Category Archives: Lists

Happy Dirty 30! The 10 Best Horror Films From 1990

The year was 1990. The Hubble Space Telescope sent down its first images from space to NASA. The number one TV show was Cheers, and girl you know it’s true how embarrassed Pop duo Milli Vanilli must have felt that year.

But, arguably one of the most important events to streamline and set the tone for horror in the ’90s, was quite possibly the legendary Tim Curry slapping on a red nose; inducing a mighty fear of clowns into TV audiences everywhere for the unforeseeable future. Thanks Tim!

Beyond the television terrors of Derry, 1990 was a pretty fantastic year for horror. Tasking myself with dwindling down the list down to, what I think, are the ten best, was slightly anxiety inducing. However, I’m pretty satisfied with the results and the lineage of order. Also, if we’re gonna celebrate anything in 2020, it might as well be things from the past that live on to keep us from losing our minds!

Can we at least agree on that?

So let’s get to it! I’ve also included handy Amazon links with the best deals I could find for said features if you feel inspired by this list to add to your horror collection! Also, I won’t bore you with an in-depth analysis of each film. I feel like most of you have seen or at least know the plots of these gems- and if you haven’t FOR SHAME and click the title links to remedy that immediately.

10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch

What do you get when you cross Hulk Hogan, a Grandpa Munster impersonator, and genetic splicer lab run by Christopher Lee? Why, Gremlins 2 of course! I fondly remember seeing this in theaters when I was about eight and I got to tell you, watching the Hulkster threaten the Gremsters with a 24 inch python beating was probably the highlight of my year and deserving of a top-ten slot.

Available for $7.69 at Amazon

9. Puppet Master II

Being as how this Puppet Master installment in particular is my favorite of the franchise, I couldn’t leave it off the list! The puppets return with a very aggressive physical form of Toulon in hopes to resurrect their old puppet party days; along with a few new tricks. A new group is at castle at the puppets’ disposal to slice and dice, but it was those damn “human” puppets that gave me nightmares for weeks on end!

Fun fact: Puppet Master II is playing in the Toyland Warehouse security office in Demonic Toys.

Available for $11.46 at Amazon

8. Arachnophobia

If you weren’t afraid of spiders before the “Roseanne” era John Goodman thriller, I’ll take a million dollar bet that Arachnophobia induced that anxiety in you. Pretty impressive as this IS the first film distributed by the Walt Disney Hollywood Studios label. Way to set the bar there Mickey.

Available for $4.99 at Amazon

7. Tales From the Darkside: The Movie

Quite possibly the greatest horror anthology since Creepshow, the Tales From the Darkside feature presentation-as well as the series– is the perfect love-child for fans of the Romero-King collaboration and the unforgettable Tales From the Crypt with a star-studded cast to boot. Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, Debbie Harry, and a young Matthew Lawrence who serves as the stories’ introduction opposite Blondie’s Harry. We got a homicidal mummy, an even more homicidal (adorable) cat, and one fucked up gargoyle tale of love and betrayal. Need I say any more?

Available for $5.00 at Amazon

6. Nightbreed

As wild and bewildering as it is, there’s a lot to love about a pen-written Clive Barker film about a mental patient who believes he is a serial killer by none other than, David Cronenberg. The group in the film dubbed the Nightbreed, may look wonky and in movie-terms, scary. But are actually the misfits. The outcasts. And the dreamers. A lot of things I whole-heartedly believe many horror fans can relate to. Love it or hate it- it has a place in my heart.

Available for $11.99 at Amazon- Director’s Cut!

5. Ghost

Ok first off: YES. I know Ghost isn’t a traditional horror film like the others listed here. However, my motto has and alsways been- “If it scares you, it’s a damn horror movie.” And I’m sticking to that. Those demon ink-blobs scared the literal piss out of me when I was a kid therefore this masterpiece gets a slot here.

Ghost has just about everything the average cinema-goer could want in a film. Also could be why it was undoubtedly one of the most popular films of that year. Love, betrayal, drama, thrills, a little comedy, and a cool cat that sees ghosts. Ok, he has a small part but it’s still one of my favorite little quirks about the movie.

