Dec 30, 2011

Mailbox Invaders - Hellcat

You may remember almost exactly a month ago I posted about some very cool vinyl figures I got from Dead Bear Studios aka @motorbot on Twitter. Ever since I received Pumpkin and Batty they just weren't as happy as I thought they would be. They've been moping around the play room while all the other toys were playing well together. And then the psychic messages started.

It took me awhile to figure out I wasn't going crazy (or crazier, your choice) and figure out just where these messages were coming from. After donning the Psychic Divination Helmet (tin foil) I was lead back to Dead Bear Studios and the source of psychic mewling: Hellcat. Turns out she was missing her friends Pumpkin and Batty and her psychic sadness was altering their moods as well.

I sent my own psychic message inviting her to come rejoin her friends and she asked if she could bring her pet goober along. (Dead Bear had a special Twitter sale offering a free random figure with any purchase.) Not wanting to keep this trio apart any longer, I quickly agreed and they hopped in the first box they could find.
Hellcat and her goober
Together again!
Be sure to tune in on Monday for a new contest
and have a Happy New Year!!

Dec 24, 2011

Happy Horrordays

Click to enlarge
From our crazy, creepy family to yours, have a fang-tastic holiday season!

Dec 22, 2011

Toys of Christmas Past - Rom the Space Knight

ROM and I go way back so I'll be referring to him by first name only and not by his full title: ROM, the Space Knight.

When I started to pile together subjects for these Toys of Christmas posts, I never intended to focus on such a small time frame (very late 70s/early 80s) or electronic toys only. I took a leisurely stroll down memory lane and captured the most memorable things. It just so happens they all fall in that magic time of the Dawn of Electronic Toys.

ROM was game company Parker Brothers first and only foray into the realm of action figures, electronic or otherwise. This is somewhat ironic as PB is now owned by Hasbro (formerly Kenner) who have been on the defining edge of action figures for decades. PB smartly sold the character rights to Marvel Comics and as ROM quickly faded into toy nostalgia-ville, the comic went on for a seven year run.

The toy was my first introduction to ROM. I wouldn't see him in comic form until a few years later when he got mixed up in Secret Wars 2. The beauty of this is that without being based on pre-existing media, ROM was totally new to me. There were no preconceived notions in my little head about how I could play with him or for that matter, what he was exactly. Was he a robot or a guy in space armor? What exactly did it mean that his Neutralizer could banish creatures into the Shadow Zone?

While not very articulated, ROM had LED lights, multiple sounds and three different accessories you could plug into him. Don't know why they decided to give him glowing red eyes and a creepy breathing sound, though. I imagine at least one lad somewhere used it to scare a sibling in the dark. The site ROM Spaceknight Revisited has digitized all his sounds and is also a great resource for all things ROM (2021 update - the site no longer exists). How sweet would ROM's translator be as a ring tone?

If you want to get to know ROM a lot better, check out this 10 minute video.

Dec 21, 2011

Toys of Christmas Past - Big Trak

MB electronics strikes again with a futuristic, programmable tank!
Big Trak originally rolled out in 1979 in two color schemes: grey (US) and white (UK). Even though I grew up with the grey version, the white version look like it belongs in the same universe as Star Bird. By using the built in keypad, you could program Big Trak to perform a series of actions that include moving forward or backward, turning, and firing it's photon cannon. I know, it may not sound exciting by today's standards, but having a programmable toy at that time was pretty cutting edge. What? Stop laughing.

The "fun" came from trying to work out the exact program instructions to get Big Trak to maneuver around your house without getting stuck. You could only program a maximum of 16 commands. However, the move forward/backward command worked in units from 1-99 (one unit = one vehicle length, about 13"). So one command could tell it to move forward 99 units or about 107 feet! In theory anyway. I guess if you were using it outside that would be viable. In addition to household objects, Big Trak's other mortal enemy was tiled or wooden floors. Slick surfaces tend to cause the tank to go in less than a straight line and overshoot turn commands. One small deviation from your programmed route was usually a recipe for disaster.

