Friday, December 30, 2016

The Horror Movie BBQ 2016 Christmas Fallout!

Well...Christmas is over with.


I love Christmas so much. I've stated that before. Don't get me wrong, I love Halloween but by the end of October, I'm over it all together. But starting around October, I want nothing but red and green. I want cold air and snow, I want peppermint everything, I want Christmas specials and I want houses with more Christmas decorations than should allowed by a court of law.
Just one side of the biggest display in the area. My camera died after taking this photo. Lame. But you get the jist of it.

Christmas, as always, went perfect. A trip to the fiance's sister house for a fun evening of laughs, food and presents. It was a pretty good time, especially considering the relaxing nap with cats I take after dinner. Here's one of them, Sprocket:

Cute, isn't he? And he loves attention. Even better!

So the real reason you're here is most likely to read about what I received for presents. Ya know, the materialistic part! Yay, presents! So let's knock this one out.

Ok, if I sound a little less than enthusiastic, it's only because working retail this season really took a lot out of me. As great as Christmas was, I'm still catching up on rest. But I'm trying. I really am. Besides, I didn't wanna let down my bro John of The Sewer Den or Matt of Dinosaur Dracula by skipping out.

Let's start off with the basics:

So check these out. My job did a sweet giveaway and I won a free pair of RayBan round shades! Had to have them adjusted bu they definitely fit...better. Still will need some getting used to. Plus they make me look like a Vertigo character. A very lame one with zero self confidence.

May not be the best photo of me.

Got some tasty sweets, a mini Bret Hart figure and a sweet Target beauty box containing all sorts of cool stuff so I don't smell like a filthy sewer anymore. Also a favorite? That mini-Nutella. It's big enough to look like a Capcom fight screen with mini Bret. Tell me I'm wrong, bruh:


I've always said that I'm the easiest guy to buy for. I just am. Not saying I need movies to be happy but they are a great gift that get a lot of mileage. I've been hoping for all of these movies to hit my shelf. Especially that Scott Hall collection. Great documentary and great matches. Also, Broad City and Key And Peele will come in handy on sick days or lazy days in bed(YAS KWEEN!). And on top of that, Warriors, Peanuts, Last Dragon and the Silent Night set are all must haves. Very happy with this!


A history of the 1985 Bears(Da Bears!), the amazing biography of Rowdy Roddy Piper and the Death of WCW. All essential books for lunch break reading. I love nothing more than just sitting in the break room, eating my lunch and reading a book. I had the original Death of WCW but it fell apart after reading it so much, so I'm glad to have this. Roddy's biography, lovingly written by his children, is a GREAT book too. I had Roddy's earlier biography but it was a little skimpy on good stories. This however, tells a LOT more stories and a much better read.

And after this season, I can use all the reminder that Bears actually used to mean something.

MOTU Books:

Hooooooooly craaaaaaaaaaap. These books are amazing and may be my favorite things in the world! Books containing never before seen art from the entire run of Masters of The Universe's fantastic run and a the entire mini-comic collection.

And that mini-comic collection is HUGE. How huge? Over 1225 pages huge, that's how. It also contains one of the funniest frames in comic history:

Skeletor is pimp af. Just filled to the brim with confidence. No one's gonna be able to knock him down anytime soon.

Design for Snake Mountain. 

These books are amazing and show so much cool stuff including sketches for unused figures, vehicles, designs, and even stuff from the movie and cartoons. Highly suggested you pick these up!

A nice Christmas overall, and I certainly hope yours was as well. Or Hanukkah. Or Kwanzaa. Or whatever you may celebrate.

Also, this blog is dedicated to the happy gingerbread man who gave his life so I could enjoy one more day of Christmas. He looks like the T-800 at the end of T2, doesn't he? Don't worry, he'll be back.


For past fun, check out my previous Fallouts from 2014 and 2015.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Stan Lee Experience From Toronto Fan Expo

Happy 94th birthday to The Man, the myth, the legend, Stan Lee! The man who is responsible for so many memorable heroes, stories and some of the greatest modern mythology. Stan has given practically his whole life to bringing joy to peoples lives and has certainly left an impact on so many of us that not many others can compare to. I just can't imagine what life would be like without X-Men, SpiderMan or any of the dozens of great creations he's given to the world. It would be like a world without sunshine. Just wouldn't be the same.

