Tag Archives: 2007

The Shaw Brothers Hammer one home…

Today was a much needed day of rest and movie watching; in fact it was the first day of a vacation that should last through the 31st (knock on wood.)  So what was on the agenda at casa de Robare?  Well, the 1974 flick titled Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (or possibly the 7 Brothers Meet Dracula if you’re more familiar with the shorter version with some alternate editing.)  I’d been meaning to see this flick for awhile (after hearing Ben and Dan talk about it on the Mondo Movie podcast), and today seemed like a great day to sit back and watch the very odd pairing of two cult movie studios, Hammer and the Shaw Brothers.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, how exactly do you mesh kung fu and horror?  I was skeptical too, but after watching it I have to say that these two go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

I don’t have a ton of experience with either studio’s work though I have seen a few films by each and I’ve really liked everything I’ve seen so far.  Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires was Hammer’s shot at trying to breathe some new life into the studio, aiming to cash in on the burgeoning popularity of kung fu cinema in the 70s.  The film was written by Don Houghton (who had penned some episodes of Doctor Who as well as a few other Hammer films) and directed by Roy Ward Baker (who was also part of the Hammer stable of creators), though it’s also been noted that Shaw’s most prolific and well known filmmaker Chang Cheh also worked on the film.

The film opens on a lone monk walking through the wilderness in Transylvania, 1804.  Right out of the gate you can tell this is a Shaw Brother’s film as there are a couple of patented SB camera zooms…

After scaring the bejezus out of a local goat herder, the monk makes his way to a castle in the distance, a location he seems overjoyed to have found.  Though you pretty much have to figure it would be castle Dracula, what with the Transylvania subtitle and fact that it’s a co-Hammer production, it was still pretty cool none the less when the monk makes his way into the castle to find a giant tomb with a large letter D on it.  In very quick succession, the tomb opens itself and the ghastly Dracula (played by John Forbes-Robinson) rises to greet the monk, who we find out is named Kah.

We get the basic gist of what’s to follow as Kah begs Dracula to help him awaken the legendary seven golden vampires so that he can take control of a province in China.  Dracula refuses, and instead decides to take over Kah’s body and so that he himself can return to rule over China and eventually the world.

Honestly this film should be a horrible disaster as right off the bat there are a ton of conflicting story holes, not to mention that the film relies heavily on the films that have come before it, but I still couldn’t help smiling with glee throughout the whole thing.  The insanely colorful lighting, the corny dialogue, the interesting though pretty sub-par effects work, it all mashes up into a wonderful hour and a half of crazy monsters and fun kung fu action…

Peter Cushing reprises his role as Professor Van Helsing, though this time he’s traveling through China in 1904 in hopes of enlightening the local Universities with his knowledge of the undead.

He recites the legend of the seven golden vampires, a story about a local farmer in an all but forgotten village who chose to stand up against a vampire uprising.  The farmer decided to go out to the vampire’s lair one night only to find his daughter, kidnapped (along with six other girls) and tied to a rather ominous looking alter and surrounded by Kah (Dracula) and the seven golden vampires.  The farmer, distraught after seeing his daughter, busts into the temple and proceeds to attempt to free his daughter (unsuccessfully) and to steal one of the vampire’s golden bat talismans before fleeing.

In a particularly awesome sequence that follows, Kah summons an army of ghouls who, along with the golden vampires, are set out to track down the farmer.  I was pretty amazed at how creepy and effective the sequence with the ghoul army was considering the film probably didn’t have that large of a budget.

Unfortunately Van Helsing’s pleas fall on deaf ears, well all but one set that is.

Hsi Ching (played by David Chiang) breaks into Halsing’s hotel room to beg him to come back to his ancestral village, the very village being over run by the golden vampires.

To shake things up a bit Houghton introduces the audience to Van Helsing’s son Leyland, (played by Robin Stewart) who is at a party when he becomes enchanted by a Swedish widow, Vanessa (played by Julie Ege.)  The two manage to piss off a local Triad Leung Hun, after Vanessa rebuffs his advance.

