I Have a Question

It has been a little bit of a hiatus since my last post here on the 2013 Halloween Countdown and I am so sorry for that. Work is one of those inescapable plagues of adulthood that sucks creativity away and replaces it with money. The great conundrum of life. But do not be troubled, I am back and full of Halloween vigor.

I’ll be right back with a very scary recap of a killer show from the late 1980’s and 90’s which had Halloween episodes few can rival. It is close to my heart and I dreamed of someone like Matt doing a recap but requests like that can be annoying so I figured it should at least be attempted by me. Hint: He has a felony record for drugs.

Hope all is going well and I will have this up soon. Until then, I need a question answered. What was the one scene in a movie or TV show that turned you into someone who loves the spooky side of life? Me, it is a tie between the original trailer to The Creepshow and the librarian in the movie Ghostbusters.

I remember the trailer more than the movie we saw in 1982. It was Empire Strikes Back but the only true memory I have is the horrific grim reaper peering through a bedroom window at the beginning and it has haunted my nights so much so that I still sleep with the blinds closed. Today it’s just out of habit.

The Ghostbuster’s librarian just made me piss the theater seat. I can’t rationalize it but for some reason in 1984, I was under the odd assumption that Ghostbusters was a movie about a motorcycle gang. I guess that’s how a six-year-old’s brain works, or at least how mine did. I never claimed to be bright as a child.

So, I have a clear memory sitting in my seat, completely terrified when books started floating and those damn New York library lions accompanied by the icon opening theme, but when the free-floating vaporous apparition transformed into a demon-monkey, trauma set in and I have never been the same since. I love demon-monkey for that.

So, what was your turning moment? We all have them so lay it on me! Comment below, on Twitter or on the Facebook page which I KNOW YOU ARE ALL FOLLOWING.

 

Ghostbusters Retro-Action!

I am about to go down a road not often traveled here on VeggieMacabre. That road involves toys. But it’s okay because it also involves Ghostbusters, too!

Mattel’s The Real Ghostbusters Retro-Action figures were a 2011 release exclusively at Toys R Us stores and this flew well below my radar. Luckily for me, I was able to acquire this particular action set (?) for $25 from an incredibly weird toy vender who used a wheel chair but rolled it by shuffling her feet. She also haggled with me on the price which was clearly sticker-ed. This is what I get for shopping at flea market store that could be destroyed by a leaf blower.

There are few oddities which propelled me to purchase this item. Okay, there were a few oddities that made me buy this item.

The first is the “adult collection” classification. It seems a bit odd that they marketed this purely for the adults who were of the age to appreciate the old line of toys in the late 1980s and 90’s. I am not a betting man but my assumptions are there are plenty of Samhain decapitated heads rolling around toy rooms as we speak. So to limit the marketability to only adults with a cute Slimer and a sweet proton pack seems limiting, at best.

EDIT: Just looked up this set on eBay and it’s going for $79.00. So, goddamn it. Ignore my last.

Second, and most importantly, the “GIANT 22″” cardboard firehouse that I desperately needed for more ridiculous decor in the office. It was the thing that stood out the most, even surpassing one of the best villain in The Real Ghostbusters, Samhain. But I will tell you, it’s a huge bitch to put together.

Well, against better judgement, I devalued this action pack by 200% and pried it open to take a closer look at what we have. Not much of a mystery from the enclosed case but I will say these figures are pretty detailed! Right down to the boots.

Like I said earlier, I am not much on toy reviews. I like them and have been known to review a few from time to time but I mostly leave that type of article to the professionals like Matt from Dinosaurdracula.com or some YouTube celebrity with a trust fund to burn. Right now I am out for decor for my juvenile office and a chance to have Slimer, Samhain and a cardboard firehouse was too much of a temptation. Janine is no concern to me. I wish it was Rick Moranis.

I think we should start with the weapons…er…ghost-catching equipment. Let me make a stupid diagram real quick.

1. P.K.E. Meter: Psychokinetic Energy Meter that is used to detect the whereabouts of paranormal activity. I guess it measures ghost stuff and brackets it in a numbered value. Here are the parameters:

            200-300 = No Threat, small to no paranormal activity.

            301-450 = Trouble, you have a faint trace of a spook.