Available for $8.99 at Amazon

4. Child’s Play 2

The sequel to the Mancini/Holland endeavor is every bit as great as the original with Chucky really coming into his own in 1990. Sure, the Chuck had some memorable one-liners from the first film. But in the sequel, the pavement has been laid for Chucky’s homicidal yet humorous personality with a dozen or so “you can’t help but laugh” lines and actions that just makes this one so great. Worth mentioning is the opening title sequence of the burnt remains of his body being pieced back together like a fucked up Frankenstein.

Available for $3.99 at Amazon

3. Stephen King’s IT (1990)

BEEP BEEP! I can fondly remember watching the 2 part-miniseries that premiered on the ABC network in November of 1990. I was eight-years-old and by God, as a young brooding horror nerd, this was absolutely thrilling for me to see something so terrifying being aired on a family-friendly network! As with above’s Arachnophobia, the rise of coulrophobia went full steam ahead with audiences everywhere and I hold the magnificent Tim Curry fully responsible for his genius performance as Pennywise for inducing clown-related panic attacks for years down the line.

Available for $7.40 at Amazon

2. Misery

Humorously enough, it was during the mini-series premiere of IT where I caught my first glimpse of that cockadoody nurse Annie Wilkes and the theatrical trailer for Misery during a commercial break. The strong, and ankle-anxiety inducing story from Stephen King for me, is perfectly represented on screen with Kathy Bates. Bates IS Annie and delivers a performance that can be compared to Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector one year later. You love to hate her. That’s not an easy feat for any character.

Available for $6.95 at Amazon

1. The Exorcist III

And now that you’ve exorcised my invitation to the top ten dance, here we are at the very greatest film of 1990- THE EXORCIST III. The film, adapted from William Peter Blatty’s “Legion”, is about as aesthetically pleasing being the first person to walk on fresh snow in the morning hours. Incidentally, it’s also intellectually the one true, and finest sequel to The Exorcist. Brad Dourif (his second appearance on this list-BRAVO), clocks into his One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest days to remind us that he’s a lot more than just the voice of a killer doll for horror fans. The man is an ACTOR. And one of the damn finest alongside George C. Scott who serves as his opposite making way for a beautiful on-screen performance that compliment each other wonderfullly.

Not to mention it has THEE greatest jump scares to this day of any horror film. EVER. And since it hold’s the number one spot, let me endulge you with you possibly shitting your pants one more time with the headless nun!

Available for $19.99 at Amazon

What’s your favorite horror gem from 1990? Sound off below and I’ll be back with a a top ten of 1980 list in the near future! Stay tuned!

Nightmare Nostalgia Ranks The “Halloween” Franchise Opening Credits!

One of the greatest memories of my childhood, were the multitude of horror movies that were introduced to me through my Dad and Grandfather (Pop- we called him). Pop was a passionate fan of ALL Universal Horror Monsters films, and on top of watching them endlessly by his side on the nights the grandparents would babysit, I would often admire his very complete Universal Monsters VHS Collection and the artwork embodied within it. However, my Dad, albeit a super Frankenstein himself, was more on the Slasher spectrum. And by the way, is the biggest John Carpenter’s Halloween fan I know. It sounds biased but being inside the horror community for fifteen years, I stand by that statement- and you could read more about that here.

That being said, the Halloween films were a pretty standard rotation in the ole’ VCR growing up- and hell still are. And while I’ve found this to be a pretty common list among the horror website interwebs, they sure as shit aren’t my opinion and that of the greatest Halloween fan I know! So, here we go: Nightmare Nostalgia’s official ranking of all the Halloween opening credits!

I truly feel like I’m really going to make some of you mad. BUT, just remember my opinion is not yours and we can all agree to disagree!

And no: I’m not including the Rob Zombie versions because NO.

9. Halloween: Resurrection

With many fans, Resurrection ranks dead last in pretty much all aspects; and here on this list is no exception. Following a very generic version of John Carpenter’s classic tune paired with pitch-black backgrounds and orange credit lettering, we stroll down the halls of the Grace Sanitarium Instution where we meet a seemingly docile Laurie and a pair of nurses who narrate to the audience the very bullshit story of why she’s there. It just sucks when in comparison to ALL the others . Sorry not sorry.

8. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

In my opinion, and well that’s what this all is, Curse‘s opening doesn’t fair much better than Resurrection. The only reason it’s a slot higher is because it’s a lot shorter. The messy intro here that clumsily inserts parts of the film in the damn thing, merely sets the tone for the rest of it. One big mess. However, as big as a mess as it is, it still isn’t the worst in the franchise by far. Resurrection still holds that title belt.

