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!
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.
Sometimes, venturing out to your local video rental shop wasn’t required to find the most psychologically fucked up film for your Saturday viewing pleasures. Every once in a while, Lifetime, or whatever station the “movie-of-the-week” aired on, would throw you for a loop with one of those based-on-a-true-story flicks that just scarred the ever-loving hell out of you. All for free-ninety-free! Well, to us moochy kids not paying the cable bill anyway. When I think back on nostalgic made for TV films, without fail these five movies are always the ones that first come to mind. Mostly due to the really screwed up scenes entailed within that tend to stick with you, ensuring you never forget the first time you watched poor Jo from The Facts of Life get horrifically stabbed and mangled at the hands of Pet Semetary‘s Louis Creed.
Talk about traumatizing for not just a kid, but anyone with an even little bit of heart. So without further adieu, here are the five made-for-tv movies that set the bar high in the “goddamn this is disturbing” category.
5. “No One Would Tell” (1996)
Based on the real-life incident between 14-year-old Amy Carnevale her murderer, 16-year-old Jamie Fuller, NBC’s No One Would Tell took that loveable Kevin Arnold and made us hate him with every bone in our fibers in 1996.
Stacy (Candace Cameron) and Bobby (Fred Savage) seem like such a cute couple. But hey, it’s movie of the week and that can’t be the end of it. Bobby is an insanely jealous son-of-a-bitch who is extremely abusive to poor Stacy; leaving her with mental and physical bruises. She takes it with her head down for some time, however, when she breaks off the relationship, things turn deadly.
Personally, and while this is a movie based on true events, I feel like the most traumatizing aspect of this is seeing these family-friendly stars from The Wonder Years and Full House, in this sort of role. I mean, KEVIN KILLED DJ! Never, have I ever looked at The Wonder Years the same again without snarling a tad at Kevin.
4. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1991)
Before we even dive into this bag of dicks, let me make very clear this is in no way superior to the original with Miss Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Nowhere close. But, Lynn Redgrave does give a mighty unsettling performance as Baby Jane. Enough so to scare the living shit out of me when I was a kid. So credit where it’s due.
The plot remains the same as the 1962 adaptation but is set in the 90s for a more modern take on the novel by Henry Farrell. As stated of course, this rehash doesn’t compare to the masterpiece of the original, but if you look at it as a mere retelling of a classic, then its a rather enjoyable flick. And the late Redgrave’s portrayal of the insanity-induced Jane is creepy on all the levels. Which is why I made the decision to include it on this list. Her performance alone gave me undeniable skeevies.
3. The Burning Bed (1984)
Oh man, here we go. The Burning Bed from 1984 tells the horrific tale of fed-up battered housewife, Francine Hughes. Played by Charlie’s Angels sweetheart Farrah Fawcett, the film that debuted on NBC recounts the relationship between Francine and her scumbag husband of 13 years, James “Mickey” Hughes. The amount of physical and mental abuse at the hands of this man (and I use that term rather loosely) is beyond my comprehension. And it only makes me question why she didn’t do what she did a hell of a lot sooner.
On March 9th, 1977 Francine grabbed her kids and asked them to wait in the car in the middle of the night while her drunk as a skunk husband was passed out on their bed. She then grabbed some gasoline, poured it over the bed with the wife-beater in it, and set it aflame. Killing her abuser and freeing herself once and for all. Well, in the physical sense anyway.
Now, I normally wouldn’t condone such an action. But to understand, you’d have to see for yourself the viciousness this poor woman went through. It was bad enough for even the viewers of the film to become rather disturbed by such a thought. And even now in the present, still manages to give you goosebumps. Francine Moran Hughes died just last year from complications from pneumonia. She was 69.
2. David (1988)
The true story of a young burn victim David Rothenberg (played by Matthew Lawrence) at the hands of his own father came to ABC in October of 1988. This made-for-TV treasure took us on a roller coaster of every emotion imaginable. One I still haven’t forgotten and scarred my ass for life.
Co-starring Dan Lauria, Bernadette Peters, and John Glover, David is rather difficult to watch. Watching the destruction and ultimate betrayal of trust between David and his father is something not only any parent, but any sane humanoid would find difficult to swallow. I mean, he set his kid on fire for fuck’s sake! If that wasn’t horrific enough, we witness a struggle and burden I would never wish on any parent- David’s mother. However, underneath the horror story is a tale of heart-warming triumph as we watch little David become a stronger human being than anyone could ever foresee. On a personal note, I lose my shit every time on the scene with little David trying to eat ice cream in his body burn cast.
