Dec 30, 2015

December 2015 Loot Crate - Galaxy

Disclaimer thingy:
Loot Crate supplies me with a box o' swag every month in exchange for a review
 and/or promotion.

From the far reaches of out space comes the December Loot Crate: Galaxy!
Strap yourselves in, we're about to blast off!

Well, there's not much to tell you about the magazine this month that isn't printed right there on the cover. Unless you don't know who Drew Wise is, which is ok. He designed the shirt you'll be seeing in a bit. The button this month is different from the previous ones. It's a nice shiny gold color.

This is the inside of the Loot Crate box. At least, it was the inside until I turned it inside out.
It turns into a neat cryo-chamber to hold your goodies in stasis.

Here's the shirt I mentioned by Drew Wise. He's done quite a few ugly holiday shirts using 8-bit inspiration. This is one all about space exploration! And yes, it has NINE planets.

Most of the smaller things in this month's Crate came packed in this HALO 5 tin ammo box. I'm not a HALO player but it is pretty cool. It has a military-style clasp and hinged lid. Also in the Crate, is a promo code to redeem from in game gear.

These items are Loot Crate exclusives. First is a prop replica patch from Galaxy Quest as seen on the command uniforms. Second is a pair of BB-8 socks which are neat-o. Having seen the movie, I'm glad at least BB-8 has lived up to the hype. He's awesome!

Finally is a Funko Pop Vinyl exclusive from The Force Awakens! It's Han in his snow gear. I have to wonder if the blue coat is an Easter Egg for the fans. For years, there was debate as to whether his Hoth coat from The Empire Strikes Back was blue or brown. If you remember it as blue, you're in the majority...but you're wrong. I'm not going to go into all the details, but head over to Robot's Pajamas for an in-depth explanation.

The back of the box shows a few more Pops from the new movie. I can't wait to get Sidon Ithano! Who's that you ask? Without spoiling anything, he's the captain of the ship from the cantina. Yeah, I have a weird thing for background characters that have a few seconds of screen time.

If you want to get a stellar box of goodies delivered right to your door every month, set your navicomputer to

Punch in code AEIOUwhy to save 10% on any subscription plan.

Dec 28, 2015

Haul-iday Report

I hope everyone had a great holiday season! I took a week off to celebrate. Some of that time was spent scouring local stores for any new Force Awakens figures after seeing the movie because nothing puts me in a toy buying mood than seeing a new movie!

And Hasbro failed yet again. Seriously, why was there not a big event on opening day to launch the toys we know are only going to get released when the movie comes out? I know they exist and I've spent the last few months seeing the same few figures in almost every store. Oh well.

Anyway, enough griping! 
I want to show off some of the amazing gifts I got this year so here we go!

There was a time when your loved ones would be hard pressed to find you some bit of new Star Wars to put under your tree. Man am I glad those days are behind us!

The big thing in the back and the box on the left with Vader peeking out are calendars. I don't think the desk calendar has anything from The Force Awakens in it so it will be interesting to see what's in there every day.

The four rectangular boxes scattered around is the complete set of Star Wars Google cardboard VR goggles. Hehe, Google goggles. If you haven't seen Google cardboard, it's incredible! It's made of cardboard (surprise!) and you fold it to create a sort of ViewMaster that you insert your phone into to view 3D VR things. The Star Wars app has a few little movies to use with BB-8. It's neat-o to "stand" inside of a Star Wars scene!

Speaking of BB-8, that's one of the Sphero ones on the right! I was like a little kid with a new toy playing with him. He's a lot of fun.

The Vader head is a watch box...

I'm not really a watch guy but maybe the next time (ha, get it?) I have to dress up for an event, I'll break it out. I also got the Topps Star Wars book of original A New Hope cards which I'll review some time. It's so cool it needs its very own post.
Oh yeah, we also got a Death Star waffle iron!

There was quite a bit of Haunted Mansion goodness to be found, Jack Skellington would be proud! (Not to mention the Halloween table cloth is still on the kitchen table.) On the left is a pair of reversible place-mats. One side has the Mansion wallpaper design and the other has various residents of the Mansion. On the right is a pair of dish towels (the second is folded in the top right) and a pair of coasters (lower right).

You guys...this book is totally amazing! And it's huuuuge!

There's SO much more to the book than the few pages I'm showing off.

If you're a fan of cartoons, I highly recommend this book. 
There's so much nostalgia, I can't even.

