Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Retro Cereal Boxes: A Spooky Introduction!

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Once, many lifetimes ago, it felt like I was the lone individual on the planet who appreciated General Mills Monster Breakfast Cereals. I had to be. Back then Count Chocula was more or less available year round (he'd sometimes go on vacation for a couple months in the summer)... but I quickly realized that around Halloween time The Count and a couple relatives that would come out to play.

Frankenberry and the ever illusive Boo Berry would show up but only for a split second around the month of October and then they'd disappear. Nobody I knew talked about it. Nobody I knew understood it. But it was a legitimate thing that happened and for whatever strange reason... it was something that I gravitated towards. I was an unusual child.

Then the internet happened. I mean the internet happened as we know it today. The one fueled by social media and viral marketing. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram took over and suddenly... I was not the only person who loved all these Monster Breakfast Cereals anymore. Other people like me existed!

And then something magical happened. Something crazy and completely unexpected. Count Chocula and Co. changed from something sort of seasonal to being one of the premier items of every Halloween year.

Sure it took away the rarity of spotting Boo Berry and Frankenberry out in the wild but that was a small price to pay massive push these cereals have received in recent years.

It turned them from something that only a few of us understood and morphed them it into a product that everyone loved. Last year was absolute Monster Cereal madness as we seen the return of Frute Brute and Yummy Mummy along side the traditional big three cereals.

There was absolutely no way 2014 was going to live up to those expectations but General Mills has quietly delivered some of the best Halloween related products that you are likely able to see this season.

Exclusive to Target, we are going to tackle the three retro themed boxes first and then dive into the standard edition flavors a bit later on. I've decided to spread this out into multiple, bit sized articles instead of one big essay sized post.

I figure nobody wants to read 10,000 words about breakfast cereal boxes. But a small new post every day for the next three days in a row? Seems like perfect fodder for the first week in October if you ask me. From now until Friday I declare this week Monster Cereal Madness!

So stay tuned, tomorrow we take a bite out of Count Chocula's retro box!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tribute to "The Blair Witch Project" and it's Decade Old Website!

The Blair Witch Project. It is one of those horror films that you either lived through and get why people remember it so fondly or are to young to understand why the hell anyone ever spent money watching it in the first place.

I am a huge fan of the flick but will always be among the first to admit that time has not been kind to the motion picture. Since its release in 1999 countless other movies have taken the concept of "found footage" and not only done it better, but done it to the point that it is incredibly difficult to go back to The Blair Witch Project and enjoy the movie for what it is.

And what it is (or was) is an incredibly surreal experience with a complete mindfuck for an ending that, back in 1999, everyone was convinced was 100% real.

It sounds like a complete farce but trust me everyone thought this film was real. Simply because they told us it was. Besides, it didn't look or sound like any other film that had ever came out before it. This looked like... well, found footage.

It made the movie seem completely plausible when logic and better judgement should have dictated otherwise. The Blair Witch Project wasn't just a film that you went and seen. It was an experience that, for a few months in the late 1990's, everybody was completely intrenched in.

And a big part of that experience was logging online and checking out the films official website. Which, in my opinion, did more to sell the "reality" of The Blair Witch Project than any movie poster or TV spot ever could.

So not only did they create a movie that looked, sounded, and felt real but then they went ahead and wrote up this entire Blair Witch mythology, posted it online and then treated it like the goddamn gospel.

And we all fell for it hook, line and sinker.

The wonderful part about the internet is that nothing ever really goes away. Despite being over a decade old, the original Blair Witch website is still online. Largely untouched since the films release, it is like stepping through a time machine and into a world of slow internet connections and horribly compressed .GIF files. Here are a few highlights:

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MYTHOLOGY: It is amazing that this passed as a functioning website back in 1999. I know the phrase "times used to be so much simpler" tends to get tossed around a lot, but holy shit the internet really did used to be a hell of a lot simpler.