This leads to the first of five main fight sequences as a group of Triad enforcers attack Leyland and Vanessa.  The duo is saved by two mysterious warriors who we quickly find out are Hsi Ching’s brothers, who have been lying in wait to protect the Van Helsings during their trip through China.  Because of their newly acquired troubles with the local mafia, and being pressured by both Hsi Ching and Vanessa, Van Helsing decides to embark on a journey to Hsi Ching’s ancestral village to rid them of the vampire plight.

Right as the group sets out on their journey they are besieged by an army of Triad warriors led by Leung Hun.  The battle is a great chance for the seven brothers and their sister dot, er, I mean Mai Kwei, to show off their awesome fighting abilities.  It’s a little hard to see, but the seventh brother is in the first screen shot on the top right off in the background (he didn’t get a close-up as he’s an archer and needed to be further away to be effective.)

This is another great moment for Shaw studios to shine with some really fun choreographed kung fu action, as well as some well placed crazy in-death reaction shots…

What surprised me a little was how much Cushing wasn’t doing, action-wise.  If there was one thing that I noticed about Cushing’s performances in the other Hammer films I’ve watched (Curse of Frankenstein, the Horror of Dracula, Hound of the Baskervilles and Night Creatures), it is how amazingly action packed his roles have been.  When chasing down Dracula, the man is jumping on tables, running and tumbling everywhere, so different from his turn as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars.  In Lo7GV Cushing pretty much kept to the background as soon as any fights broke out (of course, he was 61 or so at the time, but still.)

Strangely, in the middle of the film, love blooms everywhere as Leyland makes eyes with Mai Kwei, and Vanessa nuzzles up to Hsi Ching.  This felt kind of odd considering the two genre backgrounds meshing together, but then again it’s also very modern, and maybe a little ahead of its time.

There’s another great battle set in a cave that the group of heroes camps in along the way.  This is their first battle with the supernatural, one in which the group figures out how to destroy the demons.

I was reassured of Cushing’s mobility in this sequence as he grabbed up a torch and started some vampire slaying…

After the battle, and even though the group is tired and disheartened, Van Helsing rallies the troops who quickly make their way to village.  The group builds some defenses while waiting for the final battle they expect that evening.  At this point the film is basically becoming the blueprint for films to follow like the Lost Boys.

This is also the point in the film when the tone takes a dark turn as the battle plays out and vampires, brothers, and Swedish widows start dropping like flies…

Vanessa is turned into a vamp, who in turn bites Hsi Ching, leaving him to make a hard choice deciding ultimately to kill her, and then himself…

That was a surprisingly dramatic sequence that actually had me on the edge of my seat.

There’s a final race to the temple as the last golden vampire kidnaps Mai Kwei.  Leyland rushes after to her rescue almost dying in the process…

Now that we’re in closer quarters with less villains, it’s papa Helsing’s time to shine as he saves his son and confronts Kah/Dracula, convincing him to transform back into his more normal visage…

During the transformation sequence there is a subtle bit where Dracula takes on the form of a giant bug-like creature that makes me wonder if this was a way of revealing his true demonic form.

In the end, Van Helsing stakes his man, and like in all the previous films Dracula bites the dust…

What’s kind of weird is that this whole movie sort of negates Helsing’s battles with Dracula as the characters supposedly disappeared from Transylvania in order to travel to China to awaken the seven golden vampires.  Even though there are giant plot holes, this is still one of the most enjoyable vampire flicks I’ve ever seen.

Peel Here #50, That boys going to find a way to make his natural tendancies pay…



I can’t believe there are only ten more days until Halloween (if you count today.) This month has flown by, which kind of surprises me considering the amount of posting I’ve been doing. I guess time flies and all that rut. Anyway, not only has this month flown by, but the year as well. In a couple more weeks I will have been doing the Peel Here column for a year, which seems kind of strange to me. I’m too lazy to check back to see if I mentioned it in the first column, but my goal was to try and do the sticker deal for at least a year, and from the looks of it, I have enough material to last almost through a second, so we’ll see how that goes.