            451-550 = Biblical Proportions

Is it just me or is “faint trace of a spook” to “biblical proportions” quite a jump? That’s like picking up on a red-tailed shark and the next step is great white. You would think Egon would be concerned.

2. Proton Pack Mark 1: The most recognizable of the arsenal it consists of two parts: The Nuclear Accelerator Backpack (Proton Pack, Positron Collider, Cyclotron.) and Particle Thrower (Proton Gun, Ion Wand, Ion Cannon, Neutrona Wand.). It is nuclear  powered and I am sure it required a testicle shield but since ol’ Bug-Eyes was donning this, no nut-shield was needed.

3. Ghost Trap: I guest this can be described as a mini-containment unit. The Trap is an Electromagnetic Field Generator that is encased in an extremely strong and powerful Steel Grid and the EMF draws ghosts into the trap. The Trap is connected to a six to eight feet cable, which is connected to a “Stomp-on Pedal”. It requires at least 48 hours to charge ensuring if I was a Ghostbuster, I would be totally screwed all the time when it came to the final process of catching a ghost. I always have a 1/3 charge on my phone.

4. Barcharach Sniffer 300: So this will blow you frickin’ mind. It’s a real piece of equipment from a true company that specializes in equipment that detects gas and vapor. I really thought this was the most ridiculous of the bunch! And…now we learned something. It tests ionized traces left by P.K.E. activity, and can be used to date the occurrences of paranormal activity. It was created by Bacharach/United Technologies. “One of our little toys.”

In case you are impressed with my extensive knowledge of Ghostbuster gear, don’t. I got it all from here. I really want to hug the people or person who made this.

Before we jump to the characters I want to look at the absolute pain the fire house was to assemble. It was like constructing one of those elaborate paper airplanes made to look like a F-15. It has too many pieces that hated one another so you had to force them together like telling brothers hug. (Two Two Two analogies in one!)

You have to admit it’s a pretty cool idea they had to include a Ghostbuster HQ in the packaging. I hope this catches on with other “adult” collections like He-Man comes with a Grey Skull castle front. I see great things in paper-cutouts for the future.

This gif isn’t spectacular but it’s a brief glimpse of my frustration as I tried over and over to stand the damn thing up. Finally, I had it pieced together but if anyone looked close, there’s no way this building is to code. As Egon said, “I think it should be condemned…”. Thank goodness for Ray.

Now that the main reason for buying this action set is built and displayed I guess it’s time to move on to the characters themselves. I think I will start off with my favorite and one Hell of a villain, Samhain. He was the super boss if there was one in the series, The Real Ghostbusters, and probably peaked a 700 on the ol’ P.K.E. meter. Though I don’t think he’s quite as cool as the Sandman because he lacked a theme song, I do think when it comes to Halloween inspired bad dudes, you can’t beat him.

This is a pretty cool likeness to the cartoon from the glowing eyes to the tiny teeth to the magic cape which apparently is the source of powers to the…black boots? I didn’t know the demon of Halloween had feet? Makes you wonder what else this guy has for accessories? Does he have a utility belt? Perhaps a satchel full of candy corn?

Holy shit! Apparently Samhain is a fan of palates. That dude is ripped and if it wasn’t for his bulbous head full pumpkin guts, I would say he is a chick magnet.

This keeps getting more uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Not only is Samhain a palates guru but likes black underwear. (Des Webb) There is something to be said for a villain who wears a magical robe with only black underwear and boots underneath.

If I elaborate any further on Samhain’s physique and black undies, people might get the wrong idea about this blog so I will continue on with…

COME ON!!!

I think I am going to skip Janine. I am not being misogynistic but as far as the character goes, I was never a fan. I loved her in the first Ghostbusters but after that, no. I will say, Samhain isn’t doing Xtreme Fitness Tap Out Douche training for nothing. He may be looking to infiltrate the Ghostbusters, if you know what I mean. Heh.

And while he is busy doing that, I think Slimer may take this opportunity to work Samhain’s magic robe for his own cause.

Not knowing the true power of the cape from the Netherworld, he sputters Slimer-like sentence fragments and toots,  wishing to the dark forces for an eternal supply of candy. Only this disgusting spud can have unlimited and unchecked power and use it for junk food.