For most if not all comic fans, meeting Stan is the holy grail of convention experiences. And I thankfully got to meet Stan this past September at Fan Expo in Toronto. My friends Tony, Kerry and Matt made the hike up to the Great White North to meet the legend himself. He seemed like he enjoyed meeting the multitude of fans coming out to meet him. He had a handshake for everyone that came by to say hello.

We actually arrived 15 minutes after his photo line had formed and since we were group "B", we thought we wouldn't be able to get our photo, since Stan only had limited times for photos. Thankfully, a staff member escorted us to the a sweet spot in line. So, finally, after about only 5 minutes, we waltzed into the photo booth, took our photo and were done. But not before we got a nice handshake from the man himself and I received a "Happy Birthday, kid!" from Stan, after telling him it was my birthday. That's something to remember!

And yes, I know I'm wearing a Batman shirt. DC 4 life, son.

So, Stan's photo and autograph sessions were in separate parts of the building at different times. In fact, technically, they were in different buildings that were connected to each other through a lot of escalators and sky-walks. On top of that, the distance to walk back and forth was pretty grueling if you have back issues like me. Be that as it may, I got my autograph ticket for Stan and waited in a nasty line. But what item did I want Stan to sign? It's easy. Gotta get him on my Marvel Universe coffee table boo, already signed by a bunch of artists and writers. I've been collecting signatures in it for close to 15 years and the one name I needed the most, was Stan. Finally, I had my chance! The moment I've been waiting for since I started this project!

It'll look great with Stan, won't it?


The line wrapped around the signing booth multiple times and the waiting time was about 3 hours. But thankfully, I met some of the nicest fans in the building. Which came in handy because as I progressed in line, I apparently dropped my signing ticket. I immediately panicked and searched through my backpack many times. Thankfully, fans were vouching for me with one of the signing officials. One random woman even came over to help me dig through my backpack. Someone I had never met before just willing to help me. Believe everything they say about Canadians being uber polite and amazingly awesome.

So I went back to the ticket table. The guy who was selling tickets remembered me and gave me a spare ticket. Something he didn't have to do. But, since he recalls a conversation we had previously, he knew I wasn't fooling around. I thanked him and when I got back in line, thanked everyone for their help, and waited another hour.

It was worth it. Stan signed as quick as he could. At his age, he can't afford to just chat with everyone and have long, drawn out conversations. But, he seemed pretty pleased with my book and liked what he saw as he saw all the names in it. He gave me another handshake, a big smile and I was out. And it was worth all the back pain I had later.

Of course it had to be in gold. You don't get Stan Lee in just black sharpie. This is standard we're talking about here...

So that's my experience meeting Stan. It was worth the 3 hour drive from Rochester to Toronto to meet the man himself. Brief, yes? Memorable? Absolutely. There's something great about meeting Stan.

Happy birthday, Stan! Thanks for everything you've done for us fans!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas 1991: The Year of the Tournament Table

While 1990 was certainly the year of my favorite Christmas present ever, The Ninja Turtles Sewer playset, the year after wasn't too shabby either. 1991 was probably one of the finest years of my childhood due to so much fun stuff going on. I had a great year all around and whenever I think about events of that year, I get that big ol' grin on my face. Whether I was watching wrestling on a Saturday morning, chowing down on Cheetos Paws on Friday night while watching TGIF, or just another weekday watching GI Joe and Wake Rattle and Roll before school. Huh. I kinda sound like a bum. But uh...when you're a kid, you're kind of allowed to. Besides, between playing with action figures, NES, riding bikes and playing street hockey with my friends, watching cartoons and ABC sitcoms and wrestling, I didn't have time for much else. But that all changed Christmas morning 1991...

The big item I wanted more than anything was the Fisher Price 3-In-1 Tournament Table. Check this bad mama jamma out. You get one gigantic table and it turns into a virtual rec center by providing you the tools of the trade for the following games:

  • Pool
  • Ping Pong
  • Hockey
Besides, that commercial sold you on it. Look at these two ragamuffins go at it:

"One more game!"

