Dec 20, 2023

The Fiery Festive Game of Snap-dragon

 Nothing says we like to party like thrusting your hand into a plate of burning alcohol to snatch a piece of fruit or a nut and pop it in your mouth without getting burned. And that's just what some Victorian families did at this time of year, even the kids!

Snap-dragon, or Flap-dragon, is a parlor game that came into being in the 16th century. The game was usually played on Christmas Eve, and also on Halloween by some counts! You'd take a shallow bowl, drop in some raisins, almonds, grapes, or figs, pour in some brandy, light it up and see who can eat the most treats...presumably with the least amount of bodily harm. And kids today will complain when their phone battery runs out. Ha! 
Using a liquor around 50% proof creates blue flames which give off a lot of light but doesn't burn as hot as your average candle. An 18th century writer even said of the blue fire "the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit". That sort of ties the game into the tradition of telling Christmas ghost stories and would probably be a fun way to wrap up your Halloween night.
Here's a short video that explains a little more of the history and gives a demonstration.

If you decided to give Snap-dragon a whirl this year, please read up on it and take the necessary precautions for playing with fire in your house.

Have a great holiday!

Dec 13, 2023

A Pair of Creepmas Reads

Here's a couple of books I read recently to help put the creep in your Creepmas. Clicking on the covers will take you to an Amazon affiliated link, where you can get the book and I may earn from qualifying purchases.

First up is the newest from Ben Farthing's "I Found" horror series. I mentioned the first two of this series in my Halloween Reading List and loved them both. This one is just as good and it has the added bonus of being a Christmas horror. And like the others, it's a quick read at only 126 pages. Perfect for Christmas Eve by the fireplace.

After last year’s tragedy, Douglas’ parents are ignoring Christmas.
But when Douglas finds an eerie strand of lights slithering through the sewer, he unwittingly unleashes merry terror upon his neighborhood’s tacky lights contest. String lights spread like invasive kudzu, turning festive decorations into surreal, predatory nightmares. Determined not to lose both Christmas and his family forever, Douglas gathers his courage to confront the source of the holiday horror: deep in the concrete pipes beneath the street.
While Krampus has started getting a foothold in the US over the past few years, things are generally bright and cheery here in the month of December. Europe, on the other hand, has some darker characters associated with this time of year. The next book is a guidebook to these festive frighteners.
It features 24 entities across Europe and Denmark, with each one having a danger rating, a couple paragraphs and a wicked illustration that might inspire something other than sugarplums dancing in your head at night.

While it doesn't go into too much detail, I think it's a good way to briefly learn about these stories and possibly find some (or all!) that intrigue you enough to dig into them more. It's also absolutely worth it for the illustrations!

Dec 6, 2023

Plunderlong 8-Ball Figure

 It has been so long since the Plunderlong/Plnuderstrong Kickstarter ended that I forgot which figure I had picked! This guy washed up on my doorstep last week.

In addition to 8-Ball, I also order the "Leather Crate" which probably sounds a lot more kinky than it is. The figure also came with this cool (and heavy!) two-sided golden coin. Let's bust him out!

8-Ball comes with two bundles of dynamite, two sets of hands, three heads, a helmet, and a torch. I had some trouble swapping the heads and had to put him under a hair dryer for a bit. To be fair, Lone Coconut had mentioned this in a project update. Now that I've gotten off the head he shipped with, I'm a little shy about fully plugging one on there in case it gets stuck. It doesn't seem to make much difference if the head rests on the neck and you'd only notice it if you were moving the figure around.

Dec 1, 2023

Monthly Media Recap - November 2023

 It's the penultimate Monthly Media Recap for 2023! As always, links below are Amazon affiliated and I may earn from qualifying purchases. The holidays are coming up so use the links to buy yourself, your friends, or even your enemies something!


Goosebumps (2023, Disney+)
I didn't know much about this going in, I just presumed they'd be redoing the original stories. Boy was I surprised to get an ongoing series and that it was TV-14! It's not R but it's not kiddie either. I really like how they worked multiple stories/objects into one story.