Today, David is doing well and if anyone is interested in following him, here’s his facebook page.
1. A Cry For Help: The Tracy Thurman Story (1989)
Holy Buck, nothing in the universe will ever top the traumatizing visual this film based on the vicious attack on Miss Tracy Thurman courtesy of her estranged, psycho of a husband, Buck Thurman.
Starring Nancy McKeon as Tracy and Dale Midkiff as the insufferable Buck, the story follows the pair’s tumultuous relationship from the moment they met, through the abuse, and finally the incident on Norwell St. on June 10, 1983, that nearly killed her. And that incident reenacted for this film that premiered in October (horrifyingly appropriate) on NBC, is ridiculously disturbing on so many levels. AND LONG AS HELL. It literally seems to last for a good 15 minutes. I just want to break everything in sight as I sit and watch this all go down, with so many people watching and doing nothing. An incompetent cop about to shit his pants who just stands there asking politely for the knife dripping with Tracy’s blood from Buck’s hand. All while he’s holding the ex-couple’s three-year-old son mind you. I rage with all the fury every time I think about it. This is all really happened, and it makes me so angry.
However, in light of the attack, Tracy’s survival, and the police department that failed her, a lawsuit filed by Tracy and her lawyer Burton Weinstein brought about sweeping national reform of domestic violence laws, including the “Thurman Law” (aka the Family Violence Prevention and Response Act) instituted in Connecticut in 1986. Making domestic violence an automatically arrestable offense, even if the victim does not wish to press charges.
You go girl. Also, if you have the balls and the stomach, here’s that clip I was ranting about.
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.
We’ve all seen those mystery boxes offered up by various companies on the interwebs. You know, the ones that cater to a specific genre that you pay an x amount of dollars for a month to either end up super pumped on this month’s purchase or completely disappointed. More than half the time, it’s a hit or miss situation. I myself have fallen into that mystery box rabbit hole, and while I don’t regret the money I’ve spent, I also feel like sometimes- it just wasn’t worth it. That is until I came across Fright Crate via social media. They offered no bullshit, looks at previous months loot (which blew me away mind you), and honest and open communication.
Here’s the deal: I pick and choose what I would like to cover and help spread the word about. I get zero kickbacks, and I don’t ask for any. I do this purely out of geeked-out passion. That’s pretty much what we’re all about here at Nightmare Nostalgia! Much like this little, albeit growing company that oozes with fierce zealousness for the genre, I HAVE to let you guys know about because well, that’s what these guys are all about. Also holy snopes do they offer a KILLER DEAL on these blind horror boxes. Let’s talk with co-owner Jay Stephens about the fantastic Fright Crate.
NN: Ok, so the Fright Crate looks like it’s made by horror fans, for horror fans. Looking at previous crates, every treasure inside just looks like a winner. How long has Fright Crate been live and what inspired you to begin it?
JS: We’ve existed for a little while (laughs). We’ve been around since September 2016. We sent promo boxes to a few Youtubers to get our name out there. We are and always have been self-funded, we are not a conglomerate or part of any corporate entity. That’s why we feature lesser known films in our service as well as popular ones.
What inspired us is our love for the horror genre and everything that spawned it. There isn’t really a lot of merchandise out there for horror fans compared to let’s say, sci-fi or comic book characters. A lot of what we do are exclusive products that you can’t find anywhere else. Typically, what we specialize in are figures, shirts, and pins. We also feature celebrity autographs most months along with prop replicas, crafts, customs, and prints. We work with indie companies that provide content for the box along with quite a few companies that produce exclusive products for us. For only $30 a month plus shipping, we deliver 4-6 items mailed straight to your door.
Fright Crate is for all types of horror fans. From the casual to more serious ones. Also, everyone involved in Fright Crate is a horror fan.
NN: It seems you have a particular fondness for the ’80s genre, which I can totally appreciate! Will we see any more genre boxes like that in the future?
JS: My opinion, as far as films are concerned, there hasn’t been a more exciting decade for horror since the 1980’s. We’ve seen the birth of many horror icons along with many cult classics and the full-on mastery of practical effects shots. As far as themed boxes are concerned, we’ve kind of danced around with the idea of doing a strictly ’90s box which I believe is everyone’s second favorite decade for horror (myself included).
