Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Eric Freeman: A Horror Movie BBQ Exclusive

Since March, I've been holding onto information that most people have wanted to know. And it's been very difficult for me to share it for a variety of reasons. But, finally, I'm presenting the second and final part of "Finding Freeman".

Back in May, I wrote an entry called "Finding Freeman: Found?" where I teased that maybe, just maybe, supposedly lost actor of the famed Silent Night Deadly Night 2, Eric Freeman had been found. It's been a good 7 months since that article and quite frankly there's a few things that need to be revealed:

First. In early march, I received an email out of the blue from someone claiming to be Eric Freeman. Now, I was skeptical at first. Anyone can pull this "I'm a famous person" on the internet these days and it can lead to problems. But I was intrigued. And quite frankly, I've spent a lot of time and effort on this so I took a risk to find out if it was him. Here's the email I received:

"A friend of mine told me about your site some time ago.He told me his brother was trying to put some pictures of me up on your site and no one believed him. When I look at some of my clips from that movie, I dont recognize myself. I am not ashamed of that movie,Truth be told, I was trained with the mindset of less is more. I was a good actor before that project and all the work that followed. I do regret not paying attention to my instincts and instead listening to Lee saying "give me more"  and all of those urgings from Joe Earle to go over the top.I wasnt  born in No. Carolina and Wikipedia has it all ass backwards. What can you do now.All this bullshit talk over the years, Where is he. Did he die of embarrassment. They should pull his Sag card .Fuck you. It's actually simple, Life happened when I was making plans. It is so strange to see this movie still has a following, Little kids to this day run up to me and ask if I ever did a horror film. My friend and I were laughing at the thought of ricky having a comeback. He's been in an insane asylum for the last twenty years.If you would like to write me ,feel free. Take care, Eric"

Skeptical? Sure you are. But like I said, I was curious and I've wanted closure since discovering this. The worst case scenario would be it wasn't him and I was being played as a fool. But I had to pursue. After a few more emails, "Eric" gave me his phone number and told me to call him and he'd be willing to answer any questions I had regarding SNDN 2. Well, this got a little more interesting.

So, I sat on this number for a few hours. In between doing laundry and organizing the apartment, I decided to just go for it and give him a call. Nervously, I dialed the number and I can tell you that I've never been so nervous waiting for someone to pick up on the other line. In fact, asking out my middle school crush wasn't as nerve wracking as this was.

Someone picked up. Could it be him?

I introduced myself and gave my little spiel. This person then went onto formally introduce himself as Eric Freeman, famed slasher movie obscure legend. His voice sounded a tad bit like the Ricky character we saw in Silent Night Deadly Night 2 that we've been watching since 1987 and within a good two minutes of us talking, I could tell it was him.

We started talking about the blog entries I wrote and my motivation behind them. We also discussed the Facebook group that was run by Eric's friend from high school who found it funny the internet was making a huge deal out of a small comment on a dvd commentary. Eric told me that he found it hysterical that there was such a huge fanbase regarding this movie considering the movie was pretty screwed from the start and how he was just a normal guy that just stopped working in the movie and tv business.

So the important question had to be asked: If the comment on the dvd commentary was true, just what happened to him and his career?

According to Eric, he just became burnt out. Plain and simple. He felt he was going as far as he was going to go in the entertainment business and just didn't care to pursue future projects. Apparently bad experiences and projects that never came to fruition helped him cement his decision (including a sitcom on NBC that was halted due to the late 80s writers strike).

That's it. Nothing shocking or exciting. Just a guy who didn't care to continue acting. No muss, no fuss. But why was there a comment made by director Lee Harry in which he claims they couldn't find him? Eric said he was just so out of the scene that no one had his number and no one bothered to even try to look for him. According to him, he didn't even get the DVD of the release.

Discussing the production of the film was extra fun for me. I've been a fan of it for years and to hear the stories was pretty darn cool. Eric's statement was that the production was screwed from the start and director Lee Harry gave him little to no direction on what to do as far as his character, his motivation, so on, so on. Further corresponsdance with Mr. Harry via Facebook resulted in this quote:

"He's right about the production being screwed from the start; chalk that up to low-budget filmmaking! And I don't disagree about my direction of him or any of the other actors; I was more concerned with camera placement and having something to cut together later! We all made rookie-mistakes. There were no crew shirts or wrap party or much of anything in the way of extras on the shoot. When I got the call from Anchor Bay about doing a commentary, I had only remained in contact with Joe Earle and Jim Newman (Dr. Bloom). None of us had heard from Eric in years and would have loved to have him involved in the DVD. I did receive a copy which I would gladly give to Eric if/when I see him again. I bought one of the Fright Rags tee-shirts online and wear it proudly."

Something I found interesting was Eric claiming the ending to the movie was vastly different. Instead of just chopping Mother Superior in half, Eric suggested the end involving chopping the door down, tackling Mother Superior (I compared it to pro wrestler Goldberg preforming the Spear in which he tackles someone and knocking the person down) out of her chair.

Eric, continued saying that his interest in the movie has waned due to not receiving even a VHS copy of its initial release and there was not even a crew shirt or any promo items given to crew whatsoever. I brought up the Fright Rags shirt recently released and he expressed interest in owning one specifically because he has no mementos.

As far as the online community embracing his silly performance, he was embarrassed about it at first, but has embraced it as part of his past. He says the Garbage Day legacy doesn't bother him anymore and is quite frankly overwhlemed that people care enough to try and find him. But, at this point, he has no interest in branching out and doing conventions, autographs, interviews, and the like. He also found it important to point out, his number has been online and there are people that have gotten ahold of him, but he has no interest in becoming a member of the online community, i.e. Facebook, Twitter. Eric's privacy seems important to him.

