It’s been a crazy day here in the house of Branded. There were blog entries to write, scary movies to watch, last minute trips to find discount swag, trick or treating preparations, and much, much face painting.
Right now my head hurts from the amount of stuff we did today (not to mention the scrubbing off of said face paint), but I wanted to get one more post up tonight. My last official post for Halloween will be mostly pictorial in nature, and it’s all about the pumpkins. We bought two this year, a nice bright orange one with a pretty wicked chunk of vine still attached, and a white one because we’ve never strayed from the classic orange. So without further ado, I give you our pumpkins. Have a Happy Halloween everyone.
P.S. I got my first ever trick or treat-er as an adult and it was a freaking teenage kid wearing regular clothes and a hanky tied around his mouth like a gangster want-a-be. Oh well. Thems the breaks.
So the first DVD contest at Branded in the 80′s has come to a close. To recap, I love discounted DVD’s, especially flicks from the 80′s, so I figured I’d pick up a few and then have periodic contests for giving them away. Because it’s fun or something.
For the first contest I figured I try and do something a little bit interactive, so I drew a quick picture of Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors (the 80′s remake musical) and put it up as a coloring book page that never existed. To be honest I didn’t think anyone was going to take a crack at coloring it, but I was pleasantly surprised and received 2 entries. So let’s take a look at ‘em.
First up we have a very weird entry from Esteban. If you look closely you can see that there is in fact a colored picture in there. When I posted the contest I did mention using whatever was at hand to color, and he went nuts coloring the drawing with pictures from previous Branded in the 80′s posts, so it’s a little bit collage, a little bit photoshop, and a little bit Dadaist. But it’s all good.
Our second entry, by Todd at (or in) Neato Coolville, is a more traditional stab at coloring the mean green mother from outer space.
Both are awesome and I and the brood (the fiancee, the dog, and the cat) had a hard time deciding, so we did what any discerning judges do in a 50/50 situation like this, we flipped a coin.
So the winner by grace of random flippage is Todd (so shoot me an e-mail with your address if you’d like to collect your DVD prize.) I had a lot of fun with this and I want to thank both Todd and Esteban for cracking their heads open to let their creativity spill out on the drawing.
Now I have to figure out what to do next time…
Hello again. So I didn’t find this next item until yesterday which is kind of cool. I’m glad there were new discoveries up until the day before. I’ve already posted about the new line of Matchbox monsters cars and figures and this item is a neat addition to that line, sort of. They’re called Creepy Cars and I guess they are intended as Halloween treats for those not inclined to give candy to the kids.
I remember that if one hit enough houses on Halloween you’d come across at least a couple of houses that had something against the sweets and instead either had a bowl full of plastic odds and ends (like spider rings and little plastic skeletons) or a bowl full of nickels and pennies (and not necessarily for Unicef.)
So I suppose this Matchbox line might be geared in that direction. Basically these are two molded hollow cases with surprise vehicles inside. I managed to get them discounted at Kroger for $2, though they were originally $3 which seems a bit steep for giving out to kids. I guess they are more intended for giving to your own kids, but that also seems kind of weird. I mean it’s not Easter or Christmas, kids don’t wake up on Halloween to a basket or stocking (unless the family is cool, in which case these cars would be an awesome addition.) In fact I think that would be awesome, if a family got into the holiday so much as to lavish the kids with cheap bobbles and stuff, it’s just not been my own experience.
Anyway, back to the product at hand. All of the packages I saw had the same two Halloween themed molds, a skull and a freaky Jack-o-Lantern. The molds on these hollow cases are actually pretty darn cool and sufficiently creepy (up to and including weird veiny things on the skull’s eyes and a little bit of a spine attached at the neck.)
I broke open the skull first to get at its meaty brain, and by meaty brain, I mean the little Matchbox car inside.
It’s safe to say that I was a little disappointed by what I found. It was a pretty ordinary Matchbox car. The skull had a pickup truck (a rescue truck at that) which was about as far from creepy as I thought you could get. I thought that until I opened the jack-o-lantern.
