Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Essential Freddy Krueger Merch!

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of, what some fans consider to be, the greatest sequel in horror movie history, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. To many that movie, more than any other, represents what Freddy Krueger should be: scary, ghoulish, frightening, and one heck of a sense of humor. It's very hard for me to disagree with that. In fact, if I was to introduce anyone to the series, I'd actually start with that one. No disrespect to any of the others in the series. While part 5 is my personal favorite as crazy as that sounds to some, this movie contains great characters, a fantastic story that involves Nancy passing the torch to another generation of Dream Warriors and one of the greatest lines in movie history:



So, while yesterday I didn't present a writeup on Dream Warriors like I originally wanted to, I decided today to take you down a somewhat different path. Today I wanted to take you on a trip down Elm Street for some of the best merchandise Freddy could plaster his face on.

Now, I did a blog post about Freddy merch way back in 2011, but I've really been wanting to do an updated entry since then. Afterall, my collection has grown. Why not revisit it?

So much like every town in the world, every blog has an Elm Street. Let's take a trip down, shall we?



FREDDY KRUEGER BUBBLE GUM:


Wow, one of my all time favorite pieces in my collection. Not just NOES related but everything I own. These weird little containers contained pastel colored chiclet-like candies were produced by Topps in 1988 and offered several containers featuring Freddy in different poses and goofy catchphrases that weren't exactly from the movie. 


On top of that they had goofy lines like you see above or "Kiss Me" and "The Freddy Nobody Knows" and others that you really can't hear Freddy himself say unless it was on a Saturday morning cartoon.  Which, I have to imagine was pitched by this point in the "Freddy-Mania" days.



NECA LUNCHBOX:
NECA has had a VERY long relationship with Freddy. Sure, they produce killer action figures now, but for a while, they were producing awesome stuff in every other category. Be it, the Gizmo Pillow to Nightmare Before Christmas ornaments to Slimer decorative lights, you name it, they did it. In fact, if you were looking to decorate your house, NECA was your number 1 source for awesome decorations.

Lunchboxes were a huge part of NECA's repertoire and a lot of great designs were produced. In fact, I had a Beetlejuice and Ozzy Osbourne Bark At The Moon lunchbox as well, but of every lunchbox offering, this one is by and far my favorite. The iconic poster to the first movie adorns not just the lunchbox itself, but the thermos as well. This tin lunchbox has been a favorite piece of mine even way before my lovely fiancee picked on up for me as a gift.

Plus, there's just something so rad about taking a Freddy lunchbox to work. Thankfully, when you're 6'6, no one questions it.


NANCY THOMPSON BY CINEMA OF FEAR:




There is a huge void in our lives of Nancy Thompson merchandise. To date, this and another diorama from Cinema Of Fear are the only action figure representatives of Heather Langenkamp's iconic role. It's a great figure/diorama recreating the famous scene from the first movie that makes a perfect display piece on my shelf. As much as I love this piece, I'd love to see more Nancy merch hit shelves. Imagine an "Ultimate Nancy" figure to combat all those great Freddy's we've gotten over the years.

Speaking of figures, let's take a quick look at my favorite figures released so far:





First up, the McFarlane Freddy from the Movie Maniacs line in 1998. At that time, McFarlane was releasing some of the most creepy figures on the market. When the company announced they were producing a line based off famous slashers, I was overjoyed because I knew I'd get a new Freddy. Freddy has a great pose here and looks so beyond creepy. It may not be his most accurate face sculpt but it certainly looks unique. Love the paint job and sculpt. Definitely my favorite Freddy figure to date.






 In 2003, conventions across the country offered this exclusive Fred Krueger figure by NECA as a way to build excitement for Freddy vs Jason. We had seen multiple Freddy figures by this point but until 2003, we had never gotten a FRED. Using a great sculpt that looks so much like Robert Englund, you'd think it's actually him, a creepy accessory of a baby doll (to entice his victims) and an alternate Freddy head, this is my favorite Fred figure.




