Monday, October 30, 2017

Remembering The Last Halloween!


We all seem to have that one holiday special that we remember watching as a kid but only about 3 other people in the world remember. It could be a variety reasons but the one thing I always try to remember is not everyone shares the same nostalgia and as time goes on, a lot of the specials fall through the sands of time and go forgotten. Which stinks if you're one of those people constantly looking for more info and can find nothing. I know that because I was one of those people. Until a few years ago that is.


Today's subject is about one of those specials. From 1991 "The Last Halloween" was a special that aired on CBS and from what I can tell, created exclusively as a one shot for the network by Hanna Barbera and Mars Candy and directed by Savage Steve Holland. Now, remembering this particular movie was a bit of struggle for years. I had seen it on it's airing in 1991 and quickly loved it but for some reason, when I'd try to bring it up in discussions with fellow Halloween geeks (pre-Youtube of course) my description would always lead to a response of "nah, don't remember it" or "Oh, you mean the Mars candy commercials". Which, the commercials aren't too far off and I'll touch on those in a second but it's not exactly what I'd remember. Since the special aired once or twice and not to much fanfare, the name of the special always escaped me. Until one day I saw a discussion on Tumblr where someone described the special in great detail. So, at last I had someone else who knew about it. I emailed the person who posted about it and sure enough, they lead me to the YouTube video. After about 20 years of going insane, trying to prove to people that I wasn't making this up and it wasn't the Mars commercials, I finally found it. Closure had finally come and now every year, I add it to my Halloween viewing playlist!



 So let's discuss the story. A fun little special about 4 adorable aliens who visit Earth on Halloween night from another planet to find candy. Apparently on their planet, candy is known as "Coobi" and is one of the most rare and precious resources. Thanks to two local children, Michael and Jeanie, the aliens mission goes into high gear and candy is sought out. But that's where the fun ends for our heroes. However, it begins lot of wacky hi-jinks as Rhea Pearlman plays Mrs Gizbourne, an evil, almost witch like character(minus the powers) who is obsessed with finding the secret to eternal youth running multiple experiments and draining the nearby lake, Crystal Lake. And who is her bodyguard/driver, Hans in the special? Oh, none other than Richard "Bull" Moll, who looks like he was having a lot of fun in the role. He's definitely a highlight of the special.


 
Hmm...Crystal Lake...why does that sound familiar...?

So as they drain the lake, it's also revealed the lake is also the power source of the local candy factory which could lead to a factory meltdown. Now of course, that means no Halloween for anybody. But how are those adorable aliens gonna be able to find candy if the factory is kaput? If I were the aliens, who are a lot more trusting that you'd expect aliens to be especially after that V nonsense, I'd fly to like England or Scotland or something. Just seems like America was a bad spot to fly to at this point.

After Mrs Gizbourne kidnaps the children and one of the goofier looking aliens. Apparently they needed to find a bug big enough to survive a meltdown but Hans mistaken the alien for said bug. Thankfully, the evil villains diabolical plans are foiled by the kids father and in return, the candy in the factory is restored and taken by these aliens. But as a token of their appreciation, these lovable aliens give the kids a special skipping stone that will grant them one wish. Let's think. It's the early 90s. What could these kids possibly ask for?

 A robot made out of a tv and a VHS?




Roller blades?



Lifetime supply of Pizzarias?


 No, but that would've been my choice.



The kids could make any goofy and selfish choice, but instead they just make the right decision and make the lake fill back up and restoring the candy factory back to it's fully functioning state.



Which, in theory is pretty cool, but if the whole town depends on a candy factory, wouldn't that encourage obesity and gluttony? I don't know. I feel like that town would just turn against the all powerful candy factory and destroy it and build a Whole Foods over it some day. Eww.





Sadly, Last Halloween aired only about 2 or 3 times afterward. It never received a vhs or dvd release and doesn't seem to be a high priority on the "must make a bluray" list.