7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Ahhh, here we are. The last of the original pumpkin intros in the franchise- up until 2018 of course when they resurrected it. Personally, I rather enjoy the lowkey angry tone behind this one in combination with the process of what I would call, The Wild Maniac World of Pumpkin Carving Sports here. However, compared to others’ before it, it falls short.

5. Halloween (2018)

One can certainly appreciate the return of the pumpkin intro via the 2018 franchise’s homecoming. And in such a unique form as the jack-o-lantern has fallen flat and laid dormant for many years, only to be blown up into it’s original form. Like it never missed a beat. Truly an honorable way to start the Myers madness again!

4. Halloween (1978)

Alright. This is the one that MIGHT trigger some pissed off feelings from fellow fans in regards to ranking. BUT, I feel like some of the follow-ups were just a smidge more intriguing to my senses. It’s classic, simple, and a prefect start into the Haddonfield journey whereas the original film was simplistic-yet effectively terrifying.

3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch

Love the movie or hate it (and yes its still an argument), you are very wrong if you deny the magnificence of thy Magic Pumpkin paired with a sinister synthesizer. The onset of the 80s’ included the launch of new wave and MTV and this was a perfect representation of what early 80s’ horror films looked and sounded like. It’s just a staple of an era that many have since used as inspiration- including Stranger Things.

2. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

The return of Myers meant a ditch of the recurring pumpkin intro this time around with a spine-chilling sequence of a sunset on a farm instead. The ambience of a sinister Autumn setting with the low-tone score, the winds blowing, and Halloween decorations swaying in the breeze always struck the skeevies chord with me. That Michael is still out there. Waiting- and coming soon.

1. Halloween II (1981)

There is just no way in Haddonfield Hell that anyone can convince me otherwise that the sequel to the original isn’t the greatest goddamn gift we’ve ever been given in this franchise. Well, as far as appeasing intros are concerned anyway. Opening with the events of the last film spilling over to start the continuing journey of cat and mouse between Myers and Laurie, we roll into a perplexed Loomis staggering outside of the Doyle home to the spot where Michael had dropped, and only a pool of blood remains. Garnering attention from (finally) a nosy neighbor who has ignored all the blood-curdling screams, and apparently is just NOW paying attention to what’s been going on right next door, annoyingly asks if this is a joke and that “He’s been trick or treated to death tonight.” Which leads into one of the greatest lines of this fuckin’ franchise from Loomis himself- “You don’t know what death is!” Who then scurries off around the corner in a wild state.

And then- the glorious, more angry pumpkin intro this time around. The score is more aggressive, much like in the rest of the film coinciding with an angrier Myers. The pumpkin cracks down the middle to reveal a skull. The symbol that death is coming and isn’t stopping for anyone.

So good.

What’s YOUR favorite Halloween opening sequence? Discuss below in the comments!

“Gimmie Dem Mr. Bones!” 10 Nostalgic Pieces of Halloween Candy

Candy has always been KING at Halloween, and one can’t deny remembering Halloweens’ past in our adolescent years with a great fondness. As we opened our eyes in the comfort of our cartoon character bedsheets on October 31st, we immediately thought of the glorious haul of Halloween treats we would possess that night. Pillowcases full of homemade popcorn balls, candy apples, and even the dreaded nickels and pennies were not only expected, but a Halloween staple in what seems like not so long ago.

Looking inside my child’s trick-or-treat bags these days is a far cry from what they looked like when I was a kid. Homemade treats from neighbors are strictly taboo as urban myths have pretty much put an end to that era. Long gone are the days of accidentally ingesting wax and smoking pseudo candy cigarettes. And I kind of miss it! Kids these days will never know about us giving absolute zero fucks and taking full trust in our neighbors were’t trying to poison or hide razor blades in our Snickers Bars.

However, 2020 ain’t got nothing on the very low possible risk of this EVER happening.

Still one of the most terrifying scenes in “Halloween 2” from a child’s view.

What’s even worse this year, and a big reason why I’m writing this is that we don’t know what Halloween in 2020 will look like for many. Of course, I think most people will make up their own minds on whether to embrace their yearly trick or treating traditions or opt for something different to cater to their own comforts and safety. Either way I feel is OK. And in regards to the current shit show, I dug up this old article I wrote for Dread Central a few years back, revised it, and brought it home to Nightmare Nostalgia for some fuzzy-good childhood-Halloween memories because we could all use some of the good stuff right now!

*Although these candies are still very much available at old-time candy shops and online, I sure do miss seeing that super cool Mr. Bones in my kid’s pumpkin pails. So let’s take a stroll down Halloween memory lane and fondly remember the Halloween candy that has become an obscure item to see in present times. So let’s do our due diligence everyone and seek out some of these fun retro candies to put a smile on everyone’s face behind that mask this October 31st!

10. Candy Cigarettes

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Even with an unsavory past in regards to marketing, these were still pretty cool to get in your Halloween haul. Sitting around with friends negotiating candy trades with one of these suckers in your mouth made you feel like an adult, especially if you suckered someone out of their peanut butter cups. That one small “poof” of glory sugar smoke just made it that much more satisfying, and hey if you’re a rebel you can still pick up a few packs and hand them out to trick or treaters!

9. Whack-O-Wax Lips, Fangs, and Mustaches

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These over-sized red lips and ‘stashes were such a fun addition to our candy stash, even if you ended up shitting out waxy poops the next day. As a matter of fact, I think I still have that waxy taste in my mouth from 1992. In any case, they still ruled. And you can still buy them!

8. Wonka’s Dino Sour Eggs

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This sweet and sour variation of the Gobstopper was way more interesting than its plain counterpart. Depending on how long you sucked on these bad boys, they would change colors and flavors, eventually shriveling up into what looked like dino doo-doo if you got that far without spitting it out.

7. Monster Candy

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Another variation of candy cigarettes was the Monster Candy that came in various tiny boxes that usually contained 2 sticks (if I can remember correctly).  They weren’t the tastiest, much like the latter, but goddamnit if they weren’t one of the coolest things to find in your pile of candy. Just look at that gorgeous packaging with Karloff and Lugosi. Are you really going to disagree?

6. Drac-Snax

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Oh man, Drac-Snax were THE TITS. Just like the Monster Candy mentioned above, this had some of the coolest packaging ever for Halloween treats. The hard fruit-flavored candies were not only good, but they completely captured the essence of what Halloween is all about. Bats, tombstones, and some poor headless sonofabitch.

5. Orange Juice Bubble Gum

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I may be alone on this one; however, I really, really, miss this stuff.  It was hard not to just slide all those tiny nuggets into your mouth all at once.  The Topps gum had different flavors available like grape and lemon, but orange was by far the best. It was pure candy crack, I tell you.

4. Nik-L-Lip

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Yes, the official name for these things was Nik-L-Lip, but we all just called them “wax juice.” You approached this in one of two ways: Either you bit the top off and sucked out all that sugary flavored syrup inside, or you just popped the fucker in your mouth, releasing an explosion of super sweet sugar-water onto your taste buds. Also, if you were like me, you chewed on the wax bottle until all the flavor was gone while, again, trying to avoid the waxy Halloween poops. Worth noting my significant other thinks I’m absolutely crazy for even including this. I say, give me my strange addiction!

3. Garbage Can-dy

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Who remembers sugary fish bones?! Or perhaps the old shoes along with some old soda bottles that definitely tasted a lot better than they looked. These Pez-like candies came in a super cool toy trashcan that you could use for storage. I personally used mine for Garbage Pail Kids stickers. It just seemed fitting.

2. PB Maxx

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Oh, PB Maxx, how I miss thee. The ULTIMATE chocolate-coated peanut butter bar was fuckin’ heaven. If history has taught us anything about nostalgia foods (such as the return of Ecto-Cooler, then we just might get to see it again IF our voices are strong enough. And I would be all kinds of okay with this.

1. Mr. Bones

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Was there really anything more radical than Mr. Bones? I mean, you not only got some delicious tart candy, but you got to build a skeleton out of your food! Oh yes, those sneaky bastards tricked us to use our minds to put together this jigsaw puzzle of a treat, and then devour it like an animal. Brilliance. Plus it came in a cool coffin box! The ultimate Halloween treasure treat was absolutely getting multiples of these spectacular candies. I miss you, Mr. Bones. You delicious little fellow.

While it isn’t TOTALLY the same, Amazon does have a pretty close in taste Skeleton Bones candy packs on their site. No fun toy coffin but if you want to get pretty close to the nostalgia factor, it’s an option!


What is a Halloween candy you would like to see make a comeback? Gimmie your retro rant below and let’s talk about it!