So that's it. The highlights of an hour conversation with Eric Freeman. I had no idea I'd hear all these stories. I just expected maybe, a 5 minute conversation and that would be it. Eric seemed pretty appreciative of my respect for him and my willingness to give him his privacy.

There's the closure to the story of Eric Freeman. In recent attempts to get a hold of him, Eric seems to have gone offline and my luck of getting ahold of him via email have been no luck. I guess Eric just prefers it to be that way and my hopes of Eric reading this post can only be via google I suppose.


Thanks to John Squires of Freddy In Space and Lee Harry for their further assistance in the completion of this article.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NECA 8-Bit Freddy

This 8-Bit Horror trend we've been seeing lately is pretty astonishing to me. This year we've seen a resurgence in the Friday the 13th video game all thanks to NECA releasing a San Diego Comic Con exclusive figure in a variation of his appearance in the classic NES game. And it paved way for many to reminisce about how awful the game was(including me, who spent more time than I care to admit playing it.) and eventually lead to people dressing as the NES Jason at conventions and even cooler, artist Chris Ott of London 1888 studios is releasing an AWESOME t-shirt showcasing great art of NES Jason.  If you're a Jason fan, it's pretty cool to see this happening. If you're a old school gaming fan, like myself, it's pretty cool too. And while this has lead to a pretty warm reception due to it's uniqueness(as well as being a figure we've never EVER seen done before!) it's starting to spread into other franchises. Shortly after Jason was made available, NECA announced an 8-Bit Freddy would become available soon. Fans got pretty excited as they were expecting the figure to be done in an equally awesome fashion, not too mention, fans secretly wanted to have battles in classic Nintendo fashion. And of course, being a Freddy fanatic, I was pretty stoked to own one as well. My expectations were high, knowing NECA always puts out the best effort possible to satisfy fans...

But a problem happened on the way. Well, not really a problem. It's just my anticipation waned a little bit after looking at more photos from others who already had received them. The more photos I saw, the more I felt it was a pretty weak figure, paint job wise. I was hoping that would be the only issue I'd have with it. By the time I got my figure in the mail, I realize my hopes were still a little too high.

Just as they did with Jason, NECA recycled parts from previous Freddy offerings. can't say it's any parts that stand out. I'd say the glove was pretty good choice for this figure and the positioning of Freddy's fingers look kinda creepy. At the same time, you have to take special care of removing Freddy from the package(if you're a fan who buys toys to open them and display) as his gloved hand has potential to break if not paid attention on it's removal.

The paint job may be the most upsetting aspect of this figure. Where as the blue and purple with glow in the dark accents was eye catching for Jason, the bright red and light green just don't work for Freddy. And to be fair, there's not much to work with. The original game depicted Freddy in minimal detail. So I'm really trying to be fair and appreciate that aspect. After all, 1989 wasn't the watermark for video game graphics. Here's a good picture of how Freddy looked in the game...

And here's a better photo of the Freddy figure...

Ok, as I said, I'm trying to be fair in in remembering how bland Freddy was depicted in the game. And if accuracy counts more than my opinion, it's spot on. It really is. And in the photo above, it looks more like a candy coated Christmas colored variant. I'd expect it more to be something that would appear in a Pixar Christmas special where he plays an evil elf who tried to steal Santa's stash of candy canes. I don't know. I feel something could've been added to make it stand out better than it does.

The packaging is another thing I take issue with. A lot of trimmings were put into making the package for Jason to be as perfect a replica of the original NES game. Well...'s the original NES package....

And the packaging for NECA's figure...

Again, it feels pretty bland. The Jason packaging had little nods to every label and slogan on it's Nintendo counterpart whereas Freddy doesn't. I don't know. Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, I just feel we were robbed on this figure as a whole. I'm really trying to be biased and look at this in a neutral light, but I can't get past certain omissions on the packaging.

The inside of the package, however, is another story. Just as Jason was in the bunk where he battled teens, Freddy was just chilling in front of that famous house at 1428 Elm Street! And when you open the package...

Awesome. Freddy's kill screen is the first thing you notice. The famous quote that adorns the inside flap is as follows:

So, the evil is purged
Fire purifies all.
The bones are ashes
Soon to be dust.
Freddy is dead
And the nightmare is over.

                                                                       ...Or is it?

So, I can say the inside flap of the packaging is probably it's high point. I don't know if that's a reason to drop some dough on it, but if you're a Freddy completist and must have every unique Freddy available, pay the 20 bucks. 

I'd hate to dedicate an entire blog entry to writing something negative. I really do. But, as a diehard Freddy fan and collector, I can't really give this my stamp approval. Not to say NECA doesn't put out great efforts, it's just that at the end of the day, this is a rather weirdly forced figure that was made because fans were expecting it and I don't think it's the best effort put out by NECA. Whereas I enjoyed Jason for it's originality, I can't get into this one. It's more or less a figure I want on my shelf so I can have a complete set of 8-Bit figures. That and Jason can't hog all the glory. Whereas I will always defend Freddy to the death, I can't shake this feeling that the figure just was made to make a quick buck. And unlike the movie, I feel like Jason wins this battle. 

NECA plans on continuing it's 8-Bit themed line with Robocop in all his Nintendo-like glory. And actually, this figure looks better than many other Robocop figures of the past.  And that's one figure I am looking forward to placing on the shelf. Preview images are already suggesting it's going to be a welcome addition to anyone's collection...

