Sunday, March 26, 2017

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

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

So let's dig in!


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

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

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



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


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

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




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

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

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


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Village Gate Toy Show March 2017 Report!

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

December 2016
March 2016
March 2014

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Monster Mania March 2017 Review

March is here, so it means...MONSTER MANIA CON.

It was time for my buddy Andrew and I to pack up the truck and head up to Cherry Hill, NJ on what was to be very cruel weathered Friday morning. We were worried that possible massive amounts of snow and rain were going to stop our trip. But as it turns out, the weather really didn't come into play until after we arrived around 1 pm.

Arriving to our destination, we were immediately greeted with a gigantic hug by old friend, Hollie GoFrightly, who is one of the sweetest people I've grown to know through this convention. I haven't seen her in years, so it was great to catch up. I also ran into my buddy and all around terrific human being, Thomas Bryce of the famous ShitMovieFest. It's not truly a convention until the legendary SMF cooler makes an appearance:

We headed up to the SMF Suite to eat pretzels and talk blogging, food, wrestling and action figures. And then out of nowhere, a wild Jason Price (of IconVsIcon) appears. We're all talkers so we could really go on and on for even longer. I had to run, but this would not be the only time I'd run into either of them. In fact, the next time I saw Thomas, he was hanging out with our buddy Garret and Freddie the Wolf of Full Moon Reviews as well as The Mozz of The Shock Chamber!

Front L to R: GStarr, Freddie, Mozz.
Back: Thomas Bryce, Me, Andrew

So now, it's convention time. We lined up almost immediately for Ralph Macchio. Ralph is one of the biggest names I've ever wanted to meet. Karate Kid was a huge part of my childhood to the point that at age 4, I actually dressed like Daniel Larusso. On top of that, Beer League is one of my all time favorite comedies (as well as Andrew's), so when the convention announced him as a guest, it was a no brainer. We had to meet him. Thankfully, Ralph's agent allowed both me and Andrew to get separate photos. Not a lot of agents would be so generous. They'd actually charge for each person.
Thankfully, no crane kicking was involved.

Ralph was great. We chatted him up about Beer League and the shooting locations in NJ and Ohio. I'm sure he hears all the time about Karate Kid but to talk to him about a movie that means just as much and provides so much entertainment was even more fun. He even referred to me and Andrew as his "Beer League Brothers". And yes, of course, I had to tell him I loved Mad Magazine's Up The Academy to which he smiled and said "it was one of my first movies, how can I hate it?".

4 Life.

Pro wrestling hall of famer and one of the founding fathers of the legendary Four Horsemen, Tully Blanchard was really the only other celebrity I truly wanted to meet. Tully was always my favorite Horsemen in the history of the illustrious group due to his charisma, amazing promos and superb technical in-ring ability. I've already met the rest of the Horsemen, and then some, but Tully was it. In fact, on my "must meet wrestlers" list, he was number 2 (behind Hulk Hogan). Thankfully, he was in the same room as Ralph, so I was able to knock out both big name wants in one swoop. I told Tully that his post wrestling career is absolutely inspiring and how his motto of, "Be something but be the best" always stuck with me. He was very appreciative and an absolute pleasure to meet. Now, my list is down to one person. Hope to see you soon, Hulkster!

Richard Masur, among other things, the father from License To Drive.

Peter Maloney of the Thing. We also chatted about living in Rochester!

I promised a buddy of mine that I'd get him some names on his The Thing photo which already contained about 3 or 4 names. He asked me to get him Richard Masur, Peter Maloney and the famous Wilford Brimley. Three great guests who seemed very appreciative of all the fans who came to greet them.

Wilford Brimley. Perhaps the VIP of the show!

Of course, Wilford was the star of the The Thing reunion. His first convention appearance courtesy of Full Empire Promotions. Wilford was pretty quiet but very polite to his fans. The family before me had two little girls with them and after they took their photo together, Wilford decided to tell them a quick story. I couldn't hear it well, but the two girls, as well as the parents, walked away smiling which is all I needed to see. When I took a photo I joked "That's as good as I'm gonna look" to which he responded with "Well, I'm not gonna get any better looking, that's for sure.". If you have the chance to meet Wilford at any of his upcoming conventions, please don't hesitate. He is certainly worth your money and time.

The vendors room, is a big highlight for me. Whether it's a movie, an action figure or a glow in the dark Elvira cup, my cash flow simply did not allow me to get everything I wanted - which is okay. That just means I'll have a list for the next time! I can't begin to describe how many amazing artists were in the room. Posters, prints, props, custom action figures, stickers, pins, shirts, hats. The list goes on. I'm always amazed at the efforts and hard work put into these things and pains me to walk away when I see something I can't get anywhere else. I didn't get a lot of stuff, but what I did purchase, made me very happy:

 Ya know, I've been going to MM for years and it's a tradition to stop by the table that sells these items but I've never taken the plunge to really purchase them. Been eyeing that watch for years and now I'm the proud owner of that ugly, little spud!

