Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Post No.2: My Favorite Countdown to Halloween Posts

I thought It would be fun to rundown a list of my favorite 2012 Countdown to Halloween (or just Halloween related in general) posts from other blogs and websites.

October 8th, 15th, and 22nd, 2012
"A Spotter’s Guide To “The Cabin In The Woods Monsters"
PART 1 / PART 2 / PART 3
A guide to all the monsters in "The Cabin In The Woods."  I got a real kick out of reading this.

Caffeinated Joe
Sunday, October 14, 2012
"The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Meet Dracula"  
I wouldn't have been able to review The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula if I hadn't seen this post.

Midnight Monster Spookshow
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
"Countdown to Halloween - Board Game Night - The Many Faces of Which Witch" 
This was a fun "blast from the past" post about I haunted house board game I remember from when I was a kid.

The Fwoosh
October 18, 2012
A look at a variety of Frankenstein toys.

Neato Coolville
Friday, October 19, 2012
"Playing With The Munsters Paper Dolls"
Munsters Paper Dolls look super cool, I wish I had a set.

Revenge From The Cosmic Ark
Saturday, October 20, 2012
"Frankenstein V.S. Batman"
Just a picture of a Mattel Retro-Action Batman and Frankenstein's Monster figure, but Batman and Frankenstein are my two favorite types of toys, so this really struck my fancy.

Neato Coolville
Monday, October 22, 2012
"Comic Book Wallpaper: Black Cat Mystery #37"
This comic book cover made for a wonderfully creepy desktop wallpaper.

The Fwoosh
October 23, 2012
A look at an assortment of Dracula toys.

NEXT POST: For my next post, I'll be reviewing all the stuff I posted this month, and preview what's coming up in the future.

Halloween Post No.1: My Halloween Toys 2012


A few months ago, I started collecting toys.  One of the things I'm collecting is monster toys, especially Frankenstein toys.  I thought it would be a fun thing to start posting photos of my monster toy collection every Halloween, to see how it is growing.  The two Godzillas and the Mothra I've had for years, everything else I've bought in the last few months.  By the way, I do plan on opening that Boris Karloff box in the back of the photos up, I just haven't had the time to do it yet.

Tune back in later today, when I'll be posting links to my favorite Countdown to Halloween posts from other blogs and websites, as well as recapping my posts for the past month.

My Halloween Toy Collection, 2012

My Halloween Toy Collection, 2012

My Halloween Toy Collection, 2012

My Halloween Toy Collection, 2012
Alice Cooper - Wind-Up Toy

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (1977)


The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula (1977) - Movie review plus screencaps

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula

Frank and Joe Hardy travel to Europe to look for their missing father, and find themselves going undercover as rock singers performing at The Castle Dracula in Transylvania in order to crack the case!  Now, this isn't actually a movie, it's a two part TV episode, episodes one and two of season two of the Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries, to be precise.  But at 1 hour and 30 minutes, it is movie length.

Fenton's Flickering Flame
Review of Part One:
This episode starts off right, with the Hardy Boys' Father, Fenton Hardy getting cold-cocked by someone in Castle Dracula.  We don't see the perpetrator, but he is totally wearing DRACULA BOOTS, so it must be Dracula.  Throughout this episode, they constantly cut away to some dude lurking around, but all we see of him are his Dracula Boots and his Dracula Ring.  So awesome!  I guess it's curious why Dracula hit him in the head, instead of biting his neck, but I suppose we'll find out the truth eventually.
Dracula Boots.
After this, the episode is chock full of Hardy Boys goodness.  The Hardy Boys visit a morgue!  The Hardy Boys go undercover in a rock band!  They find some clues!  They meet a "hilarious" Nazi bellhop!  They meet Nancy Drew for the first time!  Paul Williams makes a guest appearance, and sings one of his songs from Phantom of the Paradise!  Heck, they even let Shaun Cassidy sing a song!  They mercifully cut that song short!  And throughout the episode, there are constant cutaways to DRACULA BOOTS!  Perhaps you don't share my enthusiasm for these things, and if so, I don't know what to tell you.  I freaking loved this show when I was a little kid, and I'm kind of flabbergasted to discover how much I still love it as a decrepit old man.It is SO AWESOME!