A disgraced cop goes under cover at an amusement park to investigate a murder that happened in the ghost train ride. She meets two members of rival carny families and they find there's a serial killer stalking the fairgrounds. There's a lot going on in this 8 episode series. There's horror, comedy, and plenty of drama within, and between, the families running the carnival. If you're looking for something different (and don't mind subtitles) give this a try!

Loki (S2, Disney+)
I won't say I 100% understood the series from start to finish but I think of all the Marvel series, this one has the best main character story. While the fate of the multiverse is on the line, it also gets very personal by focusing on the characters.


A movie I enjoyed so much, I forgot to include it in the October recap. Movies like this are why I tend to shy away from low budget indie horror. It's an anthology and only one of the stories kept my interest. The whole "lost TV show found on VHS" premise thing didn't work for me either.

Rating: 3/10

If you're looking to see Nic Cage put the beat-down on homicidal animatronic creatures, this is your movie! Overall, it's just kind of okay. Cage being Cage and playing the silly situation totally straight is probably what makes it worth a watch. It's got some fun moments but I feel like it needed a little more to it.

Rating: 6/10

I'm not as big into DC as I am Marvel but their animated movies are usually great and this one was no exception. This is a series of linked stories that take place in a fantasy setting (Did not expect to see Warlord popup!), the Old West, the 1950s, and modern day. It was really cool exploring the different settings and seeing "alternate" versions of the Big Three. I guess this is a setup for the animated version of Crisis next year so that's something to look forward to.

Rating: 7/10

The Satanic Panic and the Religious Battle for the Imagination (2022, Tubi)
This documentary follows ordained minister Derek White (aka The Geekpreacher) as he interviews various people in the RPG biz and talks about the Satanic Panic from the 1980s. I don't know if you'd find it as interesting if you're not somewhat into RPGs but it is an amusing look back at a particular time in gaming history.
Dark Dungeons (2014, YouTube)
If you missed it, I did a separate post on this last week. It was talked about in the above doc and I immediately knew it was next on my watch list. Again, you'll get more out of this if you're familiar with RPGs but it's still pretty entertaining to watch them turn an anti-D&D religious tract into live action.

Rating: 6/10
I was sold on this from my first viewing of the trailer. However, I wasn't familiar with the character Onyx before this and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get through an entire movie of him after the first few minutes. He's like an SNL character that's great in short skits but might not be fit for feature length movies. Luckily, I warmed up to him and was able to enjoy a super fun movie! It's got a very 80s horror/comedy vibe complete with practical effects.

Rating: 7/10

I saw this one mentioned a few times recently online and decided to give it a watch. I guess it's sort of a home invasion movie but the home is a college campus where most everyone has gone home for break. Some of the killers masks are made from tin foil and I'm sorry, I just can't take you seriously no matter how hard you're trying to kill me. The lead girl is good in her role even though the story can be a little weak.

Rating: 5/10

I'm a sucker for horror set in an amusement park and that usually results in me sitting through some less than stellar movies. The idea of a horror themed amusement park is great (even if a couple of the 'mascots' look like they're Scooby Doo knockoff villains). The plot was actually decent as slashers go. The killer looks pretty good but has no presence. When he shows up it's "Oh look, the killer is here to thin out the cast." and sometimes he seems pretty clumsy with his weapons, which I blame more on the effects work than anything else.

Rating: 4/10

This is one you have to see it for yourself because there's no way I could explain how bad it is. And yet, I'm low key obsessed with this now. It's weird in the way that only an 80s horror movie can be. It seems like Tubi left the gore in but for some reason censored the word sh!t.

Rating: 6/10

I was going to roll this over into the December watch list but I wanted to make people aware of it so they could watch it during the holiday season. This is a dark comedy take on the trope of family tension at a holiday gathering where people don't keep their feelings in check. I can even forgive the CGI blood because I had such a good time with it.