Photos credit: CollectingCandy.com


So that's all the fun the TV special had to offer us but don't think for a second the fun truly ends there! No way dudes! It's the early 90s, we had to squeeze every bit of juice out of this. There's a little bit of ET regret on the part of Mars and I wonder if by 1991, they still hadn't gotten over it. Be that as it may, Jason of CollectingCandy did a little digging and found out that these lovable scamps were indeed meant to be the flag bearers for the company during the season. Introduced in commercials a year before in the previously mentioned "Mission To Mars" campaign, which was an almost prequel to the TV special. Mars kept these guys around for a few years and would get some fun mileage out of them, but sadly they've got forgotten except those who still love and cherish this special. I'm sure it's a bit of a stretch, but every Halloween I always hope for Mars to bring them back. They just look so cool! MARS ARE YOU READING? PLEASE BRING THEM BACK!


Thanks so much to my buddies Sammy Hain, DinosaurDracula.com and Jason of CollectingCandy for their assistance of this article! Truth is I have been wanting to cover this for quite sometime and I'm glad I got it out! Thanks to everyone who assisted! :)


-Chad

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What I've Been Watching: October Edition

THE ENTITY:



Official Synopsis: After single mother Carla Moran (Academy Award® nominee Barbara Hershey, Beaches) is violated and attacked by a seemingly invisible force she seeks the help of therapist Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver, Timecop). Convinced Carla's traumatic past is more akin to self-harm than anything supernatural, Sneiderman dismisses the wild claim. However, an insistent Carla invites two college students with an interest in the paranormal to visit her house in order to help her foil another visit from her terrifying invisible attacker.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie (Iron Eagle) and based on the novel by Frank De Felitta, The Entity is an intensely eerie supernatural suspense tale, in the creepy vein of Poltergeist, The Exorcist and The Omen.


Ahhhh...here's a fun movie for Halloween! Often thrown away as a Poltergeist rip off, I'm of the mindset that this is even more frightening.

Umbrella gave this classic the release it deserves! Entity was released in the US in 2012, but not a lot of effort was put into a transfer or even giving extra features. Leave it to Umbrella to pick up the pieces and put together a great release! With a great transfer and sound, fans of this movie will be very happy with what they receive. Great cast, great scares, awesome soundtrack, you're not gonna lose with this movie!
Extras:
  • Finding a Voice: A Conversation with composer Charles Bernstein
  • Robert McNaughton Remembers The Entity
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Poster and Stills gallery
  • Reversible Blu-ray sleeve





Official Synopsis: A classic tale of terror from the golden age of Aussie exploitation, Dark Age features outback stalwart John Jarratt (Wolf Creek) as Northern Territory wildlife ranger Steve Harris, a stoic survivor charged with conserving the ever diminishing crocodile population from encroaching hunters, hell-bent on destruction of the species. Faced with formidable opposition from gung-ho hunter John Besser (Max Phipps, Mad Max 2), Steve is joined by girlfriend Cathy (Nikki Coghill, The Time Guardian) and sets out to relocate a giant crocodile to a breeding ground sanctuary, well out of harm's way. Aided by expert tracker Oondabund (Burnam Burnam, Ground Zero) and Adjaral (David Gulpilil, The Tracker) the intrepid foursome risk life and limb in a terrifying journey that will test their nerves and transform the tranquil Territory waters into a raging red torrent of death.
A very popular Ozploitation movie that finally gets the release it truly deserves. What Jaws did for sharks, this movie did for Alligators.If you want a good look at what makes an Ozploitation so great, this is a nice selection to place on your shelf. It makes for a fun triple feature with Jaws and Orca (Orca has also been announced as an upcoming release from Umbrella in the near future!). 

If you've been surviving on an old vhs, worry not, the picture and sound are absolutely crisp and clean. The horror of a killer alligator has never looked so good!


