Archive for the pop culture Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria’s Monster Invasion column

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Genres, Halloween, holiday, horror, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Let’s talk about Fangoria’s Monster Invasion.

Fangoria ran the Monster Invasion column for years. It was a collection of rumors and up-and-coming news for movies, TV shows, books, etc. Most of the news revolved in some way around the horror genre, but it would occasionally cross over into sci-fi, fantasy, etc. Actually, many of the Fangoria family of magazines would run a similar column. One of my other favorites was Comics Scene’s “Comic Screen”.

Anyway, I combed through a few choice issues and found some neat news tidbits from within the Monster Invasion column.


Here’s an item from Fangoria 23, 1982.  It mentions Stanley Kubrick’s next movie.  He had directed The Shining in 1980 and everyone was speculating what would be his next movie.  This says that Arthur C Clarke’s 2010, the sequel to Kubrick’s 2001, is on his production slate.  That movie would get made, in 1982, with Peter Hyams as director.  It also mentions that John Milius (Conan, Dirty Harry) just finished an original script that would be Kubrick’s next.  I’m not sure what that Milius project was supposed to be, but Kubrick’s next movie wouldn’t be released until 1987, FIVE years after this article.  And it would be Full Metal Jacket.


This one jumped out at me mostly because, as I write this, I’m reading Stephen King’s Christine for the first time. This article starts off telling us that Universal has canceled their plans for a John Carpenter directed adaptation of King’s Firestarter. Which I would’ve loved to have seen.  The article then mentions that this cancellation may have been initiated by the poor box office returns of Carpenter’s The Thing!  Which seems absurd now because The Thing is considered a horror classic.  Anyway, the article goes on saying that Carpenter has another King adaptation in the works, for the upcoming novel Christine which, at the time this article was written, hadn’t come out yet.  But we now know that Carpenter’s Christine would indeed come out the very next year in 1983.


A few issues later we get some followup on Firestarter. Universal is moving forward with Firestarter and Mark Lester was picked as the director. And that is how the movie would actually move forward. The screenplay would be written by Stanley Mann and it would be released in 1984.


Here in Fangoria #9 (1980), Fango is calling out a 3-D revival!  They are hearing rumors all over the place of upcoming movies planning to use 3-D including Halloween 2, Creepshow, and a possible Friday the 13th sequel!  Only one of those things eventually got the 3-D treatment.


Here’s a 3-D followup from Fangoria #15 (1981).  Last time, they are speculating about a revival, this time they are talking about an actual revival of 3-D movies in the wake of the success of the comedy western, Comin’ At Ya!.  It even predicts that studios should start cranking out 3-D movies very soon to capitalize on the success of this movie.  They also mention that John Landis is prepping a Creature from the Black Lagoon remake and they hope he plans on using 3-D when filming it.  And I would have watched the sh*t out of that.  At the end of the piece, Fangoria wonders how long this 3-D revival will last after the flood of sub par 3-D junk studios will undoubtedly put out wears out the format’s welcome.  It’s funny how Comin’ At Ya! is name dropped as the progenitor of 3-D success here in this article when NO ONE today remembers that movie.  Everyone remembers Friday the 13th Part 3 and Jaws 3, but literally no one remembers Comin’ At Ya!


Here’s the final 3-D followup from Fangoria #32 (1984).  The previous article is called “3-D Revival”.  This new item is called “3-D Dead?”.  Which pretty much sums it up.  Fangoria, having called the revival, is now calling the death.  They say the technology itself is the reason for the demise.  It’s just not up to snuff.  And all the crap studios put out with sub par 3-D just killed the format.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Fangoria Mail Order VHS ads

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , on October 16, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

It doesn’t get much more 80s than mail order horror VHS tapes.  And Fangoria magazine is rife with all kinds of awesome mail order VHS ads. Here are a few.


From Fangoria 21 (1982).  Driller Killer!  Snuff!  I’ve never heard of Snuff.  I’m going to have to look that up.  Look at the prices.  $44.95 for ONE tape (plus $3 s/h, of course).  That was the sell through price!  Before that studios used rental pricing and it was over a hundred bucks!


From Fangoria #23 (1982).  An Unholy 9.  I love that.  A few gems in here too.  The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Fulci’s Zombie.  Man, that I Spit on Your Grave is a tough watch.


From Fangoria #54 (1986). I love the art on this Mail Order Nightmares! from Mail Box Video.  Silent Night, Deadly Night is a classic.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Make Them Die Slowly, but it sounds AWESOME.


This is from Fangoria #49 (1985). It’s not a mail order ad, per se, it’s actually a call in phone order.  It’s still a pretty great ad.  I *totally* remember that Doctor Gore VHS cover.  I never got to get it, but I remember it in Fangoria a lot and I think it showed up at my local video store.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Looking back at the history of the Nerd Lunch Halloween Episodes

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, podcast, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

I’m going to break with the Fangoria theme here for just a second.

