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.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Letter To Jason Voorhees: What I Learned After Watching Crystal Lake Memories

Dear Jason:

Hey, it's Chad. You know, that guy who has talked so much crap about those 12 movies you've starred in over the course of 33 years? Yeah, for years I've just ripped you a new one and decided at an early age that I was strictly Team Freddy(who totally won at the end of Freddy Vs. Jason, btw.). And while you found your way around my childhood including the NES video game and afternoon viewings of Friday the 13th movies on Saturday "Creature Features" double features, I still felt you were the weakest character in slasher history. It was never anything personal, I just like my villains with charisma and characteristics that I can find entertaining. And you, well, let's be fair, do not have those qualities. So you can see where I'm coming from.

However, last night I popped in the Crystal Lake Memories. In case you haven't seen it, it's the documentary that covers your entire cinematic career. I have to admit, as a lover of documentaries covering pop culture, I was heavily intrigued. The team behind the Nightmare on Elm Street documentary "Never Sleep Again" was in charge of covering all your movies, so I knew it would be a great 7 hours. And between last night and this morning, I haven't been able to watch all of it, but I've gotten through a good half of the dvd.

And I have to admit, I have a brand new respect for you...

From your small beginnings to massive success to your crazy fights with the MPAA board and your transition from Paramount to New Line and everything in between, I feel that your story from script to screen is definitely just as important as your story on the screen. I never even knew half the malarkey you had to go through and half the problems you've had. Also, having a fresh new way of looking at your origin story of being a child bullied and picked on was needed for me to accept you as a true-blue slasher with an important story. So, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. The origin story and your relationship with your mother and why you kill definitely opened my eyes to a point that I no longer feel your below Freddy or Jigsaw or other charismatic icons of cinema. Because, your own right, your silence after being constantly picked on is kind of your own personality on it's own. And I can respect that. So no longer will I mock you for a silent killer.

And a point I've never understood was the huge backlash against Ken Kirzinger being casted in Freddy vs. Jason. I always knew everyone loved when Kane Hodder played you for a few movies. And I don't blame them. Kane added a brutality and a emotionless killing machine mentality to make you stand out from the normal, boring, cookie cutter slashers of the day. And that's how most fans wanted to see you portrayed on the big screen. And while I do think Ken did a great job, Kane's downright nasty nature would've been amazing to see. That and the diehard fans deserved to see their favorite Jason fighting Robert Englund as my hero, Freddy.

I also was never aware of your incredible struggle with the MPAA. Through all the edits your movies had to go through just to get to the big screen. I never knew how many scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. And some amazing scenes ended up on that floor. I have to say between your big screen debut to your field trip to space, you just haven't been able to catch a break. That kinda blows. All things considered, it seems you couldn't even get respect from them either. And while Siskel and Ebert blowtorched your movies, you never gave up on the fight to stay true to yourself and pave the way for all slashers. And that's the mark of a true champion!

So, while I won't be the world's biggest Friday fanatic and will always be Team Freddy, I have a lot more appreciation for what you've accomplished and why you are cinema's favorite silent killer. And now, with this new found respect, maybe I'll be a lot more open to looking at placing your movies on my dvd shelf next to Freddy and Jigsaw.

So, let's leave the past in the past and start over. Is that ok? I can admit when I'm wrong and can be closed minded on certain things...

Maybe it'll take time for wounds to heal.


Chad E. Young

You can order Crystal Lake Memories by visiting the official site here.