Extras:

  • Audio Commentary with Actor John Jarratt and Executive Producer Antony I. Ginnane-A Bicentenary with Bite: Revisiting “Dark Age”- Panel discussion with film historians Lee Gambin, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Emma Westwood and Sally Christie-Uncut Not Quite Hollywood Interviews with John Jarratt and Antony I. Ginnane
  • Living With Crocodiles: 1986 documentary with Grahame Webb, author of 'Numunwari', the book which inspired DARK AGE- Trailer and original
  • US release Home Video trailers
  • Image Gallery including rare press and promotional material

 KOJAK MOVIE COLLECTION:



Official Synopsis: 
Telly Savalas stars as the tough, lollipop-toting Detective Theo Kojak in these gritty and unforgettable mystery movies. This 3 disc set includes the pilot movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders, which started it all and earned Abby Mann an Emmy(r) for Outstanding Writing, along with The Belarus File and The Pride of Justice.
The Marcus-Nelson Murders (1973) 
Homicide detective Lt. Theo Kojak suspects that a black youth who confesses to a murder of two white women was coerced by the police and is actually innocent of the crime. 
The Belarus File (1985)
The murders of several elderly Russian men lead Kojak to a group of Nazi war criminal who are living in America with the full knowledge and approval of the U.S. government. 
The Pride of Justice (1987) 
When the bodies of two young boys are discovered in the Harlem River, their mother is the obvious suspect, particularly with her scandalous past. But Kojak believes that she is innocent.


Oh come on, everyone loved Telly Savalas as Kojak! The lovable yet gruff detective came back for some prime time movies even after the show left the air and this collection provides you some fun crime fighting action. Who loves ya baby? Now sit back, brag some popcorn and your favorite lollypop and enjoy!


From Mill Creek:


Coach The Complete Series:

While talk of a reboot died down a few years ago, you can still enjoy the greatness of Coach in this complete set. Never has this show looked so great. For fans of the 90s classic who missed out on the previous dvds have the opportunity to make up and pick up all 9 seasons in one set! A perfect holiday gift!


Vice Versa:


A perfect 80s comedy featuring two of the most beloeved 80s actors: Fred Savage and Judge Reinhold in an almost Freaky Friday like roles, Charlie (Savage) trades place with his dad, a busy vice president of a very successful store. Ok, I know, you've seen this movie a thousand times, but how are you going to turn down a comedy where Fred Savage plays an executive? I mean, he practically played old souls anyway, so this just suits him. For anyone who wants a fun 80s comedy to watch on a rainy afternoon, this is a perfect selection.


TRICK OR TREAT SPOOKTACULAR COLLECTION:
A great release featuring family friendly and memorable Halloween classics! For those looking for something to play on the tv while you're handing out candy this year, why not pick this?

Featuring:


The Storybook Series - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ghost in the Shed, Noises in the Night, Misunderstood Monsters, Three Golden Hairs, The Boy Who Couldn't Shiver

Casper - There's Good Boos Tonight , The Friendly Ghost, Boo Moon, A Haunting We Will Go

Fleischer Studio Classics - The Cobweb Hotel, The Fresh Vegetable Mystery, Magic Mummy


-Chad







The Goosebumps Fan Club Kit!

I don't think there's a horror fan my age, or maybe even a bit older, that wasn't glued to a Goosebumps book in their younger years. RL Stine helped create a world of humor and horror in a kid friendly environment, which isn't always the easiest task. But he did it, and an entire generation still gets all warm and fuzzy whenever they think of these classic books. It's nostalgia, sure, but it's also just a lot of fun, carefree escapism which is kind of hard to find these days.



As Goosebumps rose to popularity the insane amount of merchandise followed. School supplies, Halloween costumes, toys, fast food premiums, pajamas and so much more. If you were a diehard Slappy fan, I'm sure you slept in a room featuring a poster of your favorite dummy. Not creepy at all, but hey, I had a poster of the Stone Temple Pilots on my wall, so I'm not judging you.

So how can you truly prove your love of Goosebumps? Where's the glass ceiling? Does owning a pair of Goosebumps sunglasses shoot you to the top of the rung of fans? Eh, impressive indeed, but not quite as impressive as what I'm going to share with you today. As revealed in my most recent article, I revealed I picked up a beautiful piece at the McDonald House Sale...I give you...THE GOOSEBUMPS FAN CLUB KIT.


 In an eye catching green and black box, everything a Goosebumps fan could ever ask for is right here. My research tells me this isn't the first edition, as 2 earlier editions version came out in 1994 and 1995, packaged in a coffin box! I like it! While the box I picked up isn't as clever as the casket, I'm still a big fan of the design! I can't help it, I love neon green!