That catchphrase was all it took for me to want this. The commercial was a stroke of genius. Me and my buddies were all getting older and at times, action figures weren't cutting it alone. So what are we to do to pass the time? Smoke weed? Nah. Underground fight club? Well, maybe, especially the way my friends played NES. Perform open heart surgery? Tempting.

This all inclusive set made me the king of the block. Well, until Anthony next door got a freakin' above ground pool. But for that 6 month period, my basement was the destination for a fun afternoon. If you had the patience to go through 40 rounds of pool, you were more than welcome to test your luck. 

Hey, that's me! In very short shorts and a very irregular shirt! But check out that sweet game room of mine. An ET and Home Alone poster, some toys, a Carrom board(which resulted in a lot of arguments) made it the perfect place to have friends over and entertain. Heck, it even has cupholders! CUPHOLDERS! A major convenience on a hot summer day. Besides, leaving a can of Pepsi anywhere else would be a big no-no. Also, it was around this time, my friends and I started using curse words after losing. As you can imagine, expecting a bunch of 8-10 year olds to play nice after winning, wasn't the wisest ideas.

My friends and I had seen enough tv shows and movies featuring smokey bars and billiard rooms to really wanna get the mood down. I remember my friend Danny Thrift(longtime readers certainly recall his rather memorable exploits) even designed a weird lampshade/overhanging light fixture we could put over it. Thankfully, considering we had building skills, it never got passed the drawing phase.My family had a pool table before this but it got old broken so before I was gifted this, I already had the game down and was able to rack up quite a few victories in my column. Many a time, kids left crying with their tail in between their legs and their pride heavily damaged. I'd often give out numbers to my victims and only refer to them as those numbers. Ask Victim #4529 how he's doing...

Sigh...ok,, ok. I sucked at everything. But being the social butterfly I was, I just enjoyed the company and the time I spent with my friends.

As I got older, the table became a non factor in my life. I used it more to draw, customize figures and write. Around age 14, it was just collecting dust in storage. Sadly, the glory days of the Tournament Table were just a memory. We donated it to the local Goodwill, so I'm sure it found a good home and found kids to love it just as much(and hopefully even more) than me. But for those few years, it was my go-to fun center.

That brings us to the year 2016. 25 years later and it's memories of joy still stick around. I haven't seen this beauty in some time and I'm sure if I do see it again, I'll turn into that 8 year old and just flip out with excitement.

Did I say "If I see it again"?

The other day I went to the local thrift store and this was the first sight I saw as I opened the door. I rushed over and my eyes got big and suddenly, I was in my basement, beating all my friends in hockey.

Yup. There it is. Just as I remember it on Christmas morning. Seems to be absolutely 100% complete too! Everything is here, including the pool cue chalk!

Now since I was doing nothing but taking photos of this, flipping over all the game boards and almost at the verge of happy tears, I pretty much had to hurry it up and skedaddle. So, I bid it farewell but for that one moment, it was bliss. Absolute childlike bliss. 

Oh and before you ask...YES...I was ready to go buy a Pepsi and start playing pool just to "test it out". ;)


What I've Been Watching: End of the Year edition

Looking for some great last second gifts? I got you. Don't worry...

DRILLER KILLER (By Arrow Video):

Confession: I watched this for the first time just a couple of years ago and found it extremely boring. There's nothing that really popped out as memorable and entertaining. I just sat there and kinda burned through it. Of course, part of the issue was that it was a part of one of those bargain sets, so the quality was downright atrocious and the picture looked foggy. 

But thanks to Arrow, I was able to finally enjoy it. I was definitely invested in it more now than I was before. The presentation made the difference. I wasn't blown away by the mood of the movie, it still seemed boring at times but the clear picture definitely helped.  If there's one thing I can usually rely on Arrow for, it's them making me enjoy movies I didn't before due to their production. The movie is a lot more watchable thanks to this release and as a slasher fanatic, I finally see why so many people have love for this. Definitely gets a good recommendation from me.

Body Melt (By Umbrella Entertainment):

Body Melt is one of those movies I've simply just heard of but never actually seen but when I found out it was being released on bluray from Umbrella, I jumped at the opportunity to check it out. And I'm glad I did. This movie, much like Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, this is a very gory movie mixed with a lot of silly humor.  So, pretty much the Australian equivalent to a Troma movie.

