Monday, December 31, 2012

Finding Eric Freeman

I've discovered over the past few years that notoriously reclusive actor Eric Freeman(star of Silent Night Deadly Night 2) wants nothing to do with acting, being famous and/or anything to do with his past as Ricky Caldwell. In fact, when it came to recording audio commentary for the dvd in 2003, the producers said they couldn't find him and had no clue where he was. It seemed he was either in hiding or dead.

In the years since discovering this story, I've become fascinated by this. I've also attempted to search for him via many websites and gather as much info as I could. I am, of course, a huge fan of the SNDN series and just as a fan I'd love to know his whereabouts. But, as I said, every time someone thinks they have a good lead, it turns into a dead end. And it's pretty easy to see why. When one simple scene in a low budget horror movie becomes your entire cult of personality, as well as a worldwide, internet joke, it's understandable why you'd wish to ignore the rest of the world. Heck, that would drive me insane!

So, in the past few years it's become more and more obvious that Eric is hiding out somewhere away from the limelight. Fans have tried everything in their power to hunt him down for no other reason but to beg to hear his famous line "Garbage Day". In fact, one fan found it his duty to call everyone with the last name "Freeman" in North Carolina. Finally, after being threatened with legal action by the wife of what he thought was Freeman's wife, he concluded his search with a question mark at the end still looming...

Quite frankly, I don't think Eric Freeman wishes to be found. His story isn't even an interesting one. He just happened to play in a horrible sequel to a great movie. It was by chance. But, for some reason, fans are inspired and obsessed with finding him. Maybe Eric's alive. Maybe he's not. Maybe he's in India. Maybe he's your next door neighbor. Maybe he's the owner of a successful business. Either way, this seems to be one Hollywood Story that may never be solved...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Is Almost Here!

Well, it's almost that time! Just a mere 5 days away from the big day, Thanksgiving! I sure as heck can't wait. As much as I love Halloween with all my heart and enjoy the festivities, there's just something so much fun about sitting around with the family, eating some great food and watching some football(Although, if my Bears aren't playing, I could care less.). Now, Thanksgiving isn't the biggest holiday, but spending time with the family is the best way to spend any holiday in my mind. And plus, I love to eat. So filling up my plate with a big old turkey leg, mashed potatoes and gravy, garlic bread, veggies and some cranberry sauce is also a great way to spend ANY holiday! :) And rumor has it, I'll even be making some Oreo creme pie for dessert!

This will be our(Laurie and I) first Thanksgiving in our new apartment. And it's definitely something we've been looking forward to for quite some time. Especially since we worked so hard to get our first apartment in the last two years. This is also my first Thanksgiving since moving to Rochester from Maryland. And while it's no doubt going to be hectic and fun, it will be absolutely worth it. It should be one for the record books! And who knows, we may even do Black Friday. We could use a TV for the bedroom.

Also, let's not forget! A favorite tradition of mine will continue: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be aired on ABC both Wednesday night and Thanksgiving Thursday.  The cherished 1 hour special will air 8 pm each night, giving plenty of time to let your dinner settle and enough time to calm down after the craziness. And what better way to relax then with a Peanuts special? You know I'll be looking forward to it, despite proudly owning the Peanuts Holiday Collection. There's just something very special about watching it on broadcast TV.

With that said, I hope each and every one of you has the best, happiest and safest Thanksgiving with you and your loved ones! Enjoy! And save me a drumstick...and some mashed potatoes...oh and some cranberry sauce! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Return of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Just a quickie: I want to write this entry and say how great it is to see Nickelodeon bringing back the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, a whole new generation gets to experience the enjoyment that we all felt as we grabbed our Ninja Turtles figures and sat in front of the TV and watched those 4 radical Turtles take on Shredder and the Foot Clan!

I've been able to sit down and check out the new cartoon. If you haven't checked it out, do yourself a favor and do so. It's pretty fun to watch and well done as far as the animation itself. And don't forget about the new figures as well! No, they're not the originals, but Playmates definitely improved on the designs and even added great articulation. And it looks like they're also expanding on characters in the TMNT universe, new and old. In fact, expect a review and tribute to one of my all time favorite TMNT characters, MetalHead soon.