As I said before, Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is my favorite entry of the series so when NECA announced a Comic Con exclusive of Super Freddy and a cutout of my favorite character, Mark Grey, I knew I had to own one. I love the originality of this figure and in fact, had to have actor Joe Seely sign it for me! So this figure is even more special to me!

Speaking of Dream Child...


NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5 BUTTON:



Movie promo buttons have always been a favorite collectible of mine. When I was a kid and I'd go to the video store, I'd always walk away with pins and keychains and posters I'd prolly never see, but come on a free button? That's what I looked forward to the most. Sadly, I never got a NOES button as a kid, but at my first Monster Mania convention in 2008, I found this beauty for only 5 bucks. How in the world was I going to turn this down? This remains one of my favorite of my pin/button collection that I've been building since a young age.


FREDDY FRIGHT SQUIRTER BY ENTERTECH:


A valentines day gift to me from my fiancee, I've always been fascinated by this. You stick your hand up his neck, squeeze a bladder and he squirts water. Not very far but it delivers what it promises. I can't imagine Freddy being useful in a water fight in 1989 but hey, it sure looks better than those lame drug store squirt guns.


FREDDY SPITBALLS AND YOYO:

Looking for some indoor fun? Spectra Star has your best interest in the form of a fun yoyo and Entertech, once again, is delivering some indoor water squirting fun with a "Spitball" in the form of Freddy and one of his nameless victims. Both items were big peg warmers in Kmarts around the country when I was a kid at this time but they've become big favorites to collectors in the past few years. And why not? It's so crazy to see a child murderer's face plastered on yoyos and spitballs! Thankfully, I was able to find both MOC, although...I will confess the temptation of having a water war with my friends using these...Hey...why don't you come on by later this week? heh heh heh!


FREDDYS GREATEST HITS BY FREDDY AND THE ELM STREET GROUP:


Perhaps the most outlandish item in my collection. The fact that Robert went into a recording studio with some random singing group to pound out this album still floors me. It' most certainly wasn't going to be nominated for a Grammy but it's one of the most entertaining novelty records you'll ever hear. I dare you not to love it. To this day, I put this on my "Convention" playlist. I always play this album on my way to any convention I attend. It gets me in the mood and puts a smile on my face.

I actually picked this up just five years ago after searching for a good copy. My local record store posted they had one on Facebook and I rushed over. In fact, I think my face shows just how excited I was to pick it up.

That's the face of a very ecstatic Fred-Head finding one of his most wanted items!



 THE NIGHTMARE NEVER ENDS:

 Before the fantastic documentary "Never Sleep Again" was released in 2010, this was our source of the history on Elm Street. This book provides great stories and never before seen behind the scenes photos from 1-6. I've seen some great retrospective books written before but if you ask me, this is at the top of that list.

And in fact, Freddy with a Vision Skateboard may be one of my favorite images in human history:



TALKING FREDDY BY MATCHBOX:



For the longest time, I kid you not, this was my "Freddy Holy Grail". Why? Because it represents everything great about what Freddy became in the late 1980's. He went from scary slasher to scary cereal mascot slasher pretty quick, which pisses a LOT of people off but for me, since that's around the time I got into Freddy and saw my first NOES movie. So to me, yes it's not what he started off as, but it's what I love about these movies. Unlike other slashers, Freddy had personality and unique charisma. That's what I look for in my favorite characters.






This figure was placed on shelves in 1989 and was almost immediately taken off due to overwhelming complaints from parent and church groups proclaiming that a store like Toys R Us or Kiddy City shouldn't partake in the selling of a child murder. So, while some got their Freddy off the toy shelves, these didn't last long and almost immediately became the favorite Freddy Krueger item for many collectors. I mean, come on, who wouldn't want a talking Freddy doll anyway? Freddy had a million awesome one-liners, so why wouldn't Little Billy snuggle up to his favorite murderer as he drifts off to dreamland? Perhaps not Matchbox's most memorable release but it was a fun touchstone in "banned toys" history as well as Freddy's great merchandising bonanza...


So there they are, these are just several of my favorite pieces. But what about you? Is there a piece in your collection that maybe I left out? What's your holy grail? Share with me in the comments!




Until next time...whatever you do...