The story and cast are secondary to the gore. I know that'll piss a lot of people off but I'm sorry, the fantastic practical effects are truly the star. And if you need further convincing, take a look at this gore-tastic clip:

If you're a fan of gory movies, this is a must own. Can't recommend it enough!

Constantine (Warner Archive):

As a huge fan of DC's Vertigo imprint, I was very pleased to hear John Constantine was getting his own series. Afterall, that Keanu Reeves movie just left a bad taste in fans mouths, so this was no doubt going to make up for it. But, if there's a better time for a Hellblazer series, it's now. DC tv shows are hot, horror tv is hot, so why not take on of the best comics that combine both and make it into a tv show?

Well, the biggest issue was it was being aired on NBC.


Yes. NBC. A comic book series, that should've been aired on CW. NBC has a tendency to not have a lot of faith in shows like this, so there was very little hope for this show at first. Much like Supergirl, the show is fantastic and really captures the essence of the characters and mood of the comic but the network was wrong. Had Constantine been on CW, it still would be on. And maybe I'm being selfish, but had it continued I could imagine we would've seen Swamp Thing. Because who doesn't need more Swamp Thing?

Matt Ryan plays Constantine perfectly as he comes to terms with his powers as a demon hunter/supernatural detective. In the comics, John is very arrogant and Matt plays that to a T. While the show has ended, I certainly hope DC and WB considers using him as Constantine in future projects. I do know that he will be appearing in the upcoming Justice League Dark animated feature, which I am super excited to see.

This, hands down gets my highest recommendation.

 Suicide Squad (Warner Brothers):

Oh boy, did this cause a lot of controversy this past summer. If you're a fan of DC, as I am, you're always excited for new characters to appear in movies. For a very long time, fans were clamoring for the first live action appearance of Harley Quinn, who no doubt brought a lot of fans in to this. But then it was announced that Jared Leto would play the Joker. Then it started to get out of control. People hated the casting choice and his look. Which to me just made going into this more fun.

The the first trailer arrived. A lot of fans were now a bit happier with what they got. Including me, it looked like fun.

I must confess though, I saw it opening day and felt it was ok. I didn't think it was anything amazing but I certainly think it was terrible.  I loved the characters, I loved the silly, carefree nature. I thought Will Smith was fantastic, Margot Robbie was terrific as Harley. Captain Boomerang and Katana were my favorite characters, and of course Viola Davis nailed playing the tough, bad-ass Amanda Waller. So the cast was great, but the story felt a little flat to me.

Here's where I may get hate mail: I loved Jared Leto as the Joker. I thought he slipped into that role perfectly. Jared seems to be a strange guy so it makes all the sense in the world for him to be cast. He played the Joker more of a straight psychotic thug more than anyone has played him before. In fact if you want the best of his performance, check out the scene where he meets up with Common's character and disposes of him in typical Joker fashion.

So was the extended version better? Yes, but there aren't too many scenes that got added. But the scenes added made a difference. There's very subtle but still noticeable differences that make it enjoyable. Very recommended.

Mad Max Fury Road Black and Chrome Edition (Warner Brothers):

My personal favorite. After I saw Mad Max Fury Road in the theatre, I proclaimed on my Facebook account that it was the biggest and best movie of the past 25 years. I'm sure it was just my adrenaline still pumping but I stood by it. It was a raw, in your face, nonstop action ride the likes I haven't seen in quite sometime.

And then the Black and Chrome edition came out...

The movie is extremely visual and very detailed to begin with. The scenery is just as much important to the storytelling of the movie as the characters. So to take the color out and put a black and white filter over it and it makes it even more so engaging. The movie pulls you in even more then it did when it was in color. From the look of just the sand on the ground to the vehicles themselves and the famous guitar player, Doof Warrior, all look that much more captivating.

Of every movie I've reviewed, this may be my favorite. I can't rant and rave enough about how great this release is. Definitely pick it up!

That's all for now, I certainly hope you enjoy these releases!


Sunday, December 18, 2016

UnCovered: The DC Towers Go To White Castle!

(I wrote this back in April and for some reason, I never finished it. So, here in all it's glory, is the scrapped White Castle adventure!)