To sort of bookend last years Halloween DVD contest, I thought I’d pull out my set of the 1986 Topps Little Shop of Horrors sticker cards. These were kind of strange (like the Topps Supergirl the movie sticker cards) in that the entire set consists of stickers instead of an eleven or twenty card subset. Also like the Supergirl stickers, these are sort of mashed together with what would have probably made up the basic set of cards in that most of the stickers feature the story of the movies in the backs instead of just poster puzzle pieces. I’m not sure if Topps saw a trend in the popularity of stickers in general or if they were getting a lot of feedback on their subsets, but it’s interesting to see them sort of abandoning basic non-sports cards in favor of stickers. Heck, their Wacky Packs and Garbage Pail Kids series probably also had an impact on this shift.



The set consisted of 44 stickers, 32 of which had story backs, and 11 that had either the puzzle poster pieces or a completed poster card. Over all these are both kind of cool, and kind of silly in that the Topps gang added a bunch of subtitles and quotes which are both not lifted from the movie or funny in most cases.



There are some stickers that shine through though, in particular the one utilizing the screen shot where Frank Oz did the "from in the mouth" camera gag in the dentist office.


Then again, there are some great stickers that are really hampered by all the added text, as in the crazed Steve Martin one below…





I also didn’t care for some of the artistic embellishments, like adding a little vine on Audrey’s shoulder.



On the other hand I really dig the three stickers featuring drawings of Audrey II that made it into the set. I’m not sure if these were done for the set or if they were production drawings that Topps had access to, but it’s nice to see a non-screen shot sticker here and there.



Actually, I’m kind of wondering who this set of stickers was for. Granted, I saw this movie when it came out when I was nine or so, but my parents were kind of liberal on gore and violence. I mean, I don’t think this movie is so bad kids shouldn’t see it, but it does have a lot of adult innuendo and, well, violence, so it doesn’t really feel like the sort of flick that would be aimed at kids, and therefore it’s kind of weird that there was a set of bubblegum cards/stickers produced. I mean the collectible market wasn’t like it is now back in ’86, so were adults buying these? Now that I think about it, who was buying the Rocky Horror Picture Show trading cards that were released back in 1980? I kind of figure that these two flicks would have a very similar audience, which is what, teens and twenty somethings? Also now that I’m remembering, there was also a segment in the show Head of the Class that featured the class performing Little Shop (and it seemed more influenced on the Oz remake than the original), so if a sitcom was featuring it, maybe it was aimed at a more family audience. I don’t know.





Anyway, the card backs feature a super condensed version of the story, which you can enjoy below…











Next week on Peel Here I’ll wrap up the Halloween sticker festivities by break out my set of more modern horror icons featured on their own sticker cards.

Jack Davis could drawn one mean looking Franky…




In the post on the Crestwood Monster series of books I mentioned how I sort of felt like I missed out on the whole monster craze because of growing up in the 80s. One thing I really feel like I missed out on was the fun cheap schwag you could order from a million ads that appeared in comics in the 60s and 70s. In particular the alluring idea of a giant monster for only $2!





I’m pretty sure these are all posters or some variation on a 7′ piece of polyethylene, but they’re all pretty cool. Above there are two variations on Frankenstein’s monster (or a skeleton) posters at various prices (not to mention one being drawn by the supremely awesome Jack Davis.) There are also a couple of monster-ghost/wraiths that might have been die-cut to make them all the creepier.


I wonder how much these go for on eBay these days. I’d be willing to bet the mark up is astounding…

A gimmie entry…




Today is going to be a busy one, so to make sure that I don’t miss the deadline, I’m going to make this a little more of a visual post. Here are some of the drawings I’ve done over the last few years that more or less seem to fit the season for me.



















Also, I received the 1st entry into the audio ghost story contest, which is exciting. There are still 11 days to get any entries in, and if you missed it, the prize package was announced here.

A lot of Candy Corn, maybe too much candy corn…



It’s day 19 of the 31 days of Halloween insane-o blog-a-thon, and it seems like a good day to sit back, break out the candy corn, and dare myself to eat more than five pieces. Instead of concentrating on the history of the confection (John Rozum did a great job of that already this month) I thought I’d look more to the variety available in today’s crazy bustling candy world.