The new series of Ninja Turtles! Grab them while you can!

So, if you want to have a little fun that reminds you of the glory days of your childhood, check out Ninja Turtles every Saturday at 11 am on Nickelodeon! Even better, it's the return of a fun Saturday morning cartoon!


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Reliving Past Shenanigans

So yesterday I discussed my love of Halloween related treats. Today I want to discuss something else close to my heart: Conventions.

I've been attending conventions and shows since 1994. That year I got to play tag-along with my friend Ryan who was attending the local "Small Press Xpo" in Bethesda, MD. The convention focused on independent comics done by underground artists. I had never been exposed to indie comics before; I was a slave to the Marvel, DC, and Image machines at the time. I picked up a few comics by local artists. I lost them later but the impact of attending a show like this stayed with me to this day.

Over the following years, I would attend every and any kind of convention in the book. Perhaps the biggest convention to happen to me at the time was my first out of town trip with Ryan yet again. Ironically, it was to Rochester, NY for Botcon, a convention dedicated to Transformers. Ryan had gotten me into Transformers in the past few years and I jumped at the chance to take a trip to an overnight convention and a new city I've never been. This convention is still running today and I had a great time. My first overnight trip was a huge success and I walked away with a lot of memories. I actually would return to Botcon 2001, a little wiser and more mature than my first trip. The convention was located downtown at the Riverside Convention Center right on the water. And I can tell you that 15 years later, everytime I pass the convention center, the memories overwhelm me.

In 1998, I'd attend an anime convention, dedicated to Japanese animation. Once again, with Ryan in tow. I always had an interest in anime, but not enough to really warrant attending anime conventions for the next few years. I learned a lot about the convention circuit and the differences between how anime fans and comic fans or even Transformers view things and even act and interact. I actually kinda enjoyed attending anime conventions for a couple years but with my interest in the medium waning, it was time to stop. Other than running with a group called "The Lou World order" and "feuding" with a Transformers fan group called "WiiGii" and their leader David Willis(note how I emphasized the word feuding. It was nothing more than us thinking we were bigger than we really were. it was pretty stupid and it made us look super dumb.), traveling to new towns and being banned from a convention alltogether, anime conventions were somewhat of a low point for me. Although learning about how to plan for conventions and the traveling, I look at most of my experiences in the days of anime fandom and cringe.

Without a doubt the biggest convention scene to impact my life would be the world of horror movie conventions. After years of stalling, I bit the bullet and attended my first Chiller Theatre, a convention located in(at that time) East Rutherford, NJ. in April 2004. It was pretty exciting. Once again, the first time in a new city is always a big pull for me. The big draw was the cast of the 1966 Batman TV series, a show that holds a lot of emotional value. Meeting Adam West, Julie Newmar and Frank Gorshin was huge for me. And being a lifelong horror fan, the appeal of a horror convention was monumental. The only other guest I remember getting excited for was one of my all time favorite wrestlers and a guy that reminds me of my late father, Rowdy Roddy Piper. For my first show, Chiller was stacked. I had a great time meeting the guests and the fans. I was instantly hooked. I would attend another Chiller in October 2005 and that convention was even more fun. I have yet to return to Chiller, but in the meantime I'd say I've been doing fine for myself.

While I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for Chiller for being my first horror convention, Monster Mania, a show located outside Philadelphia in Cherry Hill, NJ., has been very good to me. I first became aware in 2003 after reading about an exclusive Fred Krueger(pre-burned) figure being sold at the show. Naturally this was the summer of Freddy vs. Jason and Freddy was back in the spotlight. After discovering this figure, I had to get the details and throught he legendary Fangoria Forums, I discovered Monster Mania. After planning and planning, I finally made my Monster Mania debut in 2008 for Monster Mania 10. Just like my experience at Chiller, I was blown away. And oddly enough, Roddy Piper was a guest at my first Monster Mania. My following Monster Mania experiences would be just as amazing. I'd meet some of my all time favorite Hollywood icons including Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund, Corey Feldman, Heather Langenkamp, Lance Henriksen, Anthony Michael Hall Malcolm McDowell, the cast of the Boondock Saints, Kane Hodder, Linnea Quigley, Gary Busey and so many countless others. Probably my favorite convention was meeting the entire cast of my favorite Elm Street installment, "Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child". i even got to dine with a few stars at a local bar and grill down the road. It was great. Had you told me that 'd be having dinner and drinks with Joe "Mark Grey" Seely and Lisa "Alice Johnson" Wilcox, I'd never believe you. Meeting the stars and hearing their stories has always been a true draw for me. In fact, had you told me as a child I'd meet the man behind the lethal glove, Robert Englund, I'd call you crazy.

