The ’80s were a grand decade for the little plastic nightmare known as Chucky and I think it’s fair to say, this era belonged exclusively to the slasher. From Freddy, Jason, to Michael, the 1980’s coined the word slasher and turned it into an unstoppable phenomenon. Between brilliant marketing from all those inducing ass-whoopings from calling 1-900 numbers to every kid on your block dressed up as Freddy; sporting a plastic garbage bag Ben Cooper costume on Halloween. The era of the slasher was a glorious time to be alive for horror fans. And in 1988, a small but fierce force entered into that iconic fraternity of slasher legends in the form of what looked like, a My Buddy doll from the seventh layer of Hell.
When Child’s Play opened in theaters back ’88, no one expected the pint-sized Good Guy to launch the kind of fanfare Chucky brought to the horror game. The movie made on a less than stellar budget of only $9 million ended up pulling in almost four times that amount worldwide upon its theatrical release and ended up spawning seven sequels over the past 30 years, including an upcoming Child’s Play series in the works!
Back in the glory days of the Polaroid cassette videotape, studios such as MGM would send out promotional VHS screeners of new releases to mom and pop video stores in an effort to get that movie lined up on their shop shelves. On a side-note, I remember the first time seeing Chucky’s face at my local one-stop rental shop Action Video and my seven-year-old self, fresh off a viewing of Dolls, was immediately impulsed to rent the little sucker. Not knowing a thing about it, and so glad I did.
Anyway, these VHS screeners sent out apparently also contained some extra promotional material intended to fancy up the marketing. In this case, a six and half minute promo of a stiff as fuck Chucky salesman breaking into a rap about his movie and the cheese is so delicious my friends. Also, you gotta appreciate the gangster aspect of good ole’ Chucky taunting both Freddy and Jason in this promo.
“Jason? HA! He’s so scared of me, he’s gotta hide behind a mask.”
Beautiful. Check the video out below uploaded by YouTube channel DoctorSnowcone!
“You’re dead. Your friends are dead. Your family’s dead. Your fucking pets are being skinned alive. Your mom’s a fucking whore. You suck at life. The whole world hates you. You’re going to Hell. Live with it. Game Over.” – Via the ever so wise Nintendo Sensi, James Rolfe.
He wasn’t wrong you know. Although the original Friday the 13th game for the Nintendo Entertainment System seemed like a horror fan’s 8-bit wet dream, the frustration of gameplay quickly softened any prepubescent boners we may have had going into this pixelated LJN nightmare. I would never refer to it as a giant piece of donkey shit like some may have dubbed it, but the game itself is a goddamn pain in the ass for sure to get through without blowing your blood pressure out of range.
Anyway, today being the 13th of Friday here at Nightmare Nostalgia, I figured now is as a good as time as ever to showcase something that any fan of the NES game would appreciate the Holy Pixels out of. Youtube channel Mega64 brought about this hilarious fanmade movie trailer back in 2015 of you guessed it-Friday the 13th The Game The Movie. And it is goddamn gloriously nostalgic from those days of throwing ineffective knives at zombies and flying Pamela Voorhees rotting heads. Complete with VHS static to give it that retro feel, the fanmade trailer nails every aspect of the game that we love to bitch about endlessly. They even throw in the old joke of Jason’s machete looking like a giant toothbrush gag.
It doesn’t really get any better than that folks. Happy Friday the 13th campers!
Never has an actor done less and been universally adored. While many (properly) laud Anthony Hopkins and Doug Bradley for the icons they fashioned in little screen time as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Pinhead, respectively, they were featured players compared to the man of the hour. Nearly four decades since last creeping around Camp Crystal Lake, Walt Gorney remains the unofficial mascot of one of horror’s most beloved franchises, and today we celebrate the 106th anniversary of his birth.
Armed with nothing more than a crumpled hat, dingy vest, and a few ominous words of warning, Crazy Ralph endeared himself to Friday the 13th fans everywhere, and has life to this day.
For as much as Friday freaks adore Jason and revere Pamela Voorhees (Betsy Palmer), all one need do is whisper “doomed” to rally the troops. Maybe it was the wobbly way he piloted his bicycle, the gleeful, sarcastic taunt of “You’re goin’ to Camp Blood, ain’tcha?,” or that he had occasion to hole up in pantries. Whatever the reason, Friday the 13th aficionados have never tired of a character that last appeared on a screen almost 37 years ago.