I'd buy that for a dollar!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Revisiting Pepsi/Dorito's Monster Love

I seriously love Halloween promotions that junk food companies put out every year. It's fun to see the special trimmings and extra effort that get added once a year in order to make some extra cash. Halloween Oreo's are a perfect example of great ideas. I mean, just a simple orange creme and scary designs on the cookies? Awesome! While most of them revisit these themes in the future, I find the one-time only promotions to be the most memorable. And while I'll never turn down a few dozen boxes of Count Chocula, I can't help but look at certain things more fondly. Maybe because they are only a one time deal only to be never seen again. I don't feel like analyzing it, I just feel like celebrating it. And celebrate we shall in tonight's entry. I wish to spotlight the beauty that was Pepsi and Dorito's "Monster Match"!!!!

Starting (approximately) around Halloween 1991, Pepsi and their longtime partner in crime, Doritos began a promotion using our favorite Universal Monsters. Appearing on many different bags of Doritos and Pepsi packaging were Frankenstein and his Bride, The Wolfman, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and even The Invisible Man decided to show his face for a special occasion. And what an occasion it was. A special "match game"which enlisted help of these crazy monsters.

Each bag of Doritos or carton of Pepsi gave you two game cards in a small package and the goal was to find two of the same corresponding cards to win a cash prize between 5 dollars to a cool million. And that's 1991 million we're talking. That's not too shabby. That could've bought a bought of neon Zubaz pants! The cards themselves weren't too bad of a prize either. The game cards were really cool looking. They were little dollar bills with the monsters faces on them in different denominations.  They're pretty cool collectibles too. Check out what a dollar could've looked like:

So, ok, it's not a perfect bill, but searches for a perfect pairing were not too successful. But use your imagination. What your looking at is what two separate game cards would've looked like. Not bad, eh? Each card had their own prize to chase after. Frankenstein, being the big daddy, would've landed you a cool mill, while his beautiful Bride would've only landed you 500. There's something there about Pepsi being sexist I'm sure, but I'll leave for experts to dissect. In the meantime, check out the fun commercial they put together for the game. I don't know that Frank should be allowed to enter, considering it's his face on the bag and everything else, but you try telling him that and see how many appendages you have afterwards.

So this was the game. Nothing new, really, but as a young kid who loved monsters and Doritos, it was enough for me to try my hand at entering as much as I could. In fact, I can remember a road trip with my mom and brother to New York around this time. I had the back seat to entertain myself and amongst the pile of comic books, Nintendo Power and WWF Magazine, my snack for the trip was a huge bag of Doritos and a Pepsi and I can remember the Monster Match being a big draw as to why they were my choice. It was perfection! I had everything I loved in the back seat while my older brother yelled at my mom as to why he should be smoking in the car. I couldn't be bothered though. I had monsters, junk food and pages of pro wrestling goodness and tips on where to find Warp Zones in Super Mario Brothers 3. 1991 was a fun Halloween, but I think that's something I'll cover later. But even as a kid, this definitely made me happy seeing rotten creatures from the big screen on junk food.

The promotion, naturally, hit Universal Studios theme parks as well. I only know this because I actually found a cup using the artwork that was used on a promotional poster for Pepsi. I'm guessing there are others, but Frankenstein always appealed to me, so I picked this one up you see below.

The Universal Monsters would stick around for promoting Pepsi and Doritos for a few years following this, but it wasn't as cool. Trading cards were given away and the monsters found themselves as trayliners for Pepsi 24 packs with awesome art in party motifs, but the novelty was gone. And by 1994, the relationship was done. I'm guessing this was a one shot deal and it was such a success all parties decided to stretch it out but it didn't go as well as they'd hope. Shame too. Because I feel it could've been a fun Halloween tradition for all involved.

Here's a sample of Universal Monsters/Pepsi/Doritos goodness from various years between 1991 and 1993:

Coupons. I'm assuming from a magazine, but don't know which one.

Fully Constructed Diet Pepsi carton

Various Pepsi and Diet Pepsi Cartons

Pepsi trayliner. Other monsters would appear in images like this.

Shopping bag from WaWa. 

Trading Cards

Posters like this were apparently given away, but not too many exist. Photo courtesy of The Universal Monster Army website

So, there you have it. As I said, I always enjoy one time promo deals. And this was definitely a once in a lifetime deal. I doubt you'll see a promotion like this  but it was cool when it did happen. Personally, I'd love to see something like this again, but if it doesn't,  I'm just glad to see it when it did happen.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cheetos Halloween Bucket

The Halloween season has officially kicked off. Stores have already begun stocking their shelves with all kinds of orange and black coated goodies for the next two months. Of course the big news is the return of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute to join their compadres of the Monster Cereals and it's kinda hard to beat that. Especially with the Target exclusive Flashback Packaging(replicating their original packing from the 70s) hitting stores and sending fans into a tizzy trying to complete a set of 5.

But I stopped into Target today to look for them and came up short. My heart was broken, but my spirit was not broken. Especially when I turned the corner and saw the beautiful sight of the Halloween section slowly being constructed. Now there wasn't a lot of stuff out. It's in it's infancy stage of construction. The candy is out as is the cake and cookie decorating stuff. I perused the selection and picked up a few items that caught my eye.

The Halloween edition of the Regular Show, two boxes of Pumpkin cheesecake cookies and a glow in the dark Cheetos bucket. Now, I know it's early on but I feel this may have been the best of the lot. The prize of the lot? The Regular Show dvd for obvious reasons and the pumpkin cheesecake cookies are a limited time treat you must sample. And while I could discuss how great it is to eat those cookies while  watching Rigby and Mordecai chase after the Greatest VHS In The World, I'd rather discuss the centerpiece in the photo above.

Yeah buddy! Check out that bucket! It feels more like an early 90s Frito Lay promo item. And while it looks like Eddie from Iron Maiden eating Cheetos and spewing Ecto Cooler out of his no doubt foul smelling mouth, I have to say it's very eye catching. Obviously companies roll out the "glow in the dark" gimmick around Halloween more than any other time and Frito Lay definitely made the right decision with this. Great image, great colors and a perfect choice of creature. While I can imagine Frankenstein looking cool eating the delicious cheese puffs, The mummy is a perfect choice.