-Chad

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BUY ME TOYS! 7 Things I Want From Toyfair 2017!

Toyfair is that time of year where toy collector starts drooling. Sadly, they also hear their wallets crying and whimpering at how much they'll likely be spending on plastic crack throughout the year.It is rather upsetting but hey, man...gotta get those Batman toys!

For those who may not know, Toyfair is the annual event where all major toy companies show off their  goods for the year. It's been a long standing tradition for me, since about 1998 when I would get Toyfare, to make a little checklist of stuff I wanted. Obviously, there's always a toy or two that doesn't get released for one reason or another but for the most part, these toys get released and gobbled up by collectors everywhere. It's a nice time and a great way to start off the year!

But what caught my eye at Toyfair this year? Let's take a gander!

(All photos are credited to the fantastic site ToyArk.com . Please give their site a visit. It's a great source of toy info!)


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/WWE Mashup: Roddy Piper/Mikey(Playmates)



The TMNT/WWE mashups have been extremely popular amongst fans and kids of all ages. Collectors have been grabbing these up, despite their rather hefty $20 price tag. This kind of creativity brought out the kid in the older generation and gave the younger generation a fun new way to play with their Turtles. The entire collection is fantastic, but since Roddy is one of my all time favorite wrestlers and heroes, I have to have to him specifically on my shelf. And of course, Mikey is my favorite Turtle, as if you'd be surprised. Best of both worlds? You bet!


Gremlins 2: Mowhawk (NECA):
It's kinda hard to get something new out of an old property like Gremlins 2. Most of it all has been done, with the exception of say a Calmp figure. And not giving us a John Glover figure may be the biggest crime in the world. But until then, I gladly accept this Mowhawk figure with a machine in in it's place. The paint job, the sculpt, the fact that it's going to have a hinged jaw, makes it a nice take on a classic character.


Superman vs Doomsday (DC Collectibles) :



If you weren't around for the Death of Superman, it's absolutely impossible to describe the impact of what this story meant to fans and the comic book industry. It was absolutely massive. How could it not? SUPERMAN WAS DEAD. Well, sort of. Spoilers. D'oh.

This set by DC Collectibles is the perfect depiction of that last stand between Superman and Doomsday. In fact, the second it popped up in my feed, I thought it was a statue. I may be more excited for this than anything else.



Filmation Hordak (Super 7):

Uh...well...ok, maybe Hordak is what I'm most excited for. A perfect cartoon accurate sculpt and paint job of my favorite bad boy from the MOTU universe makes this the most desirable of all the MOTU releases, imo. And you gotta love the accessories! I love that he comes with an interchangable arm cannon. That's a nice bonus. He also comes with his sidekick, Imp, who was a favorite of mine in the cartoon as well. As much as I love the Horsemen design


Clark Griswold With Hockey Mask (NECA):

The showstopper is right here. When NECA presented a fantastic Clark figure last year, I have to guess a LOT of fans were either removing the hockey mask from their Jason to recreate the famous homage scene. But now we're getting not just Clark with the mask BUT THE CHAINSAW TOO!

I have a problem. I buy everything that has "Christmas Vacation" on it. I would buy an electric drill if
it had Chevy in a Christmas Hat. Someone make that happen. That would be awesome.


WWE Elite Warlord (Mattel) :
 
Photo Courtesy: RingSideCollectibles.com

I've always been a fan of The Warlord. He's just such an awesome and imposing guy and had a great look. Sadly, his "crazy space gladiator" only got one figure(which I reviewed here). Jakks released a very low rent version but offered nothing in the accessory range to make it stand out. I'm so embarrassed and angered by it, I'm don't even want to post a photo of it. Thankfully, Mattel is giving us the Warlord we all have hoped for. That is one of the most impressive figures I've seen by Mattel in some time. It just looks like it's ready to shoot laserbeams out of his eyes and break your back. This is the figure I've been waiting so long for and I will happily buy as many as I can. Why? Well, I kinda wanna make him some sort of stormtrooper for that Hordak I just wrote about. And doesn't the Warlord look like he belongs in the MOTU universe?

Of course, I'd never tell him that to his face...