Fear Factor Zero

The episode ends with Frank Hardy leaning over a body with vampire bites in it's neck, just as Nancy Drew makes the scene, making it look to Nancy like Frank bit the dude.  Holy Hardy Boys Cliffhanger, Batman!  I don't know how I'm going to wait a week for part two... oh wait, it's 2012, I don't have to!

To Be Continued
Review of Part Two:
Episode two doesn't quite hit the highs of episode one, as a lot of it just kind of repeats what we've already seen, but it's still pretty good.  There are more musical numbers, more vampire bites, and more exploration of the creepy castle, and more, more, more close-ups of Dracula Boots.

Dracula Boots!

The highlight of this one for me was when Nancy and the Boys get into a fight with a bat, and completely smash up their hotel room in the process by throwing furniture at it.  Another great scene is where Nancy Drew appears behind a villain and yells "stop," which causes him to spin around, flail his arms about, lose balance, and fall down a trap door.  There's also a scene with an angry mob of torch-bearing villagers, which no horror movie is truly complete without, as well as visit to a Transylvanian monastery.

Frankenstein Love

The final scene takes place inside Dracula's tomb, where we learn, of course, that there really is no vampire, and the man in the Dracula Boots is finally revealed.  However when the police are hauling the criminal away, there is a crazy twist!  Is he really a vampire after all?  As he says as they arrest him, "stranger things have happened."

The Trapdoor

Final Thoughts:
Wowie Zowie, the Hardy Boys are great!  When I was a kid, these guys we're second only to Batman and Robin in the category of "Crime-Fighting Duos."  But a lot of shows or movies that I loved as a kid, when I try to watch them as an adult, I find that they are actually really cheesy and kind of boring.  The Hardy Boys Mysteries still make for really solid entertainment, though.  Sure, the music and fashion are incredibly out of date, but producer Glen A. Larson really knew how to put together a "formula" TV series like this, with the kind of stories that stand the test of time.  This is the kind of show I would like to watch with my kids, to show them the kind of stuff I was into when I was their age... if I wasn't a single guy that's never had any kids, that is.

Rating: 4 Robots (out of 5)

Paul Williams - Hell of It

Special thanks to Caffeinated Joe for embedding these videos on his blog, without which I wouldn't have known this was online.

Also thanks to YouTube user NancyHardy, for putting this online in the first place!

62(!) more screencaps, after the jump...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monster Cereal Taste-Off!

I've got my milk... I've got my spoon...  Gimme some cereal!
Monster Cereal Taste-Off!
I was pretty excited when I was grocery shopping the other day and saw some Monster Cereal for sale, just in time for Halloween.  "Yes!," I Thought to myself, "I love that stuff!" 

Or do I?  Because now that I think of it, I don't remember eating it much when I was a kid.  It was always only available for a limited time around Halloween, and we hardly ever bought it.  I know I had it a few times, though, but I don't remember what it tasted like.  But that's good, that means I can evaluate the taste for what it is, and not have to compare it to my childhood memories, which would probably make it out to be better than it really was.

Monster Cereal Review:
First off, I'd like to talk about the box art.  Honestly it's pretty lame.  They really should go with something more retro, the old boxes were more fun.  These new ones look kind of generic, and the characters are done in the same color as the backgrounds, so they don't "pop" they way they should.  The new boxes have a comic on the back, which is a nice touch, but it's the same comic on all three boxes.  It would have been cooler if they had an individual one for each character.
Monster Cereal: Then and Now

They also gave Boo Berry a bizarro "skin flap" inside his mouth.  Apparently the "artist" who copied this from a previous design did not understand what he or she was looking at, and thought the side of his cheek was a flap of skin in his mouth. And apparently, this has been like this for at least TWO YEARS, as I found a post on BoingBoing about it from 2010, and nobody at General Mills has noticed or fixed it.  Or more likely, they just don't care.  If they did, they probably wouldn't have such crappy art on their cereal boxes to begin with.
Boo Berry's Skin Flap

Of course, the main reason to buy cereal is not to look at the art on the box, it's to eat it.  So how do they taste?