Rating: 7/10

Month Total
New: 10   Rewatch: 0

Year to Date Total
New: 91   Rewatch:

Nov 21, 2023

Dark Dungeons (2014)

 Regular visitors know I usually wait until the end of the month to give a recap on what shows/movies I've watched. But after seeing this, I felt it needed its very own post.

When JR Ralls (writer) won $1000 in the lottery, he decided to do something special with it. That thing was to adapt the Chick tract of the same name into live action. The Kickstarter got him enough attention that Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, known for their comedic films about RPGs, jumped on board.

If you're not familiar with Chick tracts, they're preachy, illustrated religious pamphlets. You can read the original Dark Dungeons one right here. Somehow I wasn't aware of this despite it having a cult status in the RPG community for how ridiculous it is. As someone that got into D&D around the age of 13, I can assure you there is nothing nefarious going on at the gaming least not in the games I played (cue mysterious music).

They managed to produce something that's true to the source material but also comes across as a satire because of how over the top the original is. Going into the movie, I had only known it was adapting a Chick tract and while I had no trouble believing someone suffering from Satanic Panic would see this as a warning, it became apparent that they were poking me in the ribs as if to say "Can you believe this?"

If you don't at least have a toe in the RPG community, you probably won't get as much enjoyment out of it as someone that knows the difference between a d10 and a d100.You can watch the entire 40 minute short on YouTube.

Roll for intiative!

Nov 3, 2023

Halloween 2023 Wrap Up

 This is a couple days later than usual but I'm holding to the the last gasps of Halloween before the Winter Holiday Assault begins. Today, the inside decorations came down. I like taking vacation time after Halloween both for clearance shopping and sort of mourning period. The outside decorations usually come down first thing on 11/1. For me, it's part of the magic when everything in my yard "vanishes" the next day. At least that's what I think my neighbors think.

How cool is this not-LEGO Sam figure? I got him (and some other really cool stuff) as a gift. I'd actually been meaning to look for one so he could hang out with my not-LEGO Jack Skellington.

For Halloween, I tend to make up 40-45 treat bags to hand out. By the time we generally head into Salem (around 6:30) the bags are almost always gone. This year, Mrs Dex and my mom stayed at the house while my stepdad and I went into Salem. There were still bags left when I got home later, so it seems we had fewer Trick or Treaters than normal. Mrs Dex said people at her work had fewer as well. Some people think it's due to schools having trunk or treat events. Which, good for the kids, but terrible for the older "kids" that are expecting to see lots of costumes at their door. A small part of me is wondering if this will eventually impact the traditional door to door ToT.

Salem seemed to also have smaller crowds this year on Halloween. I'm in a couple Salem Facebook groups and the weekends leading up to the day were definitely record breaking for visitors. Of course, it could partially be that it fell on a Tuesday. 
Regardless, we still had fun scaring people and posing for pics. Mrs Dex and mom are usually the photographers for the night because my costume does not allow me to handle a phone. Sadly, I don't have any pics to share this year but here's a video someone else took that I shared on the Countdown to Halloween Instagram.

I hope everyone had a safe and Happy Halloween!

Oct 31, 2023

Monthly Media Recap - October 2023

As is tradition, the Monthly Media Recap is live earlier than normal in case you're looking for something to watch after the little ghouls are in their graves. All links below are Amazon affiliated for which I may earn for qualifying purchases.


Ahsoka (2023, Disney+)
As much as I enjoyed this, this is where they start alienating the casual fans that haven't watched season upon season of an animated series. It's still watchable without that knowledge but it's not going to mean a whole lot to you if you don't know who the main characters were before this.

Creepshow (S4, Shudder)
A lot of these have a Tales from the Crypt vibe and that's fine with me! It seemed like a lot of them were "despicable person does bad thing and gets what they deserve." Still plenty of gory, ghoulish fun!

Mickey & Friends Trick or Treats (2023, Disney+)
This was a lot better than I was expecting. Maybe it's the stop motion animation but this was like curling up in a warm blanket of Halloween nostalgia feels.

Oct 30, 2023

No Real Post Today

This post is to say that I don't have a real post today!
What I will do is direct you over to the Secret Fun Blog for a great Halloween adventure.