There was a time (I suppose) where there was really only one variety of candy corn, your basic yellow, orange and white kernel shaped bit. At some point there were a couple variations introduced including the brown, orange and white chocolate kernel (or Indian corn), as well as the larger, richer, pumpkin mold (complete with little green stem stump.) This would come to be known as your basic autumn mix, with all three varieties present.

Also, at some point before the 80s there was also a mixed bag of what basically amounts to candy corn, but instead of being multicolored and shaped like kernels of corn, the candy was molded into some iconic Halloween shapes (jack-o-lanterns, black cats, bats, and crescent moons) as well as some not so iconic shapes (corn cobs, bundles of wheat, and jugs.) The bats and cats are chocolate, the pumpkins, corn and moons are normal candy corn flavored, while the wheat and jugs are either caramel or maple (I can’t quite tell.)



I’m sure that there must have been other shapes and variations before the 80s, but these were the ones that I was most used to seeing around the holiday. You can still find all of these pretty darn easily, though the Halloween mix was a little bit harder to find (which I eventually did in a Walgreens.)





Last year while browsing the aisles in Target I noticed some crazy colored candy corn that was marketed as being gourmet (a useless world if there every was one.) There were a couple varieties, green apple and cherry. I worked up the courage to pick up a package of the cherry (I’m not a big fan of fake green apple) and was horrified by the taste when I broke open the package later that night. Typically I can stand my fare share of candy corn in small doses (so I’d say that one normal sized bag will last me well into Thanksgiving), but after a while the stuff just gets to rich for my blood. The cherry variation was insanely sweet, and so rich that I couldn’t continue after two pieces, rendering the package more of an oddity that I felt the need to force on all my friends and co-workers. I can only imagine how bad the green apple ones were.

This year there were four varieties at Target, a returning green apple, and three new candidates for worst candy ever including strawberries and cream, tangerine, and popcorn.



I just couldn’t bring myself to try them after last year’s fiasco.

Joining the fray into flavored candy corn this year is Brach’s, who are introducing two new flavors of their candy mainstay, Caramel Candy Corn…



…and Caramel Apple Candy Corn.



Honestly, though I wasn’t excited about the idea of candy corn in new flavors, I do have to admit that Brach’s at least tried to use more seasonal flavors. Though I expected it to be too sweet, the caramel candy corn was actually nice and mellow, enough so that it cut the richness of the regular candy corn flavor. The caramel apple on the other hand, though not bad per-se, was sort of weirdly tangy. Their heart was in the right place, but artificial apple flavor tends to lean towards the tart and tangy side, at least in my opinion.

Also new this year though not really candy corn, is Hershey’s Candy Corn Kisses…



These are basically white chocolate kisses colored like candy corn with a kick of flavor added in. If you’re one of those people who can’t take more than two or three pieces of candy corn in a season I would suggest avoiding these like the plague. There is so much concentrated candy corn flavor in these that I’d be willing to bet that most people, even those who enjoy a handful now and then, would be hard pressed to make it through one kiss. It doesn’t help that they’re made from white chocolate either, which tends to be both rich and not really a favorite among candy fans. I do have to admit that they’re pretty, but on the other hand I have no idea what I’m going to do with an entire bag of these. I’ve already contributed all of the candy corn above to the work candy bowl. I’m thinking that the one kid who will eventually knock on our door this Halloween is going to get the whole lot of it.

A discussion on candy corn wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the mutant kernels you always find hiding in bags.



I managed to find a decent number of examples here including the extra long pieces (with a double or triple sized white tip), the two-color pieces (which tend to be missing the white tip, but can also be a little smaller and be missing the head of the kernel), and the pretty rare single color kernel (which is usually made up of either the middle or top color, and sometimes, but very rarely, you’ll find an all white piece.)

A more in depth look at the Crestwood Monster series…

I’ve mentioned my love for a set of elementary school library books called the Crestwood House Monster Series on the site before, but I figured it would be fun to delve into one for the Halloween countdown this month. Probably referred to as those ‘Orange Monster Books’ (because of their deep orange back cover and spine) by kids like me who weren’t astute enough to notice the publisher’s name, these relatively short (at around 50 pages) hardback books were a treasure trove of monster related trivia and information for a generation of kids in the 70s and 80s.