A Beach Patrol boat? What the heck? Well it seems in the end that these cleverly designed seasonal Matchbox goodies are less about the season and more about unloading product that probably hasn’t moved from their warehouse in the last six years. Oh well, at least the cases are super cool and I’m sure I’ll find something much more of the season to stuff them with.
More to come…
Happy Halloween folks! I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks, so I’ve been a slug in terms of posting and such. I figured I’d slab up an onslaught of stuff today, the big day. I’ll be honest; I’m kind of psyched because for the first time in 10 years it’s looking like we might actually get some Trick or Treat-ers at the door. Our apartment complex is really pushing it this year and who knows I might be able to participate in that end of the holiday again (as a giver not a getter.)
Anyway, here’s the first a few bits of Halloween-y stuff I picked up this year. I bought this piece of talking plastic at Party City for a buck.
I was pretty skeptical at first as it sounded a little too good to be true. A decently sculpted Frankenstein’s Monster head (not cutesy at all) that has the ability to record a spoken message, and then to spit it back out every time someone walks by it sounds like it should cost more than a dollar. My guess it that the batteries have died and since no one can test it out anymore they weren’t selling.
Well I bought it, ripped it out of the package, slapped some fresh copper tops in it and tested it out. To my dismay. Apparently it costs a dollar for other more important reasons. The Franky head can record voices just fine, and he’ll even spit them back once when you flip the switch to “On�?, but it gets pretty sketchy after that. Apparently the sensor doesn’t work worth a crap. At the end of the day, I’m glad I only paid a buck for it, but I kind of regret that I didn’t get to use it to its full potential to really annoy the crap out of my fiancée. Oh well.
More stuff to come.
Okay, so I get really bored when I take lunch during work because I have an hour to kill with nothing to do. So I tend to drive out to the local mega-marts and just look around. Once a week I hit Wal-Mart just so I can pass the time digging though the $5.50 DVD bin looking for nostalgia treasures. Lately there have been quite a few, some that were on my wish list for years, I’ve just never wanted to pay the asking price. For instance, *Batteries Not Included is a fun flick, but I don’t think I’ll ever be so in love with it that I’d be willing to plunk down $13 or more for it. I mean its basically just Cocoon junior with cute little robots instead of helpful glowing pod people. Hell, I can’t bring myself to spend $10 on Cocoon. But $4.88? That’s a price that’ll make me bite.
Anyway, on these trips to the $5.50 bin I keep seeing all these copies of flicks from the 80′s that I feel should be in someone’s DVD collection instead of lying under ten copies of Left Behind II or the Martial Arts Masters 5 Movie Set. So I’ve decided to do something about it. Potentially.
I’m going to try starting a contest, one a month for at least the next four months (because that’s about how much I was willing to invest in this concept.) The winner of the contest will receive a brand new DVD of a movie from the 80′s (always widescreen if I can help it and region 1 because that’s where I live) postage paid and everything.
What is the contest you ask? Well I was trying to think of something fun and interactive I could do that wasn’t just a matter of sending in an e-mail or answering a question (how can you stump someone who has the internet without asking a question like "What do I have in my pocket?") So I decided it would be fun to have a Coloring Contest! Yup that’s right, break out your Crayola’s, stick your tongue out the corner of your mouth and try to stay in the lines folks! I’ve decided to make a coloring book page from a book that never existed, the Little Shop of Horrors Coloring & Activity Book! (At least I don’t think it ever existed, I don’t remember it and I couldn’t find one when I googled it.)
This month’s DVD prize is of course Little Shop of Horrors starring Rick Moranis in the part he was born to play, Seymour Krelborn, the vivacious Ellen Greene as Audrey (oh to hear her say Doctor again and again), and Vincent Gardenia as an adequate Mr. Mushnik. Directed by the man who stuck his hand up Yoda’s ass and made him talk, Frank Oz, not to mention the 6 million cameos by the likes of Christopher Guest, Bill Murray, John Candy, James "No, I’m not my brother" Belushi, as well as my favorite Steve Martin role as the Dentist with a penchant for shooting puppies with a B.B. gun.