And let's talk about that bag. Chester Cheetah looks so satisfied stealing Cheetos from those weird, walking trees. Perhaps the wrapping himself in toilet paper and running through the woods sniffing around for Cheetos was just too clever for those stupid trees. Look at how pissed off they appear to be! I'd be pissed to if an animated cheetah wrapped up like Lon Chaney outwitted me. Stupid trees. Don't get your hopes up for special Halloween shaped snacks, they're just your normal default Cheetos. At the same time, it wouldn't matter. The package deal of a glow in the dark bucket and the bags is well worth the 5 bucks you will no doubt drop.

Oh yes...I forgot to mention...THE BAGS GLOW IN THE DARK.

Nuff said.

So The Halloween Cheeto Bucket is a pretty solid purchase. If you find yourself in Target, pick one up. It'll be a great centerpiece for any home decor this coming Halloween. Would you rather stare at a bunch of rotting flowers or the ultimate face of doom and deliciousness in the Mummy?

Yeah. The Mummy.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sylvester Stallone Wants to Meet You...For $850!!

News is surfacing that Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone will make a very big appearance at this coming New York Comic Con  in October. Pretty big announcement to be assured. Sly will always be a huge star and will always draw an audience no matter what he does. Until the day he dies, he will always be Rambo...and Rocky...and Judge Dredd...and the guy from the Expendables...and the guy from Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!

Now, you can have the exclusive, once in a lifetime experience of meeting the legend himself in a very intimate setting. Sure it may be 30 seconds, but it's a chance that you'll never get again. There's a catch though. Before you start thinking you can meet Sly by just entering the convention center, stop right there. Yes, you can meet him. But only if you have a good $850 in your pocket.

Yep. $850.

You see, Sly is being brought in by an autograph company called "Celebrity Authentics" who specialize in obtaining the signatures huge Hollywood names that you wouldn't be able to meet or obtain any other way. They're a very reputable company that represents the celebrities you'd never be able to meet at a convention or even dream of. Just to name a few of their clients like Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Burt Reynolds, and obviously now, Sly. And while they're very reputable and very successful at what they do, asking fans who attend NYCC for $450 for a photo op with Sly and $395 for an autograph from the man is downright ridiculous. And considering things are taking a weird turn in horror conventions with Christopher Lloyd and Carrie Fisher charging $60 for a signature and no photo op, this is a bad sign of things to come.

Gimme yer money!

A lot of people who attend these shows usually save their money for these weekends far in advance. And let's face it, $850 is a lot to pay for anything that's not absolutely necessary and vital in your everyday life. And yes, it is a once in a lifetime chance to meet on of your heroes, but is it really worth it? Sly is at best a marginal actor that got lucky at a time when big, hulky, action stars were what was hip. Now, he's not. He'll always be a huge star, but he's nowhere near worth $850 to meet.

Agents and handlers at conventions are the problem, not really the stars themselves. But then again, the problem is also people paying these exorbitant fees. If you keep paying, stars will keep hiking the prices up to the point no one will be happy, and you'll be lucky if you get a handshake. Where does this trend end? Hmm? How can we stop it? Eventually Ari Lehman will see it appropriate to start charging 50 dollars for him to look in your direction.

The way things are going, conventions are going down a deadly route. I've heard more stories of people passing on the stars they were excited to meet due to the rising prices and just hanging out. But, how can shows continue if people are just paying to hang out in the lobby? Promoters need to be taken to task on this behavior and to be called out. And a lot of promoters get defensive because they know what they're doing is wrong and they're essentially screwing the loyal customers. And then they use the excuse "oh, well, we have no say over what a celebrity charges or if they refuse to take photos". This is downright silly. Promoters are essentially a principal and at the end of the day IT'S THEIR SHOW.

But, let's allow this behavior to continue and we won't have horror conventions anymore. And quite frankly, there are a couple of agents and handlers that understand fans concerns and have decided to keep the prices low and include a free photo. But, for every Terry Kiser charging a relatively low price, there's a Carrie Fisher, who seems to jack her price up every show. Companies like Full Empire Promotions and CandV Promotions are just two examples of fan agents that get big names and keep their business booming by their fair prices.

In the convention world, money talks. But maybe it's time to change things up, otherwise, it'll get worst.  And thanks to Sylvester Stallone and Celebrity Authentics, I can't see this trend ending.

And before anyone asks, I highly doubt he'll be dressed like Judge Dredd...


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Celebrating 10 Years of Freddy Vs. Jason!

August 15 2003.

The world of horror changed forever. It was on this very day, a monumental film changed everyone's perception of what could be accomplished in film, no matter the hurdles and the production woes that a movie can experience in it's journey. A movie that essentially went through rewrite through rewrite, director after director, actor after actor, in all respects, this movie shouldn't have seen the light of day. And while I'm sure there are those who feel it shouldn't have seen the light of day, I feel that it's one of the most entertaining, action packed and overall fun horror movies in history. Today I pay tribute to...FREDDY VS. JASON.

This movie may be one of the most anticipated yet debated movies in history. For years, fans had been clamoring for a lethal showdown between the titans of slashers. And boy, since the mid 80s to even the early 2000s, rumors and stories would start swirling through many news sources, websites, and forums. It became such an on-and-off project, it would make Ghostbusters 3 look like the next installment in the Avengers series. And thanks to New Line acquiring the rights to Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th series in the early 90s, the possibilities were absolutely wide open to make this happen. But a problem arose. By the late 90s, both Freddy and Jason had become rather obsolete and the current trends in horror had passed both icons by. Throughout many attempts to revitalize both series with "New Nightmare", "Jason Goes To Hell" and "Jason X" in attempts to freshen up franchises, many thought the chances of the crossover film were doomed to development hell forever. Many thought the only way they'd see both on the screen was the surprise ending in Jason Goes To the video below and find out what I mean...