You open the box and you're pretty much overwhelmed by the contents. I was expecting a lot of cool stuff, but not this. A treasure trove of beautiful green and black colored goodies all for me! Now it looks like a few items are missing such as a newsletter, welcome letter, note pad, a pencil topper and maybe a story tape (can someone confirm that for me, please?) so what you see is going to be a bit incomplete, but make no bones about it, this is still a fine, fine piece.



First piece in the box is a short story written by the man himself, RL Stine. The first page is stamped with the face of terror and a fake signature. While not his real autograph, it's still pretty cool. And the short story is a nice addition. Just think. If you're a Goosebumps fan and have a new story made only for the fan club, you are essentially in a level of fandom all to yourself. You can say to your fellow Goosebros and say "Hey did you read 'Don't Make Me Laugh'? Oh you didn't? Oh..." and be justified. It's ok, no one will blame you for putting your nose up at those who haven't read it. Heck, I may head to a local country club and start snubbing those in attendance all because they haven't read this. Fools!



 Next up is an item to be expected. No fan club is complete without a bookmark, and if you expected a fan club based on a book series wasn't gonna give you one, brother...you're insane. A lenticular rectangle to hold your spot, with that glorious logo and the Killer Mask? Oh my gosh, this could very well be the greatest bookmark ever!

Also included, which I assume was a part of the newsletter, is a checklist of all the Goosebumps releases up to that point. Now, you can be the most organized person in the world, but a checklist will always help anyone hoarding these books.



POGS! Of course! It makes perfect sense!!!! One of the greatest 90s relics, next to Yak Backs and Hammer pants! In 1996, POGs were still a very popular item. I had a giant bucket filled with these and still collected them. the bigger the collection, the better the chances you had at beating people. I...think? I don't know, but I do know that if you had these milk caps, you'd be scaring the competition. Your opponents caps would be as a good as yours!


Oh and worry not! If you left your Slammer at your friends house last time, you get a Christmas Curly Slammer in this pack. No one stands a chance when going up against a skeleton in a Santa Hat and sunglasses. In fact, just take your buddies caps and go home now. You won the second you picked up that Slammer. Your goofball friends will never be able to compete with their lamewad 8-Ball Slammer.

Some nice postcards featuring some fan favorite covers. What better way to write Aunt Zelda and update her on your wild prep school days than with a "Say Cheese and Die!" postcard? She'll never see it coming and probably will disown you but it'll be worth it.


Well, heck son. You gotta write on those postcards with something! The Club has your back though. 6 pencils and a glow in the dark pen. I was downright amazed to find these pencils remained unsharpened. If I were the original owner, I would've definitely used all of them up by now. And I can promise that pen would be completely out of ink as well.


Along with the previously mentioned bookmark, you simply can NOT walk around saying you're a fan club member and not own a club card. Oh the egg on your face if you dare brag about being a member and going through your wallet only to find you left the card at home. You're on your own there, brah. Besides, this card declares you to be the "#1 Fan"! How could you leave it behind? The fact that you're not being buried with this is baffling.





So you don't have a wallet for your card? You do now! A velcro neon green wallet is YOURS! Not a bad idea, considering you left your membership card, sillypants! Now if you DO have your card and someone doubts your loyalty, all they need to do is see that wallet as well and they'll nod their head in acceptance.

Also include are a button and a vinyl keychain. Nice items for your backpack. I bet you'll be able to part the entire hallway at school like the Ref Sea with these hanging off your bag. Show those "cool kids" who's really in charge! They may have dad's credit card and a really good lawyer, but they don't have these! You're going places, kid!



Looking for some fun activities outside of reading a book? Well, sure! We all need to give our eyes a rest. Thankfully with these items, you'll be ok! A mini floppy frisbee and mini playing cards. If you're gonna hang out with your friends on a hot summer day and have an Ecto Cooler or two, you need some fun throwing the old frisbee around. Plus, those mini cards are great for a road trip and you got tired of hearing your friend brag about hooking up with that girl at the bar. Don't worry, Curly's got your back. He won't judge you like your goofy friends did when you wore that Kriss Kross Looney Tunes shirt.




