Posts tagged dracula
Posts tagged dracula
R.I.P. Carla Laemmle (October 20th, 1909 - June 12th, 2014)
Among the guests at her 100th birthday party in 2009 were Ray Bradbury, Bela Lugosi Jr., Sara Karloff, and Ron Chaney.
This is extremely saddening. Where was I when this news broke? How come it wasn’t mentioned at all in any major news outlet?
Carla Laemmle was the daughter of Carl Laemmle, founder of a little film studio called Universal Studios. Her first on-screen role (albeit uncredited) was as a dancer in the original 1925 silent version of The Phantom of the Opera, but she became something of a cult figure by speaking the very first lines of dialogue in the classic 1931 horror film, Dracula.
I can’t say that I collect autographs, but hers was one that I very much wanted, simply because she was the last surviving link to original horror films. She’d been there since the genre’s inception, and has only watched it grow and/or deteriorate throughout the years. She’d always been insanely energetic and lively during her interviews, and even at 104 was signing autographs for fans. She just seemed really fascinating and lovely, and now she’s gone. At 104, I can’t say I’m surprised or shocked, just, again, saddened.
Rest in peace, Carla.
This beautiful dancer is Carla Laemmle. One of our last direct links to the world of silent cinema, she turned 104 on October 20, 2013. Born in 1909 with the given name Rebecca, she later changed her name to Carla. The niece of Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle, she danced as the prima ballerina in the first American horror feature film, The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and spoke the first line of dialogue in the first sound horror film, Dracula (1931).
I just saw a fairly-recent documentary with her in it, and she didn’t seem nearly that old! Geeze, I wish her the best.
I love LEGO. That’s all you need to know.
Let’s start our Monstrous Minifigure Marathon in a creepy castle-slash-laboratory. Because that’s awesome.
Who’s that on the operating slab? It’s the Monster with the Oversized Forehead! It’s OK, buddy, I can relate.
Seriously, though, I love that forehead piece. I like how the only things keeping his brain in his head are two safety pins. Kudos, LEGO.
The Mad Scientist is about to inject something into his crazy creation. As if zapping his head with 1.21 gigawatts of electricity wasn’t bad enough. Sheesh.
Next to Mad Scientist is arguably my favorite minifigure of all time: Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. Ugh, he’s just so cool looking! Like Two-Face, one half of his suit is pristine and dapper, while the other looks like Wolverine tried it on. I love how he even has the mutton chops like Fredric March (Freddie played Jekyll/Hyde in the 1931 MGM film. I am pointless knowledge.)!
Behind him is good ol’ Mummy. I have, like, three different Mummy minifigs, but this guy looked lonely and needed some friends. Plus, he’s the only one with bright green skin under his wrappings, which I found particularly Halloweeny.
Behind Mad Scientist is a skeleton wearing a witch’s hat. She doesn’t have a backstory. A spell gone horribly wrong is my best guess.
Towering above the rest of the pathetic mortals are Dracula and his bride. Ol’ Drac is looking pretty smug up there, with his fancy clothes and creepy red pupils. His bride, on the other hand, looks pissed at the world. I can’t tell if she’s so angry because her dress is all ripped up, or because her head glows in the dark, but nobody can tell because the lights are on. Either way, suck it up, buttercup.
(Whew. My entire blogging schedule got thrown outta whack for a second there. Let’s bring it on back, shall we?)
Ladies and gentlemen, once upon a time, companies were able to sell fatty foods with the help of colorful and adorable mascots. And there were no junk food mascots like those from McDonald’s.
Yeah, yeah, Ronald’s still hanging around, donating to charities and trying to convince kids to eat apple slices, but the McDonald’s gang used to be a lot more diverse. Birdy, Grimace, the Hamburglar, the Fry Kids, Officer Big Mac, and even a pirate who tried to steal Filet-O-Fishes named Captain Crook. Oh, come on, that’s brilliant.
I was always a fan of the Hamburglar (his costume was cool, OK?), but the characters that really drove kids batshit crazy were the McNugget Buddies.
They were regularly-sized McNuggets, but they were, like…Muppets McNuggets. And they each had different personalities, and always wore different outfits. And, for whatever reason, kids freaking loved them.
McDonald’s wasn’t stupid, and decided to start packaging McNugget Buddies toys with their Happy Meals. And, again, the kids went crazy.
"OUR OWN MCNUGGET BUDDIES?!? MOOOOOOOM!!! BUY ME ONE!!!"
So that happened for a while. Then Halloween rolled around. And, as I’ve mentioned before, the fast food joints were getting their spirited, seasonal toys ready. And, holy crap, I never could’ve predicted these.