Anyhow, the meat and potatoes of BlairWitch.com was this section. Everything on here is a complete and total farce, ie: absolute bullshit. There is no Elly Kedward. There was no "rare" book from 1809. And there sure as shit wasn't four bodies discovered in 1886.

... and none of that mattered. Look, if you cared enough to seek out this information it meant that you wanted to believe that there was more to The Blair Witch Project than what was presented on the screen. And in that case this was compelling information that completely convinced people it had to be real.

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The entire website is filled with stuff like this. Little nuggets of information like a rare book published about witches back in 1809. Then you'd click on it and find a photo of "the only known copy in existence!" and holy shit... it's a creepy looking book surrounded by mysterious looking objects that I dunno what exactly they are but it absolutely has to be witchcraft!

And then conveniently the only known copy of the ultra rare satanic looking book has been returned to an unnamed private collection, but you choose to ignore that part. Or maybe that somehow adds to the mystique that is Blair Witch Mythology!

Either way it is like a case study of the human mind choosing to believe what it wants to believe and ignoring what it wants to ignore. If you thought this was all bullshit and biscuits you can very easily pick apart everything that has been listed as "history"

If you wanted to lick into its saucy goodness, then it delivered everything necessary for your brain to digest and.... I haven no idea where I was going with this analogy. I need to pause and eat lunch, apparently.

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REAL CONTENT: You've really got to hand it to the films creators, they went above and beyond the call of duty to try to muddy as much of the websites content with both real and fictional information.

That did an excellent job of making it so that when you read through the above mentioned mythologies section, you'd have a hard time telling that information apart from the other stuff that was totally legit.

Like these old Christmas and vacation photos from one of the films primary actors, Heather Donahue. We look back at this stuff now and almost take for granted how simple of an idea it is. Back in 1999... nobody did this kind of stuff.

If you watched a movie with Nicolas Cage in it, they typically didn't stick his vacation photos someplace in it. Because Nicolas Cage was an actor playing a character in a movie. Heather Donahue was a real person and holy shit did I just watch her get killed on screen by evil woodland ghosts? Yes. Yes you did.

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AFTERMATH PHOTOS: I used to watch a lot of Unsolved Mysteries as a kid. A subject that I absolutely  need to dive into deeper here on the website at some point. Anyhow, Unsolved Mysteries used to scare the hell out of me. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that the shows theme song still creeps me out to this very day.

The Blair Witch website has an entire section dedicated to "aftermath" of the event. Essentially it is a series of photos done up to look like the police crime scene photographs with a few still shots of various TV reports and such thrown in for good measures.

And it completely reminds me of something that would have aired on Unsolved Mysteries! Just floating through them I can picture Robert Stack, brown trench coat and all, standing in the middle of some old abandoned factory talking about how these students vanished into the woods back in 1994. And maybe you can help solve this mystery!

It is creepy. Really kind of cool. And something that only could have happened at that specific moment in time. I love The Blair Witch project because of it. So should you watch the movie this Halloween Season? Absolutely. Turn off all the lights and try to put yourself into the right frame of mind. Don't make the mistake of approaching it as a film critic and just enjoy it for what it is. Or at the very least..... go check out it's website with the theme song to Unsolved Mysteries playing in the background!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2014 Halloween Lunchables with GHOUL-AID JAMMERS!

2014 Halloween Candy!
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I think this mummy needs some serious dental work. Pretty much every tooth appears to be cracked or chipped. Perhaps it is from eating the absolutely disgusting chips and salsa sealed inside his cardboard stomach.

Ughhh. I will freely admit that I have never been a "Lunchable Guy". The food has always struck me as the absolute lowest quality crap imaginable but... how could I pass up a package design as spooky as this?

Hint: I could not.

I love it when companies such as Oscar Mayer decide to dress up for the Halloween Season. Take one look at this Chip Toothed Mummy, and you cannot mistake it for anything other than Halloween.