There were at least 15 books in the series including Frankenstein, The Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dracula, The Mummy, The Blob, The Wolf Man, Godzilla, Mad Scientists, King Kong, The Phantom of the Opera, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, The Invisible Man, It Came From Outer Space, and The Deadly Mantis as you can see on the back cover of my tattered copy of Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman…

I’m not positive, but I think some of the later editions had a purple back cover and spine.

Now, growing up in the 80s I wasn’t inundated with monsters to the degree that the generations before me were, at least not the more classic monsters, though we did have our fare share of newer creations, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, Filmation villains and horror movie slasher icons. Fangoria had supplanted Famous Monster of Filmland by that time, and merchandising for the classic monsters (like monster models and the like) had become few and far between. My only real introduction to the Universal stable of monsters was through watching a couple of the films with my parents, the one time that one of our local channels teamed with 7-Eleven to broadcast Revenge of the Creature in 3-D (you could pick up a free pair of 3-D glasses at the stores), and the Crestwood House series.

So what’s in these books you ask? Well, why don’t we take a look at my copy of Frankenstein and see…

I’m not sure if that’s the Glen Strange or Bela Lugosi incarnation of the monster on the cover there (I prefer Karloff.)

**UPDATE**  As has been pointed out many times in the comments thread, The above picture is of Lon Chaney Jr. under the make-up.  That is all…

On the title page we can see that the book was first written in 1977 by Ian Thorne, though I believe that Thorne is a pseudonym for Julian May an active science fiction writer who published these Crestwood books with her husband in the 70s and 80s…

The book begins with a summation of the events in the first Universal Frankenstein movie, along with some really gorgeous still photos (Forrest J. Ackerman actually provided photos for the Crestwood series) including this one of Fritz terrifying the monster with a torch.

Now honestly, most children’s books on Frankenstein would probably stop there (though it would also probably have a short section about Mary Shelly and her novel), and this is where this series really shines. Not only does it include a bit on Shelly, but it also goes into the history of Frankenstein on film, going so far as to mention Edison’s version of the film from 1910.  Luckily a print of Edison’s 15 minute film was found, though I think it’s sort of being held hostage by the guy who discovered it (here’s the story), but thanks to the internet you can now watch it for free here.

There’s also a close-up on Boris Karloff and some of the other Universal incarnations…

…as well as a bit on The Munsters.

Though there’s a little bit of unneeded criticism on I Was a Teenage Frankenstein by Thorne/May, it still amazes me that it was brought up at all, as well as her invocation of the Hammer version of the monster as portrayed by Christopher Lee…

There’s even a bit at the end about a made for TV version of the story.

Though I’m sure the content of this book isn’t nearly as revolutionary as I’m making it out to be, I can’t help but feel that it is. I’ve read a few books on horror and monsters, and it wasn’t until I picked up David J. Skal’s The Monster Show as an adult that I read about all the various incarnations of Shelly monster on film, and to think that it was all (mostly) in this children’s book just amazes me. I guess this also points to how much I think I missed out on growing up without magazines like Famous Monsters, and not really getting all that much on TV (at least in central Florida where I lived at the time.) Here’s a question for all you monster kid parents out there, are there books out there for children that are this well versed in monsters?

Here’s a nicer (less damaged) version of the back cover (though it’s also an earlier copy without the full set of books listed)…

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Bring your torches, really, Frankenstein’s monster says



In talking about that Universal Monster figures yesterday I thought it would be fun to follow up on the other UM licensed product I found this year, a set of votives shaped in the busts of the monsters…



I found these at a Walgreen’s on sale (3 for $2.) Like the action figures, these don’t really reflect the appearance of the original actors and actresses that portrayed them, but they’re still pretty cool nonetheless. Heck, the fact that the company who produced these gave a nod to the creature is pretty darn cool all by itself.



One of the things that always nagged me a little come pumpkin-carving-and-displaying time is when I carve the jack-o-lantern’s mouth too large or low and then I can end up seeing the candle inside. Well this year I won’t have to worry, because even if I slip up, the candle will be all Halloween-y anyway…

I wonder how much money could get for selling my blood?