In late 2002/early 2003, New Line announced what we all had prayed and hoped would happen. After numerous meetings with different writers from different aspects of entertainment and many different directors and producers, Freddy Vs. Jason was entering production for a Summer 2003 target release date. Fans were so overjoyed and rejoicing all throughout the world. Finally, the debates of who is better, stronger and can stack the better body count will be settled forever. I was on several horror boards at the time and can remember multiple countdowns, a no-spoiler rule throughout all forums all while extreme speculation and rumors running faster than Superman after a trip to Taco Bell. Within moments of the first photo from the set, a photo of Robert Englund in full Freddy makeup and regalia holding a Jason mask, interest and excitement went up. The general movie going public was also excited. Many people who remember seeing both movies in their youth had gotten excited for the nostalgic trip that was no doubt going to generate tickets and indeed became one of the biggest movies of that year. When the first trailer finally hit, any skeptics were sold immediately.

For us loyalists this was going be a huge deal. The thought of Freddy beating Jason was a big hope for me. I'm sure others were hoping for Jason to send Freddy to dreamland permanently. Either way, fans were going to walk in excited and walked out pumped up. Director of 1998's Bride of Chucky, Ronny Yu was given the reigns and unenviable task of taking on the storytelling. Many ideas were thrown out in favor of the story we got. The most popular potential storylines usually involved a cult of Freddy-worshipping "Fred-Heads" bringing Freddy and Jason back from the dead. An even more outlandish (and disturbing) story involved Freddy having sex with Jason's mom thus making Freddy the father of ol' Hockey Mask. Thankfully that was thrown out. At the end of the day it was decided to make Jason the hitman of Freddy in the real world while regains power in the dream world. Young actors and actresses including Jason Ritter, Monica Keena and singer Kelly Rowland were cast as the newest of the Elm Street children. And in a controversial move, veteran stuntman Ken Kirzinger was cast as Jason. While many fans rallied against this because the initial thought would be fan-favorite Kane Hodder would be the Jason taking on Freddy, Ken pulled it off rather well considering how beloved Kane was. With a director, a great cast and a script written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, we were ready for opening day!

The new cast!

Sitting down in our seats, I had never been so anxious for the movie to start. And then, after what felt like a decade of trailers, we got to the movie. And then what happened I said, is up for debate...

A lot of fans left the theatre a little unsatisfied but a lot of fans left very satisfied. Personally, I was one of the fans left happy with the final product. Many fans didn't like the ending, the lack of Freddy kills, the new young cast and the focus taken off the title characters. A lot of people said there was no real time spent between Freddy and Jason and no real climax to the fight between them. Personally, I couldn't love this movie anymore. I feel the story was, for what could be done, was great. I also feel that considering stories between Freddy and Jason had to be covered and since they were in different places(Jason in the real world and Freddy in dreamworld) it would've taken a lot worse of a turn. With all that was involved, the movie was executed perfectly. And, while some say the fight was a little too short, again, I couldn't disagree more. In fact, when the fight began, everyone in theater started applauding and cheering like they were at a WWE event. And even the director of the film, Ronny Yu, compared the fight scenes to a WWE match so a little cartooniness seemed to be the goal. And come on, people. that's the kinda fight between the two we would've wanted. If it were a downright massacre, it would've been over in twenty seconds and it would've had no heart. Check out the fight scenes below...

With an ending that left fans with a tease for a possible sequel, critics and fans gave mixed reviews. But the impact was huge. Even fans who were unsatisfied, speculated to a sequel. The most popular thought was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash. Another rumored onscreen battle was Freddy vs. Jason vs. Leatherface. All fun ideas and theories, but at the end of the day no sequel was seen. And considering a lot of peoples negative feelings toward the film, it may be for the best. Although, Freddy vs. Jason did open the doors for an Alien vs. Predator film a year later, which had similar mixed results.

Freddy vs. Jason was the last hurrah for the original Elm Street and Friday the 13th series, as years later reboots would happen. And while we've yet to see sequels for the remakes, I feel Freddy vs. Jason was the perfect way to close out the legendary series. The two biggest icons of horror in the 80s finally got their swan song and were able to close their respective history books. History is often written by the victors, but I feel all fans won, even if most say they hated it.

I love Freddy Vs. Jason. I really do. in fact a big point of contention between my friends and I is who truly won: Freddy or Jason(obviously, I think Freddy won. Of course!). But at the end of the day, we got a 93 minute fun ride that we had all been hoping for years would happen but never expected to truly come to fruition.  Freddy vs. Jason may have been received with mixed reactions, but it was a movie that will stand the test of time. Many generations will be able to debate after watching this just as they did watching respective series before. And that's what will keep the legacies of both legendary killers going until the end of time.

So happy 10 years to Freddy vs. Jason. Don't forget to celebrate by getting a viewing in and don't forget to place your bets...


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NECA 8-Bit Jason

NECA's really been pleasing horror fans lately. Last year at SDCC they released that awesome Super freddy from Elm Street 5 and this year we got the beautiful 8-Bit Jason. Add it to the amazing Predator, Aliens, Gremlins and about everything else they've been releasing and NECA may be the best at producing movie related figures today. What McFarlane Toys started in 1998 with Movie Maniacs has been amplified to the max by NECA with their amazing offerings.