A giant sticker, the size of a frickin' dinner plate! I gotta tell you guys, as a sticker fan and someone who likes to cover everything in stickers, it's VERY tempting to put this on my fridge or my car. Look at it! It's huge! Now a days, huge stickers are very popular but back then? Eh. This is one of my favorite pieces and the most tempting to use. You'll forgive me right?

No? Fine, I'll stick to the wallet.





Whoa dude. I'm not going anywhere near that folder! If I'm looking to cheat off my friend in class, I better think this through. He may have better grades, but his papers are cursed! I imagine it would be like in Prom Night 3 where if the teacher tried to give you an F, Curly would magically erase it and make sure you got an A, despite you totally deserving an F. You know what you did.



So thar she blows. A great fan club kit and fun items for only the most hardcore fans.Pretty sure I would've beaten up my own grandmother for this if I had to. Thankfully I didn't have to. I just had to find it laying in a pile of forgotten Halloween goodness.

-Chad

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Saying Goodbye The Tech Park McDonalds House Sale

Well, Tuesday was the final day for the legendary McDonald House Sale, a second hand sale in which people from all over come to find that one sweet item they can either use in the house or if you're like me, put on eBay and pay off those pesky bills. Normally, I get very excited and get hyped but I'm a little sad just as much I am happy with my findings. Now, you're asking yourself "Chad, you always find such cool stuff. Why would you be sad?".

The answer is simple: The Sale has grown so large, that it's outgrown it's current and longtime location of Tech Park (normally a giant warehouse). I've been going to the Sale since 2014, and I've explored every nook and cranny of that place. I've become so acclimated to this event that I know the first spots to hit all the way to what departments to only hit on the last days during the "75% off sales". It took a while to get turn this into a routine, which resulted in me losing great finds, but hey I like the familiarity of this place.


So it was time to take one last time down that hallway and enter the house of bargains...



Well, I must confess, I probably should've hit the infamous Halloween Room first, but last time I found a vhs copy of Rad, so my instincts took me to the movie room instead.


Sadly, nothing to be found this time. No Rad, nothing rare at all.  I took this as a sign of things to come. Now, it sounds like defeatism but I started to get a bad feeling in my gut that this last show just wouldn't have been the trip that previous shows were. Thankfully, I was able to pick up the second season of the Upright Citizens Brigade to consider this particular visit to the room a success. So I started to wander around and look at other things. Nothing was popping out at me to buy, but some cool stuff nonetheless.








I was in danger of being late for work so my usual routine of hitting the departments would have to be shortened. Now, walking around, I found some nice things but nothing cool enough to bring with me. And then I hit "The Boutique", a name the Sale gives for an area featuring more collectible and sought after items. I sometimes find a cool item or two, but for the most part I rarely find anything incredible. That is until today:




MUPPET MOVIE LUNCHBOX!!!!!


Being the hug Muppets fan I am, I refused to leave this sweet piece behind. It's not in the finest shape, plenty of rust spots and it's missing the thermos, but as a showpiece, it's a nice piece to have. And for only $5? Yeah, that's not going to be left for the last day by anyone.

So looks my gut was wrong? Sure, I've been wrong before but never have I been so happy to be wrong like I was now. And then IT happened.

STAY PUFT:


Ok, so if the lunchbox made me giddy, this find made me flip out. Funny enough, the night before, the official page for the Sale posted preview photos and in one of them was a gigantic Stay Puft plush toy in the toy section. Well, after not being available, I was a little crushed. But finding the original Kenner Real Ghostbusters figure? All is forgiven. No way I'd be sad after finding my favorite GB character!  I had written about the most recent Mattel figure and how great it was, but there's something about owning the original that makes me want to forget all about that one.

Funny enough, the woman who labeled and bagged this referred to him as a "rare Michelin Man doll". After I jokingly corrected her on who he really was, she proceeded to get a little upset and just walked away. Hey, you can't say the wrong name about to someone who has been a Stay Puft fan since about age 4. Sounds like your problem, Miss Price Lady.


Time was winding down and I decided to hit one more section and oh boy was I glad that I did...