And also, check out Beetlemuse on YouTube for hours upon hours of Halloween audio like this.

Be sure to check out the complete list of Countdown bloggers by clicking below.

Oct 29, 2023

Halloween 2023 Reading List

 In the vein of my Monthly Media Recap, here are the books I consumed this spooky season. Many of them are quick reads if you're looking to cram in a last minute story or two. I was pretty happy with what I knocked out this year. I started in September to give myself some extra time.

Click on the covers for an Amazon affiliate link where I may earn from qualifying purchases.

The only non-horror story I read. Set in 1994, this is about a group of young teens that put together a horror haunt to save their local indie video rental store run by former 80s horror host Cassondra Dagger. If you're a fan of 80s kid adventure movies and horror, I give this a strong recommend.

Oct 28, 2023

Haunted Library - Dr. Shocker's Auction of Horror (2013)

Ten years and two days ago, Dr. Shocker's Auction of Horror was held. Dr. Shocker is the horror host alter ego of Daniel Roebuck, a collection of all sorts of vintage and rare goodies. All the items in this sale are from his personal monster collection!
Blacksparrow Auctions is pleased to present Dr. Shocker’s Auction of Horror, a collection that features original, rare and vintage horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy memorabilia belonging to actor Daniel Roebuck. The live auction will take place at the world famous Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood, CA on October 26, 2013. This unique collection features original life masks of Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Jr., Alfred Hitchcock and more. It also includes autographs, posters, original artwork, vintage dolls, wax figures, facial appliances, props and other pop culture collectibles.

 If you are a monster memorabilia maven, you're going to want to check this out of the Library! There is some unbelievably cool stuff that went up for auction. Of course, since it's already happened, you'll have to be content with looking at the auction catalog like a kid with a Sears Wishbook. Honestly, most of this stuff probably went for way more than I could pay for it anyway.

Click your Library Card to get a copy of the catalog.

Click below to see the full list of Countdown blogs!

Oct 27, 2023

Freddy Friday - Glove Love

 Back in the 90s, I was helping out at a local haunted house with a couple friends. It was as small, local thing and most of the 'actors' were teens. I wasn't getting paid but, seriously, dressing up and scaring people is something I will do for free any day of the week! This was during my big Freddy phase so that's who I dressed up as. 

The haunt was in a huge, mostly empty, three story house. The third floor was used for dressing rooms. A guide would take each group through the house starting on the second floor. This floor was mostly large bedrooms, each of which had its own scene with a jump scare of some kind. A large section of the first floor was a dark maze. The guide, knowing the maze, would rush through leaving the group to stumble their way through it. There were spots where actors would sometimes lurk too. Being the 90s, it was pre-cell phone so no one had a flashlight and occasionally the guide, or a stranger in the dark, would need to help them along. 

Oct 26, 2023

A Quartet of Vincent Price

In the early 70s, Vincent Price recorded four spoken word albums for Caedmon Records.

Thanks to the Official Vincent Price Youtube Channel, you can enjoy the dulcet tones of Mr. Vincent Price reading a variety of tales, recipes, and rituals. Not only is the content a perfect Halloween evening accompaniment, but you just can't beat Vincent Price.

 Tales of Witches, Ghosts, and Goblins
 A Coven of Witches Tales

A Hornbook for Witches

A Graveyard of Ghost Tales

Be sure to check out the list of Countdown bloggers by clicking below.

Oct 25, 2023

Classic Creepy Comics - The Beyond

Welcome to the last Classic Creepy Comics for 2023! Can you believe it's the Wednesday before Halloween already? This week's feature is The Beyond from Ace Magazines which ran for 30 issues from November 1950 to January 1955.

In yet another case of a comic company changing a title name, what was to be Challengers of the Unknown issue #7 became The Beyond issue #1 so technically, Challengers #6 is The Beyond #0. Because that makes sense.

I just picked this one because it was seasonally appropriate.