Guys, to this day I want all of these. Every last one. These just scream “HALLOWEEN!!” Witches, Frankenstein monsters, mummies, jack-o-lanterns…the Buddies got almost every Halloween staple covered.
I remember owning a lot of them. I’m positive I had the witch, and maybe even the mummy. But, alas, only two remain. However, I couldn’t be more happy with them.
I’ll get this gal out of the way first. Because, you know, ghosts. You knew it was coming.
I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of “McBoo.” She’s a little too “crazy old cat lady” for my taste, with her little flowered hat and all. But I’m pretty sure she’s the only McNugget Buddy who has a costume that covers her entire body. Stay classy, Ms. McBoo!
On the other hand, I was so happy when I dug this little guy out from under my stairs. I’m not a fan of Dracula *cue boos and unfollows*, but “McNuggula” just drips with Halloween-ness. It would be enough to have a McNugget Buddy dressed up as a vampire, complete with adorable fangs. But we also get a widows-peaked wig complete with perched bat! So, yeah…McNuggula, you’re one of the only Draculas I actually do love.
I would’ve much rather paired him up with “Witchie”, because they compliment each other so well. Sadly, I don’t think she survived one of the many garage sales we held in my youth.
McNugget Buddies wouldn’t be McNugget Buddies if you couldn’t strip them down to their bare nuggetness. Now I can pretend that they’re an old married couple, and Mrs. McNugget is oblivious to Mr. McNugget’s nighttime endeavors.
So let’s dish. What’s the best Halloween-themed Happy Meal Toy you’ve ever gotten?
Happy October, all!
This countdown is a tad bittersweet. I have the bizarre feeling that this is going to be my last great Halloween for a while, simply because I’m growing up so fast. I’m going to be 23 next year, despite the fact that I normally act like I’m 7. Jobs and school will take over a large portion of my life, even more than they do now. It’s all creeping up on me so fast, and it’s kinda freaking me out.
So how will I find time to surround myself with the Halloween spirit when I’m so busy doing adulty things? Enter the Halloween Mood Table ™:
So I had to drive about an hour away from my city to stop by very remote GameStop the other day. The reason: that was where the only used copy of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker in the entire state of Michigan was located. It was a journey that tested my very humanity, but I finally had the precious game in my hands.
See, I had played Wind Waker a long time ago. Borrowed it from a friend. He took it back and I never played it again. With my brand spankin’ new used Gamecube chilling in my room, I knew that I needed a brand spankin’ new used game to go with it. Wind Waker was that game.
However, this article isn’t about Wind Waker (that will be a much longer post filled with happiness and exclamation points). Nay, this is about the Toys R Us that was right next door to the GameStop, and the pretty awesome stuff I found there.
See, I’ve been out of the loop for a while when it comes to kid toys. I have no clue what the kids are into anymore. There was this thing called “Beyblades” that was hip for a while, I think, but now it’s something called “Bakugan”? I don’t even care. It’s all silly stuff that I would’ve never played with as a kid.
However, deep within the confines of this Toys R Us were…
TOYS I WOULD HAVE PLAYED WITH AS A KID
Stinky Little Trash Monsters
I wasn’t into the Garbage Pail Kids growing up, but I was into Meanies. Does anyone remember those bad boys? They were basically spoofs of Beanie Babies, which were insanely popular at the time. They had such wonderful creatures to collect, like the “Velocicrapper” and “Floaty the Dead Fish.” This little guy is named “Preemie.”
Yup. I ate those things up with a spoon as a young, impressionable child.
My point is that I’m no stranger to the “gross/bizarre” toys that are marketed to young boys. We are, after all, made of snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails. Guys like sick stuff.
I’m not sure the Stiny Little Trash Monsters live up to their names, but they are pretty cool. They each come in their own trashcan and have stickers attached to their bellies that are supposed to represent their insides.
The “gross” factor is still there, but it’s much tamer than it was when I was a kid. I’m alright with that, though, because 7-year-old me would’ve still wanted to collect all of these guys.
Any guy who was born in the late 80s/early 90s remembers Creepy Crawlers. They were my “thing” in the family when I was young: my sister had Polly Pocket, my brother had Sonic the Hedgehog, and I had Creepy Crawlers. I made so many of those stupid sticky bugs and plastered them all over the house, constantly trying to reenact the commercial by freaking out my sister. It never really happened.
This box looks like it’s straight from the 90s, complete with the original logo and dark, colorful Creepy Crawler-making machines. This was, again, trying to cash in on the “boys like icky stuff” notion, and I played right into their hands.
My parents stopped buying me Creepy Crawlers after my fifth one got stuck in the carpet…anyways, moving on.