NN: What is the estimated shipping time on each crate, (So new customers know what to expect)?
JS: Fright Crate is a monthly service, we take orders from the 1st-20th of each month on Frightcrate.net and we ship at the very end of each month. We welcome everyone to have fun with us and at least try us out. I know there are other horror boxes out there but we are one of the highest rated ones, we don’t attempt to hide our ratings like some of the others do or give anyone a bad service each month to increase our profit margins, we are a very transparent company. Our service costs $30. Value wise, you can’t get any better than Fright Crate, our figures sell for $30 in itself, custom figures usually run around $50 on Instagram and Etsy. We do fan sculpted figures as well as public domain licenses (Night of the Living Dead and Little Shop of Horrors which we used the 1960 license but made the figure looking closer to its 1986 counterpart).
We have the best shirts of any subscription box out there, usually digital paintings similar to the ones you can get from high-end horror shops for $30. Our pins go for $10, if there’s an autograph, they are usually $20 or more and we put other goodies in the box as well. You’ll get at least double on what you paid for. If you look at the fair market value and the quality speaks for itself.
NN: And lastly, anything else in the works you’d like to promote or announcements you’d want to add?
JS: There are several things in the works but nothing really to announce at this time, we are just glad to get featured on your site and would love to have the opportunity again in the future. Also for anyone that would like to follow us on social media, we would love to hear from you and we are usually very prompt in getting back to everyone!
As an obvious horror and geeky retro fan, I don’t think I could be any happier than what subscription box company Fright Crate is offering beginning March 1st- an I Love the 80’s Horror Box!
Good God, just look (below) at the glorious, nostalgic films themed out in this mysterious soon-to-be-declared national treasure! Featuring themed loot from Tales From the Crypt, Little Monsters, Cujo, and The Lost Boys, this sure as shit to go quick retro horror box will be available to order directly from FrightCrate.Net March 1st! Also, be sure to keep up with future announcements with the company by giving them a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Be sure to follow Fright Crate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As both a fan and consumer of Horror Decor (the online site that has continued to suck me in with buying endless Pennywise pillows for my head), the website has struck retro brilliance once again with the addition of new interchangeable VHS wall art for your humble abode!
Image via Facebook HorrorDecor
The announcement of the most glorious compliment to their line of VHS pillows came today via the website’s Facebook and Twitter that these bad boys are now up for sale on the site. Each canvas is handmade with special care and measures 17″ long x 9″ high with a 0.75″ thin edge. The cassette label center features a large velcro strip (the soft side), so that you can change out a label with a variety of different movie choices. With a blank cassette or a rental VHS to choose from, along with literally dozens of fun labels to choose from (that run for $5 or under), it’s seriously a must-have for any fan of the VHS era.
Pick one up for $25 by heading over to Horrordecor.net!
Chances are if you’re over 30, you damn well know Unsolved Mysteries was the greatest and most terrifying thing you saw on prime-time TV. The weekly program about unexplained phenomena, strange murders, and sometimes featuring a beautifully grainy image of Bigfoot, did a fantastic job of making me think escaped murderers were lurking in my backyard late at night.
I fondly remember being the ripe ole age of five, when my stunning Nan (Grandmother) introduced me to that horrifying theme song followed by Robert Stack and his haunting tales of true terror and persuasive speculation on mysterious legends. We had just sat down in the living area after becoming near comatose after a heavy meal of pasta and meatballs. My dear sweet Nana ruled her house with a wooden spoon, usually dripping with tomato sauce. Even if it was against our will, we were going to sit down, shut the hell up, and witness the glorious splendor of Sir Stack grace that obnoxiously humongous floor television set. Although some of the programming most certainly gave me the skeevies at a young age and resulted in a few sleepless nights, over time it became one of my go-to series’ as a kid and into young adulthood.
Thank you Robert Stack for the countless night terrors.
So now that you know about thine fondness for the Stack and the eerie show, I really couldn’t be more excited that the show is now FINALLY able to stream on Amazon for Prime members. So it goes without saying, I haven’t had much of a social life since the Stack episodes hit streaming. Given the program’s absence from streaming sites as long as these services have been available, watching Unsolved Mysteries now is like watching it for the first time. Minus a few fuzzy memories here and there when certain memorable clips arise from episodes. The music will send shivers down your spine, and the stunning reenactments paired with an abundance of ’80s mullet will give all the warm fuzzy feelers.
