Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 Halloween Countdown!

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Quick update time! I would like to welcome all my new readers to the 2011 Halloween Countdown and thank everyone else who has stuck with me since the beginning. You guys have made the month of September the highest (page view wise) that I have had yet! So extra special thanks to everyone for checking the website out and for helping to spread the word. I assure you I have lots of awesome content in store for the month of October, including three of the best pieces I have ever wrote. To say I am excited about the October content and moving forward with future pieces is an understatement.

Some small website issues have been corrected. I extended the length of the blog so that I could increase the photo size to almost triple of what they previously where. Speaking of photos,  I've also been working really hard on trying to take some far more interesting ones, including adding some much needed text and themed boarders. You can also now click on each image to see an even larger version of it. I know photos are an important part of every website and I am pleased to finally bring them to the forefront of this one.

After much deliberation I have decided to do away with Friday's "Halloween Horror Recommendation" articles. I had previously planned to update every Friday from the beginning of September through October 31st with a new horror movie review. While they are fun (and relatively easy to write, since I have spent years prior writing for a horror movie website doing the exact same thing) they were just not getting the page views that I had hoped for. For those of you who did enjoy them, fear not as I will not quit covering horror movies in October. Instead of them being posted every Friday, it will simply be updated periodically throughout the month. I just hate to spend so much time writing articles that ultimately not that many people read, when I can instead focus on improving the quality of those that do get more attention. Quality over quantity!

For my new readers who have came over from Cryptkeepers 2011 Countdown to Halloween website, welcome and I hope your stay is as spooky as possible. This is the first year I have done a big "themed" countdown but I think you will find the content to be on par with any other Halloween website! Unlike other Halloween Countdowns, I run mine for two full months (and then into part of November) so if you are just now finding your way to The Astro Lounge here is a recap of everything covered thus far!
Also if you scroll down towards the bottom of the website you will see something called The Halloween Jukebox. Here you will find just shy of 100 different musical tracks that are guaranteed to get you into the Halloween spirit. This playlist makes for a great complement to go along with the Halloween Countdown and I have made sure to add a little bit of something for everyone in there. So please check it out, if you have not already. Otherwise, stay tuned because the 2011 Halloween Countdown is only just beginning! Stay Spooky everyone! ~Kyle

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Field Guide to Demons!

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As we creep closer to October 31st everyone's attention usually shifts a little bit more towards ghosts, goblins, and all things that go bump in the night. It is part of what makes the month of October so much fun. This really is the only time of year that such topics suddenly become socially acceptable. If you try reading a book like "A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits" in the middle of December everyone is going to think you are wacko. But near the month of October, this shit becomes research and valid one at that! You don't want to be stuck in some dark forest and find yourself face to face with an evil forest fairy. Or exploring a cave and accidentally uncover a dank, disgusting layer of a troll. Or worse yet be laying in bed one night and feel the presence of some demonic spirit entering your home! Like I said, valid research! So lets dive deep into the pages of a pretty cool book that is all about the things you thought only existed in fairy tales!

Help Decide a Future Article!

Fun Fact: The older you get the less interesting things you are allowed to purchase. When you are a kid it is perfectly acceptable to spend your entire allowance on toys and junk food. When you get your first job its fun to blow entire paychecks on expensive electronics and name brand clothing just to impress your friends. However one day you just sort of wake up and realize that slowly life has started to creep in on you and now you've got bills to pay, (less expensive) clothing to purchase, and food to buy. All with very little money leftover. So for every fake rubber eye and mini slinky that I purchase there about four thousand other more boring "life items" that there is just no way to avoid spending your hard earned money on. I am talking about stupid things you cannot live without, like toilet paper or toothpaste. Junk like that.

Sometimes though, luck can be on your side and you can turn what should be a boring "life item" into an adventure into the unknown. Behold! Decorate-A-Mug Kit is not just a coffee mug, its a coffee mug that you draw shit all over. Long story short I would like to have some type of  mug for work and while any cheap, generic coffee mug would have been sufficient that is just not my style. After searching long and hard I found this highly discounted item that appears to be a byproduct of seventeen Christmas shopping seasons ago. There was no possible way that I could pass it up.

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Standing in the store I came up with an interesting idea, what if I gave everyone at home the power  to help decide the fate of this Decorate-A-Mug? Seems like a fun idea to me! So here is how all of this will work, we will hold a little poll which will be open to all my Twitter Followers, Facebook Friends, and of course everyone who reads this blog to decide just exactly how it gets decorated. It has no specific end date, therefore it is probably fundamentally flawed but that is beside the point. Here are your voting options:

The first option is a Halloween Theme. I will decorate this mug to the best of my ability and make it as spooky or creepy as possible, using only whatever items are present on the inside of this box. The mug will be painted and posted no later than October 31st thus making it apart of the Halloween Countdown!