This weekend while I was out looking for some Frankenstein goodness for the prize pack in my Halloween contest, I decided to hit a few stores that had surprised me last year with their Halloween schwag, in particular Toys R Us. Now I seem to remember there being a seasonal section back when I was a little kid, if only because I remember the rows and rows of Ben Cooper style costume packs, but I don’t tend to associate Halloween with toy stores all that much. Last year I was surprised by the size of their section, and was really happy to finally find some licensed Universal monster merchandise (namely the jiggly Creature and Frankenstein’s monster toys.)



When my wife and I walked though the doors and saw the Halloween section I thought it was going to be even better this year because there were actual displays and signs, which were a lot nicer than the previous year’s…



…but as we took a closer look we realized that this was probably the worst Halloween section we’d seen all year, anywhere. In fact, out local grocery store had a better set up and schwag. Most of the section was filled with your basic year round fare like Star Wars figures and Pokemon plush dolls. There was only a very small end cap of some run of the mill candy, and there were practically no real holiday themed items, and the stuff that they did have (like plastic candy pails and the like) was from last year or the year before. There was a small section of costumes, mostly for infants and very small children.



There was a pretty fun flashlight. It was one of those new fangled ones that looks like a little character with a handle on the back, and when you squeeze the trigger the mouth opens and the light shines. The one Toys R Us had was sort of a cross between a skeleton and a zombie, and was pretty darn cute…



There was also an odd little felt bag with a picture of Frankenstein stitched into it that looked strangely like Eddie Munster.



I was pretty disappointed, if only because the signage in the store was pretty fun (though not quite as awesome as the Frankenstein logo at Wal-Mart this year which is quickly becoming my favorite Halloween find this year.) There were signs everywhere (at least in this one corner of the store), hanging from the ceiling and plastering the walls…



I really liked the effort, design-wise, which reminded me a lot of the current independent art/vinyl toy culture (for a crash course, go to Kid Robot and check out some of the toys.) In particular I liked the look of some of the more detailed mascots like this mummy…



It has some very bold clean lines, which I like, as well as a touch of detail that puts the figure off symmetry (which I also then to find attractive.)

My favorites by far had to be this trio of figures…



As you can see in the signage though, Toys R Us is claming to be "your ultimate Halloween scene", which is just sad considering the lack of Halloween in the store.

I had all but given up on finding anything super cool at the store when I decided to look in the action figure section to try and find the elusive 25th anniversary G.I. Joe figures when my wife spotted some toys that completely made my weekend…



…a set of five licensed Universal monster action figures. These took my breath away for a second, as I had no idea that these were even in the works, let alone out on store shelves. If the little dollar store monster figures made me happy last year, you can get an idea of how awesome I’m finding these. Unfortunately, this being Toys R Us and all, the price tag was too much to swallow as $13 a figure. Even with the included pieces to construct a giant 14" Frankenstein, it’s still a little too steep for me, but boy I sure will be pining after these. Hopefully they’ll hit the discount bins eventually, though I doubt it.

There are five figures in this set (which is marked Series 1, so there might be even more on the way), all of which come with a piece of a giant Frankenstein’s monster as well as a mini poster, and are packaged in a nice looking coffin shape. The figures are kind of weird in that they both do and don’t resemble their original movie counterparts. The costumes are pretty close for the most part, but the features aren’t those of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, or Lon Chaney Jr.



At the end of the day though, they are still pretty cool, I just wish they were more in the $7 range, which is pretty much my ceiling for action figure purchases. I could easily see myself dropping $40 on this set, but not $65-$70.



Oh well. At least I’ll have these pictures if I never find them any cheaper…







Peel Here #49, My car is not nearly as cool as these…

So, it’s the start of the third week of Halloween blogging and I’m only going a little crazy. I thought it would be fun to shoot out of the gate this week with an awesome set of sticker cards that were printed by Topps in 1980 called Weird Wheels. There are 55 stickers in the set, which basically covers the gauntlet of the whole monster funny cars thing (the Kustom Kulture movement, Ed Roth’s Rat Fink, Stanley “Mouse” Miller, as well as stuff like the Aurora model kits: Dracula’s Dragster, Frankenstein’s Flivver, Wolf Man’s Wagon, Mummy’s Chariot, Godzilla’s Go Cart and King Kong’s Thronester), though it skews it a little.