I can't wait to get into these! And there are two more books in the series so plenty of phun with Phibes to come! Phibes is one of my favorite Vincent Price characters so I'm sure delving into the off screen adventures will be a treat.

Among the rest of the goodies not pictured are: complete Gatchaman series on BluRay (squee!!),  some new PJs (Star Wars and Nightmare Before Christmas), Doctor Who bedding, and a handful of new rides for the Halloween Garage which will be featured at some point in the future.

What are some of the favorite things you got this year?
Let me know in the comments!

Dec 19, 2015

Richard Cheese - The Lounge Awakens

It's holiday gift crunch time!
Star Wars is everywhere but what do you get the Star Wars fan in your life
 that collects everything?

The latest Richard Cheese album is probably something they don't have and you can get it digitally which means no need to worry if you'll get it in time for gift giving.

Cheese is the alter ego (emphasis on the ego) of Mark Jonathan Davis. Cheese is the ultimate lounge singer. He and his band, Lounge Against the Machine, take pop hits and swankify the ever-lovin' heck out of them.

He's not doing this Star Wars inspired album just as an opportune cash grab. He's really a fan of the franchise that works inside jokes into the act that fans will appreciate.

Saunter on over to his Bandcamp page where you can check out the track list, preview a few tracks, and order the album. You won't have a bad feeling about this!

A word of caution:
Although this album is mostly family friendly, his other live albums are definitely not.

Dec 18, 2015

Captain Phasma Hallmark Ornament

Well, today is the day! The day that I get to go to work and think all day about the ticket I bought weeks ago for the 11am showing of The Force Awakens. Yep, today is that day.

It seems like Captain Phasma has become a fan favorite already. We can only hope she gets the chance to be as bad ass as she looks. If this were a Lucas movie, I'd worry that she would be killed off by the end of it. 
See also: Darth Maul, Jango Fett, and General Grievous.

I have yet to see a 3.75" Phasma figure in the stores so this will have to tide me over for now. 

Hallmark's Keepsake Ornaments are usually high quality, goodness knows you pay the price for it! I'm not sure what happened with Phasma. There are white marks all over her black cape. I don't know if they're all like this or if it was intentional. I know her cape is supposed to have some kind of texturing to it.

You can see what I'm talking about on her shoulder. This is the first time I've seen anything like this from Hallmark so I'm presuming it's a bad paint job or something they tried to do that didn't quite turn out the way they wanted. Either way, I can't wait to see her in action!

Dec 17, 2015

Resistance vs First Order Star Wars Playing Cards

Today we'll be looking at the More Star Wars playing cards from Cartamundi! Today's deck is the Resistance vs First Order.

Jokers (top), tuck box, card back (bottom)
I was a little on the "meh" side with the Kylo Ren deck but this one knocks it into hyperspace!

Every single card in this deck is a mini piece of art. Every. Single. Card. The deck, as its name suggests, is split into the Resistance (hearts/diamonds) and the First Order (spades/clubs). The Aces have some cool emblems on them.

I've seen a bit of this artwork already in the Star Wars Card Trader app but I like actually having the cards to look at. I really wanted to shoot all the cards to show them off because I think this deck is that good! But that would ruin the surprise if you decide to pick these up and I can't recommend them enough.

Dec 16, 2015

Disney Infinity - Zeb Orrelios

Zeb Orrelios is a character from the current Star Wars animated series Rebels. Because I play Disney Infinity on the PC, I rarely buy the figures. I usually buy the character codes from Ebay on the cheap. As Zeb is one of my favorite characters from the show, I had to get him!

Zeb's design is based on one of the original Ralph McQuarrie concepts for Chewbacca.

Zeb is one of the few remaining members of the Lasat species. Their planet was devastated by the Empire, nearly exterminating the entire race.

Here you can see his trademark weapon, a bo-rifle. It can be used as a rifle (duh) and an electrostaff, similar to those carried by the Magnaguards in Revenge of the Sith. Not that he really needs it. Zeb's a very rough and tumble kind of character and has tossed around more than a few stormtroopers.

One of the complaints I hear about Infinity is the cartoon-y translation of the characters into the digital world. Since Zeb is from an animated series already, they didn't change his look too much. For a static figure with zero articulation, they did a great job capturing his character with this figure.

I haven't played him too much in the game yet. I'm hoping they will put out a full Rebels playset at some point so I can play him in his native environment.

Dec 15, 2015

Kylo Ren Star Wars Playing Cards

Strangely enough, the first Force Awakens branded merchandise I purchased was a pair of playing card decks from Cartamundi. This is mainly due to the fact that I haven't seen any 3.75" figures that have piqued my interest enough to pick them up. That and Phasma has been impossible to find!