Ok, ok, ok, I know. I know what you're thinking. I'm rather late to the whole "I got a NECA NES JASON FIGURE!!! WHAAAAT!" party. But, I've read the reviews. I've heard all the hubub. I've seen the fireworks going off and I can see why. it's a pretty amazing figure. But, if you ask me, the hype comes more from the eye-grabbing NES mock up packaging than anything. Still, it's a nice figure. and I've been waiting to review it since I saw it. So let's dive in!


Much like the New World Order in 1997, this packaging is just too sweet. NECA went all out. Replicating not just the box of the NES game, but even certain aspects of the game itself. Perhaps the most clever part was the NECA logo in the style of the old Nintendo Seal of Quality. Bonus points for that. The box art looks so fantastic and is a true eye catcher. With the exception of the SDCC logo, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and the original NES packaging.

The inner packaging is the true seller. Opening up and finding Jason standing there and waiting for you to enter brings back bad memories of playing the game and, even though you thought you've won, Jason was waiting and you knew you were through for the day. I find the backdrop of the inner carton a perfect setting for Jason to be standing around and waiting to be admired in his awesome box. On the opposite side, the grim reminder of finding Jason in that cabin. "YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD". Gets right to the point. Fan of the movie series or not, we've all played the game and we've all seen that flash before our eyes. No matter the confidence you had walking into this game, eventually your guard came down and that's when Jason showed up. It couldn't have been avoided. He's too powerful and your not ready.  Between him and Mike Tyson at the end of Punch Out!, it's no wonder I was constantly stressed out as a kid. Still, despite bad memories of cursing out this game, the packaging is no doubt a 10/10. No arguments.

My biggest and only complaint would be that the figure has been fastened in his plastic coffin using those annoying twisty ties. As an action figure collector who opens the packaging(unless it was purchased to be autographed or just super cool looking) there's nothing I hate more than figures being tied to the plastic trays. It's just downright annoying and a lot of frustration. I understand WHY they're used but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Suck.

The figure has finally been released out of his plastic tray and boy oh boy, is it a beauty. I've never had any Jason figures before, but I've always wanted one for the horror collection. Now, I know about as much about Jason's continuity as I do quantum physics, but I do know that he's had some cool looking figures. But this may be the coolest. The original, outlandish paintjob to match his appearance in the game stands out in a great way. The blue onesie he wears and the glow in the dark hockey mask, hands and feet are all quite the outstanding gimmick. Even more fun, his ax and machete are glow in the dark as well. I find it funny his crotch piece looks more like a giant floppy diaper, which I'm assuming has more to do with the construction of the figure itself. From what I've gathered, this figure is a repainted Jason figure from an earlier line, which isn't a bad idea. The likeness of the face is pretty gruesome and  it looks pretty accurate. Not something you'd want to wake up and see staring at you in the dark. Thank goodness for the option of closing the packaging.

I wanted to take a photo of him in the dark, but my camera totally blows at doing fancy photography. So instead, here's a photo from

There it is. Jason in the dark. Pretty cool, eh? Much better than the Glow in The Dark Robocop that was offered last year. Now place that in a NES-inspired box, and you've got a license to print money. And it sold very well. In fact, out of all the SDCC Exclusives offered this year, I heard more about this one than any other. And why not? This figure has it all. In fact, I'd wager to assume that there are people like me who don't like Jason but bought it more for the nostalgia and the memories of playing the NES game.

As a whole, this SDCC-Exclusive 8-Bit Jason may be the most creative figure I've seen come along in the action figure world in quite some time. I really think NECA's been scoring big with their movie franchises lately. This figure is just further proof that they are here to stay and they will not be denied. If this figure is any indication, it would be safe to assume they will be scouring and listening to the horror fandom for more ideas. My hat's off to NECA for this great figure.

And just last week, they announced that an 8-Bit Freddy will be produced soon. I can only imagine what will happen...

Yeah, sounds about right. Place your bets...


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Flea Market Adventures: July 20-21 2013 Edition

It was a very long and tiring week. Plain and simple. Working outside all day in the 90 degree weather takes a lot out of you. And this past weekend, I had just planned on just laying in bed and doing next to nothing aside from watching Saved By The Bell and eating ice cream. I don't know how to explain it, but falling into an ice cream coma while the Buddy Bands episode plays is a feeling that you simply can't miss. Well, it didn't really work out that way. Apparently plans for shaking my head at Screech's awful shenanigans had to be saved for another time. Which kinda sucks, but if I knew what was ahead of me, I wouldn't have complained.  I was up by 8 and something was telling me to go to the flea market up in Buffalo (a good hour and a half drive). I couldn't shake this feeling and something was pulling me away from my bed, so I decided to go with it. I filled up my Ninja Turtles water bottle and hit the road shortly after.

An hour and a half later, I was here. The SuperFlea is indeed where it's at. This area of Buffalo isn't the fanciest or even photogenic area. No. In fact it's nothing but gaudy looking stores and potholes. But this is the only reason for me to drive up. I drive up at least once a year just to get it out of my system, and today was the day. The last two times I've made the trek were littered with treasures and rare finds including an old WWF Undertaker foam Urn for just a buck. I had the confidence that I was going to snare a victory that would no doubt make my recent dryspells a distant memory. 

First things first, I had to make a quick bathroom break. I'd never regret going to the bathroom as much as I did when I walked into this sinister restroom...

The only way I can describe the smell, is that it's something that would frighten even Satan. I'm sure the Prince of Darkness would be terribly offended by the mixture of meatloaf, sweat, cheese and urine. I can't say I've ever seen such a terrifying bathroom in my entire life. I was downright scared that the toilet would recreate that scene in Nightmare on Elm Street where blood flies out of Johnny Depp's bed. What would fly out of this toilet? I wasn't really willing to stick around and find out. I also felt that perhaps Pinhead was ready to start throwing chains and spouting out his gibberish about suffering and whatever else he read in an RL Stine book. This was a true test of my patience, I could tell I was stronger than ever by walking out alive. I had travelled too far and couldn't let this stop me. But it was a close call. 