Born in Vienna, Austria in 1912, Gorney will be forever remembered for getting liquored up, spouting his gospel, and being a pain in Officer Dorf’s ass. However, we’re not allowed to forget that he had a successful stage career, which included involvement with the Provincetown Players theatrical group in the 1950s, or that he made brief appearances in King Kong (1976) and Trading Places.
Sad, in a way, that Gorney was 68 years old when the original Friday film debuted, because conventions being what they are today, few would be as popular on the circuit as Crazy Ralph. As legendary horror host Joe Bob Briggs once said, “If the old geek says you’re doomed, you’re by God doomed.”
Alas, it’s been 14 years since Mr. Gorney left us, but for as long as Friday the 13th has a following, he will never be forgotten.
So, wherever you find yourself whetting your whistle tonight, raise a glass in honor of the man who is, was, and ever shall be Crazy Ralph – Walt Gorney.
As a child of the ’80s, Freddy Krueger was a huge part of the era we embrace here at Nightmare Nostalgia. The iconic slasher portrayed by Robert Englund, had become a living entity all its own during the slasher decade and unregrettably marketed to kids in the form of talking dolls, lunch boxes, Halloween costumes, and that sweet, sweet little television program you may remember later in the decade that aired in my area right after dinner in my house at 6:00 PM, Freddy’s Nightmares. You can also bet your sweet ass I nearly choked on Mom’s meatloaf several times so as not to miss this week’s Springwood tale of terror. Call me an old nostalgic turd if you will, but there was really nothing like growing up in that time. A time where slashers ruled the decade with a mighty razor-sharp glove. A time whereas a horror-loving kid, an icon like Krueger becoming so mainstream and opening the genre door to new fans such as a few of my own friends, was truly a magical time as a horror Padawan.
Heather Lankenkamp said it best, “Every kid knows who Freddy is. He’s like Santa Claus or King Kong.”
So with me being such a Fred-Head, imagine my excitement when I came across this rare, vintage video from the set of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors where the legend himself Robert Englund is seen giving a hilariously fantastic interview as Freddy to HBO. Uploaded from Youtube account Nightmare Companion, this raw, unedited interview conducted seemingly for promotional purposes for Dream Warriors, touches on Freddy’s goals- one of which is to appear on the Joan Rivers show, whereas it so happens his alter ago Englund did appear later that year to promote the Nightmare film. Also, note that “Freddy” gives actual directions to the original 1428 Elm Street house when prompted as to where Elm Street actually was.
Classic Englund. Check it out in all its vintage glory below!
*This article (written by me-Patti Pauley) was originally written over at iHorror.com.
In my humble opinion, there really isn’t a horror franchise that bleeds the highest of importance to the genre quite like the classic Universal Monsters. Stories such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man have been retold countless times over the past 100 years in film, starting firstly with 1910’s silent movie Frankenstein by J. Searle Dawley. However, nobody really pulled it off quite like Universal with its surge of successful flicks that put the fear of GOD into audiences back in the golden age of film. And MCA’s 1991 release of the classic Universal Monsters VHS collection was the ultimate spooktacular event that fans had been waiting to sink their teeth into!
I’ll admit, even though I was already a huge fan of the classics, the promos for the now coveted massive ensemble of VHS monster madness was what had me begging the parental units for $14.98 a week to nab one monster movie after another. Those flying VHS tapes towards your face before the beginning of each Universal monster flick in one of the original promos is the one I remember the most, and also served to hypnotize me into really expanding this ever-growing stack of VHS Universal goodness. And the list just seemed to grow every time we snagged a new cassette!
Slick move there MCA/ Universal Home Video. Mesmerizing the shit out of me with that enthusiastic voice-over urging me to visit my local retailer to ask for the Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection in a dark and serious tone like I meant fuckin’ business. I’m also going to tell you that I totally did that too. It was absolutely worth both the giggles and awkward stares from the guy behind the Video Rental counter.
You’re so cool Tom Holland.
In case you’re oblivious Brewster, (and that’s ok, nobody’s perfect) legendary cinematic horror writer Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Fright Night) announced today via social media that he is returning to Charley and Amy’s universe of vampire shenanigans with a return to the old comic series and new novel- Fright Night 3!
Now, if that doesn’t get your retro fuzzies tingling by Jove…
The comic series published by NOW Comics spun off from the original 1985 film and had a respectable run beginning in October of 1988 all the way through the Summer of 1990. The series consisted of 22 issues total with a bonus of five very special issues along the way.