The second option is a Christmas Theme. Once again I will decorate the mug to the best of my ability only this time making it look as jolly and ummm... whatever the Christmas opposite of "creepy" would be. Using only whatever presumably dried out and dead markers are inside of the box, the mug will be painted and posted no later than December 25th thus making it apart of the Christmas Countdown!

Those are your options, so please leave your two cents down below in the comment section. You do not have to register an account to comment (although accounts are free and pretty awesome!) you are more than welcome to leave an anonymous comment too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! - [REC.]

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!

[REC.] is a film that you may have already indirectly seen as shortly after this films release a big budget American remake called Quarantine was put into production. Quarantine was almost a shot for shot remake of [REC.] and while they are both really good in there own ways, [REC.] has a few minor plot changes that end up giving it the edge over its American counterpart. If you have seen and enjoyed Quarantine there is a good chance that you might not even know that it is a remake of a very good foreign film. So lets change that and take a quick look at what makes the original such a worth while endeavor!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Halloween Oreo's Live!

Every Halloween and every Christmas certain products get released that tell us it is ok to start getting ready for the seasons. Since there inception in 1991, Halloween Oreo's have became one of the seasons defining yearly incarnations. It simply does not feel like Halloween until you spot a giant display of  Halloween Oreo's set up in stores. Just one short week before the month of October Halloween Oreo's have returned and they are just as awesome as ever!

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Coming in an identical package as last year these are by in large the same cookies I wrote about last season. The same package, with the same orange filling, and the same five shapes imprinted on the top of each cookie. But you know what that is alright. We love Oreo's for there consistency. If its not broken don't fix it and there is nothing to fix about Halloween Oreo's! The package they have came up with is one of the best seasonal packages you'll see throughout this Halloween Countdown. Unlike some other companies who release seasonal fall products, Nabisco is one of the few left who proudly and boldly display the word HALLOWEEN all over theirs. Combine that with the creepy looking haunted house off in the distance and the overpowering sight of that pumpkin and you've got the marks for one of the best seasonal products ever!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Star Wars Breakfast Cereal!

This next entry is going to be a quick break from the 2011 Halloween Countdown. I know, I know... I made a promise to keep everything between the months of September and October spooky or otherwise creepy but it is impossible to say no breakfast cereal that ties into Star Wars. Therefore the Halloween Countdown is on a momentary hiatus while we take a quick look at this limited edition set!

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From the front we have three seemingly normal boxes of cereal. Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Lucky Charms. Astute eyes might notice that the Lucky Charms and Cheerio boxes appear to be a little larger than normal and other than some coupons on the front of the box providing a $3 savings on the films Blu-Ray release there is nothing that really points to any of these as being something special. As a matter of fact if it was not for a gigantic display set up right in front of the DVD section at Wal-Mart I might have walked right past them and not given a second glace. Thankfully though, the out of place display caught my attention and upon closer inspection realized that it was the back of these boxes that is the stuff dreams are made of. Don't believe me? Then just take a look for yourself!

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Flip these bad boys over and you are presented with the utmost glorious display of all things Star Wars! Pretty much every major character from all six films are accounted for here. Yoda and Darth Vader take up the most prominent positions on the boxes, each becoming the focal point for either the good side or the bad side of the Star Wars universe. I sort of wish that Yoda was the puppet Yoda instead of the CGI Yoda but since George Lucas would like us to forget anything related to the original theatrical cuts of the films, we get the modern version of Yoda. I guess it is really not that big of deal. It could have been worse, Jar Jar Binks could have taken up half of one side of the display. What we do have is a very nice limited edition display that just begs to be put on a shelf someplace. So lets take a quick look at some of the little finer details jammed into this art. These are my favorite parts of this limited edition Star Wars Breakfast Cereal!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Charlie Brown Halloween Figures!

When I think of Halloween decorations I think of old crumbly tombstones, fake rubber bats, glow in the dark ghosts, and those fake bloody arms that you can purchase and hang out of the trunk of your car or torment the mail man with. These are the kinds of things they do not sell at Hallmark. When I think Hallmark I tend to think of there Christmas ornaments, of which they have a wide variety to choose. And while I have always been aware of the fact that they sell Halloween items too, I have never considered them to be "real" Halloween decorations. Not in the Fright Catalog since, that is. Hallmark generally sells what I define as 'grandmother decorations'. Little cute pumpkins with stupid happy faces or porcelain black cats standing next to scarecrows. These are the kinds of items that your grandparents might use to decorate the china hutch in order to make it appear festive for Thanksgiving not Halloween.