Aside from meeting all these great guests, I've also made many fantastic relationships come from my love of convention going. I quickly learned that Monster Mania is not just a convention, but it's a family. I've made so many great friends over the years. I've met my girlfriend of two years(as of this writing), Laurie at the first MM in Hunt Valley, MD. in 2010. I've also met someone who would become one of my best friends, Chris Behringer through this convention. Through the many shows I've attended, I usually leave with at least one new friend. Out of all the shows I've attended, Monster Mania may be the one I'm most loyal too. And that's not a bad thing. It's a fun show and it's a show I'm very grateful for attending.

In between my years of Chiller and Monster Mania I took a small break. My shows scaled down. I attended New York Comic Con with Ryan for his 25th birthday in 2007. But it was in 2006 that I attended my first wrestling convention. I attended a special "NWA Capitol Legends Fanfest", a show that revolved around the glory days of wrestling. In the DC Metro Area for only one summer(it normally stays in Charlotte, NC every year), it featured stars of the old NWA, WCW, WWF and TNA. It was pretty awesome being a lifelong wrestling fan seeing my favorites just waltz on by me. I got to hear stories and meet friends and fans. I made friends that would stick with me to today, including my friends Carlucci, Crans and JDub. It was a nice entry into the world of wrestling conventions. But my mind would be blown in just a little over a year when I'd attend Signamania.

Signamania is a show right outside Philadelphia run by the great staff at George's Cards and Collectibles. A show that welcomes all fans of all ages to come and meet their favorite stars from all eras. My best friend Andrew and I have attended many Signamania's since 2008 and have met so many of our favorite stars that we grew up admiring including Diamond Dallas Page, Mean Gene Okerlund, The Hart Foundation, the Dudley Boys, Val Venis, Kevin Nash and so many more. In fact if you've never heard Mean Gene tell jokes and stories over a a few beers in the bar, you've never lived. Wrestling shows are definitely a favorite of mine. And being a lifelong fan of horror and wrestling seem to have proved why I enjoy their respective conventions the most.

Conventions have always been a huge part of my life and I love attending. They've always been a sort of "light at the end of the tunnel" for me. It gives me something to look forward to and for one weekend I can let my freak flag fly. This year I attended a few toy shows, but no huge conventions. I'm ok with that. After 18 years, I need a break! Laurie and I, however, are looking forward to returning to Monster Mania in march 2013. This show will ring in Monster Mania's tenth anniversary and I have no doubt that it will be monster-ously huge!


For fun, here's some of my all time favorite photos from my recent years:

Anthony Michael Hall and I at the bar, reminiscing about Tales From The Crypt.

An awesome Batman and I at New York Comic Con 2007!

My friend Chris Behringer, a model and Jason!

The late great David Hess and I. 

My best friend Andrew, the mighty Brivan, me and Sean Carlucci.

Raven and I at the ECW Reunion.

Can you tell how stoked I was to meet the legendary Lance Henriksen. 

Malcolm McDowell is NOT a fan of my mom. lmao!

The Icon Roddy Piper!

What more can I say...He is the man! Robert Englund himself! 

A longtime crush for me, Miss Heather Langenkamp.


One of the greatest icons of horror, TOM ATKINS.

BATMAN. ADAM WEST. What better way to close out this entry?

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Love Of Being A Halloween Fatty!

Halloween season is now in full effect. Sure, September helped kick it off. But today is October's crunch time, people. Preparing for Halloween is always fun for me. I'm a firm believer in having fun in everything you do in life, so Halloween is no different. I've always loved Halloween. It's just a fun feeling, especially as a horror movie fan and those young at heart. it's fun to be able o let your freak flag fly, dress up and indulge in the fun of the season. And lets face it, who doesn't love free candy!