So, what do you have to do to get your hands on this copy of Little Shop of Horrors? Click on the below coloring book page image to get a full size scan of my drawing, slap some color on it (crayons, markers, colored pencils, misc. food items, Photoshop, whatever) and either email me your masterpiece of coloring skills or post it online and send me a link to it (either in e-mail or in the comments section) with your name and address (so I can send the DVD if you win silly.)
The deadline for entries is Monday, October 30th, 2006 and a panel of judges including myself, my lovely fiancee, my beagle puppy, and the loudest cat in the greater Atlanta area will pick a winner. I’ll post the winning entry on the blog on Halloween (hell, I’ll probably post all the entries seeing as there will probably be like two.) Here’s to hoping this idea works.
Anyway, moving right along, the next Franky item on my list was rather disappointing. I’ve never bought into any of the grow-a-pet (or hand, heart, Peter Griffin from Family Guy, what-have-you) craze. You buy a sponge-like little shrunken thing, pop it in water, and days later it’s a much bigger waterlogged object that is somehow cooler. Okay, maybe that does sound a little cool, and that’s probably why I broke down and bought this little Frankenstein trinket at Party City. I wanted to grow my very own Frankenstein.
The package promised that my monster would grow 600% in size over three days. Well it was a little disappointing to say the least.
I broke out the biggest Rubbermaid container in my collection with hopes of my Frankenstein monster out growing it and taking his rightful place as the king of the rest of my toy stuff.
Well by day two he had hardly grown and he ended up looking like a little monster man with a case of boob sag that could only be rivaled by an episode of the Golden Girls.
After a week had passed this was as large as my monster got. Now this might even be 600% the size of the little fella that I first plunked into the pool of lukewarm water, but it was much less than I expected and not very impressive at all. My hopes of having him trample through my toy box knocking over Star Wars figures and dropkicking Transformers were dashed. Oh well, he was only a buck.
So as I mentioned in the last post, my favorite stuff for the Halloween blogging this year would probably be the various bits of Halloween on the cheap I’ve found in dollar stores and such. I was really surprised by how many different things you could get for a dollar.
I think over the next week I’ll cover a bunch of different Frankenstein’s monster related items that I picked up for a buck apiece. Though a growing love for the Creature might very soon beat him out, Frankenstein has always been my monster of choice not to mention one of my favorite movies ever, and this Halloween provided many opportunities to pick up cheap stuff with his likeness on it.
The first is an item I overlooked at the dollar store the first time I stopped in (I was much more preoccupied with finding the mini monster figures and posters that Kirk over at his Secret Fun Blog wrote about in September, and which I’ll talk about next week.) It’s a weird amalgamation of a leftover dollar store product ventures that the manufacturer decided to cobble together to make a super fun game out of.
The game is a variation on darts (with a weird pin the human ear on a monster twist) where you use the provided mini plastic skeleton arm as a lacrosse stick to fling a gooey sticky severed human ear at a Frankenstein styled target board.
The ear that came with the set is probably the most impressive thing about it. It was hiding a rather gross bit of paint application on the back that freaked me out a little. I wasn’t expecting it to be that realistic with a meaty exposed bit where you can even see a little ring of cartilage. Mix this with is really sticky nature and you’ve got yourself a winner of a dollar store purchase. The plastic skeleton arm is kind of cool, though it’s molded in such a fashion that it’s pretty useless outside of this setting, unless you have need of a mini plastic skeleton arm that looks like it’s cupping something, which I don’t.
Well when I said "super fun" above what I meant to say was that it was super fun for about ten minutes before the main source of fun, the ear, got all dirty and dust covered from hitting the floor and ceiling tiles in my office. I never realized how dirty the floor was, but it’s all stuck to the ear now, so oh well. The game was actually not very fun as the target board is pretty small and it’s almost impossible to aim with the skeleton catapult arm thing, so I ended up ditching it in favor of just chucking the ear at various hard surfaces to see how misshapen it could get on impact.