CRYPTKEEPER HAT (from London1888): 

The hat is a real beauty. Add my previously purchased My Pet Monster pin (also from London1888) and it looks even better. I love hats and a hat featuring the Crypt Keeper? I needed it.

My only issue with the entire weekend as that the hotel was just absolutely cramped to the gills. I'd probably wager to say it was the largest attended MM to date. Attendance became so large that the local fire-marshal stopped by and forced ticket sales to be halted for at least an hour. That's great for business and the convention is indeed a business, but for an attendee, it causes a lot of headaches. It's a nice hotel, very impressive indeed. From perspective, the convention has gotten so large that it could probably be held more comfortably in a small convention center or something. The Oakes Expo Center could be a good spot. Then again, I'm not the promoter. I'm just a fan. Two totally different perspectives.

The promoter and his family put on an absolutely fantastic show and I certainly would rate this convention experience a solid 10/10. My previous MM experience was less than stellar and left me sour on the convention but this show restored my faith in the show. More Monster Mania's take place this year and I'm sure I'll find myself to one more before the year is over.


PS-Here's some more fun shots of me and my friends!

The legendary Ian of Ian's Pumpkin Carvings and his amazing creations!

Scentsy Queen Natalie and Tank of Fright-Rags.

My buddy Jessica aka The Queen of Cosplay
(3 time MM costume contest champion)

Courtney Catastrophe

Jason of IconVsIcon

The Legendary head of IVP Videos

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WizardWednesday: The Goodtimes Video Release!

In my love of the Wizard, I find myself hitting eBay quite a bit looking for any and all merchandise and/or promo items. It's a little hard to do. Universal and Nintendo didn't exactly put a lot of promotion and merchandising behind it. Which is odd, considering it was the unveiling of Super Mario Bros. 3, it was a pretty big release for both companies. So when I do find something, I'm overjoyed as well as pleasantly surprised. And just last week I found something and immediately went into panicky "HOLY CRAP SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN I NEED THIS" mode. Now, we've all seen that standard Universal Studios vhs release of The Wizard but I can honestly say that in all my research of this movie and even my thrifting and vhs collecting, I have never seen this release before.

Goodtimes release on the left. The standard Universal release on the right.
Released by "Goodtimes Video" under license through Universal, I really was hoping for something new or unseen another releases but nah. Just another seemingly pan-and-scan release. In LP Mode. Which, if I recall, is the basis for every one of their releases. Goodtimes Video was known for releasing their tapes in low quality and an equally low price. Not low quality in a bad way, but if you were looking a tape with the best sound and picture, their releases may not be for you. Which, for a bargain tape, you get what you pay for. This tape is no different. Same bad picture and sound. On top of all that, your finger must stay on the tracking button. The bottom of the screen will produce more static than an old nWo promo video.

The packaging is caught my eye. The front is pretty much the same, just looks like they zoomed in on the original release, which leaves everything much more pixelated. Imagine a movie poster that features about 99% of the graphics being pixelated NES characters. Now, imagine zooming in on those characters by about 5 times. How bad is that going to look? Yup. Also, note a review of the movie itself. That's neat considering the original only had a small review on the back. That'll come in handy in a second.

The front packaging is one thing, the back is another. A different laying using different images and is more interested in sharing the cast members and a review. They also kinda just give away the movie, which, I don't know. A synopsis that long and in depth pretty much gives you everything you need to know. I just can't imagine someone reading it and buying it immediately. But I guess someone did because here it is...

One other thing that caught my eye when I pulled the tape out of its sleeve is the run time...Um...

47 minutes?!?!?!?! Is this the making of featurette or the actual movie? I can honestly tell you that it does run for the entire run time. I'm very confused by this mislabeling. Maybe someone somewhere had hoped the movie was only 47 minutes. Other than that, I got nothing. But even the back of the cover lists it at it's 100 minute run time.

So that's a fun little bonus. Don't think I've ever seen a vhs listing the wrong run time on the label but list the right time on the cover. But there's a first for everything.

One last note. Notice the logo. It looks rather raised in the picture right? I saw this on the ebay listing and said "hmmm...could the logo have been raised on the box?". I mean it's possible. That was a big gimmick at the time and even before. But no. I was very mistaken. Just a flat logo. Still a cool looking 3-D'ish looking alternate logo. I can't say I've ever seen this logo in any capacity. I dig it.

All in all, it's not the holy grail of VHS collecting by any means. But it is pretty cool to find a different releases of The Wizard. I've seen foreign releases but never an alternate domestic release.