But seeing as how I work right next door to a Hallmark store and our mail often times gets delivered to the wrong location, I tend to stop in a little more often than I used to. So when I seen recently that they had set up a small Halloween isle, I looked at it with a sort of wink and a nod thinking to myself "I appreciate the effort but I will probably not be leaving with anything special." Turns out I was wrong, I left with a whole series of 'It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown' "keepsake ornaments"! Keepsake ornament sounds like bullshit code word for 'Christmas Decoration' but whatever these things technically qualify as I am declaring them fit for display in the month of October!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! - Troll Hunter

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!

Every now and then I like to cover films that you might not otherwise know about. Troll Hunter is an excellent example of a movie that if I did not know anything about prior, could have very easily walked by on the store shelf and not even given a second glace at. They say you should never judge a book by it's cover but after working at a video store for four years I can tell you that more times than not you can judge a film by it's title. Usually something as goofy sounding as Troll Hunter would be a low budget mess, featuring bad actors and even worse direction and plot. Fortunately though, Troll Hunter manages to do none of those things and ends up being a unique film experience that is just different enough to make it worth your while in tracking down!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

(Even More) Cheap Halloween Novelties!

The closer we get to the month of October the harder it is to go to the store and not leave with about seventy five trillion dollars worth of Halloween crap. It is just far to hard to pass anything sold in a gigantic orange package with demonic black text, especially since I started writing this blog. It has given me the perfect excuse to buy even more and file it all under the 'technically work' category. Here is my latest batch of frightful goodies which I have not so cleverly named (Even More) Cheap Halloween Novelties! Because it is... you know, some more random junk that I could not live without owning. I'm not a hoarder I am a collector. There is a difference.

Even to my own admission this current crop of crap is not quite as interesting as the first batch of Cheap Halloween Novelties that I wrote about. So instead of taking dozens of individual photos and writing never-ending paragraphs about why I love finger puppets and eyeballs that squirt water and why you should too. We are instead going for a slightly simpler approach with a group photo and shorter description of each items. But don't worry I fully plan on make up for it at the end of the article with an old TV commercial involving a talking slice of pizza. Halloween is the other season of giving, you know.

The two packages of strange black stuff with the pumpkins sticking out all over it is Happy Halloween Garland. I have no idea what I am going to do with this stuff but hey it was only $2.00 for 12 feet of it and I would like to see you pass on that deal of a lifetime. Logically speaking, I needed to own 24 total feet of Happy Halloween Garland... you know just in case I think up of something really interesting to do with it. There is a 90% probability that it will just end up around the deck outside the front of my house with an even greater chance that it stays there through New Years because I am to lazy to take it down. I will just wrap Christmas Lights over the top of it and nobody else will be any of the wiser. Speaking of Christmas does this product remind anyone else of that other season coming up or is it just because it has the word "garland" in the title? Lets move on.

Next up is Vampire Teeth because no Halloween is complete without multicolored, slightly queer looking fake teeth. I can live with the orange and green colors and am sort of indifferent on the purple set but hot pink? If you ever meet a Vampire with hot pink teeth run. Seriously just run. Do not stand and question why such an abomination exists. Vampires with pink teeth are not out to suck your blood nor are they interested in women. Get your cardiovascular on and get the hell out of there while your sanity and dignity are still in check. But let's digress and move back towards the actual Vampire Teeth here for a minute. Color combinations aside, these teeth are one of the few unchanged items from when I was a kid that still exist today in the exact same form they did when I was a child. That last sentence is a perfect example of a 'run on sentence' but I am not going to edit it. Vampire Teeth are a fun item that inevitably one out of every ten kids will wear to school and subsequently get taken away. Parents, just pray your child does not elect to wear the hot pink set.  Now, lets move on.

Foam Stickers. There was a reason why I purchased this package of Foam Stickers but I do not remember what it was anymore. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that it was the last package left in the store and I will be damned if someone else was going to own it other than me! If I had to make up some random percentage, which I fully plan on doing,  I would venture that 83% of these Foam Stickers were sold to second grade English teachers using them to "sticker" kids writing assignments. You'll be lying to yourself if you do not agree with that last statement. As I am not currently a second grade English teacher, I really don't have any clue what I am going to do with these. Maybe I will put them in with the rest of my candy / toys on Halloween Night. Though I would feel quite bad if some kid tried to eat that little piece of foam candy corn. Maybe I will keep them. Maybe I will decorate my computer with them? Maybe I will write and grade my own English assignments so I can sticker my own paper? This is turning into a prime example of a "run on paragraph." but I am also electing not to edit it. Let's move on.