Halloween officially kicks off that end of the year holiday season that some of us dread and some of us love. It's right around that time of year where the weather gets a little chilly and that great Autumn smell is in the air. And who doesn't love having a bonfire with your friends while rocking your favorite hoodie? Halloween also gives us great special themed episodes of our favorite shows, horror movies being shown on every channel and kids are getting super excited about their costumes. Something I always get excited about is when food companies put their own personal stamp on Halloween. When they start rolling out their favorite treats in Halloween colors and related iconography. Bats, witches, pumpkins, vampires and more! Everything from Oreos to Cadbury Creme Eggs to our favorite cereals! My personal favorite though, is the subject of tonight's blog entry...

I give you the Hostess SCARY CAKES! Yes! These simple little orange frosted cupcakes ring in every Halloween season for me. Usually accompanied by a similarly orange-adorned SnoBalls, called GloBalls, these come out every Halloween season as a special treat for the spookiest time of year. It's selling point was usually the packaging featuring a generic Halloween scene and it's "S'Cream Filling". A selling point no other cupcake can offer.

I first fell in love with these when I began working in the public schools in 2003. It seemed every other night, I was picking these up after I discovered an article on my all time favorite site, X-Entertainment. I found  the fact that the cupcakes were specially made out to celebrate my favorite holiday very enticing. After that year and every year following, I always waited with anticipation for my favorite treat. And whenever I saw them, my heart would skip a beat. They just look so much fun and taste delicious. A few years back though, it seemed as if the orange and black design was ignored in favor for promotions surrounding DC Comics and the movie "Monsters and Aliens". But after a few years of sitting on the bench, the classic look is back.

Here's some pics of packaging and the varieties they've come to us throughout the years. On a personal note, my favorite is The Munsters packaging. As a lover of all things Munsters and Hostess cupcakes, why wouldn't it be!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Memories of Marketplace

So, there's no real way I can start this blog entry. I'm not a professional writer. I'm not a author. I'm not a journalist. I'm just someone who likes to write what he feels and what comes from the heart, no matter  how silly and trivial or even as major and emotional it may come off as. And today's blog entry is kind of a mixture of Column A and Column B. Ya see, for the past 15 years or so a certain part of my life has been slowly corroding and fading away. And it's been pretty sad...

The building you see above is a former shopping mall called "Marketplace Mall". It's location is in Bowie, MD. which is a rather busy city in the DC Metro Area. It once housed many businesses and many places to eat and spots for all to enjoy. being a child of the 80s and 90s, I spent a lot of time here when it was in full effect. There wasn't one vacant spot when it was at it's peak and the mall was usually full of people. But it seemed that the mid 90s was the final chapter for this long standing mall, a mall that had been serving the Bowie area for a little over 30 years(you'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge on it's exact dates) until Bowie Town Center moved in put Marketplace into submission.

While I don't have exact information or even a lot of photos of this mall when it was thriving, I do have photos of it's current state from a great website called which you can visit at Bowie Living(photos credited to  Bowie Living.). And with those photos I wish to tell a story, share my memories and let you know why this mall meant so much to me.

While I can't paint a perfect picture of the mall, I'm going to try. The mall had a lot of stuff for a young kid to do. A video store, a dollar store, a comic store, a pizza place, a movie theater, an arcade, and a fun playplace called "Sportsland" where I had my 11th birthday. All these components made a perfect place for me to be as a kid. I had such a variety of spots to hit while my mother, who would take me there almost every other weekend to get her hair done amongst other things, shopped around. Yep. It was perfection. Now, it's size lent it a bad hand. Compared to the Annapolis Mall, this was a shopping plaza. And much like any other shopping mall, stores came and went, but the impact on me lasted forever.

Perhaps the longest lasting memory I have is within it's movie theater. While other movie theaters populated the area, this one will always hold a special place in my life.

For my 4th birthday, my father took me(as a surprise) to see the big screen debut of my childhood hero, He-Man in "Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture". When I finally realized what was happening, I was floating on air. I got to see my favorite cartoon hero with my real life hero on the big screen for my birthday. What more could I ask for? It was terrific! I got super wrapped up into the movie that I even began cheering for He-Man very loudly and most likely annoyed the older crowd in the theater. After the film, I came out of the theater bouncing as floating on air. This proved to be one of my earliest memories of my life and a very important point in my life as my father would pass away two years later. I'll forever hold this moment, movie and birthday in my heart. I'd see many movies after this, but none as important. The movie theatre would shut down completely in 1999.