Janine and the Prince of Halloween were already in the Showbiz hot tub that Louis Tully had won several years ago in a skeetball contest south of Cape Cod. Too distracted by lust, they had no idea Slimer had summoned Satan himself to deliver Earth crushing loads of candy. Black underwear has powers that Janine could not break away from.

But Slimer forgot one thing about black Halloween magic; you don’t quite get what you think.

The Dark One delivered on the request but much to Slimer’s chagrin, it was a lifetime supply of pina colada jellybeans.

All-in-all, not a bad set. I guess it wasn’t made to be played with because the characters can stand about as well as Larry Flint. The legs are way too loose. Everything else was pretty spot on including the giant firehouse which was the highlight of the whole set. Aside from the construction, of course. B grade.

That concludes the dumbest shit I have ever written. I have been writing so much in reference to the Halloween countdown which is starting just around the corner, I sometimes forget no one will come if they forget you are here so…I am here! Please don’t forget me.

Oh! And here is the addition to the office. The giant Ghostbuster Firehouse. Meh.

 

Top 10 Things In My Monster Squad Treehouse

I have been a huge fan of John’s site, Freddy In Space, for quite sometime and if you want to know anything horror or related to that genre, this is where you go. He’s a great writer and a good blog-buddy. So after you read this, please pop over and take a gander at an awesome site.

So, John always has great ideas when it comes to joint blog-ventures and this one is a topic that I just can’t pass up. Back in the mid-eighties a great movie introduced me to Universal monsters in the film, Monster Squad. I could go into the plot of the film but for this project we only need to look at their treehouse.

I think every kid had a dream of starting a secret club and building an awesome fort for meetings and sleep overs. John asked the question, what mandatory ten items would you have in your Monster Squad Treehouse? So here are mine.

The horror House Target Set

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I am a huge sucker for vintage horror memorabilia. I don’t know if I would ever taken this out of the box if I owned it but as a kid I am sure this set would have slowly disappeared from poor marksmanship. But it is fun to have an initiation where you have to kill at least four monsters to join.

Lucio Fulci Movie Posters!

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These posters and VHS box art used to terrify me as a child when we would rent movies at the local rental store but after around the age of nine, my fear turned to fascination. Pretty soon I was that kid from Salem’s Lot who had an entire room full of  macabre items and for a bit my parents thought I was Satan’s minion. It would have been nice to have a club house where I could enjoy these pleasures only with fellow weirdos.

Duke Nukem: The Shining Edition

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Of course my Monster Squad Treehouse would have power and with that power would come the ability to play scary video games. My absolute favorite right now is The Shining version of Duke Nukem. I don’t think any haunted hotel and axe murdering psychopaths would be a big deal with a shotgun. Groovy. I like to image my buddies playing this for hours and talking in their best Duke Nukem voice.

See? How can you not get into this? Sure “Ghosts & Goblins” is fun to play but when it comes to my club, only gratuitous sex and violence. Thanks Duke!

Nudie Magazines

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It’s a boys club. Sorry, no girls allowed.

Every club house should have a proper amount of nudie magazines and my Monster Squad Treehouse will have a double secret hiding space where our stash will be hidden. This is as good as any currency between like club houses. I still have a really shitty Freddy Krueger glove from such a trade. It went like this:

Me- “What will you take for Freddy’s glove?”

Kid- “Whadda ya got?”

Me- “I have a rookie Mark McGuire card in a case?”

Kid- “How about a nudie mag?”

Me-“Banana Boobs for a Freddy Glove? Deal!”

Masks!

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Oh we would need masks! I love these rubber and latex art. It would be a trip to read Famous Monster Magazines in these masks and eat our weight in Twizzlers. And after that we would sneak down and scare my buddy’s sister.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about masks but if I had a Monster Squad style Treehouse without a Frankenstein’s monster mask, I might as well call it a Rainbow Brite Festivity Club. Cause only Sally would join.

The Exorcist

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This is a must for all club members. It’s a test of courage for any ten-year old who has an eye for monsters, ghosts and creepy things. I remember when I first watched the whole thing as a kid and really hated watching the sun go down for fear of heading to bed. It’s a much better film to watch with your gang during a sleepover. And it’s fun to watch new members squirm during the famous needle in the neck scene.