Lastly we come to my favorite item of the group Glow in the Dark Skeleton Gloves! Decorating for Halloween is not as hard nor as time consuming as it might seem. There is actually a very simple formula to follow, which I would now like to share with everybody. When it comes to Halloween junk you can:

A.) Never have enough things that glow in the dark.
B.) Never have enough skeleton gloves.                     

This item does both. Thus making it the greatest thing I have ever seen and something I should wear year long. Clocking in at the low, low price of only $1.50 and coming sold in a way that made them impossible to actually try on in the store I figured these things would either be so gigantic that no normal person could ever hope to wear them or so small that a five year old would bitch about the size. Turns out they fit perfectly. Who could have guessed? I have had many pairs of skeleton gloves over the years and my least favorite kinds are the ones with the hard plastic pieces sewn on top. My favorite being the ones with a simple design painted on. This pair somehow manages to fall perfectly in the middle by giving cool little raised pieces that are actually apart of the fabric and they glow in the dark. I approve. I vastly approve, actually.

BONUS PIZZA COMMERCIAL!!!! Surely I cannot be the only person who remembers Pizza Hut's slightly bizarre series commercials called "The Pizza Head Show"? Just in case I am allow me to explain. The Pizza Show was a series of shorts that ran from 1993 to 1997 that stared (literally) a slice of pizza with a face and his arch nemesis Steve... who was a fucking pizza cutter. Someone was seriously stoned when they thought up this idea. The fact that it not only got turned into a series of commercials but managed to last for four years is quite frankly amazing.

This is the Halloween commercial and while I am not quite sure what its original air date is, judging by the overall look of it I would have to guess it was one of the later commercials. I would attempt to explain just what the hell is going on in this specific commercial but umm I am not really sure. You will just have to watch it and judge for yourself. All that I know is that it is thirty seconds of pure awesome and involves a pizza cutter dressed as Count Dracula. Do you really need any more reason to watch it then that?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

10 Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse!

Zombies. One day they will rise from the grave and destroy us all. It is not a matter of if but a matter of when. So when the day finally arrives that you find the rotting corpse of your next door neighbor violently chewing on the spleen of your sister in-law, you can either panic and quickly find yourself amongst the living dead or you can stay calm and follow these ten simple rules for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse! The choice is yours!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lego Mini Figure Reviews #3

Lego Mini Figures are individually packaged Lego Figures sold in sealed mystery bags. Each series has sixteen figures and there are currently five sets of figures that have been released. Lego Mini Figure Reviews is an ongoing series in which we will take a look at some of the best (and worst!) figures that I own!

Series Four Figure Three is The Monster! But let's not kid ourselves, what we are looking at is none other than FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER! Or at least as legally close to Frankenstein as Lego could achieve without infringing on Universal's copyright on the character. As you will see in later posts Lego has really went the extra mile by including some very cool classic horror movie monsters within the Mini Figure's line. Making them very clearly the figures to own in the set. I love them all but The Monster is my favorite of the bunch. It mostly has to do with the flat top head extension and the green skin tone. Though the bandages on his head are a nice touch as well. The Monster makes a great dual entry character, fitting into both the Lego reviews and the Halloween Countdown! Very cool stuff indeed!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! -- Hellraiser

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!

If you have never had the chance to read Clive Barker's short story "The Hellbound Heart" I strongly suggest you do so. It is an incredibly sick and twisted book that is both brutal and straight to the point, clocking in at only 164 pages. "The Hellbound Heart" focuses on a mysterious puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration. When opened the box is said to revile a place of great pleasure to its owner. However in actuality the puzzle box is home to a group of very disturbing creatures known as The Cenobites. Devilish looking creatures straight out of the depths of hell they see little difference between extreme pleasure and extreme pain. "The Hellbound Heart" was first published in November of 1986 and it would not take long for Hollywood to come knocking at the door of author Clive Barker. A little less than a year later, September of  1987 to be exact, Barkers novel would be released as a major motion picture. Hellraiser was a horror film the likes of which mainstream horror had not seen in years. In fact it many will argue that Hellraiser was the original "torture porn" film that would later go on to inspire films such as Saw and Hostel.

Nike Goes Back to the Future!