I’m not positive, but I believe the cards were painted by two separate artists, Norman Saunders (who mentions on his site that he did 22 of the stickers) and Gary Hallgren. Though I grew up a little late to catch onto the whole Kustom Kulture deal, I really like the art and style of this stuff. The energy in these paintings in undeniable, and of course I love the monster themes in a lot of the stickers. They’re also decidedly un-PC which is kind of fun in this uptight day and age. I really like the Putrid Porsche sticker above, as well as the outright zaniness of the Voo Doo Vette (complete with voodoo car/doll) with the bloody teeth/front grill and the matching mask.

There are a lot of really fun concepts here, some more obvious than others, but all executed very well. As a collector of the 80s Garbage Pail Kids, and considering the new series that have been coming out from Topps over the last few years (as well as new Wacky Packs) it really is awesome to go back and look at the various projects that lead up to them. Nowadays Topps is more concerned with the three Ps, puke, pee, and poop, and very rarely do they let a concept slip by that would be akin to what we’re seeing in this set of stickers. I’m sure if they commissioned a Drag-On sticker today, the character would be flying over and pooping on Mt. Fuji or something.

I also love that the set gets a little room to breathe with 55 different paintings so there is plenty of room to explore both the more classic Universal inspired monsters (like Frankenstein’s monster, the creature, the mummy, vampires, and a werewolf) as well as monsters in general (dragons, giant insects, and blobs), interesting pop culture stuff (the punk movement and greasers), and even historical baddies (pirates, samurais, and the Huns.)

Of course, like most great Topps sticker card sets, there was a nice card-back puzzle poster, though this one is a little different as it’s made up of 9 pieces instead of the more standard 10 (which also meant that I could scan it in one go, which was nice.)

Next week on Peel Here, Rick Moranis, a giant plant, and one dead dentist!

More covers, and a CONTEST update!




In talking about the odd cover choices publishers sometimes make with some novels (like not featuring the title character, or any character for that matter, on say the cover of Dracula), it reminded me of the various covers I’ve seen on Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Granted, I tend to associate the monster with the classic Universal interpretation, which I realize isn’t probably the best, but I never seem to see anything as striking. I’ve had three copies of Frankenstein over the years, two of which featured a desolate landscape at dawn with a gnarled tree branch in the foreground, and a third which featured a graveyard.


Recently I stumbled across what I think is my favorite cover (and I realize that this probably not the best one either), which features a portrait of Boris Karloff as the monster. You can always tell the Karloff images by the sunken right cheek where the actor had some bridge work (or something) that he’d remove and suck his cheek in to give the monster’s visage a little more of a corpse like appearance.





This version was published by Dell in 1975 soon after the release of Young Frankenstein (I know this because there is a blurb on the back of the book taking a jab at the film’s comedic portrayal of the monster.)


This brings me back to the contest I’m currently running this holiday season. I was trying to think of a fun gift pack and I decided that since Frankenstein is my favorite monster, that it would make a might fine prize pack. So the lucky winner of the "create your own audio ghost story" contest shall receive the following:





Included are one licensed stretch monster and molded bust votive, one Wal-Mart Franky mask (with the awesomely designed tag to boot), the above mentioned copy of Mary Shelly’s masterpiece, as well as a brand new copy of the 75th anniversary Legacy collection Frankenstein DVD (which has 2 discs and a ton of features including what I hear is an awesome documentary on the Universal era of monster movies.) So you can sit back and look like the monster in the mask, while you simultaneously read the book, watch the film, play with the monster, and even do it all by mood lighting from a monster candle. What more could a person ask for?


All the details on the contest can be found here
, and now, thanks to Tom Foolery, you can also download a zip file of all of the sound effects (right click and save as) if you don’t feel like clicking through and grabbing them.