You can see the remnants of the old comic store and karate place.

Years later, I'd heavily fall into the comic book game and fandom. Collecting comics was a big hobby and a very profitable. And of course, many comic stores popped up to accommodate the growing interest of the big comic boom of the late 80s to late 90s. Outside of the mall was a comic store that also dealt in sports collectibles. I remember the owners very vividly being a couple of naive, rude hillbillies. The comic store was a fun spot to hit, especially when new issues would come out every week. And while the owners were not too kind to deal with, the stock and variety was worth it. Trading cards, action figures, sports memorabilia and many other things peppered the store.  In 1998, things went from fun to horrible. The hillbilly couple that owned the store, seemed to devote the entire store to nothing but Beanie Babies. The normal stock remained, but they refused to order anything else but those obnoxious Beanie Babies. However, this was the point in time when Beanie Babies ran the country and everyone was going insane over them. Why? Who knows. Eventually, within a few months, they drowned in their stock of the stupid novelty plush toys and went out of business. A sad end to a really cool store.

Sportsland was another tenant that I hold to a high degree. Sportsland opened in the mid 90s, I want to say maybe 1993 or 1994. It was a real fun place that resembled a family-fun center that had go-carts, arcades, a ball pit, a rock climbing wall and lazer tag. My fondest memory here is both my 11th birthday and my friend Ryan's birthday. My friend Ryan's birthday was spent here and I was the star, ironically. We had a game of lazer tag which involved about 10 people. In the lazer tag arena, there were barrels sprawled across the room. I decided that I wished to become to the MVP of the game(they'd give you a spreadsheet listing who was the best, worst and so on), so long story short, I got stuck in a barrel and it took them a good twenty minutes to get me out. It may not be the most proud moment of my life, but Ryan and I still get a laugh out of it to this day.

There were other stores, as I had mentioned. A Ben Franklin Craft store was at one corner, while a Peebles and CVS at other points. A Mr. Chicken dealt out friend chicken like you wouldn't believe, while a small time pizza place right across the movie theatre whipped up a perfect slice of you-know-what in no time. A Music and Arts store, which dealt with musical instrument rentals was also a very familiar spot for me, only because i could never make up my mind on what I wanted to preform in school. I used to take lessons in the store's rehearsal spaces. The Safeway, which is the only remaining store, anchored and has always been a big part of the mall. But, Safeway now looks like a senior in high school that got held back about 5 times: very awkward and sticking out like a sore thumb.

The final tenant of a once great mall.

Around 1999 or 2000, most of the tenants were simply memories fading away. The movie theatre was gone thanks to a movie theatre up the road with a much more advanced setup, stadium seats, technology and many more theaters. The stores slowly exited as well. More and more tenants slowly left. By 2001, it was all over for Marketplace. Just miles away, a new "Bowie Town Center" opened. An open air shopping center with the most stylish and popular stores that make any of the stores remaining in Marketplace look like a mere flea market. by now, many residents were wondering how and when the mall would have it's plug pulled. This mall went from a fun place to go to a dead mall that quickly needed a mercy killing. And it seems that a lot of crime and young kids have gotten into the mall to deface it with graffiti amongst other things. Most of the doors and windows have been boarded and bolted.

The exit from the movie theater.

In the past few years, many theories have come out on how to renovate or replace the shallow and dark shell of Marketplace. Finally, it's been announced that Marketplace will be demolished this coming summer and will eventually be replaced with a new shopping center.

Now call me stubborn or stuck in my ways or whatever, but no matter what is going to replace Marketplace in it's absence, it won't be the same. I won't be able to share the same moments and memories that I once held in this former shopping mall, but I'd rather have "loved and lost than never have loved at all". And that sums up my feelings and my love for this former mall. I guess I speak for anyone who spent time in Marketplace by saying that when it goes down, it will be for the best. It's best that something new goes up than just staring at an old reminder of better times, I suppose.