It is not fall. It is not harvest. None of that bullshit. This is Halloween and because of that association you are free to use it as a centerpiece on your Pagan Alter. #PrayToTheLunchGods

2014 Halloween Candy!
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Inside is just as creepy as the outside. This stuff is technically edible, though I'm not sure I would suggest it. The chips are stale and the cheese tastes like the lost hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children.

One big positive is the inclusion of motherfucking GHOUL-AID JAMMERS! Nevermind that chip and salsa bullshit, you are buying this for essentially three reasons:

-- The Package
-- That Chocolate Witch (we'll get to her in a second)

Feel free to toss the rest of it in the trash. The star of the show is Ghoul-Aid, and rightfully so. I feel like everyone is starting to take for granted the fact that Ghoul-Aid currently exists. Just a few short years ago its return was the hot ticket item for that Halloween Season.

Now that everyone is used to it, it does not seem to pack as much punch as it once did. Guys... GHOUL-AID IS STILL THE MOST AMAZING THING YOU WILL PURCHASE THIS YEAR! And don't you forget it.

And then we have that chocolate witch, she showed up in last years model too... but that one didn't feature Mr. Chipped Tooth Mummy on the cover so it is totally alright for me to write about this shit again. She was quietly pretty awesome back then and guess what... she's still pretty radical right now.

Halloween Lunchables are what they are, the food is sort of trashy but... I don't know isn't that sort of technically the point of the Halloween Season? Sort of trashy, kind of cheesy stuff that gets elevated to superstar status because of its association with The Great Pumpkin.

Monday, September 22, 2014

2014 Spookylicious Poptarts!

I've covered Spookylicious Poptarts once before. And while the formula has not chanced since then, they are still the exact same combination of orange frosting and chocolate fudge innards, the outside of the box has undergone a bit of a facelift.

To be perfectly honest the original Spookylicious design was a bit of a half-assed effort. Essentially it looks like they tossed on the first two clipart imagines that came up after searching for "Halloween" and called it an evening.

2014 Halloween Countdown!
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Not this time around.

This time we are treated with a creepy looking gothic castle background and a few pumpkins, bats, and at least one rouge own sitting on that dead tree.

Perhaps my favorite aspect is how if you squint your eyes and look at the package sideways that big orange Poptart is totally meant to look like a gravestone. You'll never be able to convince me of that otherwise.

I'm glad that Spookylicious Poptarts have became a thing that returns each and every year. They are so rich and full of unhealthy bullshit that I wouldn't dare to eat them often... but once or twice during the Halloween Season. I think we can make an exception.

2014 Halloween Coutndown!
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Friday, September 12, 2014

2014 Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash!

This happens at the start of every Halloween Countdown, just when things are starting to turn spooky outside, here comes Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash to remind everyone that the Christmas Season is right around the proverbial corner.

I am alright with this.

As a matter of fact I've sort of come to embrace the idea that you can celebrate both seasons almost simultaneously. It is strange. It is interesting. And I enjoy it. I like the notion that I can walk into Hobby Lobby, fill a cart with plastic pumpkins and vampires... then walk an isle over and find Santa sitting next to an ornate looking tree.

But I digress. We have Sierra Mist to speak about. And this year there is a surprisingly large amount of stuff to mention. Well, by large amount... I mean probably another paragraph.

This year there is at least another paragraph worth of stuff mentioning.

It is still a little to early to know for sure, but it seems to me the overarching theme of 2014 is new package designs. All of our old friends are coming back but this year they've got some fancy new school clothing. Thanks Mr. Obama.

I wholeheartedly approve this decision. One of my big gripes is stagnant package designs on season products. I love knowing that certain items will release every year, Halloween Oreo's... Cranberry Splash... Count Chocula, just to name a few. I hate when they recycle the same look as the previous year. It is my belief that every year they should create something new. Give us fans something to be excited about.