Back to the Future Shoe Great Scott! Nike has finally decided to release those self lacing shoes that Michael J. Fox wore when he traveled to the year 2015 in the film 'Back to the Future II'. Dubbed the Nike MAG these shoes lack the auto laces shown in the film and are being released in a very limited quantity as an e-bay only auction item from now until September 18th. With 150 pairs being released per day. Now before you get all up in the air over Nike's decision to basically screw the general public out of every having a chance to own these it is important to note that 100% of all net proceeds of these shoes are being donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and will go towards helping to find a cure for Parkinsons disease. That sort of helps to ease the fact that a set sold for a little over $18,000.00 last night.

The price for these Nike MAGs have seemed to settle in at around $5,000 per set, which is only slightly less outrageous than what they went for yesterday but still far out of the price range of your average fan. Like I said it's nice knowing where the money is going to but that still doesn't help the fact that I really want a pair of these shoes! Although I have been reading that the general consensuses amongst the shoe community (yes, such a thing does in fact exist) is that if demand is high enough, Nike might eventually release a stripped down version to the public, one without the fancy LED lights and the light up Nike logos. I would be down with that and more than willing to spend $200 for said stripped down shoe. So if anyone from Nike is reading this, how about we get a Nike MAG for the rest of us!

Back to the Future ShoeI am really curious to see what everyone else thinks of these shoes. Realizing that it is a fairly noble gesture on the part of Nike, you know there is obviously some other hidden incentive for them as a company to be doing this. Wither it is as simple as publicity or a marketing stunt for a future public release of the shoe it is fairly obvious that as large as a company as Nike is, I doubt they are doing this just for the good intentions of Parkinsons research. As a life long 'Back to the Future' fan it does sort of feel like a slight kick in the pants knowing that only a very select few fans of the franchise will ever be able to own a set of these. The rest of us just get to look at photos online and hope that someday one will accidentally end up on a garage sale by someones misinformed mother. I would imagine that a good percentage of these shoes are going to end up right back on e-bay and would not be surprised to see a "buy it now" price of a cool million at some point. The rest are doomed to sit in some rich shoe collectors attic. Purchased not because they are replica 'Back to the Future' shoes but simply because they are some weird limited edition Nike item.

Hopefully though, a couple pairs of these shoes will end up in the right hands and we will get to see some cool "unpacking" videos on YouTube here in the next few days. So what do you guys think of the Nike MAG 'Back to the Future' shoes? How much would you be willing to spend to own a set? And if a stripped down version was to ever hit the market, would you actually purchase it?

Back to the Future Shoe

Friday, September 2, 2011

Halloween Horror Recommendation! - Halloween III: Season of the Witch

'Halloween Horror Recommendation!' is an ongoing series where we take a quick look at some of my favorite horror movies of all time! Sometimes they are big sometimes they are small but every time they are guaranteed to make you shriek with fright! Updated every Friday from now until October 31st!


Halloween III: Season of the Witch is one of the many long forgotten horror films of the 1980's even though it is a sequel to one of the greatest horror movies ever made, John Carpenters 'Halloween'. Originally released in October of 1982 it was produced by 'Halloween' series veterans John Carpenter and Debra Hill, though it was directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. Halloween III stars the great Tom Atkins as Dr. Daniel Challis, as well as Stacy Nelkin and Veteran Irish actor Dan O'Herlihy. Who was cast as Conal Cochran, the owner of the Silver Shamrock Mask Company and presumably some sort of evil witch. Halloween III had an estimated budget of $2.5 million and grossed only $14.4 million during its initial theatrical run in the United States. While initially panned by critics and fans alike for its steep departure from the prior 'Halloween' films the movie today has grown a cult status of sorts and continues to live on as a decent example of an early 80's horror film!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cheap Halloween Novelties

Every year I put on a gigantic display in my front yard for Halloween. Just how big is it?  Last year I set up a projector and had a drive in movie screen showing classic 'Universal Horror Movies' on one side of the lawn and a massive graveyard scene on the other side. When you put up as big of a display as that you have to be prepared for a lot of kids. On top of that you also have to have the good candy. You cannot draw that much attention to yourself and then give away some off-brand junk nobody likes. It is all Snickers Bars and Reese's Peanut Butte Cups at my house.

But over the years I have started to throw in some of those cheap novelty toys that are sold in most stores around this time of year. You know the kind, plastic spider rings, pencils, stickers, the cheap stuff that crowds up every Halloween isle across America. At first I viewed it as "filler" material, thinking that the candy would ultimately be the star of the show. Little did I realize that this filler material was going to end up being more popular than the actual candy. I guess when every other house is giving away candy the one with plastic spiders and fake vampire fangs sort of wins by default. So this year I have decided to ramp up the amount of novelties that I am giving away. Today we are going to take a look at some of those Cheap Halloween Novelties!