Franken Berry

Franken Berry
It kind of tastes like strawberries, but overall the flavor was pretty weak.  The cereal didn't get soggy, but it was somewhat soft, not very crunchy.  Overall, I'm unimpressed.

Boo Berry

Boo Berry
This seemed a touch sweeter than the Franken Berry, but with only a vaguely berry-like flavor.  It reminds me of Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries a little bit, but not nearly as tasty.  The same texture as the Franken Berry.  Another dud.

Count Chocula
Count Chocula
This has the same, bland texture as the other two cereals.  The flavor is a little better, it tastes mildly chocolatey.  But my favorite part of the cereal was drinking the milk that was left over in the bowl, which had a hint of chocolate milk flavor to it.  This was my favorite of the three cereals, but I didn't actually like it.

Bottom Line
I won't have to buy this stuff again next year, as these same three boxes will probably still be sitting on my shelf, as I have no plans on eating any more of this stuff.

Rating: 0.5 Robots (out of 5)
Franken Berry: 0 Robots
Boo Berry: 0 Robots
Count Chocula: 1 Robot
Overall: 0.5 Robots (out of 5)

Alice Cooper - Feed My Frankenstein

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Countdown to Halloween: Week 4

Welcome to the end of week 4 Misfit Robot Daydream's Countdown to Halloween!  I hope you've been enjoying what you've read so far.  This has been the craziest week yet for me, as far as getting up a brand new post every day, but so far I've done it, even if a few of them were posted a lot later in the day then I would have liked.  It's been worth it, though, as I've been having a lot of fun, and getting a ton of new readers.  I've already gotten more than three times as many page views this month then any other month I've had this blog, and I'm on track to have four times as many by the time this month is over.  Thanks for reading this junk!

Now I'm going to recap what I wrote about this week, then I'm going to give a preview of what's coming up for the rest of the month.  Finally, I'm going to be embedding some videos at the end of the page, including tonight's feature presentation: Gammera The Invincible.

The Past Week of Misfit Robot Daydream
My first three weeks each had a theme.  Week 1 was "Horror in Space."  Week 2 was "Karloff the Uncanny."  Week 3 was "The Haunted Toybox."  Also, every Wednesday I took a break from that week's theme to post the latest installment of my "Halloween 1966" music compilation.  This week, I mixed things up, and had a little bit from each of those categories. 
Horror in Space
On Monday, I posted my latest installment of "Horror In Space" movie reviews with my review of 1981's "Saturn 3."

The Haunted Toybox
On Thursday and Saturday, I reviewed two The Bride of Frankenstein action figures, one that was released last year from Diamond Select, and one released in 1999 by Sideshow Toys.

Hallowen 1966 
On Tuesday, I reviewed the 1966 comedy horror movie "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken."  On Friday, I reviewed the 1966 comedy horror movie "The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini."  On Wednesday, I released the final volume of my Halloween 1966 music compliation, "Creeps and Spooks."

Next Week on Misfit Robot Daydream
Only three more days left of October!  Jeepers!  I'm not even close to doing all the stuff I had planned for this month.  Tomorrow, I'll be reviewing the "Monster Cereals:" Boo Berry, Franken Berry, and Count Chocula, in a post titled "Monster Cereal Taste-Off!"  So that only gives me two more days to post, like, a dozen movie reviews, a handful of toy reviews, and a couple of articles I planned on writing about Jimmy Olsen's disguise and monster transformations. Since I still plan on doing all that stuff, it looks like Halloween will be running a little long this year. :)

And Now, For Our Feature Presentation
I'm ending this post with the trailers for the movies I reviewed this week.  Then we have the full length feature film, "Gammera The Invincible."  This was heavily edited and redubbed for American theaters. Enjoy!