In the comment section, Holland tells fans he’s writing Fright Night 3 as a novel, which is just as exciting as the comic announcement itself! For those of you who still have your comics tucked away in your closet or in your mom’s attic somewhere; dust them off damn you and get ready for another round of these truly goreious horror treasures from Holland’s world of horror!
If you’re a die-hard reality TV junkie, chances are you may have heard of Danny Koker and his History Channel show Counting Cars; filmed right here in my hometown of
Satan’s butthole, I mean, Las Vegas. (Hey, if you’re a local, you know damn well of the seething summer heat I speak of.) Before Counting Cars gained a loyal following of car enthusiast viewers, Koker made his love of motorcycles and automobiles known very well via appearances on History’s American Restoration and Pawn Stars. Oh, and of course, dressing us a hip as shit vampire riding through the dark Vegas streets on a pimped out motorcycle.
Ahh, the glorious nostalgic days of the Count and Saturday Fright nights. It didn’t get any better than this for us Vegas locals.
I mean, LOOK AT THIS.
Yes folks, us Vegas horror-loving locals will always know Koker as Count Cool Rider. It seems fair to say that growing up, many local stations throughout the country had something similar going on with horror hosts serving up delightful movie gore during the weekend. On a nationwide basis, we had Monstervision with Sir Joe Bob Briggs. And while duh, I was a loyal viewer, Saturday Fright at the Movies with the Count was something special for us Vegas people. It was OURS. And very well responsible for allowing young horror fans here in the city of sin without cable, to enjoy some free horror flicks.
Airing on what used to be KVCW, virtual channel 33 in Vegas, Saturday Fright at the Movies had a respectable run from 1990-2001; and if I can remember correctly, aired around 10pm. With the exception of that oh-so-Elvis Vegas vampire opener vibe, the program followed the same formula as other horror-hosted movies nights. The Count would then do a little schpiel on tonight’s Saturday Night film and we’d dive right into it, with breaks in between commercials backtracking to Cool Rider with some trivia or some thoughts on tonight’s picture selection.
It seems via my search the through the interwebs, Saturday Fright at the Movies is mostly remembered for airing a lot of B-Movies. While I don’t argue because I do in fact remember a few occasions when it happened, the program also broadcasted titles like the TV version of John Carpenter’s Halloween, DOLLS, and as seen above Pumpkinhead II. Speaking of which, that would be the first time I had ever seen that version of Carpenter’s immortal classic with the added bonus scenes. At nine-years-old, it blew my damn mind that Linda had borrowed that blouse from Laurie and then bitched to Bob about how “expensive” it was when he was being a tad careless with that beer.
It’s the little things really. So while unfortunately, the days of channel 33 and Count Cool Rider are behind us, on behalf of us locals, thank you. For giving both kids like me staying up past bedtime and adults something really special that we, as we hold this genre very dear to us, can look back on and smile. Also, you should bring back the Count for maybe a weekly October event leading up to Halloween, much like AMC Fearfest. Errm, minus the 1,000 reruns of The Walking Dead.
Just throwing that out there.
Hello, my sweet gargoyles and ghouls. It’s your dearly demented friend, Manic Exorcism, asking you to join me on a lovely cemetery stroll where the departed, well, they just aren’t content to rest peacefully. So grab a shovel – or a boomstick, should you prefer – as we unearth the unconsecrated bowels of these crypts and look at this underrated gem – Cemetery Man. Or also known as Della Morte Dell Amore.
The Zombie Genre
Once upon a time zombie films were few to be found. Cemetery Man, much like its festering brothers and sisters of the genre, was a definite rarity. That might seem shocking to our modern audiences today – who have been nursed on The Walking Dead, Resident Evil games, and countless tons of independent flesh eating atrocities – but zombie movies used to be hard to find.
Crazy, I know, right? Today we have too many of them. It’s an over saturation really, as if we’re overrun by hordes of living-dead films. Each one shambling over one another and inseparable in their rotten likenesses. A drooling mess of celluloid brainless insatiable cravings, each of them clawing at us, demanding our numb attention and refusing to let us escape. A true epidemic and apocalypse. It is a wasteland of lost creativity.
Wow! Almost sounds like I hate zombie movies. I don’t, but admittedly I’m not a fan of the current state of them. They’re all too similar. Similar in tone, in style and even in their characters. Honestly I think that zombies were way scarier when they were rare.
