't take it. Then. My day came. I saw it. In the same theater I had seen the previous two Batman movies. It became an accidental tradition to see any Batman movie in the same place. And let me tell you, after walking out of that theater, I rushed right back to the box office to get myself another ticket. I couldn't believe it. Finally, we got Batman as he was meant to be! I felt like I was in Gotham City the entire time and these characters were almost real! No one phoned in their performance. Not. Once. Let's take a quick look at what is widely regarded as the greatest movie ever released!



Oh the joy I heard when they finally decided to get themselves a truly great Bruce Wayne. For years, the Batman series had been hampered down by just medium level actors such as Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer who didn't truly understand what it meant to be the Dark Knight. I mean, what kind of line is "I'm Batman"? Come on, WB! We're smarter than that! We deserved an actor who personified humor and the lightheartedness of Batman we all grew up with from the Adam West TV show! Georgie C is the greatest actor of our time who can adapt to any role, so playing the greatest modern warrior, was simple for him. I'm sure the studio was eager to start counting their money even before the movie was released.

Robin. Well, I gotta tell ya, wasn't blown away. Even to this day, Burt Ward personified Robin as he should be. Loud, obnoxious and ready and willing to drop his sassy catchphrase "Holy ..." at any moment. Chris O Donnell just played a bland, rebelious teenager. I mean, come on. That's not what Robin was! I wanted to see a cheesy  Robin who yelled and screamed and was easily defeated. As great as this movie was, Robin was definitely the low point. But that's ok. I mean, following Burt Ward's footsteps is no easy task. I'll give him credit for trying.

Teen heartthrob and logical choice for Batgirl, Alicia Silverstone, was fresh off the success of Clueless and finally landed the role she was born to be. Not since Yul Brynner as a robotic cowboy in Westworld, has there been such a perfect casting. Yvonne Craig totally bored people in the TV series as Batgirl and delivered the most yawn inducing performance I have ever seen. She just put absolutely no effort into the role. But Alicia? She was vibrant, sassy, and let her personally shine through like I've never seen before and the likes of which I'll probably never see again. Whether she was beating Poison Ivy or riding her BatgirlCycle, this is no doubt how Bill Finger imagined Batgirl to be when he created her. Yvonne surely could've taken a lesson or two on what the character truly means with Alicia's dry delivery.


Look out, Terrific Trio and make some room for the bad guys! By now, every movie had two villains. Not this one. We got THREE! YES! Finally, WB knows what we want! Let's take a look.


Remember that lamewad Bane from the Dark Knight Rises? The one that just sits around and talks about Wall Street and how bad rich people are? Peee-yuuuu! What a terrible, terrible waste of celluloid! I mean, Bane doesn't talk. He just lumbers around and shouts while he breaks walls and throws things! Jeep Swenson gave that to us in spades. The former pro wrestler put on his greatest performance while he played Posion Ivy's own person Frankenstein. It almost felt like Bane was a real person and could be almost sympathized with. I'm just sad to see him revert back to his skinny nerd after a grueling and almost deadly battle with Robin and Batgirl. But, you win some, you lose some.



Ever notice how Poison Ivy hasn't been put in any Batman movie since this one? Because they, smartly, decided that no one can truly fit into Uma Thurman's green tights. I don't know about you, but when I think of the seductive villainess, I think of Uma. Gorgeous and smart enough to take over Gotham, one kiss at a time. And that hairdo. Yowza! I know I can't take my eyes off the screen when she waltzes by!



Finally, Mr. Freeze. Arnold Schwarzenegger received top billing and rightfully so. Once again, one of the biggest stars in cinema history and one of the greatest depictions of a Batman villain ever seen. If you can ignore the boring Mr. Freeze from that lame Batman: The Animated Series for a second, as it will just tarnish your image of the cool villain, you'll actually enjoy this. Whether it's his hulking costume, his fantastic accent that I know I always wanted Freeze to have or his hilarious one-liners, I can't imagine anyone ever playing Mr. Freeze again. Arnold owned this role and if we get Freeze in another movie, I demand we get the master of cinema to return to his chilling role. One can only hope.