While I must confess the acting wasn’t always that stellar, did you know that a certain Oscar-winning actor made his screen debut on the series? The righteous Matthew McConaughey stepped on-screen for the first time in 1992 on the creepy crime program.
Alright, alright, alriiiiiiight.
McConaughey appeared as a murder victim in season five, episode twelve of the series portraying 26-year-old Larry Dickens- who was brutally murdered in front of his mother’s home back in 1978. Courtesy of Funny or Die, (I mean, I suppose it’s all in how you look it for this to even be up there?), watch the full video at the link below! Enjoy!
As a youngling, and to this very day, Stallone’s Rocky character was and is my goddamn hero. The message of the Rocky films, and the character itself is so powerful- which is why it remains such a time-honored classic. Never give up, chase your dreams, and be the best you, you can be. A solid lesson in life any adult or child should take and run with. As a kid, I was both obsessed with these movies (I still totally am) because of the exuberant heart this franchise lays on the line.
OK, the sweet-ass montages might play a part in this as well. Warning: Watching this video may cause a sudden sprout of chest hairs.
Now, by the time Rocky IV came around in 1985, our Italian Stallion seemed to be on top of the world. He’s the undisputed champion, gained a best friend in his two-time opponent Apollo Creed, and has more money than I think he knows how to spend- I mean, the guy is buying robot slaves for people’s birthdays’. Must be nice, eh? Seems like things are exactly where they should be in Roc’s life, and seriously, nobody deserves it more than him.
But that’s how most horror movies start out, isn’t it?
An up and coming Russian boxer, Ivan Drago, invades into the US with his Olympic Gold-medalist wife, and his evil as Hell political posse looking to pick a fight with Balboa. They figure he’s the best, so why not go straight for it. However, Creed who is a bit past his prime opts to fight in an exhibition match with the silent blonde giant in what seems like the result of both a little jealousy, and the fact he needs to prove he’s still got it as a fighter.
BIG MISTAKE THERE BUDDY- IT AIN’T ALL IN THE HIPS.
The sequence we see before the actual match between Drago and Creed, scared the literal crap out of me as a kid. I mean, his silent stance and glaring eyes are intimidating enough. His character really doesn’t need any extra help to look like a goddamn murderer waiting to snap. But hey, enter composing score genius Vince DiCola, and everyone is about to shit their pants.
Then what happens? Drago KILLS Creed. Completly pulverizes this man’s face and bashes his brain in until Apollo is left twitching on the mat. All as his poor wife looks on in horror. As a kid seeing this for the first time, I just sat there and cried my damn eyeballs out. I couldn’t believe this shit. This monster, glaring into Rocky’s eyes, while wife Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielson) is sitting at her table smoking and smirking like a jerkoff, expresses zero emotion with no fucks given for what he just did. Them’s are the traits of a classic serial killer folks.
“If he dies, he dies..”
What a heartless asshole.
So of course, Rocky needs to seek his vengeance. He heads to Russia (per the terms to fight Drago), grows an epic beard, and trains like a madman to face his toughest and scariest opponent to date. While an argument can be made that Drago was controlled and treated like a lab rat by his handlers, I like to think he had some sort of control of what he was doing. Towards the end of the fight with Rocky, he clearly lets the higher powers know he IS running the show. So perhaps he’s been influenced a tad, but I really don’t think they were totally to blame here.
In actuality, we really don’t know anything about Drago or his background before his fight with Creed- expect for he was a soldier. The absence of knowing what makes him tick, his tense presence, and that spine-shivering Drago Suite makes him a scary character in the world of cinema indeed. I could even go as far to compare him to Michael Myers. Oh yes, we’re going there. Everything I just said about Drago, applies to Haddonfield’s finest maniac as well. Regarding the first Halloween film, Myers was an effective and scary as hell villain because he had no rhyme or reason, no background explanation, and John Carpenter’s chilling score made him all that much more frightening.
So yeah, as a child and fearing for the life of my beloved hero at the hands of a soulless, steroid-infused boxer was quite terrifying by any means. I’m not going to lie, hearing that DiCola theme still gives me a bit of the skeevies. So here’s to you Ivan Drago: the unnamed horror icon hiding in plain sight inside the Rocky franchise.
I swear to everything holy about Mighty Mick’s Gym if they play this theme in Creed 2 to introduce Drago once again, I’m going to have to have both all the happy and horrified heart-attacks.