RETRO SONIC THE HEDGEHOG TOYS
Sonic the Hedgehog was the character that got me into gaming oh so many years ago. I played every single one of the games (Except Knuckles’ Chaotix. Even as a kid I wasn’t interested), watched the cartoon religiously, and even read the comics. However, I never did have a Sonic plushie. Lord knows I would’ve wanted one.
This is nice because, in an attempt to help sell (the rather brilliant) Sonic Generations, Toys R Us and Sega have been releasing retro Sonic toys. I’m insanely tempted every single time I see one to just buy it. Because I like my blue hedgehogs to be short, plump, and have black eyes. Modern Sonic just isn’t my Sonic…
Anyways, speaking of which, go play Sonic Generations if you haven’t yet. It’s pretty fun and filled with nostalgia.
UNIVERSAL MONSTER PLUSHIES
I wasn’t crazy into classic Universal horror as a kid, but damn am I now. However, there was no Wolf Man in sight, so I passed on these.
IRON MAN WEARING CAP’S MASK
This has nothing to do with anything. Just thought it looked funny.
KENNER STAR WARS ACTION FIGURES
As a child, I loved Star Wars. All of them, but especially Return of the Jedi. I had playsets, Legos, action figures, toy lightsabors, a ton of model ships…it was amazing.
Then Phantom Menace came out and suddenly it wasn’t cool to like Star Wars anymore. That didn’t stop me from having my B-Wing and Slave I duke it out in a dogfight to the death.
Anyways, these Kenner action figures are now being sold in the old-school packages, which delights the hell out of my inner child. Example, this guy is a B-Wing Pilot. He has no name and, aside from the fact that he pilots one of my favorite ships in the series, he means nothing to me.
But I was still tempted to buy him just to stare at the box he was in.
I figured I wouldn’t have to talk about this as much, because you can’t walk into the video game section of any store without seeing this set-up. As an adult, I can see that this is all a scheme to get parents to spend a ton of money on unnecessarily-expensive toys that really don’t add much to the game.
But as a kid…this would’ve been my new Pokemon. It’s literally perfect for kids: Kids love collecting stuff. Kids love monsters. Kids love video games. And kids love toys. This combines all of these aspects into one epic money-grabbing game.
Don’t make that face. You know if you were 8-years-old you would be begging for all of these. And if you don’t think you would, think about that time you cried because your mom wouldn’t buy you that Beanie Baby you really wanted.
Skylanders is one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen for kids in a long time. However, this list has been building up to something. A toy I saw that literally made me do a double take. I would’ve wanted it as a kid, and I want it now.
TEST TUBE ALIENS!
Guys, out of everything on this list, this is the one I wanted the most. They’re aliens that you raise in a plastic test tube. They’re like Sea Monkeys and those stupid “it grows in water” toys you see in dollar stores, only better!
But look at this box. Just look at it. The premise is so simple, but the box says “No. This is important and amazingly awesome. You need this Test Tube Alien.”
Again, there are six gruesome aliens that you can collect. However, upon further research, I discovered that there were six more you could find. And these new six aliens were “pure evil” and fought the “good” aliens.
Ignore the phallic cocoon this guy is in. Because, according to the box, once you add water, the cacoon will dissolve away and reveal an infant alien. Inside of this alien are lights in the chest and brain that will freaking glow once it’s hatched, representing a brain and a heart.
Like…there is so much more I could go into, but holy crap I need these now.
There’s a whole backstory to these guys, too. And each little alien has their own name and bio. The guy I was drawn to was a little blue dude named Spron, who, according to the back of his box, “uses his beady red eyes for human mind control.”
I dunno, this was the sort of crap I was into as a kid. Creepy monster stuff that had a backstory , like Skannerz. Anyone remember Skannerz? Talk about an epic marketing campaign! I think I even still have mine…
Aw yeah! These things were awesome!
Anyways…I’m seriously gonna go back and buy one of those Test Tube Aliens. Maybe even two, just for kicks. I’m glad that there are toys out there that still rely on and fuel a child’s imagination, and aren’t just there to sell movie tickets.
MINI MUGGS NICK FURY
Because I spent a ton of my money on Gamecube games earlier that day (I regret very little), I didn’t want to spend too much money at TRU. I settled on a little Nick Fury toy, part of the Mighty Muggs line. I’ll be honest, I never saw the appeal of the Mighty Muggs. They looked silly and weren’t as cool to collect as, say, MiniMates or the Hasbro 3 inch figures.
But I picked this fella up today, not because I’m a particularly big fan of Fury, but because I want him around in case I have a really stupid day. I can look at him and pretend he’s inviting me to be a part of the Avengers Initiative.
I’m a little pathetic, but I’m OK with that.