Candy Candy Candy Candy

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If I had a Monster Squad style treehouse Halloween candy would be available year round. Of course if this was back when I was ten, I probably would not have opted for candy corn since that’s more of a nostalgic treat for me today. I probably would have  had quite a bit of Bonkers candy, instead. Remember those? Why the fuck did those disappear but we still have Peeps? This world confuses me at times.

Just looked up Bonkers and they are coming back for Halloween 2013! And the day just became brighter!

Legos!

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I don’t think Legos had a specific model back in the mid-eighties but if they did, the haunted mansion would be a mandatory decoration in the club. What a cool item to have for kids to piece together. There is no doubt that this would be in a million pieces after it gets put together but I think on a fun friday night in the club house, this would be a cool project.

Toben’s Spirit Guide from Ghostbusters

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This is a real thing, right? Gosh I hope so because these would be definite for the treehouse. Imagine the hours of fun it would be to look up ancient spirits from the movie and cartoon like Samhain and the Sandman. Sheesh, even as an adult, the Sandman still is a bit creepy. Am I right?

And Finally…What Ever the Fuck This Thing Is

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I saw this on weirdotoys.com and this would have been in a prominent spot in the Treehouse. New members would have to leave offering gifts at its feet. All would respect it and nonmembers would never be allowed to see it.

I will be honest, it’s disturbing to look at. Kinda reminds me of Victor Crowley from the movie Hatchet. I mean really, he’s wielding a hatchet while eerie music plays to his distorting face. Absolute perfection to a club that worships the strange and unusual. Because I, myself, am strange and unusual.

WATCH THIS CLIP!

So that is what would be in my Monster Squad Treehouse. This is a great idea Freddy In Space!

Be sure to check him out and all those who have participated in this fun little post.

 

Toxic Sludge: A Beer for the Birds. No, Really.

It has been a little while since I posted but being a working chump doesn’t leave too much time for writing about nonsense and beer. This time I was able to shave off an hour from the grind to talk a little bit about Blue Point’s Toxic Sludge Black IPA. The second I laid eyes on this can I knew it was destined for a star spot on VeggieMacabre. It is one part Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, one part Ghostbusters and three parts Toxic Avenger all equalling one brilliant design that makes you want to stare at it but definitely not consume it.

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The cool thing about Toxic Sludge is that Blue Point Brewery donates a portion of its profits to a bird sanctuary to rehabilitate birds affected by the BP oil spill. It’s a funny design for such a tragic accident but let’s not ruin that with seriousness. Watch the video featuring me, Toxi the Toxic Avenger, that melted guy in Robocop and my buddies at Lost Story Studios, Bo and Brockton.

Sorry for the attire. I told you work has been a bitch.

A Tribute to Famous Monster Magazine

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This one goes back to 1984, when feathered hair was in and my only concern in life was not crashing my bike on the neighborhood hill dubbed “The Matterhorn” named not only for the insane steep grade but the number of wobbly-handlebar out of control bike wrecks almost every kid had experienced. I was a very impressionable kid and still traumatized by the opening scene of the movie Ghostbusters, I dreaded the thought of 8:30 at night and the ever-looming gloom of going to bed. In bed the thoughts of ghosts and goblins always seemed to overtake my imagination. It was the pinnacle of stress to a six-year-old. Other than “The Matterhorn” of course.

That same year, friends’ of my parents had two older sons (Brent and Nate. I remember you two!) who were well into high school. I remembered one of them to have a mustache so in my eyes they were like grownups but would give “wet willies” and put me on the phone to their girlfriends so they could tell me to say stupid things. I didn’t care for those two much. Their only redeeming factor, after cleaning their room, I received boxes of their books and magazine they no longer wanted. Seeing as I was in the beginning stages of reading, I guess having three hundred Boys Life magazines couldn’t hurt. And an occasional Zoo Book.