I'm so glad Batman and Robin was made and we're able sit here and discuss the lasting impact of what is no doubt DC's finest hour. I don't know about you, but I feel like sitting down with a big plate of Taco Bell and drink out of my old Batman And Robin cups while watching this classic slice of neon colored cinema!

...Stay...cool!

-Chad

Sunday, March 26, 2017

5 GREAT VHS From Team Hellions and The VHS Bandits Podcast!

I've been heavy in the vhs-trading game lately. The thrift stores around me haven't been as kind as I would've hoped but thanks to rad guys at the VHS Bandits Podcast and my blogging brother Kevin over at Team Hellions I've been able to satiate my hunger for new and fresh tapes. Because sometimes coming after work to a big package of tapes, is just the happiest feeling in the world. It's like Christmas!

So let's dig in!




TOXIC CRUSADERS



As a young Tromaniac, I'd always look forward to the Toxic Crusaders after school. What's not to love about the Toxic Avenger and a gang of ugly, mutated superhero parodies who also break the fourth wall? I was already on board, having seen Toxic Avenger part 3 by age 8, I was already a fan of anything Toxie. I  didn't get the action figures until I was much older but that didn't stop me from enjoying this show. The cartoon was seen as a lower tiered Ninja Turtles but really stands on it's own. It's colorful, it makes fun of itself, it has fun one-liners, and best of all? Appearances by Lloyd Kaufman as himself! The cartoon was really clever and holds up to this day. If you pop this in now and I bet you'd laugh. Which is what Uncle Lloyd would want!




I haven't watched this tape but I certainly couldn't resist it's charm. First, it's a Cannon movie, so I already know it's gonna be memorable for maybe the wrong reasons. Second, Ann-Margaret and Roy Schieder as a married couple. Third, John Glover. Yes, Daniel Clamp is in it. I took the stance a long time ago that no matter what it is, John Glover will always be great in it. May I present Meet The Hollowheads as proof? It's a great cast and I'm sure a lot of goofy nonsense. I can't wait to pop this in.  The whole reason I collect VHS tapes is to discover new movies I've never seen before and I'm looking forward to this one.

Oh plus, I'm a sucker for anything MEDIA released. That's a sexy logo too. Meow!

WAIT RON JEREMY IS IN IT TOO?!?!?!


 TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2:



Another Cannon Films production/MEDIA release, and boy does it show. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 isn't even in the same level as the first TCM. In fact, it's not even a slasher. It's just  just a big goofy tribute to Leatherface and his whacked out mutant family. The VIP of the movie is, without a doubt, horror icon Bill Moseley who plays the vulgar Chop Top who has one of the best lines in horror "LICK MY PLATE YOU DOG DICK!". It's just good, fun 1980's horror at it's best. If I could marry this movie, I would.



976-EVIL:



This movie was actually the directing debut of Robert Englund, who you may recognize as the dreamy teen heartthrob, Freddy Krueger. A story about a hotline that gives super natural powers to those who dial those 7 magical numbers. Sound silly? Of course, it sounds a silly. But in it's silliness is some fun stuff. The best? When Stephen Geoffreys (Ed from Fright Night) begins to transform into some weird wolfman/satanic creature hybrid. I can't suggest this movie enough. It has the best of everything I truly adore about 1980's horror. Right down to the bully with a skunk stripe in his hair:


Oh and for the record, this release of the movie is the complete version. If you're a completist and have to have the full cut, bypass the DVD and hope and pray that someday Scream Factory or Arrow decide to release it. I know I do.

Every.

Night.



SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT:



Sure, I love the second one, but this is plain and simple one of the finest slashers you'll ever witness. First off, the premise of a Santa murdering people is on level with clowns killing people. The kills were clever, the story was great and the acting is at hammy all time high! Sure this movie got some insane sequels, but nothing comes close to watching a loon dressed like Santa impaling someone through antler horns.


Oh...and it's also responsible for one of my all time songs from any movie ever "Warm Side of the Door", which also doubles as a nice entry on my Christmas playlist.




So what about you? Got any fun tapes on deck for tonight?


-Chad

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Village Gate Toy Show March 2017 Report!