The Cemetery Man
Cemetery Man came out during a golden age when film makers dared to take risks and tackled well-established tropes we were familiar with, but added some much-appreciated originality to a subject matter that otherwise would have been left rotting beneath the earth. There were some creative minds that brilliantly brushed away the layers of mold and breathed putrid life into those bones.
The problem I have with modern zombie incarnations is if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Stop me if this sounds familiar: a band of miss-matched survivors must face the undead legions across a dystopian landscape. Throw in some romantic drama and BOOM you have your zombie flick. CG blood effects will complete the mendacity and your indie zombie movie will get lost in the stinking tide of an over-used gimmick. 28 Days Later was part of the zombie renaissance and it’s formula has been recycled to death with few contributions adding any freshness to the field. But hey, I guess we can praise Zombeavers for its uniqueness. At least it was different!
(That’s not to say I don’t have my modern favorites. Shaun of the Dead is to be praised. So is Planet Terror. However, both of those movies were clear throw backs to that golden age of risky film making I already mentioned.)
On the contrary, films like Creepshow, Braindead, Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Creeps (they’re zombies, right?) and of course today’s subject, Cemetery Man all offered audiences something new, fresh, and (believe it or not) entirely unseen before. Who can forget the mean old bastard who rises from his wormy grave still demanding his father’s day cake? Or who else got hot around the color as our pre-pubescent eyes watched Trash bare it all and dance in a grave yard? (We love you Linnea Quigley!) We also got to see (whether we wanted to or not) zombies have sex on a dining table and later give birth to a zombie baby who goes on to run amok across a playground. Holy shit! These movies were awesome!
They became instant cult classics and are still highly adored to this very day. There is no replacing them. Their fandom swells with every new generation and will never lose steam as more audiences are introduced to their ingenuity and creativity.
They weren’t about any catastrophic dystopian society. They were about everyday people having a really bad, bad day. And we genuinely felt a connection with the characters.
Aside from practical effects do you know what each of these beloved movies have in common? They don’t take themselves too seriously. They made horror fun. They’re fun but not stupid, I must stress that. They are serious movies with some hard-core punk flare. They made us squirm, squeal and scream for more! That’s something gravely lacking in the majority of today’s zomb-zomb endeavors. Their tones are too serious for their own good or they try to be funny and just mock it up. (I guess there was a time when talent was a thing.)
If you’re a fan of any of these aforementioned punk-rock flicks then I can assure you that Cemetery Man is one you’ll want to see. The plot centers around our hero who is tasked with killing the freshly buried who rise from their graves. That’s it. What makes this movie remarkable are the scenes and visuals. The filmmakers had a great eye and at moments it feels like grotesque art come to life.
Honestly this movie is more beautiful than any zombie movie has any right to be. It’s hypnotic and at times you won’t be able to look away. The project was purely a work of inspiration.
The movie is also subtly deceptive. Sure, on the surface you’ll think it’s about a guy who shoots the living dead in the head. But then the film begins to explore intense subjects such as love and all of its treachery and the mysteries of Death itself. It becomes a gradual existential odyssey between the living and the dead.
Our cemetery man is played by Rupert Everett, a surprising role for him but very well done! He is assisted by a mentally challenged fellah, Gnaghi (François Hadji-Lazaro), who is the perfect cross between Curly from the Three Stooges and Uncle Fester. Gnaghi is just too much fun. At one moment he crushes hard on the mayor’s daughter and throws up all over her as a sign of affection. There’s another great scene where he’s sitting down in front of the TV and happily eating some chocolate ice cream all the while his partner is busily fighting off a sudden invasion of the living dead. Gnaghi remains entirely oblivious the whole time.
Just like Return of the Living Dead this movie is damn cool. I mean what other movie will give you a zombie biker bursting out of his grave on his mother-fucking motorcycle? That and the Grim Reaper makes one Hell of an appearance that you won’t soon forget.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one and upon a re-watch, I now have a brand new favorite. I really hope that someday Arrow Video will give us a proper Blu-ray release of this sadly underrated cult classic.
This has been Manic Exorcism thanking you for joining me on another macabre journey into the heart of darkness. Be sure to keep checking in here at Nightmare Nostalgia for all those lovely chills and thrills. I’ll catch you all later, my lovelies. And next time you won’t get away so easily. Heheheh
It’s not an opinion- it’s science folks. The beloved Ben Cooper masks and costumes are a symbol of yesteryear’s Halloween. A time where making the neighborhood rounds in noisy plastic costumes while carrying your mom’s pillowcase for the candy haul, or if you were the cool kid, a McDonald’s McBoo Bucket, was the highlight of the year for many little horror-heads everywhere. Whether your Ben Cooper costume of choice was a Master of the Universe, or the doll of false dreams Barbie, I think we can all collectively agree that while we all thought we looked super cool, turns out we really were creeping the shit out our parental units with what my Dad refers to as, “Plastic Heart-Attacks.”