At the end of the day the whole idea of flinging body parts at Frankenstein was just sort of weird to me. I mean were angry villagers so pissed that they’d rip their own ears off and throw them at the monster? Or was it more the case that the monster would rip their ears off, pretend to talk into them (ala Reservoir Dogs), and then drop them at which point the angry villager would pick their own ear back up and throw it at the monster? The latter falls into my theory of the Law of Severed Limbs (and ears or whatever) where upon having a limb torn from a body it must then be used as a club or projectile. I don’t know.
I’m going to switch back into Halloween gear this morning I think. I’ve sort of been running out of ideas of what to post about probably because I didn’t go into this with any sort of game plan. No focus I tell you. In fact it’s not until this late in the game that I think I’ve found some, but oh well. This year’s favorite moments so far have been finding and talking about some of the cheaper Halloween goodness I’ve found in local dollar stores and super markets. Today’s subject is by far my favorite, and it’s shaping up to be the best $3 I’ve ever spent on the holiday.
While rummaging around in my local Publix looking for decent chicken soup (coming down with a cold and I just want comfort food) I came across a new addition to their Halloween display (which was the weakest it’s ever been, just two feet of stuff on peg boards.) The product was simply called the Disguise Set and was described as “Fun for the whole family, Fun for girls and boys.�?
What caught my eye at first was the really cool packing art, two small paintings of a boy and girl covered in the disguise gear. It seems like anymore most packaging is either super slick with a lot of bad CG renderings or super simple, one color affairs with a very tiny silhouetted illustration or two, so this art really stood out to me. It sort of feels like it’s of a different era, and probably is, though I’m certainly no expert on stuff like this.
The entire set consists of 23 pieces of pieces of plastic (well, 21, two are actually stickers) that can be combined in six million different disguise variations. In total you get a pair of fake glasses, two glow in the dark bulging bloodshot eyes, a set of glamour eyelashes, two novelty sized ears, a “large schnoz�?, silly teeth love lips, a set of vampire fang teeth, an eye patch, 2 sticker scars, five long finger nails, and five distinctly different moustaches.
To tell the truth, I bought the set for the packaging more than the contents because I didn’t think most of the stuff would fit or work and honestly it just didn’t seem like that much of an impressive assortment. How wrong I was. After taking some pictures I cracked the packing open and sorted out the contents. I spent the next four hours making myself into so many different characters with completely different personalities that Lon Chaney gave me the thumbs up from the grave. For three dollars worth of plastic it sure as hell entertained me for a long time, and I even managed to scare the living crap out of my fiancée when I picked her up from work. I stuck the bulging glow in the dark bloodshot eyes in right before she opened the door to the car, made a Frankenstein growling noise as she got in and made her jump back out of the car with a very satisfying scream. My dog wasn’t nearly as impressed when I got home.
I took like six million pictures of myself in the various disguises, so instead of posting them here, I’ll give you a link (or you can click on that goofy looking bastard at the bottom) to a Flickr photoset for your perusal.
I thought I’d take a minute during this season to pimp some of the blogs I enjoy reading that are on a temporary Halloween blitz. In no particular order…
Todd Franklin at Neato Coolville has a really great blog that visits all sorts of stuff from toys to vintage ads and even the occasional cardboard robot battle. This month he’s been posting a bunch of fun Halloween oddities from old magazines to a collection of seasonal scratch off lotto tickets.
Kirk Demarais over at Secret Fun Blog (a more wordy offshoot of his awesome site Secret Fun Spot) has decided to dedicate the entire month to featuring a plethora of Plastic Skeletons, from ex-earrings to cereal box premiums.
Nemo434 (ah, pseudonyms…) over at Plastic Pumpkins has decided to theme all his posts during the month of October with a seasonal bent. Don’t let the name of the blog mislead you, it’s more of a metaphor for life than a year-round Halloween-a-thon.
Break out your pumpkin carving kit, cover your face with greasepaint, stick the Universal Monsters Legacy Collection into your DVD player, and then sit back and read some great blogs.