Saturn 3 (Trailer)

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (Trailer)

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (Trailer)

Gammera The Invincible

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Universal Monsters Select "The Bride of Frankenstein" Action Figure - Diamond Select (2011)


For my fourth toy review of the Countdown to Halloween, I'm returning once again to Diamond Select's Universal Monsters Select Action Figure series, this time for their Bride of Frankenstein figure.
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein Packaging.  Note: package images taken from the Art Asylum blog.

Packaging: 1 Robot

The packaging looks very nice.  It has a black and blue stormy background with flashing lightning, a silver foil Universal Studios Monsters logo with a picture of Frankenstein's Monster on it, and a some spooky lettering.  It does a great job of evoking that classic Gothic Horror feeling.  Once you open the package up, it's a different story.  It took me about 8 minutes of messing with all the tape and twist ties to get the figure out of the package.  The twist ties were wound up extremely tight.  When I finally got the tie unwound on her head, the head fell off!  I think the tie was on there so tight it snapped her head off!  Even if the twist tie was not responsible for breaking the head, I didn't need to spend 8 minutes trying to take the figure out of the package.
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein in Profile

Appearance(Sculpt/Paint/Likeness): 4 Robots

This is a really nice looking sculpt.  The likeness of the head sculpt to Elsa Lanchester is very strong, although it is not perfect.  The Sideshow Toys version I reviewed a couple of days ago did a better job with their head sculpt.  But this figure beats out the Sideshow version on the sculpt for the rest of the figure.  The bandages on her arms are very nicely defined.  Her dress is also sculpted very well.  When I saw photographs of the figure, I thought her dress was made of cloth, but instead it is a thin, flexible sculpted plastic.  All in all, it's a great looking figure.
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein Lifts Her Arms
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein - Funky Looking Wrist Joint

Articulation/Playability: 0 Robots

The figure is balanced nicely, and stands up very well on it's own.  It has articulation at the wrists, shoulders, and head.  The wrists look very ugly when you turn them though, as there is a noticeable gap between the hands and the arms, so you pretty much want to turn them to a position where it is least noticeable and leave it there.  Even if you disregard the way the wrists look, there are a very limited number of poses you can make with this figure.  When I was posing her for my photos, I lifted her left arm up, so that her hand was at about her eye level, and put the chain from her base in her hand as if she was pulling on it.  This didn't seem like it was causing any strain, but when I stepped back to take a picture, her arm fell off!  I was able to snap it back into place, but I was not impressed.  Like the other Diamond Select Universal Monsters action figures I have reviewed, this is more like a plastic statue to sit on your shelf than it is a true toy.
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein Base Accessory

Accessories: 3 Robots

This figure comes with a base with a couple of, I don't know, electrodes(?) or something, with chains on them.  It does look cool, like something from Frankenstein's lab, even if I don't know what it's supposed to be.  The Bride doesn't need the base to stand, but it does add to the ambiance if you want to display her on a shelf.
Diamond Select Bride of Frankenstein

Cool Factor: 4 Robots

The Bride of Frankenstein is one of my favorite movie monsters, but she doesn't get as much love as the other movie monsters do, so it's extra cool to see a neat looking toy made out of her.
We're Going to Need Dr. Frankenstein to Reattach that Head

Value: 2 Robots

I bought this toy on auction at eBay for $38.00, including shipping.  That's about twice as much as I would have paid if had bought it at retail just a year ago.  So this seems like a bad deal, but I've been trying to buy one of these for months, and this is the cheapest I was able to get.  They hardly ever show up for sale, and when they do, they are usually in the 50 to 80 dollar range.  But then of course, when I opened it up, the figure was broken (this was not the seller's fault, though, it looked great in the package).  So, I've got mixed feelings about the value, and I've decided to give it a low grade of "2."  If I had paid retail price for this, and it was not broken, I would have rated the value higher, probably a "4."
Frankenstein's Monster is Heartbroken as The Bride Chooses Naked Mego Batman Over Him