If memory serves me correctly, I think this is the third overall design that Cranberry Splash has went through. I dig the fact that it is sporting an overall red label this year. With just a hint of green on it, giving it that sort of unofficial Christmas look that I am pretty sure Cranberry Splash is meant to invoke.

I still wish they would just go for it and stick a bunch of Christmas Trees and snowflakes all over it and just call the shit what we all recognize it as: the best Christmas beverage of the season.

Regardless here it is. While it is way to early to start decorating the tree, it is never to early to start drinking Cranberry Splash. And if you guys decide to watch "Christmas Vacation" tonight... promise I won't tell anybody.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Things That Live In My Basement

Did you guys know that I do photography? Nothing professional but I'd like to think that it is decent enough. Since this years countdown is off to a slower than normal start, I figured I could share some of photos with everyone. Today's first batch is dedicated to the creepy little things that live in my basement. Enjoy and stay spooky!

It Lives In My Basement by GrindhouseCinema on deviantART

It Lives In My Basement: II by GrindhouseCinema on deviantART

It Lives In My Basement: III by GrindhouseCinema on deviantART

It Lives In My Basement:IV by GrindhouseCinema on deviantART

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Halloween Countdown!

Good-evening Boils and Ghouls... Welcome to the 2014 Halloween Countdown! It sure seems like the Halloween Season really sneaked up upon us this year, doesn't it? Usually I am scouring every inch of every store possible and am completely on top of when they switch from summer to the fall season.

Not this year.

I was out and about the other day and was pleasantly surprised when the local grocery store had an entire isle of Halloween Candy. Then discovered that our hardware store had out a bunch of props and decorations. Finally hit the jackpot at the pharmacy with some extremely discounted makeup kits and blacklight bulbs (we will get to those items shortly).

It was like all of a sudden I had found myself smack dab at the start of the Halloween Season and hadn't even realized it! Honestly, it was a nice (creepy?) surprise. I love the long stretch from the beginning of September that spans Halloween and lasts until December 31st and the end of Christmas. 

Everything from now until then is such an adventure. Even normal, everyday activities seem so much more important when they are under the guise of pumpkins and bats. Later morphing into Santa and snowmen.

I am like a child in some sort of establishment that sells sweetened, artificially flavored treats.

And I've got no idea what is in store for the 2014 Halloween Countdown. This year I fully plan on just winging it and seeing what happens along the way. No grand theme. No grand scheme. Just whatever festivities the Halloween Gods present us along the way.

And so far they have been kind.

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I uncovered everything you see above from the single, lone pharmacy that dwells just off the main street in my town. We used to have three of these kinds of places but two of them went out of business when the grocery store (part of a larger worldwide chain) expanded into its new building and put in a gigantic pharmacy of its own.

Which is as much of a shame as it sounds, because I adore these old pharmacy's for a multitude of reasons. Mostly it is because they act as a time machine of sorts to products that are years to old to still be available for purchase, yet somehow still are.

They don't exactly put dates on light bulbs but if I had to guess.... would 1993 be to early of an estimate? I don't think so. I remember back when every piece of Halloween merchandise had that exact same package design, purple background with black bats and that same green text. Everything. It all looked like that. It doesn't anymore but it totally used to.

... I feel like nobody cares about my review of a Halloween light bulb package. FYI: they cost only .99 cents a piece.

Moving onto the star of the show is all these "Character Makeup" kits that got marked all the way down to .50 cents a piece. Praise be the Great Pumpkin for this find!

Essentially, I could care less about the instructions included with these kits. You guys know as well as I do that it's never going to end up looking like whats advertised. No, I purchased them because it was a great way to get a bulk setup of makeup contains, sponges, brushes, and a few pre-made appliances. I will figure out my own way to utilize them a bit later on.

I know it is not much of a grand opening to the 2014 Halloween Countdown but it is only the first week in September. We'll move onto much bigger and bolder things soon enough.

For now I am just happy that the Halloween Season has finally arrived! Stay tuned, everyone. Much more spooky content to come.