A GOOSEBUMPS FAN CLUB KIT.


Great Caesars Ghost! It's beautiful! This would be the second time I've found a fan club kit at the Sale, last time being one from the Mickey Mouse Club , but I'd say this blows that one out of the water BIG time. I didn't even think twice about buying this. It had to be MINE. I drop all my other stuff and immediately go through everything in there and sure enough, it's a complete set. Oh you might be asking, what's in there? Come back tomorrow and we'll take a quick look!


Sadly it was time to head to work. I'm kind of ok with this being my last run. I mean, sure I hit the 90% off day later, but honestly, I didn't find anything as cool as I did this day. But that's ok, I'm ready to let go and just move on. I'm really looking forward to what we have ahead of us. Maybe we'll finally get air conditioning and indoor bathrooms.Although, I'm kind of scared. The talk was they hadn't found a new spot for the Sale just yet but I hope it's even bigger and better.

Hopefully, I'll see you again in the Spring!



-Chad

For more fun adventures and finds at the Sale, check out my previous entries:

Spring 2016
Spring 2017



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: Cult of Chucky




Official Synopsis:  Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new therapeutic "tool" to facilitate his patients' group sessions — an all-too-familiar "Good Guy" doll with an innocently smiling face — a string of grisly deaths begins to plague the asylum. Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), Chucky's now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child's Play, races to Nica's aid. But to save her he'll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar®-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky's long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.


When I heard that Cult of Chucky, I was a little apprehensive. I merely liked the last installment in the Chucky series, Curse of Chucky but thought it fell a little flat but had potential to continue the series and could be taken seriously again, which is something I've wished for the pint sized doll for sometime now.

Then I sat down to watch it.

Any fears walking into it, were tossed aside. While Cult of Chucky retains a lot of the humor this series is known for, the violence and horror elements were turned up to a level like never before. The kills by Chucky were a bit more methodical on his part, including one very memorable "death by sunroof" scene that is sure to be the most memorable and a fan favorite. This movie definitely takes it's reputation serious.

As compared to her performance in the first movie, Fiona Dourif also has improved as an actress. She was a fine and talented leading actress and certainly inherited the creepy factor from her father (voice of Chucky and costar, Brad Dourif) and proved that she is a bankable actress for future installments as well as other movies. I can't wait to see where her road takes her! Also returning was Alex Vincent, Andy from the original movies, who has had his own battles with Chucky over the years. Now, I like Alex's involvement, but didn't really think he was crucial to the story. It was nice to see him battle with Chucky and trade barbs but that could've been any other character.


If I do have any advice for you, it's to watch the unrated edition, not just for the kills and fun, but the after credits scene. Fans of the series will definitely appreciate this. In fact, my jaw is still on the ground!

The bonus features are always a highlight and it was a real treat to see the inside story of this movie and hearing the perspectives of those involved:


R-rated/Unrated Versions: the viewer may choose either version to watch from the menu, both running 90 minutes.
Audio Commentary: Featuring director Don Mancini and head puppeteer/associate producer Tony Gardner
Deleted Scenes
Inside the Insanity of Cult of Chucky Featuring director-writer Don Mancini, head puppeteer Tony Gardner, production designer Craig Sandells, and actors Fiona Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Alex Vincent, and Michael Therriault.
Good Guy Gone Bad: The Incarnations of Chucky ): Featuring director Don Mancini and puppeteer Tony Gardner discuss the ever changing look of Chucky.
The Dollhouse : A chat with fathers and daughters Brad and Fiona Dourif and puppeteers Tony and Kyra Gardner.

Last Thoughts: I saw this as a mixture between Curse of Chucky and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. A lot of elements such as the backdrop of the creepy psych ward, suicide, and possession that would've been taken seriously in other movies, were given a little more of a lighter take but it didn't hurt the tone of the movie. I found this to be the most entertaining movie of the series in years and quickly became my favorite since part 2. I feel like Chucky was given a new life here and I get the sense the future of the series will be a-ok.

Definitely do yourself a favor and pick this one up.I couldn't be any happier with this movie and believe anyone who's a fan of the series will be more than satisfied.

-Chad