It didn't take a long time for me to find a rare and awesome item. Although not for me, but for my friend Terry Callen of Screaming Brain Studio, this was still rather impressive...

Day of the Dead vinyl singles. And not just one record but TWO. Now, my knowledge of any of the Romero-Zombie movies are extremely limited but this was just too awesome. I came up here last time and these were available and i thought nothing of it. But, my pal Terry loves dem records, so I had to pick them up. And while I know the picture shows TWO records, I asked the guy to hold them and he actually lost one. So, he sold one for $2. Considering the rarity and the fact that they were Fangoria mail away exclusives, I'd say this was a more than generous deal...

But the true victory was a mere few steps away. This is the kind of haul that only the most bravest of the vhs collectors would dream of. It's not stuff that would drive people into rabid maniacs willing to cause complete riots, but it's a fantastic haul that you won't be able to walk out of a thrift store with. 6 beautiful vhs that should be a part of everyone's collection. And it took a lot of effort, too. The vendor selling them may have been hip to my shenanigans. I get the sense my eagerness over what I found was shining through despite my efforts to remain cool. But I had to accept the consequences for my excitement and after spending an hour and a half looking for tapes and actually making him work by moving and rearranging boxes, this aging hippy wanted me out of this life forever.

I really wish I could describe this vendors booth space in proper words, because it was quite the sight to see. His space of business resembled more like an episode of Hoarders. Nothing but boxes, cobwebs and dust littered this guy's vendor space. Just imagine your grandmother's basement filled with newspaper and old books just piled up to the ceiling and a constant fear of being caught in an avalanche of garbage, that's how I felt. It was hazardous enough walking through this place, let alone having to climb over and on top of boxes looking for tapes. And while it could have ended in a decent lawsuit (actually, the amount of vhs I could've gotten in a settlement may have been worth it) but the prizes at the end of this journey were no doubt worth the risk. And with that said, let's take a quick look at the precious goods I walked away with.

Tape 1: Child's Play 2

My favorite of entire Child's Play/Chucky series. For the past few weeks, I've been wanting to watch this and it's neither on Netflix or at my local used movie store. So, I decided to just go for it and buy the vhs. Where's the harm? From what I've been able to tell, no special features are on the dvd beyond the trailer and the cast notes and stuff no one really cares about. Instead the Universal Studios Orlando commercial we all remember. And that's better than just a barebones dvd edition. Aside from that, seeing Christine Elise in her rebellious-hotness all over again, was totally worth it.

Tape 2: WWF: Bashed In The USA

This tape may be my big regret. The lone wrestling tape in a mountain of dusty Aliens copies, I really felt I stumbled upon gold. But don't let the cover fool you. Nothing exciting goes on. In fact unfunny vignettes in which Mr. Perfect goes shopping for stamps are about as exciting as the action gets. An "exclusive" look at Shawn Michaels, featuring 3 of his absolute worst matches ever, a boring 40-man Battle Royal and awful tag team matches are the selling point. And that's not all! Things take a turn for worse when Bret Hart sits down for a candid one on one with the cameras about how drawing and sketching relaxes him. And if you've ever seen a Bret Hart interview, you can only imagine how thrilling this was. A fantastic wrestler, but hearing him talk is about as exciting as giving your grandmother a spongebath. Thankfully, I got this for just a dollar. But the stigma of paying for this crap will live on forever...

Tapes 3 and 4: Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 5

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't super excited about finding these. Elm Street 3 is considered the best sequel of the series and Elm Street 5 is my personal fave. I've got copies of Elm Street 5, but they don't have the special "uncut footage" draw that this did. And after searching for the uncut version with all that sexy goriness, I've finally got it! And to add pepper to the steak, I found the Elm Street 3 vhs with the "Dokken Music Video" sticker. Now, I know what you're thinking and maybe you're right. A sticker can't be a true draw to buy a tape. But as you can imagine, a tape of that age will have a lot of wear and that sticker is the first thing to go. So, to find an excellent copy with the sticker intact, makes it a flawless victory. And plus to watch that awesome music video is just an added extra I simply can't pass up.

Tape 5: Halloween-Media Release

Media Home Video was absolutely unstoppable in the 1980s. It released almost every horror movie to emerge from that decade. And it's top quality of picture and sound is still highly regarded as some of the greatest release in home entertainment history. They had a lot of popular releases, but no doubt, one of their most popular and sought after releases was the original Halloween. Very rarely do copies still have the lower flap intact, so when I discovered it was still attached, I was overjoyed. A very rare find that recently sold on eBay for 30 bucks, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that after shelling out $2 bucks for this, I wasn't thinking the same thing.

Tape 6: Rollerblade

Holy cow. The tape that may have been the biggest prize of the entire lot. I've never heard of this Roller Blade, but from what I could surmise, it involves some hot chick in a leotard and skates and fights demons. Not since Miami Connection have I fallen in love with a movie so quickly. And according to urban legend, this movie was made with no script. Which...well...kinda explains it. The cover, "premise", promise of boobies and rollerskating makes a very difficult thing for me to ignore. After all, when's the next time I'm going to see this? Never. Because no one is truly stupid enough to let this go and be able to live with that very fateful decision.

After 3 hours of being in this flea market, it was time to go. I had paid my dues by suffering through swimming in a sea of trash and after shelling out only 11 bucks to the lot, I knew I had reached the top of the mountain. it was time to call it a day. Plus, I had gotten a huge headache from the lack of oxygen, the overwhelming smell of cigarettes and b.o. was downright too powerful for me. I had spent enough money on vhs and needed something to eat. After a quick meal at the local McDonalds, I decided to head back. On the way home, there's a local thrift store. So I decided to stop. And I was greeted by this beautiful vision...