As you may, or may not, know, the Nerd Lunch Podcast is winding down. We only have a few more months before it ends. Today, is the final installment of the Nerd Lunch Halloween Special.  Our Halloween episode has a long and storied tradition, so let’s take a walk down memory lane and see all the previous Nerd Lunch Halloween Specials leading up to today’s final entry.

Click the titles to go listen to the episodes one final time.

Paul Lynde
Nerd Lunch Episode 59: Halloween Specials (2012)
We didn’t do a Halloween special our very first year, 2011. Our themed Halloween episodes started with episode 59 in October 2012. We had Jay and Shawn on to discuss two Halloween specials, the 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special and 1986’s The Worst Witch starring Fairuza Balk, Charlotte Rae, Diana Rigg and Tim Curry.

Dead Lunch
The next year, 2013, we did a whole month of Halloween shows. It was called BRUCE-tober and it celebrated the man, the myth, the legend, Bruce Campbell.  This is the only time Jay didn’t join us for a Halloween episode.

Here’s what we did all 4 weeks of BRUCE-tober 2013.
Week 1- 102 – Give that Bruce Campbell Guy Some Work – We all come up with the perfect movie/TV project for Bruce to work on.
Week 2- 103 – Bubba Ho-Tep drill down – We review Bubba Ho-Tep
Week 3- 104 – Nerd Lunch reads Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way – We all read Campbell’s farcical book about Hollywood.
Week 4- 105 – Evil Dead drill down – We watch and review the very first Evil Dead movie.

NL Halloween 2014
Episode 152 – 2014 Halloween Episode
For the 2014 Halloween episode, we were joined by Halloween guest stalwart Jay as well as, for the first time anywhere, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula. This is where their Purple Stuff Podcast got started.  For this episode we talked about Halloween-ized retail products and we even made up a few things of our own. Also, that Halloween, we did an Extra Helping where Jay joined us to review the awesomely bonkers 1978 movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.


Episode 202 – 2015 Halloween Episode
For this episode we were again joined by Jay and Matt, this time to talk about two Rankin Bass Halloween specials; 1972’s Jack O’Lantern and 1962’s Mad Monster Party.

NL Halloween 2016
Episode 249 – 2016 Halloween Episode
In 2016 we were joined by Jay and newcomer Will (aka @veggiemacabre on Twitter) to do a spooky version of our franchise topic Movie Menus.  We were each assigned a scary movie and a fast food restaurant and had to come up with a themed menu.

Halloween 2017
Episode 289 – Halloween Horror Show 2017
For the Halloween episode in 2017, Matt and Jay came back to talk all about Elvira’s 1986 MTV Halloween Special.

Halloween 2018
Episode 316 – 2018 Halloween Episode
Last year Jay came back and we were also joined by my good friend Mr Michael May. We did a Sweet 16 of Movie Monsters to determine who is the best Movie Monster out there.


Episode 340 – The Final Halloween Episode
And that leads us to this year. 2019. This will ultimately be the final Nerd Lunch Halloween Special. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bittersweet ending. We are again joined by Jay as well as Robert Zerbe and we are doing a spin off of Movie Menus.  We are all assigned spooky pop culture characters or movies and we have to build a restaurant from the ground up around our assignment.  So we come up with the name, the building, how it’s decorated, how the servers are dressed, any onsite entertainment, and even a few of the menu items.  It’s a lot of fun and I want to eat at all of these places.

And that’s it.  That should be all for the Nerd Lunch Halloween episode.  It’s been a blast doing these every year.  I hope you guys have enjoyed listening.

 



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s Haunted Hills (2001) movie review

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on October 11, 2019 by Paxton

Fangoria Movie Friday

So, I’m finishing out the first two weeks of Elvira with a review of Elvira’s second movie, Elvira’s Haunted Hills from 2001.

Like Mistress of the Dark, I had never watched this one, so with the surprise of actually liking that first movie, I sat down to watch this one hoping to also like it.

And I didn’t.  It’s more of the same but not done as well.  Elvira is Elvira.  Double entendres abound.  It feels like it wants to be something like Young Frankenstein, or, to be more accurate, Haunted Honeymoon.  But the charisma of the cast (or lack thereof) can’t overcome the poor script and attempts at humor.  I know this was made on a shoestring budget, and it’s lampooning old Vincent Price Poe movies like The Pit and the Pendulum (the poster for which even had the giant swinging blade on it) and The Raven, which I honestly haven’t seen.  But it still didn’t land, meaning mainly the humor.

The sets for this movie were pretty great though.  The giant castle, as a set, worked very well and had lots of cool elements incorporated into the design including a small hidden door in the side of the giant fireplace (sidenote: I love giant stone fireplaces in castles).  And the overall story was actually not that bad, but this movie lives or dies on the humor and the humor just doesn’t work as well in this one as it did in the previous movie.  It was so MEH that I didn’t really have anything I wanted to talk about more in depth by pulling out screen grabs.  It’s just not as fun a movie as I wanted it to be.