Freddy Puppet from Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors 30th Anniversary(NECA):


Dream Warriors is regarded by fans as the best Elm Street sequel and to some, best movie in the entire series. One of the most memorable scenes is when Freddy turns one of his victims, Phillip, into a human puppet. But even creepier than that was the little Freddy puppet that attacks poor Phil. Check it:






No better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dream Warriors than to cuddle up with this creepy Freddy Puppet. Actually a puppet was slated to come out years ago but never showed up shelves:

This sculpt was what we would've gotten.


But considering the sculpt on this beauty, I'd say it's worth the wait. All 18 inches of him. For Freddy collectors, this has been a long time coming and very welcome addition to any Fred-Heads collection. Myself included.



Once again, thanks to the great folks at ToyArk.com for their amazing coverage as well as allowing me to use their photos. Please visit their site for the BEST toy coverage out there!

As for me, I gotta figure out what I can sell to make room for 40 Toxies and 20 Hordaks...


-Chad

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cheetos Paws Are BACK, BABY!

First, Crystal Pepsi made it's way back into our lives...

Then, it was Ecto Cooler's turn..

It was only a matter of time until one more piece of the nostalgic junkfood puzzle was to be filled. Now, if you're thinking I'm talking Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies, sorry, I'm not. Even though those had a permanent spot in my lunchbox for the year or two they were available and I did love those, I'm referring to a snack that was around longer and that I have a lot more affection for. I'm talking about...CHEETOS PAWS!!!!!!




Look at it. It's here. Live and in living color. Never in a million years did I think they would come back. We had been teased by Cheetos Halloween offering, Bag of Bones, which actually contains the Paws themselves and had that same crunch, but being a white cheddar flavor, it's a nice effort but it's not the same. I will say, the white cheddar is pretty darn delicious and can't suggest those enough!


Just a quick rundown. Cheetos Paws was offered from 1990-1993 and in that small time it left a huge impact on anyone who ate them. Why? Look at them! THEY'RE CHESTER'S PAWS! You're essentially eating Chester, which admittedly, these are healthier and less cruel than actually eating an animated, skateboarding Cheetah, but that's neither here nor there. These were also one of Cheetos first varieties, after the Paws experiment was through, we'd get X's And O's, Checkers, Twists, and other crazy shapes. But The Paws? Those were what we really wanted. I can't count how many times I sat in front of my couch with an Ecto Cooler, and a bowl of these and Ninja Turtle Crunchabungas mixed together while watching TGIF or Saturday Morning cartoons in that 3 years. I loved everything about these.
From: Pintrest

Cheetos always seemed like an awesome snack after school, but turn them into Paws and I want them even more. But the appeal wasn't just their shape but their taste was different. They were a little bit of a mix between the regular puffs and the crunchy Cheetos themselves, which is pretty good if you consider sometimes you just want both but maybe you just have one bag in the pantry. This solved that. Why just have one when you can both in one tasty crunch?



Now, let's catch up. Does it taste the same? Does it LOOK the same? Certainly the bag doesn't look the same. Although I would love that lime green bag back. That thing was sweet looking. It's very early 90s. Just looking at the bag itself sends me back to watching Full House and Family Matters.

Well, I guess there's only one way to truly get the full experience. Gotta get some Ecto Cooler!



The Paws are a tiny bit different looking. The original Paws were flatter but these have a slight curve to them. They're more like lighter rib-cages used in the Bag Of Bones I previously mentioned. On top of that, the Paws offered in that same bag are more accurate to the original form and crunch. That said, I'm not bothered by it because the taste is still there. They're a bit airier than the originals as well which means the crunch isn't the same.

Is that a disappointment? No. I'm all in on these. I'm just happy they're back, hopefully all year round, It's pretty cool to see them on the shelves for a whole new generation to have the same memories of being lazy after school that I did.

So while it's not exactly the same as I recall them to be but it still gets my seal of approval. I definitely enjoy them and they do make a nice side dish alongside of a sandwich. In fact, I may have to just put a bowl together to watch Full House tonight. Feels right, no?