I'm a Pepsi guy and this is no doubt a sign of good things to come. Success was about to continue.

Tape 7: Prophecy

Holy crap, nothing has stopped me so far. This was a true rare find. I've never even heard of this movie and the cover totally sold me. And that's something that used to sell me on movies at the video store, so this was not something I could pass up. Talia Shire stars as...well...I haven't watched it and quite frankly didn't read the back synopsis. But, c'mon! You're gonna tell me you'd pass this up? Part of the mystery of this tape is another selling point. I wanted this badly and I got it. I wasn't expecting success, but this find was a nice cherry on the top of what can be considered a flawless day.

But, wait...we're not done...

Excited about my victory, I came home and my girlfriend Laurie decided we should head out and go look at the local thrift store. Well, I'm not gonna argue with that. And despite being a little worn out from a long work week and a 7 hour stay in Buffalo, I'm glad I decided to head out again. Because success was around the corner, once again. And I wasn't even expecting or hoping for it. I just wanted a fun night with me and the lady! But, despite my guard being down, I was rewarded. Very kindly, at that.

Tape 8: Martin
This was a nice surprise. I've always wanted to see Martin. I've always been fascinated by the stills and the plot and after hearing years of hype, I finally got it. But, I can't say I was blown away and 25 minutes in, I had to hit the old eject button. Nothing against Romero or even John Amplas, it just kinda fell flat. I feel rather bad too, since George Romero has gone on record saying this is his favorite of all the movies he's done. A good effort and story, but I just couldn't get into it. Maybe I'll revisit it and perhaps it's just a movie that I have to watch a few times to get into. Time will tell.

Tape 9: Hiding Out

Oh yes. Jackpot. JACK-FRIGGIN-POT. One of my favorite 80s teen dramas. A lot of people thought it was rathe flat and dull, but I always enjoyed it. Jon Cryer goes from Wall Street broker to rad high school teen with the name "Maxwell Hauser". C'mon. What's not to love? And Keith Coogan, in my favorite of his roles, playing his obnoxious cousin. Now, true, you couldn't make this movie today. Too many things would be considered a no-no: Showing up to a school randomly, no id check from the secretary, and Jon Cryer himself. This was definitely a product of it's time and without this, I would've never discovered my all time favorite 80s 1-Hit Wonder, Pretty Poison "Catch Me I'm Falling". It's a winning package that's gone forgotten, but I'm super happy to have found it.

So, that was Saturday. Overwhelmed by an amazing haul, it was time for bed. I had too much to do on Sunday. But little did I know, the adventure wasn't over...

Waking up on Sunday, I decided to hit the local flea market downtown. It's an outside flea market tucked away in the middle of Rochester known as the Public Market. Vendors set up at 5:30 am and hope for the best. It's a nice little 5 minutes drive from my apartment and I decided to head over for some fun and hopefully some goofy stuff to put up in an entry. But, I wasn't expecting this to be the find of the weekend...

Three items. Three items that I deemed more important than any other items in the entire flea market that I just had to take home. That's right. Out of everything, including a rare bootleg of Robocop called "Mobil Cop", THESE were the priority items. A Batman bank, an Andrew Dice Clay button, and a copy of the Wizard. Each item has their charm that contributed to the purchasing decision and quite frankly, of all my finds this weekend, this may be the best.

The Batman bank, an exclusive premium from the 1989 cereal, was an item I've wanted for a while. And not wanting a 24 year old box of cereal, this is the perfect way to keep the memory of Batman: The Cereal alive. The reason it's taken me so long is the fact that the stickers have always faded and the bank itself is always dented or banged up. But not this one. It's perfectly mint. In fact, I'd wager that the seller was keeping a vault of cereals and just tore this off of one for the hopes some sap (me) would offer him a nice, crisp one dollar bill. And this was his lucky day. Or my lucky day. I'd like to think it was me who claimed the victory.

The guy who sold me the bank, threw in the Andrew Dice Clay button for free. I was not one to refuse a fantastic freebie such as this. I've longtime been a fan of the DiceMan, even if he refused to sign a photo for me, but I'm a button collector, so I'll add this to my collection.

More vhs!!! And what a find! A tape I've been searching for a while now has now been crossed off the list. I love The Wizard. It's one of the few kid-centric movies I saw as a kid and can still enjoy. Yeah, it was nothing more than a commercial for Nintendo and Universal Studios, but it's still a fun time capsule to watch every once in a while. However, the dvd we got for this movie sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. No special features worthy of purchasing and worth giving up your vhs over. But this makes up for it. Just like the Child's Play 2 vhs, the Universal Studios ad was a better feature than I could ask for. And while the cover to the Wizard wasn't included (no biggie, I can print that up) the fact that it contained labels from the actual video store still intact made me want it even more. At 25 cents, it's an easy "YES! YES! YES! YES!" from me. Look at those beautiful rental warnings!!! It's the closest thing to going to the video store and renting it. It's beautiful and for someone that actually went to video stores and remember these frightening warnings of a dollar every additional night, it was no doubt meant to be mine. Anyone can have the original covers, but not many people have the actual box from the store.

So that's my haul for the weekend. It was well worth the money and the long hours spent looking through other's trash for the hopes of gold. And gold is what I walked away with. The word "SUCCESS" can't be used enough in this entry. But I'm not ready to rest on my laurels. No siree. In a week and a half, I get to test my luck again at the Syracuse Horror/SciFi Garage Sale. If I can find a haul even bigger and more amazing than I did this weekend, it's gotta be at this show. Hope to see you there!

See ya at the next flea market!!! Stay away from the vhs section, you've seen what I accomplished in one weekend...imagine what I could do again...