Last week meant some hot Monster Mania action, but today meant some straight up toy hunting. That must mean one thing: THE VILLAGE GATE TOY SHOW.


Yeah, I forgot to take a photo of the interior of the show, that's on me. But as a more than fair trade, here's an old magazine featuring Dolly Parton on the cover.


Monster Mania provided some great and surprising temptations in the vendor room but this show is nothing but a gigantic nostalgic trip. Toys from your childhood at every turn. A lot of price gouging but more times than most, bargains out the wazoo! There has never been one of these shows where I've walked away empty handed. It's usually something I've been looking for or, more surprising, something I never knew existed. Today was no different. Let's take a quick gander, shall we?

MY PET MONSTER BOOK:

This wasn't a pick up but local Rochester legend Tony Karakashian actually gifted it to me! The delightful almost-origin story of Monster is a must own for any MPM collectors. I'd love to go more into detail, but I'm saving it for later. You'll thank me later.


HEAVY TRAFFIC BETA:



The first item I picked up was the release of my favorite Ralph Bakshi movie. While owning it on bluray would be the best way to watch this animation classic, owning a BETA copy wasn't something I wanted to pass up. No, I don't have a BETA machine but it's such a flawless package and tape itself! How could I say no?


DRINKWARE:


There's a longtime vendor who specializes in drinking glasses with cartoon or movie characters. So many glasses from Masters of the Universe to MASH to WWF and everything in between. My fiance Laurie is a lifelong Super Mario devotee so she simply had to had to have it. So I bought it for her and she was overjoyed. Which is just one piece! There's a taller glass and a beer mug to be found to complete this drinkware collection. Hopefully sooner than later, the entire set will be completed!


So in return, she picked me up that sweet Batman 89 glass, which I've been eyeballing for a while now! I kinda wanna drink out of it, but that graphic is just so perfect, I'd be terrified of dropping it or it would rub off. One thing is for sure, it looks great in my Batman 89 collection.

The Alf mug. Well, even as a lifelong Alf collector, I can honestly say I have never seen it before. The second I saw it, I knew I had to have it. My google results showed nothing. No way was I walking out without it. So thankfully, my bartering skills were on point and I picked it up for a low price. Oh and I'm totally soaking it and cleaning it to use. No way can I pass up eating a sandwich for lunch while drinking Ecto Cooler out of this!



SUPER POWERS MICRO FIGURES:


 The local wrestling group up in Rochester always has a table to sell some great stuff. Best of all? They're willing to do trades! I had some Funko ReActions that one of the guys had wanted. So what was one of the items that caught my eye? Super Powers Micro Figures. Yes! This SDCC exclusive set from Gentle Giant is a must own. Super Powers is one of my all time favorite toy lines so I simply had to add this to my collection.

Note the figures are actually based on the same molds Kenner used in 1984. Gentle Giant even released giant figures of the same line, a practice they also used for the original Masters of The Universe. Check them out, they're very much worth your time.



REAL GHOSTBUSTERS CARRYING CASE:



My personal favorite of the haul. As my friend Brandon said "what are you gonna do? Carry your figures around in a zip lock bag?". He makes a darn fine point. Carrying cases were a favorite of those kids who had to have every figure and accessory intact. That and very anal parents who got tired of stepping on them.



The trays are in great shape with no crackling, which is a common issue for these. Not only do they hold the figures in fashion, but look like a giant tv dinner tray in doing so. It also doesn't help that Janine looks like a big blob of bubblegum and Luis looks like a fruit roll up. But, despite that, it's still a great carrying case.

Even a nicer touch to this? Egon looks more like Janine or Jillian Holtzman than Egon. Which, if you recall Holtzman's look was inspired Egon's look in the cartoon...



Ok, ok. I know it's a coincidence but at this point, it's become a giant paradox and I'm afraid if I continue, I'll fall into a black hole filled with cartoon characters that don't quite resemble what they should. Ever see those goofy knockoff Bart Simpson shirts? That's what I'm fearing...


So the Village Gate Toy Show was a rousing success and I look forward to the next one in December. I certainly hope you'll join me!


-Chad

To check out some of my previous adventures, check here:

December 2016
March 2016
March 2014