Big Trak had one produced accessory which was a trailer. There was a button labeled "out" you could include in your program that would cause the trailer to tilt back and drop its contents. It wasn't very useful and by the time you got the programming figured out, you could have brought said object where it needed to go multiple times. 
Don't buy the hype!

There was also the mysterious "in" button that was to be used in a future accessory which was only mentioned in the user manual and never produced.

Of course this lumbering behemoth (or technological terror *wink*wink*) found its way into my Imperial army and was frequently deployed to attempt to crush Rebel Alliance bases across the galaxy.

Big Trak has quite an online fan community and has recently made a return both in original size and a Jr. desktop size. The Jr., despite being scaled down, sports more features. Who knew technology would advance in 30 years? It can hold up to 32 commands, even storing favorite routines, and has a peripheral  port on top that can hold a digital camera or a mini foam rocket launcher. There is also an adapter that will allow you to use the Jr. peripherals with the regular size re-released version.

Dec 20, 2011

Toys of Christmas Past - Dark Tower

Just around the late 70s/early 80s electronics started making their mark on board games. In 1981, Milton Bradley released probably the most ambitious and impressive electronic board game to date: Dark Tower.

The object of the game was to travel to from your home kingdom to each of the three surrounding kingdoms and locate each of the three Magic Keys that would allow you and your army to enter the Dark Tower, battle the Brigands within and restore order to the land.

But this game was no walk through yon meadow. While on your quest you had to do a fair amount of inventory management, which was carried out using the punch card and Battleship like pegs shown above, bottom left. The size of your army (max 99) determines how much gold you can have (6 bags per Warrior) and how much food you need to feed them. That's right, you have to worry about keeping your troops fed in this game or they start dying!

The top of the Tower houses a cylinder with three rows of images. The cylinder would spin to align the correct image with the dark plastic window and would be back lit so you could see the image. That didn't sound as helpful as I thought it might. Maybe Orson Welles can make it clearer for you...

One of the neat aspects of the game was that each player would sit in front their home kingdom and the Tower (which showed game play information and controlled pretty much everything) would be rotated to face each player during their turn so they were the only one that could see it. Of course, if you were familiar with the game sounds, you had an idea what was happening.

And perhaps the coolest thing about the game is that because the Tower acted as your Dungeon Master, you could play the game solo...which I did. A lot! Playing a game with a legit solitaire mode was much more fun than sadly playing the game against yourself and trying to act like different people...not that I ever did that.

Thanks to this game, for the longest time, I never knew brigand was another word for bandit.
I wonder why that was....

Are they Aliens? Monsters? What??
The artwork in the game is something else that really cemented this game in my brain. It was done by illustrator Bob Pepper, who also did the MB card game Dragon Master as well as quite a few book covers. Well of Souls, a Dark Tower fan site, did a brief interview with him which you can read here.

I've barely touched on the details of the game but instead I'll drop some links for you in case you want to learn more about it or revisit your childhood.

The previously mentioned Well of Souls fan site also delves into the Dragon Master card game and other incarnations of Dark Tower.

Hot Flash Games has a single player Flash version of the game.
If you've never played before, be sure to read the rules!

Recycled Thoughts from a Retro Gamer has a great write up of the game too.

Dec 19, 2011

Toys of Christmas Past - Star Bird

When I sat down to plan out the posts for a trip down Christmas memory lane I was surprised to find MB (Milton Bradley) Electronics was behind a few of the items I wanted to talk about. They were doing something right!

First up is the spaceship Star Bird. 
You'll have to crank the volume for this ad.

Don't forget to turn your volume back down!

This was one of the few spaceship toys that came out after Star Wars that really stood out to me even as someone barely into double digits. So much so that a few years ago I got way too excited and jumped at an online auction for two of them along with an original TIE Fighter that looked like it was recovered from Yavin IV after the Death Star battle. I was more than a little disappointed when I received them because even between the two of them you couldn't put together a complete ship. That and they were nasty dirty! But I did turn them around on eBay for a small profit.