I suppose he has a bit of a point…
Although completely unintentional I’m sure, there truly is no denying the subtle creep factor these costumes gave off looking back on them now with adult(ish) eyes. While of course, these collective images of plas-tastic nightmares are on top of my unsettling Ben Cooper masks list, I challenge anyone reading this to say that they could never picture a serial killer hiding underneath these simple, yet chilling stringed- facial huggers.
Happy the Clown
Image via Etsy
Straight out of your worst nightmares, Happy the Clown surfaced from the company sometime in the ‘80s and in my humble opinion, is the damn creepiest of the many Cooper clown variants over the years. Possibly due to the fact it always reminded me of the heavier set of the trio of clowns from 1989’s Clownhouse. Just. NOPE.
Image via Etsy
This Egon mask take from The Real Ghostbusters Saturday morning splendor from the mid-‘80s is pretty much the scariest thing ever. My train of thought runs, the simpler the mask, the creepier it comes across. The mildly surprised expression from the Ghostbustin’ favorite makes for something quite eerie here. Give me the ghosts over this plastic nightmare any day.
Beatle Paul McCartney
Image via Pinterest
This. Is just bizarre, and I can’t look away. Perhaps what is most perplexing, is how the hell this was deemed a normal mask in 1964. Vintage Halloween never seems to let me down as modern times doesn’t hold a candle to this kind of gem. As stated, my favorite part about this is that is not meant to come off as creepy. Beatlemania never looked so damn terrifying.
King Kong (1976)
Image via Etsy
Image via Ebay– Both equally as horrifying.
Because 1976 Kong wasn’t quite scary enough, the fine folks at the Ben Cooper Company just had to release this little number. OK, I know you’re probably thinking, this isn’t so bad? I’ll admit, this is a more personal thing for myself, as 76 Kong traumatized the crap out of me when I was a kid. Aside from the freaky mask, the smock is wonderfully designed with Kong in battle atop the World Trade Center. Which just reminds me of the gory as hell ending from the Dino De Laurentiis production. I got my big girl panties on. Bring on the jokes.
Hairy & Scary
Image via Pinterest
The Hairy & Scary line of Cooper masks add a little extra edge and while all variants of the curly-headed mask are sufficiently frightening on their own, THIS gorilla mask races to the front of the line with the creep factor. Although if you’re asking me, the mask looks more like its channeling the Zuni doll from Trilogy of Terror. Which is why I felt like I would be doing a disservice to readers if I didn’t mention this sucker.
The Chattermouth Cooper Variant
Image via Etsy
The highly recognizable Chattermouth Ben Cooper line that disables those muffled voices inside the plastic masks, and stepping up the game with a moveable jawline. Productive? Yes. Less horrifying? Not even a little bit.
Phantom of the Opera
Image via Pinterest
The 1964 Phantom Ben Cooper mask looks more like Leatherface than a Phantom, but maybe that’s why it’s so damn scary. The acidic burns on both sides of the face rather than just the one, gives this version of the Phantom in the Ben Cooper universe a slight edge, even if it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing. I like that ballsy move. You have to respect that.
Hobo with a Bowtie
Image via Etsy
Clearly, the Ben Cooper Hobo is modeled after the infamous melancholy hobo clown Emmett Kelly. If I’m wrong, there’s a hell of a resemblance going on there. Either way, you can’t argue the unnerving facial structure.
The smell of colorful plastic under your nostrils and vinyl smocks ensured that the “High Priest of Halloween” company dominated the scene of Samhain in not just the ‘70s and ‘80s, but for over 50 glorious years until the company’s fold in the early ‘90s. However, a recent exclusive with the son of the “Halston of Halloween” himself Ira J. Cooper over at Bloody Disgusting revealed that the company are in the early stages of a relaunch of the popular brand, giving us fans of what we deem, a true Halloween national treasure some hope for a return of some all-time favorites.
Is there a particular Cooper mask or costume that you feel should be included? Let’s discuss some creeptastic retro Halloween fuzzies below!