Cheetos definitely pulled out the favorite of many millennials to enjoy once again and for that, I tip my hat to them. It's really the experience of holding the bag and seeing "CHEETOS PAWS" emblazoned on the bag while Chester devours his own hands. Which is an odd visual but Chester is an odd dude himself.

-Chad


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Time To Shuffle With Da Bears!

Welp, another football season has come and gone. I'm very happy for fans of the Falcons and The Patriots to see their favorite team head to the Super Bowl. Despite what people may say about either team, it truly takes a lot of hard work, determination and heart to make it to the big game. As a Bears fan, I'm really disappointed in my boys this year, but as the saying goes, "We'll get it next year...".

Which is what I've been saying since 2007...

Of course being a Bears fan, when it comes to "Bears" and "Super Bowl", there's a lot worse things that come to mind...



Oh jeez....The Super Bowl Shuffle.

Good gosh.

Ok. I'm being over-dramatic. If you're actually a fans of the Bears or just love corny music, this song holds a special in your heart. The 1985 Bears were one of the most beloved teams due to their immense charisma as well as being some of the most unique characters and hardest workers in the entire NFL. When people talk about players like The Fridge, Mongo McMichael, Jim McMahon, Willie Dent and of course, Sweetness himself, Walter Payton, they smile. On top of being one of the toughest teams ever, they also weren't afraid to have fun. Between The Fridge getting his own GI Joe figure to silly commercials for McDonalds and everywhere in between, they were more than willing to put a smile on their face and entertain their fans.



Now, when it comes to the Super Bowl Shuffle, it's very clear the Bears were taking themselves seriously and willing to throw down some unique vocals and killer dance moves. The Junkyard Dogs confidence was at an all time high. While a Super Bowl ring was their real goal that year, throwing down a memorable performance was their real goal. And memorable it was. Music scholars will often tell you the highlight of 1985 was seeing Walter Payton comparing playing football to making love and seeing the Fridge do his iconic dance "Pointing and Lunging".


Of course, the true star of the season and the music video itself was the "Punky QB known as McMahon". Jim McMahon was the master of throwing the pigskin, taking names and wearing headbands and sunglasses. His outrageous carefree antics were something to be reckoned with. Why, I bet he even wore two different colored socks on the field and left his keys in the transmission of his TransAm while he ran into WalMart for Cheetos. He's a bad boy. But a reasonable bad boy. He's pretty wild but he knows that the Super Bowl Shuffle is his moment to shine. He kept his trademark shades, but in order to be taken even more seriously, he convinced himself to leave his Frankie Say Relax headband at home. It was almost like a Jim we had never seen at that point.

Cocky? Yes. But with purpose. He's sending the point that he's so good, that when he plays the game he "got no plan". A plan for a quarterback is always necessary. Not Jim. He just throws that ball, doesn't care where it goes and quite frankly, doesn't care if he wins or loses. He's just here to have a good time. But the Shuffle? All business for big Jim. Just don't let him fool you with his confidence. As he says in this Grammy Nominated song, "I play so cool, I aim to please." and pleases us he does. Whether it's his mad rhymes or dynamic dancing, Jim brought the boys to big game and the Grammy's.

Others got their lines in, they had their chance to shine, but Jim made this song HIS. I defy you to show me any song where you can clearly spot a star emerging then and there. I. DARE. YOU.


Oh you don't believe me when I say this was nominated for a Grammy? Don't fool yourself. How can you ever deny the explosive performance of Willie Gault and Richard Dent? And even though they lost to Prince. There is no justice in this world. While all these guys are NFL Hall of Famers or HOF worthy, I just don't want to live in a world where I can't say "Grammy Award winner, William The Fridge Perry".

video

...tell me that's not a tragedy.


-Chad

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Great 2017 Thrifting Adventure!

It's been a while since I gassed up the old battle wagon and drove around looking for old crap I can either put on my shelf or put on my table at the Village Gate Toy Show in March. I decided today I'd try my luck by driving up to Buffalo for a few hours. My head full of golden possibilities and my wallet filled with...well...not much. But I'm ready to make it stretch.

I hit about 8 stores total today. All within a 60 mile radius. Buffalo has a great thrifting offerings so I like to hit them up at least once or twice a year. It would be kinda tiring but thankfully, the first store I entered, I was greeted by some very good signs of what I could possibly expect. Or...posters...








A cornerstone in any 80s/90s kids bedroom or playroom. Or video stores. I tend to remember the kids section in a few places had these. Right on.

So let's check out my haul:


VHS:




Westworld is my favorite scifi movie of all time. Since I don't have HBO, I haven't caught the TV show but it is very high on my list once it hits bluray. For now though, I can't turn down an old rental copy of the original in the MGM big box. Looks great on my shelf already!


Ok, Young Einstein. This was a ridiculously TERRIBLE movie that squashed any hopes that Yahoo Serious would be a star. I tend to remember it being hyped up pretty well that year and after a week, people stopped talking about it. If you've ever seen it, you'll know why.  So why'd I pick it up? Jeez, I don't know. I always hated this movie but for some reason I saw it and decided I needed it. That's part of the VHS collecting addiction. Well, that and the store had a 5 buck limit on debit cards. Don't worry. It gets better...

TOYZ!!!!



HUZZAH! Action figures! Right up my alley! An old WWF Christian, two Michaelangelo's, a Mario missing an arm and a couple other stuff that I don't really see any use. My personal favorite of the lot is definitely Christian. Oh sure, I can always make room in my collection for Michaelangelo but Christian is a fave of mine. Loved him as a tag team partner and goofball with Edge and loved him even more in TNA(in my opinion, his best run of his career). With rumors of Christian being nominated into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, the figure will totally reek of awesomeness on my shelf with the rest of my loose figures.


TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED!:


Transformers has always been a huge part of my life. I'll go into greater detail later this year, but I have such a soft spot for these wacky toy robots. The toys, cartoons, movies. I'll usually give it all my attention. This show was actually a little different than the other series. The designs were more cartoon-y if that makes sense. I actually always liked the look and tone of this show. Transformers can usually get pretty heavy so it's nice when we got a show that didn't take itself so seriously. Happy to find this. I know what I'll be checking out this weekend!



HAPPY HALLOWEEN WATCH:



OH COME ON. LOOK AT IT. OF COURSE I'M BUYING THIS!!!!



THUNDER MACHINE:


As a GI Joe loyalist, and more importantly a Dreadknok disciple, this was a huge find for me. This is one of my favorite vehicles of any toy line. So much that in 2003, I named my first car after it. Yeah it's a junker, but with a little love, it'll be ready to terrorize swamps everywhere in no time! Love that the antenna is still intact! Jelly donuts and grape soda, were NOT included.

Even more fun, I made a new friend today finding this. A member of the regional toy collecting group decided to try his luck at the same time I did and helped me locate some good stuff in the store. We chatted about thrifting, toy shows, collecting woes and the inevitable "item that got away". It was nice to be in a store I had never been to and having a helping hand. Pleasure was all mine, Dan! Thanks again!






Ok, I didn't buy this hat, but it was too weird to just not take a photo of. I love corny hats and this is probably one of the corniest.


CUPS!!!

At the same store I found the ThunderMachine, I found these beauties. My favorite find of the day. 2 Young Indiana Jones, A generic Dinosaurs, and two awesome Universal Monster cups. All from the early 90s Pizza Hut. Now, I'm assuming you can guess that the Monster cups are my favorite of the lot. You'd be correct. Frankenstein is my favorite of the UM's and I always get excited finding merch with good ol' Boltneck. Even better, if it's from that time in the early 90s when Universal Monsters was plastered on EVERYTHING. Toys, clothes, coloring books, even an old promotion through Pepsi and Doritos. I'll gladly put this on my shelf next to my Universal Studios Frankenstein cup and Bride of Frankenstein water bottle.



Well, it was a good haul, a good day, and a nice relaxing drive. But I had to get back home. I've got bunnies to feed, yo.

On the way back, I was treated to one more beautiful sight. Not one, but TWO out of date Pepsi machines!!!!


I couldn't think of any better way to close out my day-cation...

-Chad