Anyway, this is supposed to be all Christmas and childhood....This thing was pretty cool! In addition to the ascending/descending engine sounds and light up "laser cannons" it had multiple ways to play with it thanks to two detachable main body pieces: the cockpit and the main engine.

The first configuration is the Star Bird itself, which is as it's pictured above. Second is the Star Bird Fighter which consists of the cockpit (you can see where it comes apart just above the 'windows') attached to the main engine. Third is the Star Bird Orbiter which was the main body only with the cockpit section removed.

On top of that, those gray things sticking up off the wings are interceptor fighters that can slide right off the wing to engage an enemy. And there's a laser turret/escape pod. It's that round area in the back of the ship. Although, if I were putting an escape pod in a ship, I'd probably put it closer to the crew area!

There were two more ships and a command base in the Star Bird line. None of which I remember seeing in stores. I absolutely would have been wanting these as much as I loved the original ship.

Star Bird has quite a few detachable and easy to lose pieces which can make it difficult to find a complete one nowadays.

Dec 17, 2011

Errymay Istmaschray!

Since it's a week away, I guess I can shift into proper holiday mode and start posting some non-creepy stuff for you.

Erehay areway away ouplecay odditiesway Iway ickedpay upway onway ethay internetway earsyay agoway.

That is: Here are a couple oddities I picked up on the internet years ago. I've been trying to track down the album they came from because I'd love to have a whole album like this!

Click for 2 Pig Latin Christmas songs

Dec 16, 2011

Friday Funnies - Drink Responsibly

You think the guys in The Hangover had it bad?
How would you like to wake up to this in the morning?
Drink responsibly this holiday season.

Dec 15, 2011

More Creepmas Art

I can't believe I forgot to post this during Creepmas! It's great, isn't it? 
I found it a few years ago on Isabel Samara's site.
CAUTION: Some art depicts beloved pop culture icons in adult situations and is NSFW!!

In other news, I got a Creepmas postcard from artist Mister Reusch who I posted about earlier this month. It's Uncle Deadly approved!
Click to enlarge

Dec 13, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Merry Monster Christmas

Well, it's finally here, the last day of Creepmas!
First, I want to thank some people:
Chad Savage/Cult of the Great Pumpkin for being the black powder to my spark, creating the Creepmas site and getting the word out that this was a thing.

Tom Krohne, who immediately starting whipping up Creepmas badges the moment he heard of it. He has the heart of a monster. Whether it's in his chest or a jar of formaldehyde is anyone's guess.

The 50+ bloggers that jumped on this crazy bandwagon in the short time it's been rolling. 
And if you're not one of them, thank you for reading!

You have to admit, just over 50 participants is pretty good for the First Creepmas. Whether or not any of you come back next year (oh, there will be a next year!) you hold a special place in history, wear it proudly! If I had the money, I'd get shirts or trophies made for all of you.

With that, I humbly place upon the Creepmas altar the final offering of the season.
And apologies if someone else posted much to keep track of!
A Merry Monster Christmas is another fun novelty album from around 1964.
Click below to dump out the rest of your bloody stocking...

Merry Creepmas to all and to all a good fright!

Dec 12, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Monster Christmas Mash

If you were a kid in the 70s, you may be familiar with Peter Pan Records. They produced a lot of children's novelty albums as well as some ever popular read-along book sets. In 1974 they released Monster Christmas Mash. This album of skits and songs tells a story of various monsters trying to cheer up a sad Frankenstein. 
Although it's called Monster Christmas Mash, it's in no way related to Bobby "Boris" Pickett or his Creepmas tune Monster's Holiday.
Click on the image above if you've been an extra bad ghoul this year

Dec 11, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Scary Solstice

Let's face it, the holiday season can be hectic. You might be just this close to losing your mind. Here's the albums that can help! Help you finishing losing your mind!

If you feel you just don't have enough Cthulhu in your Cthristmas (and who doesn't?), you'll want to head over to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's Solstice page.

There you can order their cds: A Very Scary Solstice and An Even Scarier Solstice to speed up that rush to holiday insanity.You can also download sheet music and listen to samples of some of the songs. If you know your Deep Ones from your Byakhees, these are a pair of Horroday albums you don't want to miss!

And while visiting the HPLHS, don't forget to check out their page for Shoggoth on the Roof, a Fiddler on the Roof parody.

Dec 10, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Opening Presents

It's time to open some presents!

I grabbed this a couple years ago from a site called Angrychairs. 
Unfortunately I don't have any additional information about the art or the artist.
Be sure to click for a larger version so you can enjoy the detail such as the other "presents" under the tree and the "stockings" over the chimney.

Dec 9, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Getting Grinchy With It

What would Creepmas be without a mention of The Grinch? 

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that the voices of The Grinch and the announcer for this holiday treat were done by none other than the legendary Boris Karloff. What you may not know is the voice behind the title song is another legendary man, Thurl Ravenscroft.

Ravenscroft's biggest claim to fame is the original voice of Tony the Tiger. He was also a member of a singing group called The Mellomen. In addition to having songs in some Disney movies, the group also did backing vocals for the likes of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney. He can also be heard in a couple of the Disney park's most famous attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. In the Haunted Mansion, his image is seen on one of the singing busts in the graveyard named Uncle Theodore.

So there's your lesson for the day. Hope you learned something and as your reward, here's some covers of You're a Mean One Mr Grinch. I now have to chase down all these other versions!

Dec 8, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Monster Spookshow Radio

Today we swing the blood red and gory green spotlight on George Van Orsdel's Monster Spookshow Radio. Whew, that's a mouthful! GVO puts out shows/podcasts/digital mix tapes,call it what you will, all year round that are horror or sci-fi related. But for this time of year, he always puts together something special.

I don't know if there will be a 2011 Cryptmas special but you can click the image below to go to his page and grab the previous three years worth of shows. He also does some great artwork for every show using vintage monster magazine covers.

It's worth checking out the rest of his shows as well, I've been introduced to a lot of cool bands from these shows.

Dec 7, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Santa Steps Out

Originally released in 2000, Robert Devereaux's Santa Steps Out is most certainly a book you'll never forget reading. Whether it's throwing it down in disgust, needing to bleach your brain after reading it or because you're a twisted individual, like myself, that really enjoys such things.

This is one seriously twisted tale! It's like Clive Barker writing a Dear Penthouse letter. I couldn't possibly give you a better summary than this one from Amazon:

"(Santa) His generosity is legendary. He has a devoted wife, a crack team of sky-borne reindeer, hordes of industrious elves, and the love of good little boys and girls around the globe. But what unholy desires now propel him into the lascivious clutches of a certain fairy? And who was he before the sleigh and workshop, in times forgotten?

(Tooth Fairy) She munches on molars, summons drowned sailors to her pleasure, and recalls, sharp as a pinprick, her life as the most savage of ash nymphs. Why then is she stuck, night after night, hovering above pillows to leave coins for gap-toothed brats? More important, how quickly can she captivate the jolly old elf to the north?

(Easter Bunny) He's huge, fluffy, lonesome, and unbearably horny. On his Easter rounds, he contrives, as often as possible, to get a grip on himself and peer into interesting bedrooms. But who in the world will throw him down and ravage him as the lovers under his gaze ravage one another?"

So there's kind of a love (or lust) triangle between Mrs Clause, Santa and the Tooth Fairy. And Tooth Fairy also has a thing with the Easter Bunny...If you couldn't tell, this one's for the Naughty list and even some adults may find it too perverse. You can't tell from all the sexy talk but there's also some horrific/violent things going on as well. Seriously, I can't even express to you what you're in for with this one.

Dec 6, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Haunted Mansion Holiday

If you visit DisneyLand between the end of September and January, you may be lucky enough to experience the Haunted Mansion Holiday where Jack Skellington and crew take over the Haunted Mansion. This is one of those bucket list things that I really want to see someday. Favorite Disney ride + Favorite non-sci-fi Disney movie = awesome!


I've been to Disney World many times during the holiday season 
But Jack doesn't like Florida for some reason. 
And so unfortunately,
I must experience it virtually.

You can spoil yourself silly and read all about it here

Or you can watch a ride-thru

And you can listen to the songs which are frightfully perfect for celebrating Creepmas!

Click it
Be sure to check out the other bloggers with Creepmas cheer at the home page.

Dec 5, 2011

Happy Krampus Eve

In Alline countries, December 5th is Saint Nicholas Eve and also Krampus Eve. Krampus is a mythical, devilish creature that is a companion/servant of Santa Claus. It is he, not Santa, that you have to worry about if you've not been good throughout the year.

For whatever reason, Krampus never made his way into our Santa/Christmas mythos, where the worst threat kids hear is that Santa won't bring them presents. Krampus would throw bad children in his sack and then maybe toss them in a river. Of course, this would never fly in today's overly P.C. times.
You can always find neat Krampus stuff on eBay or Etsy
"Today, the running of the Krampus (Krampuslauf) happens during the first week of December throughout Austria and Hungary. Young men dress in dark animal-skin suits, red carved masks with horns or antlers, mismatched shoes, often carrying bells, chains, whips, and baskets with them. Considerable effort goes into the manufacture of the hand-crafted masks, as many younger adults in rural communities engage competitively in the Krampus event. They are often accompanied by St. Nicholas and can be found in parades in the evening. They usually scare children and chase women to whip them (gently) as it is part of the tradition. The anonymity provided by the Krampus mask combined with increasing amounts of alcohol consumption is not only feeding the craziness but also a debate about this bizarre pagan holdover from a less civilized era."1

Kinda sounds like fun to me! But if going to Salem on Halloween has taught me anything, it's that idiots will use any excuse to get drunk and ruin a good time for everyone else.

1 - From Monstropedia

Dec 4, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Day 4

The Island of Zombie Misfit Toys

Another random find over the years. Thanks internet!

Dec 3, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Mister Reusch

Mister Reusch is a local artist and all around cool dude. Not only is he an illustration teacher at the Massachusetts College of Art, he co-founded Black Cat Burlesque, a Boston area horror burlesque troupe that I've seen on numerous occasions.

He's got a unique, instantly identifiable art style. Even if I haven't met him at unusual events, I'd be pimping his art. It's just that good. Head over to his Etsy shop and check out his available prints. There's some "regular" Christmas designs, a few with Krampus and he's got some wonderful Halloween prints to boot. And if you happen to love French bulldogs, you've found you're artist!

Dec 2, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Elvira's Haunted Holidays

Hold on to your scarves and mittens, kids! We're setting the Wayback Machine to 1986!
For a short time back then, the deed to DC Comics House of Mystery passed to the one and only Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for 11 issues and one Christmas special.

In the opening story, she has her own Christmas Carol experience with her usual brand of humor. Following that are three holiday tales sure to warm the cockles of your little Creepmas heart. Whatever cockles are....
Be sure to visit the other blogs spreading the Creepmas cheer!

Dec 1, 2011

13 Days of Creepmas - Frosty the Gourdman

Merry Creepmas one and all!

Frosty the Gourdman is a twist on the familiar tale we all know. In this story, Frosty is made from pumpkins and comes to life in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night. The book was released in October 2010 and as soon as I found out about it, I had to own it. I don't want to spoil the story but it's a heartwarming tale of a young girl and the monster she befriends. Almost like that one part in Frankenstein, except Frosty doesn't kill this little girl.

Here's a little trailer for the book

Frosty the Gourdman was an
empty hollow soul
With a pumpkin head, eyes glowing red,
and a heart as black as coal.

Frosty the Gourdman was a
scary tale they say
And the children know
when the fall wind blows
he will come for them one day.

There is a 22 page preview of the book on the Frosty the Gourdman website
It's available as a physical book and PDF download. Treat yourself, I think you'll enjoy it!

Be sure to check out the other 50+ blogs celebrating Creepmas!