I recently went down to Maryland to visit friends and family for a few days. I only get to see my family once or twice a year so I always try my hardest to fit some sort of memorable event into my somewhat-vacation. That said, my best friend of almost 30 years and I both had a grand idea on how to spend our Saturday together. And hoooooo boy was it a doozy. See, Andrew and I have been craving something so delicious and so rare for the longest time that we just had to make the visit.



Ok. Now follow me here just for a second. Please, before you decide to go read MorbidMuch instead because I've lost my mind, just listen. The last time I had freshly crafted Sliders was in 2010 when I stopped in NYC on the way up to Rochester to see my then girlfriend, now fiancée, Laurie. And before that, it would be an even rarer trip, as it was only when I'd be in a town for a convention that had a White Castle that I could bite into edible greatness.

So Andrew and I did a little research. The two closest were 3 hours away but thankfully they were in areas we were familiar with: Allentown, PA or Woodbridge, NJ. Well, I had a few people we could see in Woodbridge that I wanted to see, but family plans were scheduled for that day, and that's understandable. So, Allentown it was! Andrew and I have attended a convention or two in this area, so we weren't exactly strangers. We knew what a nice area it was and what to expect.

So with our eyes on the delicious prizes, we loaded up the car with some bottles of water, some Wawa juice and we were off to Allentown!

A little history note: Andrew and I used to attend the wrestling convention "Signamania" in the Philly area and were lovingly referred to as the DC Towers by Signamania promoter George, due to us being at least 10 feet tall each. On our way to each trip we'd get excited to pass BlueBall Ave (ya know, because we've got the minds of ten year olds). So while it's been a long time since we traveled to PA together, we got even more excited and hoping this was a positive omen for the rest of this trip.

And it twas...

We have arrived. It was a great 3 hour trip filled with fart jokes, movie and tv chat, politics, sports and many other topics covered. But we had built up an appetite that could only be solved by sliders. So I ordered my go-to meal of 8 cheese sliders, an order of chicken rings, chicken fries, french fries  to split with Andrew and a large coke.

Now, with our plates, it was game time. And we were more than up for the challenge...

And it didn't take long to go through either...

This was just round one. We went back about two more times. We didn't come all this way for just one order! Heck no! More cheese sliders and fries were downed before we called it a night and bid our favorite mini burger palace farewell. And it was indeed a sad farewell. Who knows the next time either of us would come back and get these fantastic treats. Besides, I had a flight early the next day. I gotta get back in time for Wrestlemania, duh! So, what's the natural thing for me to do? Well...

Yup...order an entire sack, chicken fries and freeze them so I can bring some of the greatness back to Rochester. 

Surprise to no-one, these lasted about a week. Yes, I know I can get the microwavable sliders at the local Wegmans, but nothing tops a freshly made cheese slider. And they even tasted better than the frozen ones from the grocery store. They're perfect. 

Does this all seem crazy? Two 33 year olds driving 3 hours for White Castle burgers? Sure does. But when you've had a best friend for close to 30 years, you can do crazy stuff like this. It's definitely one of my stranger adventures but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because: Friendship+White Castles+Howard Stern on XM=Happiness.

And you can't teach that!


Friday, December 16, 2016

A Cornucopia of My Pet Monster!

I think as adults, it's common for us to buy ourselves a present every Christmas season. To some degree, I kinda think it's a little excessive when it's a holiday where a big tradition is to...ya know...give gifts. However, if I'm allowed to just buy myself one present for myself shouldn't be just one item that I've wanted all year? Or maybe...30 years?

Yup. I did it. I got my wish. 

I found...A MY PET MONSTER!!!!

For those unaware, My Pet Monster is one of the greatest slices of 80s nostalgia. It was a big deal if you owned one. It was like having an invisible friend. You know those My Buddy or Kid Sister dolls from that time? Those big, goofy dolls with soulless eyes and serial killer smiles? Yeah, I mean I guess they were ok in a mini-Charles Manson kinda way, but if you really wanted the coolest of the cool, you had THIS. I was 3 or 4 when it came out so my mom put the constant kibosh on owning it but as I got older, I saw the other kids who had one have the times of their lives. It just had that undeniable effect on a child. Why have a big goofy doll that looked like a little brother on an ABC sitcom when you can have an honest to goodness monster?!?!?!