Today I'm showing the first of three decks I've seen in the wild. The second will be later this week and the third I haven't purchased yet because I'm waiting to find it in a tuck box.

While there's no denying the stormtrooper helmet is a sweet case for the cards, it doesn't store nicely with all my other deck boxes. Now, if it was all chrome and Phasma-y, I'd be all over it like white on armor.

Jokers (top), card box and card back (bottom)
The decks I will be showing I found at WalMart for $3 each. I think doing an entire Kylo Ren deck is a pretty ballsy move for a villain we know next to nothing about. I mean, what if he's a total wuss? (I don't think he will be.) You just don't see an entire deck based on a single character unless it's somone like Vader. Although I see on Cartamundi's site they have also done a Boba Fett deck which I really, really need!

Spades (top), Diamonds (bottom)
The court cards, and Jokers, are the only ones with full images on them. The 2-9 cards have an icon/symbol of some sort in place of the pips you'd find on regular playing cards.

Clubs (top), Hearts (bottom)
As you can see, the card faces are very Sith looking, even if Ren is rumored to not be a Sith. Bad guys, black, and red just go together, eh? I guess I'll have to wait and see what Kylo Ren is like before deciding if this deck is my thing. Maybe I'm more of a traditionalist when it comes to playing cards, it's a lot of red. On the other hand, if you've read any of my other playing card posts, you'd see I'm anything but traditional in the cards I collect.

Dec 14, 2015

Funko Smuggler's Bounty Box

Welcome to (mostly) Star Wars Week! I'll be posting related content leading up to the release of The Force Awakens.

First up is the Smuggler's Bounty from Funko.  A few months ago Funko tossed their hat into the subscription box ring starting with a Marvel box. And now they offer a box of Star Wars, nothing but Star Wars!

I enjoy getting my Loot Crate every month but seeing this on the door step just really gets you excited to open it! The Death Star wall pattern on the box gives it an extra Star Wars-i-ness.

Let's pop it open, shall we?

They put the box together in an interesting way so that there is sort of a shelf as soon as you flip the top back. On the left is a First Order TIE squadron patch and opposite that is a Kylo Ren pin. Let me get in a little closer for you.

I haven't translated the Aurabesh writing on either of them yet. Although these items are in plastic bags, they are slit open on a side and the pin had escaped its bag.

Next is a First Order Stormtrooper Pop lanyard. I almost wish I worked somewhere that I had to wear a badge to get around so I could use this.

An exclusive Phasma Pop t-shirt! If you zoom in, you can see the printed tag that says it's a Smuggler's Bounty exclusive shirt. I love this shirt and Phasma is one of my favorite new characters. Unfortunately, Funko is using athletic fit (20-something) instead of classic fit (40-something) and I will never be able to wear it.

These last couple things are probably the most exciting: exclusive Pop Vinyls! There are two different TIE Pilots, this one and a Special Forces one that has a red stripe. Each box randomly has one or the other. You can see the box is marked as an exclusive so if you're all in on these, it might be a little pricey to obtain the one you didn't get.

As much as I like Phasma, I haven't bought her Pop Vinyl. There was just something about it that didn't appeal to me. I think I figured it out. This exclusive is chromed out and it's awesome! This is the kind of thing that makes a grown man squee (on the inside).

Despite the shirt, getting a box of all Star Wars stuff is fantastic. I may have been a little less enthused if not for the chrome Phasma but I'm going to keep my subscription for at least another month to see what's coming in the Resistance box in a couple months. 
What can I say? I'm a Rebel boy at heart.

Dec 13, 2015

Merry Creepmas to All...

Well, it's time to put the festering...uh, festive bodies in the ground again for another year. If you joined us in celebrating Creepmas this year, thank you!

And if you didn't...he knows if you've been bad or good!

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 12, 2015

The Night Rail Before Christmas

I've never ventured into the worlds of Minecraft, mainly because it seems like something that would take waaaaaaay too much of my free time for me to enjoy it.

I've seen plenty of images and videos of things people have spent more time than I could image making things in that virtual world.

I recently found this video for a Nightmare Before Christmas "ride" that was built.

I think you'll agree, it's pretty amazing!

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 11, 2015

2015 Creepmas Holiday Mix

The final audio treat for your 2015 Creepmas season...

A custom cultivated Creepmas/Christmas compilation:
AEIOU's Not Quite Christmas Mix!