I believe that box of discarded magazines and books stayed in my room for the better part of that summer until one fateful evening when I was forced into confinement of my bedroom early. I am sure it was for some sort mischief. With nothing better to do I opened the box of hand-me-down publications and in sheer shock the first ten or twelve magazines were not the wimpy Boys Life magazines I had no intention of reading but a jolt of terrifying monsters magazines with horrid creatures staring right at me. My reaction was violent. I was an only child and like I said, the beginning of Ghostbusters damn near sent me to therapy. Can you imagine being that innocent and opening a box to be greeted by this:

Soon I had conjured up enough courage from curiosity and approached the box again. With one eye shut and the other barely open, I opened the box again and quickly moved the half-skulled girl. Digging right past that horrid face into pure six-year-old ecstasy was Star Wars. It was a Famous Monster issue of nothing but Star Wars pictures! The rest of the box could have been chockfull of Linda Blair terrors but when mixed with C3PO, I couldn’t care less. This was near and dear to the heart and that was when I officially became a fan of Famous Monster Magazine.

Fast forward nearly thirty years later or…yesterday when I was dropping by a local comic con to give love to my pals over at Lost Story Studios and picking up some amazing personalized art when I spied a familiar face. Holy macaroni it was the same skull faced girl on the cover of Famous Monster Magazine sitting lonely in a box. But wait…she wasn’t lonely at all.

She came with friends! And you know I had to take them all home.

It’s amazing the flood of memories that come along with certain childhood items. I swear, I have no clue what was in that box other than these Famous Monster magazines and to be perfectly honest, I don’t really care. For many years later, I would sit under the covers reading about Peter Cushing and staring at the numerous monsters that I would later meet in my dreams. (Talking to you, Dr. Phobes.)

I spent last night flipping through some of what I loved the most from these magazines. Let’s delve in, shall we?

The cover art for this particular magazine really can’t be contended with. Sure Creep and Tales from the Crypt have pretty neat covers but if you want to get a tattoo that is inspired by magazine art, why not Jaws getting punched in the dick by King Kong? And no one is ever going to believe that girl if she makes it out.

There are so many stories and photos crammed in these magazine that the cover keeps the mystery by just giving a few top articles. I like that. Less is always more.

Oh gosh, the mail-in toy advertisements. Many of these items were not sold on the open retail market (from what I am told) so if you were to somehow obtain these magazines years later by, let’s say, two jerk-o bullies, then you were just shit out of luck. I have sent my parents on an absolute failure missions for multiple Christmases because of these advertisements. The date on the issue was just a number in my feeble young mind.

Unfortunately for me, most of my inherited Famous Monster issues were around the late seventies and early eighties so they were  full of Star Wars merchandise that was impossible to find. I have no idea if kids back then really sent away for these items but I am sure if they did, they were the envy of the neighborhood.

I also love the shout-outs to the kids who read Famous Monster Magazine. I have to remind myself today, kids back then actually wrote letters to the editor and sent wallet size photos. I HAVE DONE THIS TOO! Looking at these kids, I imagine we would have all been great friends. Especially Dave. Poor Dave.

The contests! Oh cats, the contests! Every issue had some sort of creative contest that was either sponsored by a movie or created within the Warren Magazine Publication. I think these types of contests are lost today. Well, other that the cool stuff over at DinoDrac, but still, I would like to see more movies that inspire kids to breakout the ol’ pen and paper and send it to some P.O. Box, NY NY. We live in such an immediate gratification society.

This was for the more serious creepy kid of the neighborhood. It’s one thing to order a model kit or send away for a contest but dropping $40 on an ape head, you had to be committed. Or needed to be committed. Forty big ones back in 1971 wasn’t chump change.

It was a simpler time back when Famous Monster Magazine was a well syndicated.  Ten-year-olds could easily order a cannon that could be heard five miles away and why should they NOT be able to? It’s true that today, if a ten-year-old kid chewed his cheese sandwich into the shape of a pistol he or she could be expelled but back then kids were much smarter. This was the dumbest paragraph I have ever written. And now I want a mini canon . Without the problems of having the FBI showing up at my door.

Famous Monster Magazine was long running that came to an end in 1983 but ten years later, Ray Ferry, a fan, revived it and shared rights with Forrest Ackerman. They also changed the title to Famous Monsters of Filmland and ran pretty successfully until around ’97 when the relationship fell apart and law suits were flying. That’s too bad too.

It’s still around today and you can order it online for six issues at a time. But it’s just not the same. I know it’s all perspective but with the thousand horror blogs and sites and many magazine circulations, I thing Famous Monster Magazine died when it should have in 1983. I just feel lucky that I was of the age and shared the same joy those kids did in the shout-out sections years and years before.

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