Final Score: 2½ Robots

Rating: 2½ Robots (out of 5)
Liz Phair - Polyester Bride



Friday, October 26, 2012

The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966)


The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966) - Movie review plus screencaps
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini
The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini is the last film of AIP's "Beach Party" series.  At this point the Beach Party formula was getting pretty stale, and they had lost the stars of the previous films, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, so the producers decided to shake things up by changing locations from the beach to a haunted house.  The result was a hybrid horror/teen musical/comedy flick that is pretty dumb, but still fairly entertaining.

The Ghost in the Graveyard
One of the best elements of this film are the sets.  AIP was also producing a series of Edgar Allan Poe movies at the same time, and was able to reuse some of the same spooky sets for this film.  They even borrowed some footage from the film "The Haunted Palace" for the opening sequence.  This made for a comedy film that still has a lot of horror "atmosphere" to it.

The Ghost, The Corpse, and the Crystal Ball
The film features two veterans of classic horror in supporting roles.  Boris Karloff plays "The Corpse," a recently dead man who must perform one good deed to get to heaven.  For his good deed, he decides to make sure his estate goes to the heirs he has named in his will, and not his evil attorney, who he believes is going to try and swindle it all for himself.  Karloff was having chronic back problems at this point in his life, so all of his scenes were filmed on one set, where he spent almost all of the time sitting in a chair.  He was able to watch the rest of the characters through a crystal ball, and he could communicate with the titular Ghost in the Invisible Bikini though it. She would then influence the outside world to make sure his good deed was accomplished.  It's always nice to see Karloff on screen, but he really doesn't have much to do in this film.

Reginald Ripper and J. Sinister Hulk
Reginald Ripper, the evil attorney, is played by Basil Rathbone.  Rathbone's role is more substantial, and he actually gets to interact with the rest of the cast, unlike Karloff.  Rathbone plays things a little too straight in this film, for my taste.  The film's a comedy, so I would have like to see him ham it up a little more than he did, although I still enjoyed his performance.

Eric Von Zipper Examines a Severed Head
Adding continuity to this film from the other Beach Party films is Harvey Lembeck as Eric Von Zipper, along with his biker gang, The Rat Pack.  Lembeck's shtick was getting a little tired after seven Beach Party flicks, but he is still fun to watch, and has the best jokes in the film.  Replacing Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello are Tommy Kirk and Deborah Walley.  Walley is instantly forgettable, she made virtually no impression on me when I watched her on screen.  Tommy Kirk is incredibly bland and vanilla, and he and Walley have absolutlely no romantic chemistry.  If Frankie and Annette had stuck around, this would have been a pretty strong film, But Kirk and Walley really drag the film down, it's like there's a personality vacuum whenever they are on screen.

These Guys Make the Osmonds Look Hardcore
The film is also peppered with lame musical numbers from Nancy Sinatra, The Bobby Fuller Four, Picolla Pupa, and Quinn O'Hara.  Honestly, I had no idea who Picolla Pupa or Quinn O'Hara were before I saw this movie.  Nancy Sinatra and The Bobby Fuller Four, though, are both talented acts who have some pretty good songs, but, unfortunately, those aren't the songs they perform in this movie.  Imagine how cool this film would have been if the Bobby Fuller Four had performed "I Fought the Law" and Nancy Sinatra had performed "These Boots are Made for Walkin'."

Sinister Scenery
I guess that's a problem, when I can't help but imagine what the film would have been like with different actors and different songs.  But, on it's own, the film was still pretty entertaining.  I can recommend this film to fans of campy 1960s comedies, or horror fans who want some really light fare for a change of pace.

Rating: 3 Robots (out of 5)

More screencaps after the jump...