I've always loved the aspect of this toy but I only admired him from afar. Much like Madballs and The Power Glove, I was meant to just live vicariously through others. Oh, if only you knew how many years and hours I spent just merely thinking about owning this. But never did I honestly believe it would be possible. Have you ever seen the completed eBay listings? The doll itself goes for at least 60-75 without the handcuffs. Those handcuffs alone go for at least 70-100. I just can't see dropping that much on a lot, let alone a toy. But, I always figured if I was to find one, it would be at the thrift store or at the McDonald House Sale (my friend Jes found one complete, in flawless shape, for 4 bucks!). But eBay? Nope. Then, it hit me. There's other avenues. Craigslist, LetItGo, Mercari. So about two weeks ago, I hit up all of them to look. Couldn't hurt, right? Welp, Craigslist was a big fat NOPE. Mercari? Forget it. But LetGo? Oooooh...

I found a listing in Californ-eye-aye. It was risky. The listing showed a photo of the Monster WITH Cuffs! It also said "Price: Negotiable". Hmmm...Ok. Let's play with this, shall we? I was willing to set a $50 limit. But I didn't think that would be possible. So I sent the seller a message and what I received shocked the heck outta me.

"I could let him go for $10".


It was an easy "HELL YES". I didn't wanna get too excited. I didn't want the seller to start looking at listings and raise the price. 10 bucks for this is not something I can let slip out of my fingers. So, we agreed. I don't need to tell you that after getting the tracking number, I couldn't think of anything other than my new friend. Everything was blue and purple in my mind. Ya know that feeling of waiting for a mail-away GI Joe? Yeah. That feeling. The one-track-mind feeling of "it's almost here, it's almost here". The agonizing wait dragged on and on. I was ready to go insane.

Then he arrived...

He's here. Holy crap. He's actually in my possession. I can't believe this. After 30 years, he's mine! 

Live and in living color. Well...somewhat. He's faded to hell but ya know what? I couldn't be happier. The effect of opening the box and seeing him stare at me with those blood shot eyes and innocent snarl is enough for me to forget about all of my problems. He needs a little tender loving care and some appreciation and for that he came to the right place. I know a lot of people who have big bright colored dolls but this guy? I feel like if I had one as a kid, this is what he'd look like. I most likely would've hung out in my treehouse in the back yard with him, probably sharing a glass of lemonade and then after playing outside for hours, we'd go inside and watch WWF Superstars and eat grilled cheese. I always hear people who have had this guy that they literally took him everywhere. I can see why! I kinda just wanna lay in bed with him on a sick day and watch movies. He's essentially your best friend if your best friend was a giant pillow.

 Or he's someone you can do everyday activities with. Such as...

Wrapping presents:

Reading awesome comic books:

Eating Christmas Cookies

Watching TV:

Playing with awesome rabbits:

I love people and all. You could definitely call me a social butterfly and a people person. but I'm pretty sure after this purchase, I no longer need friends. He wants to be loved. I'll gladly take him in.

Oh yeah, and check it out. The handcuffs even fit my arms! I know what I'm wearing in my next work id photo!

Due to my obsession with this guy over the years, I've picked up a few items for my collection. A pin from London 1888 that I wear every day. A lot of great MPM pins have been released but this is hands down (or claws down?) my favorite, and in my opinion, the best!

I also own the amazing live action movie gifted to me by the fantastic Brian of It's Trash Culture. If you've never seen it, it's certainly the sight to see. It serves as the wild origin of Monster and even stars one of my favorite voice actresses, Alyson Court, in a very early role. It's never been released on DVD or blu-ray which stinks because it really is a great-terrible movie that is so over the top insane. If you've never seen the movie, fix that now:

On top of these, my fiancee actually made me a Monster birthday cake this year:

Monster has become a huge part of 1980's culture. Artists continually pay homage to the purple and blue beast in t-shirts, hoodies, pins, and more. But the one thing that always boggles my mind is the fact that he hasn't been re-released. Sure, he had a re-release in 2001 and 2008, but they looked more cartoony and kid friendly. But a re-release of the original mod in the same size and colors. Maybe even a a dvd release of the live action movie? That would be awesome. I'm sure a whole new generation would embrace My Pet Monster all over again.

Until that moment comes, I'll be hanging out, watching tv with My Pet Monster...