The most notable thing I found about this series is that issue #27 was sited in Dr. Frederic Wertham's book "Seduction of the Innocent" which warned against the dangers of comic books. In particular, the story "Strange Potion of Dr Lorch." 

You can read the full run of The Beyond online for free at Comic Book+, including the notorious issue 27 which also has a great story about a dentist that turns a patient into a werewolf by transplanting all their teeth with dog teeth. Good stuff!

Be sure to check out the complete list of Countdown bloggers by clicking below.

Oct 24, 2023

Now Hear This - Halloween 2023 The Revenge

How about a few more tunes to get you in the holiday spirit while you carve up a pumpkin (or something else)? They're not all brand new releases but hopefully they'll be new to you. Clicking on the album cover will take you to Bandcamp where you can buy the music.

DJ Pumpkin, let's twist this!

What better way to kick it off than with some hard rockin, coffin knockin horrorpunk? With 50 tracks, there's sure to be something that will get the dead on their feet.

Oct 23, 2023

Monster Mayhem Creepster Island Playset

I picked up this Mighty Max-style playset a few years ago from Oriental Trading Company. I usually order some treat bag fillers from them every year and this was on clearance for a couple bucks. I happened on it this year while digging out other Halloween stuff.

A transforming playset and mini-monster figures? Sold! I was in my early 20s when Mighty Max came out so I haven't had much exposure to it. Not that I was "too old" for toys then (or now) but it just didn't hit my radar at the time.

Apparently there were three sets but OTC only had this one, which is probably why it was on clearance. If I had my choice of them, I would have gone with the Mummy Mystery for the Egyptian theme. The top corner mentions a companion app but that seems to be long gone also. You can check out this in depth review for more details.

Oct 22, 2023

October Magic and the Punkin Pixie

 Thanks to Countdowner (what? it's a word) CheersWithChelsea on Instagram for introducing me to the Punkin Pixie! The Punkin Pixie is sort of like that other seasonal pointy-eared imp that gained notoriety for just sitting around, but for Halloween!

A couple weeks ago I was checking out Halloween Instagram posts, as you do, when I found the most adorable pumpkin person. I immediately clicked on over to The Punkin Shop to get one for myself. I didn't know there was also a book when I headed over there but once I saw it, it was pretty much required to get that also.

 My Pixie arrived in a Punkin Shop branded cardboard box and it was actually fun to open! The contents were wrapped in orange tissue paper and there was jack o'lantern shaped confetti sprinkled inside. The Pixie was already doing its thing.

For some reason, I was just expecting the Pixie to be loose and not be in a cool box of its own. There was something about seeing the box that went right to the kid in me and made me even more excited to break it free. 
By the way, I'm a total sucker for pumpkin-headed people.

The book is very cute and tells the story of how Harvest Moon cast a spell to create the Punkin Pixies to help kids celebrate Halloween all season long. Like that other squatting critter, they are only active at night, and might move around on their own while getting up to mischief.

I think he's going to be very happy in his new home. I can't wait for him to hang out with Krampus in the Corner in a couple months.

Click the image to see the full list of Countdown to Halloween blogs!

Oct 21, 2023

Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror

Let's keep the Freddy energy rolling into the weekend!
From 1994-95, a series of six YA novels were published under the name Freddy Krueger's Tales of Terror. While they sported Freddy prominently on their covers, he only briefly appears in the stories, usually relegated to hosting duties much like on Freddy's Nightmares where he introduces and wraps up the story.

These books fit in among teen horror at the time like Fear Street or the works of Christopher Pike. They even had die-cut covers that gave a peek at an image on the first page. On a side note, both Friday the 13th and Halloween Also had YA series around the same time but the killers were actually in them. 

I remember reading these when they came out because I could not get enough Freddy at that matter how tangentially related to the source material it may have been. They're okay if you want that 90s teen horror nostalgia fix, not so good if you're looking for a proper Nightmare story. 
The books have long been out of print and used copied go for crazy money. But now you can experience these tales thanks to the Haunted Library! Just click your card to check them all out.
Be sure to check out the list of Countdown bloggers by clicking below.