Click on the album cover to grab it.
For best results, download and play without reading the track list.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 10, 2015

Monster's Holiday

Everyone knows Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Halloween anthem Monster Mash, but did you know he also recorded a song called Monster's Holiday?

I don't know why it never really caught on. I mean, it should be playing with all the other Christmas music we have to endure every year, right? I guess there isn't much need for holiday monsters in today's society

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 9, 2015

My Top 5 Creepmas Movies

Another reason I think the US is destined to embrace all things Krampus is that we seems to be getting more and more holiday themed horror movies. Maybe it's the appeal of what's supposed to be a joyous time of year juxtaposed with horror.
Whatever the reason, keep them coming I say!

Sure you've got your Gremlins, Black Christmases, Silent Night Deadly Nights, and Krampus, I wanted to highlight some of the maybe lesser known movies. And let me tell you, there are more Christmas horror movies out there than you probably think!

Here are my Top 5 Holiday Horror Flicks in no particular order

This movie isn't just bad it's Awesomely Bad! There are so many references to Christmas songs in the script it will make your head spin. It's worth watching just for the Mortal Kombat-esque Santa showdown at the end.

A wonderfully dark take on Santa. It's a little bit fantasy, horror and dark humor, all original. However, you will see more old man genitalia than you would ever want to if you lived forever.

I absolutely love this holiday horror comedy! Former WWE star Bill Goldberg plays a homicidal Santa, hilarity ensues! The origin of this Santa is told through a very not-family-friendly Rankin Bass style animated segment.

Every 32 years a medieval marauder returns from the dead on the anniversary of his death to go on a murderous rampage. While it's mainly a slasher film, it is one gorgeous looking slasher, especially the rooftop chase.

I had to include this recent release because I did not see where the end was going and it blew me away. William Shatner (!) is a radio DJ connecting four almost unrelated tales in this horror anthology. Most of the stories are okay but the one where the North Pole is taken over by zombie elves and Santa has a knock down drag out with Krampus make it worth mentioning.

What are your favorite holiday horrors?

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 8, 2015

Monster Christmas Mash

In 1974, Peter Pan Records released Monster Christmas Mash. This album of skits and songs tells a story of various monsters trying to cheer up a sad Frankenstein. Most of the monsters want nothing to do with Christmas but Frankie wants to go to a holiday party.

Naturally, his friends want him to be happy so they throw one for him. Cruising overhead, Santa sees the festivities and decides to drop in not realizing just who he's dropping in on!

Then it breaks into the Christmas standards before coming back around to the monsters.

Click on the cover to check it out.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS

Dec 7, 2015

Creepmas Music

Looking for that extra something special to make your 13 Days of Creepmas celebration that little extra dark twist? Here's a few musical selections that should help!

Sam Haynes is back with another holiday "pay what you want" album of horror-day cheer. Although it bears the same title as last year's release, this Special Krampus Edition has some new tracks. You can get it from his Bandcamp page.

Pianist Kris Knight has arranged Christmas classics with a slight Gothic twist. I like what he's done with his arrangements. The Gothic twist gives them a subtle darkness.
You can get this 7 track album direct from

I can't say enough about the Scary Solstice duology from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. They present all the yuletide classics (and beyond!) with a Weird Al level of Cthulhu inspired lyrics. There are plenty of samples on their site. Each disc is $20 or you can get the combo pack for $48 that includes both cds in a tentacle stocking.

I mean, how cool is that?!?
Trek over to their site if you dare!

And no Creepmas music list would be complete without two of the biggest names in the dark ambient Halloween scene...

Nox Arcana has been putting out holiday music for several years now. Their first seasonal album, Winter's Knight, was released in 2005. They continued the story in 2009 with Winter's Eve and 2012 with Winter's Majesty. Starting in 2013, they are releasing one holiday EP every year titled Ebonshire. One of the things I love about their music is they don't just record songs, they like to set a stage and tell a story with their music. They've created a whole winter fantasy realm with this series of albums.

Midnight Syndicate has released their first holiday album this year called Christmas: A Ghostly Gathering, which I happen to be listening to as I write this post. I think their version of Up on the Housetop is my favorite track. It's got a Burton-esque whimsy to it but is menacing as the same time, like you really don't know to know what is possibly coming down the chimney for you.

Justine's Halloween has a great review and an interview with Edward Douglas.

Click to order
Do you have any favorite spooky holiday tunes?
Let me know in the comments.

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS