Tag Archives: Nightmare Nostalgia

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!

[Watch] “GARFIELD’S Halloween Adventure” As Originally Aired Complete With Commercials!

Back in 2017 when I began working on this website, one of the very first things I had thought to put on Nightmare Nostalgia was THIS. Grant it, its only taken me three years to actually do it but here we finally fucking are! And in my family tradition of being as absolutely technically impaired as those before me (more on this later), I present to you a mediocre upload of my 30 year long Halloween tradition of “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure” as it originally aired back on October 23, 1986!

In the mid 80s’ my parents, and many other middle class households recorded movies, television shows, and whatever the hell else they desired straight off the boob tube as opposed to buying insanely priced VHS videocassettes, (look it up if you don’t believe me). A standard new VHS ran about $49.95 and thus boils and ghouls, one of the first forms of home video pirating was born. It could actually be the first- I just don’t want to make that acute assumption.

Now, my dear ole’ pops was AND STILL IS as technically challenged as Fred Flintstone warped into an episode of The Jetsons. His younger brother, my Uncle Pat was tasked with the sorcery of renting VHS tapes, and ripping the films to record onto another VHS player with a Polaroid or Scotch tape to receive the stolen goods for forever thieving pleasures. I never truly understood just HOW he did it- again, my dad passed this flaw right on down to me- but I did and still do appreciate it! The uncle still swings by now to clean up my Firestick so bless that man and he deserves a shout out in this.

Anyway, this version of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure was recorded right behind one of these mentioned VHS tapes that includes a trio of of films. Gremlins, Return to Oz, and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. A little horror, a little more horror, and a pinch of an angsty witch- a Disney great right there. And then, on Halloween week of October 1986, my dear father used what minutes were left on the cassette to record the CBS block of kids’ Halloween specials that included of course, the candy, candy, candy loving cat, and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!” Complete with commercials because he had no clue had to stop and hit record once the commercial break ended.

True story. And you know what? I’m so glad he couldn’t figure it out.

Unlike today’s standards where a commercial block takes up about twenty minutes of an hour programming, with this special Halloween episode, there’s only one break in at about fourteen minutes in with 5 advertising spots. And good God they are gold.

The first being the Halloween Boo Buckets for the McDonald’s Happy Meal season with a very strange jungle intro. Has nothing to do with the lead into the Boo Bucket promos but eh, I was 4-years-old at the time so what the fuck did I care.

Next we got the creepy Snuggle bear popping up in laundry baskets thinking he’s cute but really he’s the sock gnome we’ve been hunting all these years.

Then we have a promo for The Wizard, the CBS fantasy that starred David Rappaport as an eccentric inventor that battles evil all over the world. Sadly, the show only lasted one season which is a shame because I thought it was pretty great!

Following a little Simon McKay, we have the 80s’ treasure trove Pee Wee’s Playhouse promo for CBS Saturday mornings highlighting all the wackiness the glorious program embodied.

And lastly, no commercial block is complete without a celebrity endorsed drug PSA. Falcon Crest star Jane Wyman promoting Stop The Madness, a Reagan drug awareness campaign, right before we head right back to Garfield and Odie lost at (lake)? I mean, it’s definitely not a sea body of water so that’s my best guess.

Did you actually READ all of that? If you did, you’re a goddamn trooper to my insufferable ramblings and now you shall be rewarded with what you came here for. NOW, as stated earlier if you read through everything, I’m a terrible youtuber and uploader. Which might be why, myself and the retro way is pure and real. However, the cam is steady except for one part where my cat jumps on the bed. In short, I’m no YouTube wizard or hell, even a good novice with this. BUT, in any regard it’s totally clear, watchable and might even bring a little nostalgic tear to your eye!

And for those wondering, due to copyright crap, no the Charlie Brown segment is not included.

Enjoy me hearties, Arrrrrrrrrrrr!

“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!

Tale of three Godzillas Part II: “Godzilla ’98,” The IMPOSTOR

“Godzilla is the son of the atomic bomb. He is a nightmare created out of the darkness of the human soul. He is the sacred beast of the apocalypse.” Tomoyuki Tanaka, Gojira

art by Bob Eggleton

Flawlessly capturing the core essence of who Godzilla is and his irradiated roots, the above quote should be the criteria for any film maker given the task of bringing the world’s biggest monster to life cinematically.

Godzilla’s come a long way since first appearing in Tokyo to leave a radiant wave of horror and destruction in his ineradicable path. The film was handled with effulgent respect and care for it’s subject material. That’s what sets it apart from other monster movies of its time and has given a timeless quality that new generations of fans come to discover and embrace.

Gojira is a masterpiece and cinematic legend.

I covered Gojira, in Part I which you can catch up on by clicking here.

Now the movie we’re talking about today lacks both respect and talent. And even though I’m sure most of us would much rather prefer drinking a big steaming cup of nuclear waste than revisit this film ever again, we’re still going to take a look back at the Godzilla movie that enraged fans, disgusted Toho, and keeps popping up like a turd that just won’t flush.

(Sigh) let’s buckle in and just brace ourselves. Because if I have to do this I’m not doing it alone. You all are coming with me!

But wait. I’m sounding harsh. Let’s get this out of the way. “Do I hate this movie?” I know a lot of my readers are assuming I do and those of you who go way back with me and my early days of writing, you’re probably expecting this to be the newest article of me Manicing Out.

Surprisingly I don’t hate it. It genuinely feels like a ’90s blockbuster. It has that ’90s look and feel. But I’ll save my final thoughts, well, until the end. Let’s Time Warp in the meantime.

Coming of Age

It was the 1990s and us ‘80s brats were nearing adolescence which meant our world was changing. We were growing up and so were our toys as well as entertainment. We were big kids now and it felt like everything we loved was maturing right alongside us. 

image via Super Nintendo, ‘Super Godzilla’

Thanks to McFarlane Toys our figures were going from badass and fun to badass and wicked! Our comics became darker with introductions of new anti-heroes spawned from Hell, The Killing Joke made Joker scary again, and Spidey had to deal with some Maximum Carnage due to an asylum out break in New York. Things were bloodier and more violent and we were not complaining!

Cartoons got edgier too thanks to Ren and Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead. Video games exposed us to Mortal Kombat and Doom where we bathed ourselves in blood.

image via Midway, ‘MKII’

So I still say the ’90s was a great time for coming to age and we were lucky enough to be part of it. 

Everything we loved was getting bigger, better, and way badass(ier). But what about Godzilla? After all, you’d think this decade would have been the radioactive-rich culture for a proper Godzilla resurgence.  

From 1985 to 1998

For us US fans the last time we ever saw any sign of Godzilla was back in ‘85. The movie was released theatrically in US theaters, something that seldom ever happened, and I remember getting a copy of it on VHS and wearing that poor thing out.

image via Toho, ‘Godzilla 1985’

Godzilla 1985 was an updated take on the classic monster and the beginning of the Heisei era. It was darker, bigger, and a brilliant return to formula. Godzilla felt intimidating and, well, scary! I LOVED IT!

Humanity could do nothing against this newly risen (or resurrected) beast of the apocalypse. Godzilla was back and I couldn’t be happier. The effects were updated and the story was dead serious, perhaps to a flaw. But Hell I didn’t care. My Godzilla had returned!

And then … there was nothing!

Without a single rumor of any follow-up films it seemed as if Godzilla would just stay buried at the bottom of the volcano that swallowed him up. Godzilla might as well have been dead.

image via Toho, ‘Godzilla 1985’

Little did I know – during this dry spell – Toho was still actively making Godzilla movies. But with no internet back then fans like me had no idea the King of the Monsters was still around.

In that time my family moved us to Russia and I was completely out of the loop. I still had a copy of Godzilla 1985 though and watched regularly, and introduced my fans to my love for kaiju.

And then dinosaurs walked the Earth!

Dino DNA and Godzilla Comes to America!

We got one helluva great movie that revived dinosaurs for all of us little brats and made kids want to go dig up dinosaur bones. And that movie was Jurassic Park

Kids were excited about dinosaurs again and studios took note. It wasn’t long after we explored that dino-raging park that it was announced a new (NEW!!!!) Godzilla movie was being made with the same special effects that brought those dinosaurs to life! 

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

Please keep in mind I had not seen a new Godzilla movie since the mid ’80s. So I was besides myself when I learned that not only was a new movie in the works but it would have state-of-the art special effects backing it up!

This was the first time an American studio would have the honor to interpret Japan’s greatest monster for, what would doubtlessly be, a fresh new beginning for Godzilla. 

This would be the Godzilla movie to define all Godzilla movies to come. We just knew it… what little we knew though.

The Showa era had ended before many of us were even born but we grew up in the radiant shadow of those films and their greatness. The battles Godzilla had with King Kong, Monster Zero, Gigan, Megalon, and MechaGodzilla were forever branded in our minds.

We were way-passed starved to see the new era of the King of the Monsters…and now looking back it makes perfect more sense why the ’98 disasterpiece left so many of us feeling kicked right between the legs. 

It was a betrayal of our innocent trust. 

This was one of the most anticipated movies of the decade. Toho was thrilled by the deal and couldn’t wait to see their prized monster introduced to a larger audience. For many American viewers, Godzilla was just a rubber suit and bad dubbing so this would be the first time to prove the might and majesty of the Child of the Apocalypse.

This project was a big deal to all of us… and it tripped on its own two feet and fell face-first into a pile of rat dicks. 

Actually, it didn’t trip because that would imply it was an accident. No, this thing purposefully jumped headfirst into that dick pile and then dared to try and convince us it was some misunderstood masterpiece. And we weren’t buying what it was selling. 

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

If you really wanna get mad you should just look and see what the movie almost was. But would I put you through that? I’m Manic Exorcism, of-fuking-course I am!  So come on.

The Movie That Almost Was

Tristar purchased the film rights from Toho in 1992 with an elaborate plan to make a three-part Godzilla saga. Ambitious but not unobtainable. Today we’re seeing Legendary building a successful Godzilla trilogy of their own and fans praise their efforts.

GODZILLA! HOW WE NEEDED (A) KING OF THE MONSTERS!
GODZILLA! HOW WE NEEDED (A) KING OF THE MONSTERS, image via Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The difference is Legendary, unlike Tristar, has respect and appreciation for the colossal task of bringing Godzilla to life. Their movies feel like fan-made monsterpieces and Tristar’s movie was nothing but a cash grab. One that never saw any future after its first film. 

Originally the picture was set to release in 1994 with a lore steeped in Atlantian mystery. Godzilla would have been a magical product of Atlantis, a creature created to be the protector of the Earth.

concept art of Godzilla, image via Tristar

Godzilla would have battled a brand new terror to the planet, a shape-shifting beast from the depths of outer space called the Gryphon. 

One can imagine the Gryphon undergoing different evolutionary stages that would challenge Godzilla’s wits and might to find a way to ultimately defeat his newest foe. It sounds like a classic Showa Era showdown. 

concept art for The Gryphon, image via Tristar

I especially like that Godzilla would have dealt with aliens again. Some of his greatest enemies come from other planets. So far so good.

It would seem the project was in safe hands with Jan de Bont set to direct. Godzilla may have gotten away from his atomic roots but overall the movie sounded like a hit waiting to happen. 

The man in charge of bringing Godzilla to life was none other than Stan Winston!

Stan Winston and his beasties. We see his vision for ‘Godzilla’ behind him

That’s right. That guy! The man who brought the Alien Queen to life in Aliens. The artist behind the menacing presence of the T-800 from Terminator. And the very guy who made dinosaurs walk in Jurassic Park.

Stan Winston was going to design Godzilla and bring him to life for Western audiences. This was a big fucking deal!

Luckily concept art and designs still exist for this lost project.  

image via SciFiJapan.com

And looking at the Godzilla designs Winston had in mind, well he looks damn good. You look at this and know you’re looking at Godzilla.

image via Stan Winston’s School of CharacterArts, ‘Godzilla’

This movie would have worked and most likely would have inspired a franchise. This could have been just what we all needed. 

(I wish it could at least have a comicbook adaptation. I would still like to see this project come to life somehow. It just sounds cool.)

So what went wrong? It really boiled down to budgetary issues. The project cost more than the studio was willing to pay and a new director and a new story were demanded.

Stan Winston’s ‘Godzilla’ and a very lost opportunity

And that’s where it all goes to shit. 

Roland Emmerich was called in as director and since he had no more ideas as to how he could rip Star Wars off anymore (at least at that particular moment) he took over the most ambitious monster movie of the decade….yaaaay…. 

It was later announced that Emmerich had not grown up with Godzilla and admitted he had no passion for the project.

image via GojiPedia, Roland Emmerich

No passion and no respect. That’s a real nice attitude to have while directing a franchise that’s adored by millions across the globe.

A studio wanted money and the director wanted the same thing.  What could possibly go wrong? 

The New York Lizard 

Whereas the Gojira serves as a catastrophic warning of impending doom at the hands of mankind’s carelessness, the 1998 film serves more like some big-budget sitcom episode. It has no political statements to make, there’s no philosophy behind it, and the human characters aren’t facing any kind of  judgement-day peril at the hands of a beast born of atomic energy.

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’

It’s only recurring message is French people can’t find good coffee in America. That and we see a lot of tuna as if any one of us gave a shit. 

Ok, so I get it. It’s not always easy (I suppose) to have a powerful message driving your movie project. It could be argued that all the best ideas have already been used up. Gojira’s message was powerful and frightening.

So if it doesn’t have a message it had better have some badass destruction, right? And…no it doesn’t. Whenever the monster is on the screen it’s not ripping a path through New York’s plenteous skyscrapers. It’s not crumbling businesses, endangering lives, or burning the city to the ground. You know, like we’ve come to expect out of Godzilla movies! 

image via Tristar

In fact, the damage that is done is caused mainly by the military as they chase the big lizard through New York. That’s right, the monster doesn’t even fight the military but runs away like a wimp! 

Such wasted opportunities! Could you imagine seeing the monster wreak havoc across New York? It was a chance to bring Godzilla to the States to do what Godzilla is known for. But instead, we got a scared lizard who was too busy laying eggs than actually living up to its titanic name.

Now let’s talk about the look. Yeah, there actually was some thought put into this thing’s appearance. Like they tried extra hard to fuck this up.

image via Tristar

So ya know how Stan Winston was originally behind the project? Yeah, they let him go and Patrick Tatopoulos was brought in. Tatopoulos says Emmerich gave him specific direction for the monster’s look too.

Firstly, the monster was to run really, really fast. You know, like Godzilla always does. I mean you look at Godzilla and just think fuck! He must run so fast! Like I always think of Godzilla as a big-time runner. Like I mean Godzilla must jog, right?

Emmerich was also adamant that this wasn’t a monster but an animal. I mean it’s not like the guy was directing a monster movie or anything. And not just a monster movie but the most famous monster of all time! But Emmerich in his brilliance decided we deserved a movie about a very big animal lost in a bigger city.  OooooOOOOoooooOOOOoooh!!!!

image via American Godzilla wiki, Taco Bell Godzilla cups. Perfect to fill with delicious booze and re-watch ‘Independence Day,’ or ‘Star Gate,’ or ‘2012’

Not only that, but the monster’s stupid looking jawline was based on the tiger’s face from Disney’s The Jungle Book

(Moment of silence) *pouring drink*

So never mind the fact there was a rich library of films to base your Godzilla movie on. Not to mention all the creative hands behind the Toho legacy who gladly would’ve aided their advise and input to help further this big-budget project.

Oh no, Emmerich thought it much too bothersome to look into the lore, look, and temperament of Godzilla. His team chose Disney as inspiration instead.

image via Tristar, ‘Godzilla 1998’ …duuuh me ist tiger! Grrrrrr!

And those assholes knew the look sucked. They kept that shit hidden as best they could before the movie was released. Even though the advertisement for this film was ridiculous they only dared to show us the monster’s eye, or foot, or hands and claws. They knew they made a big mistake and it was way too late to take it back. 

A week before the movie released I remember opening a magazine and seeing the first full glimpse of ‘Godzilla’ and thinking to myself, ‘are you fucking kidding me?!’ I thought maybe I was seeing a monster the real Godzilla would fight in the movie. But oh no, I was seeing a thing Emmerich thought was Godzilla.

If you’re disappointed in the monster’s stupid look you’re not alone. Every veteran Godzilla suit actor hated the Emmerich look. Haruo Nakajima, the original suit actor, said “Its face looks like an iguana and its body and limbs look like a frog.” 

Shusuke Kaneko, the Heisei Gamera director had to say about it: “it’s not Godzilla, it doesn’t have his spirit.”

Bottom line: none of the kaiju masters of the past approved of ’98. 

This monster can’t even breathe fire. It doesn’t rampage across New York City. It runs away from the military. It’s just a useless kind of beast. It is not Godzilla and Japan took care of that for us.

The Final Nail in Zilla’s Coffin.

Toho, the studio who owned the rights to the Godzilla franchise, was appalled by the movie Hollywood puked out. Toho was so pissed off by this American embarrassment that they set the record straight and removed the God from Zilla.

They even went out of their way to address this.

In the movie Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001), it’s mentioned that a monster attacked New York and Americans confused it for Godzilla. But the monster who hit New York was a different monster called Zilla, not Godzilla. I’m hammering this in I know, but you get the picture.

Toho further erased Zilla’s dignity by forcing it to fight the real Godzilla in Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). In that film, Zilla is straight away hit by a radiant blast of Godzilla’s atomic breath and explodes into little fried atoms. The end. 

I know you want to see that. Here you go.

The worst part about this imposter film is for many this is the one and only Godzilla movie they will ever watch. This was a monumental opportunity to introduce new viewers to the world of giant monsters and it failed so fantastically.

Gone are the scenes that echo the results of atomic weapons melting a city as the Beast walks slowly along the glowing skyline. Gone is the desperation of man battling a nightmare of his own making.

art courtesy of Bob Eggleton

Perhaps as a direct result of Emmerich’s stupid movie Toho began making all-new Godzilla films which are now known as the Millennium Era. And one of my all-time favorites is part of this section, Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla!

And thanks to Legendary we’re getting quality American-made Godzilla films in the MonsterVerse.

The ’98 film was a missed opportunity but great things have come out of it.

It makes me wonder what kind of American Gojira remake we could have had if the team behind it had taken the project seriously. You can tell they were mimicking the original movie straight away. It’s opening credits show us atomic bombs blowing the Hell out of an island and an iguana basking in the neon light. We all knew where that was going.

Then a fishing ship, reminiscent of the Lucky Dragon and the opening of Gojia, suffers a fatal collision with the monster made of radiation. The monster later arrives on land and accidentally breaks up the harbor and fishing district, kinda like when Godzilla brought a typhoon to the village when he first set foot on land.

Was this an attempt to remake Gojira? Yes, even if it was nothing more than a subconscious one. It could have been great but the damage it caused is thankfully contained. And Japan would later give us the true successor to the movie that started it all.

Final thoughts

I don’t hate the movie. Oh it’s a helluva lot of fun to hate on it, sure. But It has a stupid kind of charm about it. I can look back on it now (and with so many newer Godzilla entries since then) and nod with nostalgia at it.

As a Godzilla movie it’s just awful. It doesn’t work at all. It sucks, it sucks, it blows donkey balls. But as a monster movie it’s not all that bad. If you can view it as only a monster movie then you’ll have fun with it.

It’s good to watch for some ’90s feels I guess. But I strongly recommend any and all of the Hesisei era Godzilla movies to this one if you want GODZILLA from that decade!

So stick with us and stay tuned for Part III as we take a look at the award-winning Shin Godzilla.

In the meantime I know what you all want.

Long Live The King!!!

Shears of Glory! 10 Magnificent Mullets From The Pinnacle Days of the WWE

Ahh, 80s’ wrestling. Growing up in the decade of Saturday Morning cartoons, and feel good family-friendly sitcoms nestled in-between Roddy Piper cracking a coconut over Superfly’s dome was something truly special indeed. 80s’ kids, and in all honesty, many adults looked to these Superstars as McMahon called them as real-life superheroes and villains. Ambitious wrestling fans around the world mimicked these guys/gals from the way they spoke, carried themselves, and albeit dangerous, wrestling moves as they rightfully saw these athletes something inspirational. I clearly remember my early youth family pool parties where my older cousins would suplex each other into the swimming pool and myself being a much younger small girl, would do my best Jesse Ventura announcer impressions along the way.

Among the many ways to doppelganger your favorite WWF wrestler, one of the easiest, and popular ways, was to don the almighty mullet that just about EVERY DAMN Superstar had in the 80s’ and early 90s’. It was like, almost a right of passage to go through some sort of glorious mullet stage for many of these guys and we’re going to go through the 10 (of what I personally think), are the greatest ape drapes of the golden influenced era !

10. Marty Jannetty

Real talk: This guy has had a sketchy past and more recently, confirms that the once half-force of The Rockers has a few issues here. However, I can’t punish the once classic mullet he rocked for that. Exactly stated- classic business in the front, party in the back; Jannetty starts the list off with the perfect basic Kentucky Waterfall.

9. Ric Flair

WOOOOOOOOOO boy no one had a classier mullet than The Nature Boy himself! And that is precisely why I had to include him. Sleek, clean, and dapper looking, Flair made the Tennessee Tophat look elegant as fuck.

8. Jimmy Hart

Listen here baby! “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart is STILL living his best mullet life and for that reason along with his perfecting his skills with Aqua Net, he gets a spot on the King of the Chops list.

7. Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake

There’s no way in hell I could make a best of wrestling hairdo list and not include the master barber of the ring, Beefcake! Throughout the years, Brutus’ Mississippi Mud Flap varied in length starting off with a baby mullet, blossoming into a World Champion of its won right. Here’s to you Beefcake!

6. Razor Ramon

That slick back Latino essence oozing of machismo mullet was an aspiration to how just how cool you could make that look. Scott Hall took that white boy from the trailer park look and made it his very own. At one point, I didn’t even realize it was a mullet, cleverly disguising it under all the hair oil available at your local Sav-On Pharmacy. That definitely earns a spot here with me.

5. Brian Knobbs

Another Superstar that is still to this day, embracing his signature locks is Brian Knobbs from The Nasty Boys. And there ain’t nothing nasty about this magnificent mullet. The ultimate Mohawk Camero Crash Helmet will never in this lifetime be replicated as glorious as this former Tag Team Champion has done it.

4. The Undertaker

The Taker’s Alabama Waterfall didn’t last long into his career, however it’s fiery red goth waves made an impression will we never forget from his first appearance in the WWF at the Survivor Series 1990. Obviously he later opted to grow that mullet out into a beautiful manly mane of the underworld. But I’m here to remind you to never forget once was.

3. Tatanka

Hear me out now. I had to put Tatanka pretty high on this list for not just his ever-changing colors of the marvelous mullet he rocked, but for ALSO portraying an Indian Chief pulling off a hairstyle of the trashy white man. It somehow fucking worked and I gotta give the guy credit. Tatanka- breaking down all those mullet profiling stereotypes.

2. Shawn Michaels

I feel like it was pretty obvious to everyone that The Heartbreak Kid was not only going to be on this list but rank fairly high. And I just can’t defy logic or science. That is one of the goddamn prettiest mullets I’ve seen.

1. Crush

Oh. You think all these other guys had the greatest mullets in the squared circle? I’m sorry about how very wrong you were as I present the most gorgeous, long-flowing ape drape of all wrestling history. Crush nailed the shit out of making that thing look both manly and as cool as the breeze. From his days with Demolition to his solo career, his persona may have changed but the national treasure that donned his scalp never strayed.

Now because Crush has been declared King of the Mullet Ring, here’s one of his matches featuring one of the all-time greatest wacky heels, Doink the Clown from Superstars of Wrestling 1993!

Why Anjelica Huston is the Most Horrifying Movie Witch… Ever

WHY ANJELICA HUSTON IS THE MOST HORRIFYING MOVIE WITCH… EVER

There’s just something wickedly amazing about Anjelica Huston peeling off her humanoid face in The Witches that makes you want to squirm and throw holy water all over the place. If you were a horror kid in the 90s’, chances are you’ve seen Anjelica Huston in all her genre glory as she so brilliantly took on the coveted role of a lifetime, Morticia Addams in the Addams Family movies; and nailed the shit out of it staking her claim as the modern babe in black we both wanted as a wife and mother. She was a goth goddess and we loved her for it.

However, before she was clipping off heads of rosebuds in her gothic garden, she solidified her spot in history in 1990 with her terrifying portrayal of Roald Dahl’s Grand High Witch.

Adapted from the 1983 Dahl book and sadly, the last movie the great Jim Henson produced, The Witches brought just the right amount of intensity to the screen for young viewers without going over the PG rating. That’s quite an impressive feat considering the main antagonist of the film was in so many words, the Charles Manson of the witch world ordering her disciples to get rid of every last child on Earth through what else?

Chocolate, of course.

Chocolate that turns the repulsive, dogs’ dropping smelling, little brats into mice. While the premise alone is something that could give any small kid a few nightmares at bedtime, it was Huston’s performance in The Witches that scared the literal crap out of kids back at the beginning of the ’90s decade.

So on this day, which also happens to bethe films’ 30th anniversary, we celebrate why the almighty Grand High Witch was and still is, the most horrifying witch on screen. 

The Grand High Witch Revealed 

As stated at the top of this jam, not sure there’s anything more horrifying to a child than watching someone as beautiful as Huston peel the skin of her mug like a Mary Kay face mask to reveal her true hideous self.

It always bugged me how she was able to mask that enormously elongated nose underneath her disguise, but I suppose The Grand High Witch has her ways and I probably shouldn’t question it otherwise I may end up a pile of ashes. Which leads us into the next example.

The Grand High Witch doesn’t like smack talk

See here’s the thing: if you’re a low-ranking witch in the same room as your superior, you should probably keep your opinions to yourself. And for fuck’s sake don’t mutter crap under your breath within ears reach of the most powerful woman in the world. Even though the comment was a mere observation and harmless, the Grand High Witch made it painfully clear even the slightest apprehension from her subordinates will cost them dearly.

Bye, Bye Bruno!

Holy hell, does the Witch Queen hate children or what?! During the little witch convention, your scabby Highness shows off her latest, and very gweatest invention- Formula 86. The very potion to be diluted into candy bars that are to be dispersed to children worldwide. So she brings in a visual demonstration of what to expect to see once the formula goes into action. Looks like Conal Cochran has some serious competition here.

She outright tries to kill a baby!

The Grand High Witch shows no mercy even towards infants. That’s some pure evil shit right there ladies and gentlemen. Luckily our flick’s protagonist little Luke intervenes and saves the day because I’m not so sure I could deal with that kind of baby killing fuckery in a supposed family friendly film.

She’s even terrifying as a damn mouse!

The Skeksis have nothing on the Grand High Witch in pure rodent form.  When plans backfire, the Witch of all witches finds herself in quite the predicament. If you didn’t have a phobia of mice and rats before, you might have one now because the Grand Highness’ rodent transformation is the ultimate in sewer rodent nightmares. And then what happens? She gets squashed by Mr. Bean.

Mr. Fucking. Bean.

This guy right here killed the Grand High Witch. I guess not even the head of the witches can compete with this kind of mojo. Hmm. Maybe Bean ole’ boy should have taken her place.

Dream Master Promo: The MTV Freddy Krueger Special Presented In Its ENTIRETY!

In the year of our Lord, 1988, Freddy Mania was at its peak; running wild among the youth of a generation bringing the horror genre into homes mainstreaming and normalizing it. Between several hit films, an upcoming TV series (Freddy’s Nightmares), and bootleg toys, Robert Englund had to have been on cloud fucking nine with his megastar horror icon status. While one could argue that you know you’ve really made it when someone makes a flimsy bootleg action figure out of you (Thanks Nightmare Feddy), the 80s’ holy grail of true fame came when MTV beckoned.

So let it be written. SO LET IT BE DONE.

MTV went balls to the wall promoting the hell out of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER with an all out hour long special featuring Freddy himself with music video clips, scenes from the film, and of course Freddy playing cat and mouse with a bumbling MTV VJ (Kevin Seale).

While I can appreciate this for what it is, and honestly who the fuck doesn’t? The music video blocks in the special were just weird and random as hell. We go from Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to my Nightmare’ and Dokken’s ‘Dream Warriors’ to ummm… OWNER OF A LONELY HEART?! Then saving face with Ozzy’s ‘Bark at the Moon’ and the infamous Fat Boys’ ‘Are You Ready For Freddy?’ to wrap it up with PETER GABRIEL’S ‘SHOCK THE MONKEY’.

What. THE. Fuck.

It’s honestly hilarious to me how random, or maybe not so random they mashed these videos together for a Freddy Krueger epic. It could very well be some of the PR of these artists wanted to reach a younger generation so lets shove some Gabriel and YES down their chops in between Kruger slashing up some MTV VJs.

In any case, these types of specials are a thing of the past and I have no gripes. It is of course, funny enough to mention about the music vids and the over-the-top acting. However, it is goddamn magic and a staple of a time where this was our normal. I only wish this sort of glorious cheese would make a comeback. We need Freddy more than ever in 2020. Uh, well, cinematiclly speaking.

Speaking of which, the entirety of this special was a HUGE pain in the ass to dig up on the wide world of the internets. I would imagine the company WMG, who owns the rights are being salty about the content being uploaded. However, I managed to find the WHOLE DAMN THING thanks to a fellow website who gets full credit for this beauty- Timid Futures– who gathered its source from TheNextKrueger. And the cycle lives on here at Nightmare Nostalgia.

Enjoy it now as we can only hope this video doesn’t get flagged!

Godzilla and his timeless reign over our hearts!

Horror fans are always asked what initially got them into the genre, and each one of us has a different answer. For some, it was Jaws, or Gremlins, or maybe Freddy. We all have that one quid essential monster that served as a gateway to the incredible world of beasties. For me, it was none other than the King of the Monsters himself, Godzilla. 

Godzilla may have entered our world in 1954 but he didn’t crash into my life until 1983-84. I was just a toddler and upon seeing the radioactive behemoth my imagination was awakened!

Oh, hells yeah! The time has finally come for me to talk about Godzilla, the Monster of Monsters! I’m lucky enough to remember – all be it briefly – all the way back to some of my earliest days on this planet. I’m like 3 or something and my little Manic nose is glued to the TV screen while TOHO’s giants are tearing one another to pieces over the fate of the Earth. The earliest films I remember ever watching are firstly Godzilla vs Mothra and then soon afterward King Kong vs Godzilla. Interestingly, I was going over this with my mom and she confirmed that Godzilla vs Mothra was one of the very first movies I ever watched and began mimicking. 

I’ve always loved Godzilla – as if you couldn’t tell by now. I mean just look! Look at little me romping around in my very own homemade Godzilla costume! 

image courtesy of Manic Exorcism, ‘Godzilla: Destroyer of Worlds” circa 1984

My Granny spent God knows how many hours at the sewing machine to make this dream come true and my Mom had one Hell of a time trying to get me out of it. Once I had that on I no longer existed. A perfectly harmonies symbiotic relationship between myself and Godzilla was formed while I had that on, the two of us became one, and woe to all who stood in our way. 

Sadly I outgrew that little costume but neither my love nor passion for the King of the Monsters could be diminished. This particular fandom though was not met without its fair share of challenges. One of the chief being the sheer scarcity of these movies back then! 

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs Mothra’

Things weren’t like they are today. There were no streaming services. We had three channels. Three! If you were a kaiju fan while growing up in the mythical ‘80s you were lucky AF if your local horror host aired one of Godzilla’s movies during their Saturday late-night specials. TV guides were bought primarily so kids could bug the crap out of their parents on whether or not any Godzilla or King Kong movies would be on that upcoming week. Sometimes you’d luck out and there would be a giant monster movie! It felt like some kind of reward for all our patience. 

Thanks to TV special airings I was able to get Godzilla vs King Kong , Godzilla vs Megalon, and Godzilla vs Monster Zero recorded on tape to watch as many times as my psychotic little heart could handle! 

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs Monster Zero’

And it wasn’t like you could just go to K-Mart and find copies on video. So fans could only rely on the movies they were lucky enough to record off TV. Although, I do remember one Christmas morning very vividly. So there I was greedily tearing away wrapping paper from all the goodies Santa brought me when I came across an obvious shoe box.

I remember being disappointed already before even removing the colorful wrapping paper and just sitting it to the side. What little boy wants a pair of bleeping shoes on Christmas? But my mom – being the psychotic mastermind she is – insisted I open it. Reluctantly I did, but what was awaiting me was not a boring old pair of sneakers, but 4, oh hell yeah, 4 Godzilla movies. I still own them. Among them being Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla and Godzilla vs Gigan! These videotapes were treasures to a fan like me! 

image courtesy of Manic Exorcism, circa 1989

This lack of movies also meant if you found a copy at your local video rental you were about to have a really good weekend. It was almost like a sacred quest and no less ambitious than any adventure Indiana Jones ever went on. We were kinda like paleontologists digging through movie shelves trying to discover just a single copy of a movie we (oh dear God, please oh please) had not already seen.  

I remember my cousin and me storming through one video store to the next just trying to get a copy of one of these monstrous relics. And then one Friday it finally happened! The stars came into alignment, God was merciful, or maybe Cthulhu was having a good dream, but, whatever the reason, there it was! A mother-loving Godzilla movie we had never seen yet – Godzilla vs the Smog Monster!!!

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs the Smog Monster’

I think we watched that movie every single chance we had. Like soon as it ended we would rewind it just to hit play again. I remember we even tried to get a video camera out and film ourselves making fun of the movie by adding our own little quips and inputs to ‘enhance’ the dialogue and greatly entertain ourselves. Yup, we had the idea for MST3K before Tom Servo or Crow ever sat front row to do what we loved them for. 

Another challenge was, well, just being a fan for the sake of being a fan. Being a Godzilla fan was almost like an underground thing.

There weren’t many people back then who loved the big guy like the few of us did. As result, there just wasn’t a market for it so collecting Godzilla stuff was nearly impossible. 

Today all you have to do is go to Target and you’ll find lots of amazing Godzilla stuff – mostly thanks to NECA. It’s a very different world from the one I grew up in and that’s a great thing!

Image courtesy of Toho

People my age can now easily find copies of these incredible movies to show their own kids and there are so many toys to now collect. We may have grown up but we have every right to play Godzilla with our little ones and spread that love to the next generation. Isn’t it amazing how that turned out?

It’s a good time to be a Godzilla fan. What with the new movies being released by Legendary that gives us a faithful upgrade to the Showa Era monsters we grew up with. 

image courtesy of Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

The Criterion Collection just recently released the entire Showa Era Godzilla collection on Blu-ray meaning all those movies that we might have missed out on seeing are now available!  

And I can’t believe that I now own a bona fide Godzilla figure from the very movie that got me into this whole giant monster craze, Godzilla vs Mothra. The details of the figure are uncanny. It’s like it was taken straight out of the classic film. I now own 6 different NECA Godzilla figures alone! It’s a new sickness that I’m convinced my loved ones will initiate a well-planned intervention for me soon. 

So here we are. Nearly 40 years later and still I’m a fan of the King of the Monsters, a title he has rightfully earned over the years. The greatness of Godzilla isn’t simply found in one movie, or even in a series of movies. It is how one single idea about identifying the nuclear age in the body of a new cinematic monster has gone above and beyond TOHO’s wildest dreams.

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Gojira’

Godzilla is a cultural phenomenon and unites people from all walks of life. He’s such a big deal in Japan that there’s a place for him at the Museum of Japanese History. 

So he might not have been the first giant monster to awe audiences but ever since his appearance in ’54 he’s taken the world by storm. He’s inspired a massive franchise that is still ongoing to this day.

The latest TOHO installment was Shin Godzilla back in 2016 and returned Godzilla back to his destructive roots. He’s seen as a plague of sorts upon a world of carelessness towards nature. 

Image courtesy of Toho, ‘Shin Godzilla’

This time around Godzilla appears in three evolutionary stages. The third and primary stage gives him this sickly macabre look some fans call ‘Zombie Godzilla.’ It’s a dark commentary on Japan’s politics during times of crisis and is a special effects masterpiece. A must-watch for hardcore fans!

Currently, on Netflix, there is a three-part Godzilla anime for fans to enjoy. Though there have been other animated representations of Godzilla this is in fact the first anime he’s ever had. 

I already mentioned how Legendary has given the Godzilla universe a very respectful and epic American update to the King of the Monsters. There are currently 3 movies in this new MonsterVerse:  Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).

Image courtesy of Toho and Legendary, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ and ‘Godzilla vs King Ghidorah’

As someone who’s been watching Godzilla movies since before I had a fully formed vocabulary I can say I genuinely love what Legendary is doing with these big guys. We’re all waiting for the next installment, Godzilla vs Kong which was slated to show this year but with COVID19 we’ll have to wait and see what happens. 

Godzilla has been the representation of nuclear terror, an unstoppable force risen against all humanity, a monster without pity or compassion. He has also stood tall as a symbol of hope as he withstood the odds and protected the Earth from extraterrestrial invaders bent on destroying the planet.

Over the years he’s been our reckoning and our protection, a destroyer and a savior, two sides of the same coin. He’s starred in over 30 movies and shows no signs of slowing down. 

image courtesy of Playmates Toys, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’

In some cases, he is a nuclear-enhanced dinosaur. Sometimes he’s a mystery risen from the sea. And he’s even been a surviving titan come back from a prehistoric time to face the newly awakened challenges threatening our world today. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Ok I know, I know! I gotta stop already or this could go on forever. People familiar with my writing know how much I love Hellraiser and Dracula, but had it not been for Godzilla I have to wonder if I would have as much admiration for Pinhead or the vampiric Count? Godzilla was my gateway monster and has remained a trusted constant in my life.

Godzilla is timeless. 

image courtesy of Toho, ‘Godzilla vs the Astral Monster,’ victory dance

So hey if you crave all those warm retro feels and want more Godzilla goodness stay tuned and follow us here where nightmares and nostalgia are explored.  

Have a favorite Godzilla or kaiju memory and would like to share with us? Let us know down in the comments below.

Manic Exorcism

From “Market Monsters” To Rotten Hot Dogs; 5 Fun Facts About Supermarket Sweep!

FROM "MARKET MONSTERS" TO ROTTEN HOT DOGS; 5 FUN FACTS ABOUT SUPERMARKET SWEEP!

Attention shoppers! If there’s one game show that most people remember from their 90s’ childhood, it’s most definitely Supermarket Sweep. The show wasn’t made for kids per se, but who the hell didn’t think running around a faux grocery store throwing mass amounts of gourmet golden hams and 4 foot long salamis into a grocery cart looked like fun? It made that boring weekly trip to Smiths with your mom a little more exciting. Admit it. When no one was looking and the aisles were clear you ran down that son of a bitch slam-dunking Planters Cheez Balls in the cart fantasizing that you owned every single cool sweater David Ruprecht owned.

Ok. Maybe that was just me. But in all seriousness, and from the mouth of the man himself, Ruprecht was the Imelda Marcos of 90s’ sweater fashion.

FROM "MARKET MONSTERS" TO ROTTEN HOT DOGS; 5 FUN FACTS ABOUT SUPERMARKET SWEEP!

But no matter how big a fan you are, there’s still some fun things about the beloved show that might come as a surprise to you! Let’s dive into some behind the scenes facts you may have completely forgotten, or didn’t know all.

Supermarket Sweep is older than you think

Sure we all know the nostalgic, Lifetime aired 90s’ version. However, it wasn’t the first! Supermarket Sweep actually dates back all the way to 1965 first airing on the ABC network. With host Bill Malone, the premise was the same of three pairs of contestants running around like madmen. Men being the keyword here as typically the females handled the trivia part of the show while their male counterparts did all the messy shopping. Gotta love that 1960s’ stereotype bullshit.

Anyways, instead of being filmed on a set like the version we all know and love, the 60s’ game show was shot in actual grocery stores! And they actually got to keep their groceries! If they didn’t win top dog in the game, at least they ate good for a while!

Some of the food on the shelves were rotten and spoiled

nightmare nostalgia

Albeit most of the food used in the popular show was indeed fake as fuck. Oh yes. Those golden yams were just plastic blobs of plastic my friends. However, it didn’t start out that way. According to former host Ruprecht, those hot dogs in the sweet sweep were absolutely disgusting in an interview with Great Big Story.

“We shot for about five months, six months every year, and they used the same food over and over again. So by about the third month, the hot dogs had sort of started to ferment in the package and the package swelled up. And a lot of the food, having been thrown in and out of carts for three, four months had gotten pretty beaten up.”

Maybe it was after someone finally blew chunks from the smell from some of this stuff, they ultimately did away with any and all real products. Even though you and I know nobody was packing hot dogs in their cart as that would be fruitless in advancing your cart score, someone had to have noticed that nastiness at some point.

Those sweet contestant sweaters were offered as consolation prizes

Listen. I can say with full certainty that I would take one of those sweet Dad style sweep sweaters over a lame cash prize day any day! I hate to call them “losers”, because I’d be winning all day in that damn thing. However, contestants that didn’t move onto the $5,000 big sweep game, had that choice to take a cash prize or keep that sweaty, cheap sweatshirt that may or may not have reeked of spoiled hot dogs.

Who cares. Give me that high fashion rag please.

That supermarket was a lot smaller than it looked on TV

nightmare nostalgia supermarket sweep

Well honestly, I was definitely fooled upon learning this myself. A former contestant spilled the beans to the A.V. Club that the actual market was “very tiny.”

“A little bit bigger than a bodega in the city. It’s very tiny. It looks huge, but it’s small. Even in the aisles, you had to be careful if you and your cameraman were running and another group was coming down that aisle. You had to make sure you were all the way to the side or there could have been an accident.”

Supermarket Sweep had it’s own Monster Squad

No, it wasn’t a Halloween special. This went on for a few episodes! I’m not sure of how long it lasted but in the earliest days of the Sweep, producers thought it would be hilarious to insert these wild characters deemed “market monsters” into the grocery ransacking shenanigans to scare the shit out of the contestants.

From the likes of giant gorillas, Frankenstein, and a fellow called Mr. Yuk that actually kind of looks like a Kroger rip-off of the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth (seen above), these guys made another goofy addition to the game show that ended up getting scrapped entirely. Below is a full episode from the glorious Youtube that features a Market Monster that I can only best describe as the ugly offspring of The Gobbeldy Gooker. *You can check him out at around 13 minutes in.

Now if you’ll excuse me, full episodes of this majestic game show are indeed streaming on Amazon Prime for free. So I’ll be down that nostalgic rabbit hole for the next three days. So the next time you’re at the market register and you hear that beep, think of all the fun facts you learned from Nightmare Nostalgia’s article on Supermarket Sweep!