Oct 20, 2023

Freddy Friday - Enter the Slasherverse

You may have traveled the Spider-verse but are you ready for the Slasher-verse?

I accidentally stumbled into this while looking at Freddy fan films. I don't know why fan films are a particular rabbit hole I never jumped into before but there's a lot out there! Slasherverse is an ambitious project by Conrad Studios that tries to weave a tale the crosses over into some of the most popular horror franchises.

Above is a playlist that will take you across the five short films.

It started out pretty good with Elm Street and then went on to Halloween. The Friday the 13th and Scream entries were the low point for me. Both feature voice over dialog which doesn't fit the vibe for either franchise. I'm not a huge F13th fan but Jason just didn't feel right. The series bounces back with the Texas Chainsaw finale.

Be sure to check out the complete list of Countdown bloggers by clicking below.

Oct 19, 2023

The KidsTime Zone Halloween Special (WTXX, 1986)

 A huge thanks to The Haunted Drive-In on YouTube for posting this gem.

WTXX was local station 20 in Waterbury, Connecticut from 1982 to 2010. KidsTime with T.X. Critter was your typical Sunday morning kids show featuring a live host and puppets. Puppet co-host T.X Critter was created by Paul Fusco who would go on to create ALF a few years later!

This special hits that magical Halloween childhood sweet spot. It gives me nostalgia feels even though I'd never seen it. There's just something about it being a product of the 80s and the charm that only comes from a locally produced show. 
The school kids are just *chef's kiss* 
Did I mention it also has the original commercials?
 Click below to see the list of participating Countdown blogs!

Oct 18, 2023

Classic Creepy Comics - Horrific & Weird Terror

Horrific and Weird Terror were bi-monthly series published by Comics Media from September 1952 to September 1954. 

I couldn't dig up much info on either series but there's no denying the covers are enough to catch your eye and pop it out of the socket!

Most of the covers for both series were done by Don Heck who was the main artist across many of Comics Media's titles at the time. Heck would be recruited by Stan Lee in 1955 to join Atlas Comics.

Oct 17, 2023

Now Hear This - Halloween 2023 The Sequel

 The reason I end up doing a couple of these posts every year is because a lot of artists release during October and I want to make sure they get some recognition! As with other posts, click the album cover to go to Bandcamp where you can preview, and buy, the music. These are NOT affiliate links but artists deserving your ear.

Count Spookula, who just released Monster a Go-Go in May, is back for some rockin' tricks and treats.

The legendary Slasher Dave is lets loose with 18 tracks that are the love child of a horror movie score and one of those Halloween cassettes that randomly turns about to be the best thing ever.

Creature Feature dropped a new single for the season called Every Day is Halloween.You should also check out their back catalog. Great stuff!

Halloween at High Noon rises from the grave with another killer compilation of 22 tracks from various electronic artists.

On 10/27, The Marshmallow Ghosts are unleashing a 3 album reissue/remaster of their past 15 years of Hallow-goodness. You can pre-order the album now and get all 31 tracks when it's released.

Click the image to see the full list of Countdown to Halloween blogs! 

Oct 16, 2023

Halloween House Building Block Set

 This is the other generic building block Halloween set I got from Temu. The set was only $1.38 but what I saved in money, I paid for...with my soul! This entire build took somewhere around 6-7 hours. At least 60% of that time was sorting or looking for the piece I needed.

I would bet if this was an official LEGO set, the time would have easily been cut in half. In anything other than the smaller builds, their parts will come in numbered bags and you only need to open one bag at a time because all the bits for each section of the build are in a single bag. This set? Seven bags of parts, all numbered but with no bearing on the order you put it together. Take a moment to let that soak into your brain. 
Seven. Bags. Of. Small. Parts.

To make things a little more fun, this would be classified as a mini-build meaning it's not "actual size" in scale with the minifigs. What does that mean? Lots and lots of small pieces. I cannot even begin to guess at how many 1x1 or 1x2 pieces were in this set. Here's a small sample.

Carry on after the break...if you dare!