I wish it wasn’t so, because I still love the character of Elvira.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira video games

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, video games with tags , , , , , on October 10, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

So, the last few days I’ve covered Elvira’s pop culture appearances in movies, TV shows, and comic books.  Today, let’s take a look at her appearances in a few video games.



Elvira by Accolade was a PC game from 1990. It followed the events of the 1988 movie, Elvira Mistress of the Dark.  After the death of her Uncle Vincent (spoilers for the movie! Sorry!), Elvira has inherited the castle and plans on opening it as a tourist attraction for horror fans. In doing so, Elvira has inadvertently awakened the monstrous followers of a powerful witch, Emelda. The followers have imprisoned Elvira in the castle and plan to use her to resurrect Emelda. The player is tasked to help Elvira stop the witch’s resurrection.



Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus was the 1991 sequel to the above game. It seems a bit odd to me that the previous game was successful enough to get a sequel, it’s named ELVIRA, and yet Elvira is barely on the cover. If you look close she’s in the lower left.  Well, that may be because the main character is Elvira’s boyfriend.  And the task is to save Elvira.  The player must navigate through a horror studio that has had it’s movie props turned into actual monstrosities.

Elvira was also the star of two pinball machines from Midway (images from Internet Pinball Machine Database).

Elvira and the Party Monsters was released in 1989. It was one of the first pinball machines to require 2 quarters instead of one. The flyers for the machine announced this by saying that “Elvira is no cheap date”. Scared Stiff was released in 1996 and since pinball wasn’t as popular then as it was in 1989, that table is a bit harder to find. Both Midway machines offered vendors a special “modesty decal” that they could optionally attach to the backglass to cover up Elvira’s famous cleavage.

Tomorrow is the final day of Elvira Week(s) and I plan on reviewing Elvira’s second movie, Haunted Hills.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s House of Mystery

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, comic books, Halloween, holiday, pop culture with tags , , , , on October 9, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

Continuing my chronicling of Elvira’s pop culture appearances, let’s take a look at comic books.  One comic book in particular.

In the 80s, Elvira was so mainstream that DC comics licensed her image to become the new host of their classic horror anthology comic, House of Mystery. She would debut in the first issue of Elvira’s House of Mystery in 1986.

Elvira HOM 1 Elvira HOM 5

Elvira would introduce the stories and provide an epilogue. While the host, she introduced many different stories based on horror, science fiction and even westerns all written and drawn by a revolving door of DC talent.  The cover of the very first issue was drawn by Brian Bolland.  The cover for the final issue would be drawn by The Rocketeer’s Dave Stevens.

Elvira HOM 10Elvira HOM 11

Ultimately the series would last 11 issues.  Towards the end of the run, around issue 9, the original host of the House of Mystery, Cain, returns.

And then Cain’s brother, Abel, who normally hosts the House of Secrets, also returns.

It’s interesting because Cain and Abel had been “in retirement” for a while.  Then Alan Moore brought them back towards the end of his Saga of Swamp Thing run.  Then Cain shows up in Blue Devil when he discovers the House of Weirdness.  Then they show up in Elvira’s book.  Cain is trying to find out where they’ve been but no one can remember.  He tells the things he can remember and it’s all the things I just mentioned.

After this, Elvira would last another issue then disappear.  There was no real tie up to why she left.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Elvira’s crazy cameos

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Halloween, holiday, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

The character of Elvira has become pretty ubiquitous over the years popping up in everything in pop culture including movies, TV shows, beer ads, MTV specials and video games.  In the next few articles over the next few days I’ll take a look at some of Elvira’s strangest pop culture appearances.  Today, let’s take a look at movies and TV shows.

Like I said, Elvira has popped in all all kinds of TV shows and movies.  Sometimes she’s in costume, sometimes it’s Cassandra Peterson as herself.  Here are a few cool, random appearances of Elvira in costume in different movies and TV shows.


Elvira showed up as a race car groupie in the 1983 Burt Reynolds NASCAR comedy, Stroker Ace.  There are a lot of mixed opinions about this movie, but I love it.


Elvira showed up on an episode of CHiPs in Season 6, episode 21 titled “Things That Go Creep in the Night”. Ponch and Jon are protecting a woman who seems to be stalked by a comic book character. Elvira shows up at a comic book/horror convention.


Elvira starred in an episode of The Fall Guy that was written specifically for her. It was Season 4, episode 7, titled October 31st. Colt Seavers (Lee Majors) is filming a Halloween Special with Elvira in an old mansion that is supposedly haunted.


Elvira also showed up in a couple of live action segments of the Super Mario Bros Super Show from 1989.

Cassandra Peterson had a few fun movie cameos that I always forget about.


Cassandra Peterson had a small part in a sex comedy called Jekyll & Hyde: Together Again from 1982.  She played the busty nurse.  I love this movie and I hope to do it one day on Cult Film Club.


Cassandra is good friends with Paul Reubens. Consequently, she appeared in the biker scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

And there are several others I could bring up but I think that’s a good random sampling of appearances for the Mistress of the Dark.  Tomorrow I’ll take a look at one of Elvira’s first, and most mainstream, forays into comic books!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.