This is an ultra-limited run of 31! Pre-orders for this horror-metal masterpiece will begin on Friday, August 18th at The Cryptocurium Etsy store.
I’m extremely excited to announce The Sexy Armpit’s first exclusive collectible. This incredible sculpture of Sammi Curr from one of my favorite horror films, Trick or Treat, is a result of collaborating with my friend Jason McKittrick from The Cryptocurium. It’s quite a tag-team of New Jersey horror freaks and it’s been a long time in the making! Jason’s homemade horrors speak for themselves. His creations are sculpted and painted by hand and are versatile since they include magnets on the back as well as a d-ring if you want to hang them on the wall. With unparalleled artistry, he handcrafted a brand new vision of Rock’s Chosen Warrior! I can actually hear Fastway blasting in the background every time I look at this beaut. This is a must-own for Trick or Treat fans and horror fans in general. Do whatever you need to do to get this mega limited , crash the Etsy server if you have to. If you pre-order you’ll have it in time for Halloween. Show your support for Sammi and The Sexy Armpit by purchasing this over the top cool sculpture. Once you receive it, be sure to tag @SexyArmpit and @Cryptocurium! #NoFalseMetal
The Purple Stuff is ushering in the Halloween season in a very cool way. We’re obviously excited, and to celebrate the greatest season of the year, we’ll be releasing “minisodes” which are shorter episodes concentrating on aspects of the season that we haven’t delved into yet. Our first episode is available now. We tell the now legendary tale of what was to be a simple trip to find early Halloween stuff. We’ll certainly be doing these more often so be on the lookout! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, and basically wherever else you can find podcasts!
Remember that scene in Batman Returns when Batman and The Penguin both tell each other that “Things change?” It’s simple dialogue, but I always loved it because it applies to so many aspects of life. Yes, I quote Batman movies like they’re Shakespeare. To Bat or not to Bat, that’s never a question because he’s universally appropriate.
Recently I went to a comic show at Great Adventure. I had heard that the crew who produces the Garden State Comic Fest touted comics, artists, toys, cosplayers and more at their first ever theme park comic-fest. They already had me at roller coasters, but had me speeding down the Turnpike with “oh, and by the way, did we mention that we’ve got a comic show?” That’s quite enough deal sweetening, you don’t even have to twist my arm.
As I’ve mentioned here pretty often, Great Adventure is one of my most favorite and nostalgic places to be in the entire state. I’ve been a season pass holder since as long as I can remember and I simply enjoy the hell out of being there. Going for a mini comic con was a double-whammy.
After waiting on the long security line, I headed straight for the comic show. I didn’t want to sell it short, but hell, I wanted to get on some rides! The comic show took up only a few small tents near the Joker ride. I noticed John Wesley Shipp, TV’s Flash from the ‘90s, was signing autographs and taking pics with fans. Good for him enjoying his CW resurgence. That’s bucket list shit right there: Personal appearance at one of the world’s largest theme parks (conveniently located in Jackson Township next to Dracula’s Domain!)
Considering the comic cons I’ve been to, this was low-key in comparison. Although the Flash was there to amp it up, to casual theme park goers this was probably a really cool event to unexpectedly happen upon. I didn’t spend any money at the comic show although literally seconds after I left the tent, something caught my eye.
I made a purchase at the concession stand and shockingly, it wasn’t a Churro. There was a sign advertising this awesome Batman figural popcorn bucket. Yes folks, I bought a Batman popcorn bucket that I will most likely never put popcorn in, let alone anything else for that matter, but this is the kind of junk that I live for. It came with a separate bag of popcorn which I gave to my friend Bob to snack on as he was running his Glowmania table at the comic show. This is the kind of thing that’s exclusive to Six Flags so I plunked down my money.
Although the comic fest didn’t blow me away, this GA trip came at a good time. When real life stuff happens, it’s a perfect place to escape to. Most people wouldn’t consider this paradise. There’s no beach, but they do have Hurricane Harbor. There’s often long lines and massive amounts of people aimlessly wandering with no f’n clue where they’re going. But the coasters on the other hand, the roller coasters are therapy for me. I really mean that. Some people like to talk to a therapist, I prefer to work out any stress or worries by riding thrilling high speed loops and corkscrews. I don’t surf, but I do from a certain point of view, I sit in a coaster car and surf through the air. There’s something special about slicing through the air with your arms up and floating in your seat, not expending any energy whatsoever. Maybe it’s the lazy man’s surfing, I don’t know. One thing is for sure, it puts things in perspective.
All of life’s speed bumps and road blocks seem minuscule when you willfully strap yourself into the craziest rides in the entire state. You’re volunteering to be whipped around and thrown upside down in furious fashion. When the ride is over, the brakes are abruptly applied just as if you’re driving fast and you halt for a red light that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. In most cases, this is a cue to vomit your brains out, and some people do. In fact, as an example, just as I was about to hop into my seat on Nitro, the ride had to stop and be hosed down because someone lost their lunch. Talk about clearing their mind, they could start with a clean slate for the rest of the day. Personally, these rides don’t effect me like that, they actually bring me calmness. After putting my body and brain through over a minute of complete and utter chaos, the momentary serenity restores my balance.
Aside from the therapeutic power of thrill rides, I was also unwittingly jettisoned back in time. I wish I could say I hitched a ride on a DeLorean, but this was more of a memory trigger.
One of the grabbers for me at Great Adventure was always their licensing of DC Comics characters. For me, The Justice League/Super Friends were never a passing fancy. As a baby, I had DC characters in my crib. There were times throughout the years that I feared Six Flags would distance themselves from DC altogether. Thankfully, with the superhero craze, it’s quite the opposite nowadays. The Justice League characters and their respective rogues gallery appear all over the park. For instance, Batman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, Bizarro, and Superman, all have their own rides. Some of the characters even show up in costume to take photos with park goers. Shit, even the Six Flags fast pass is referred to as The Flash Pass, yet another reason why this is one of my happy places.
Six Flags’ affiliation with Warner Brothers also boasts the liberal use of the Looney Tunes characters as well. This isn’t marketing 101, but stick with me, I’m actually leading up to something here.
I’ve long felt that the shops at Great Adventure are the closest thing we’ll ever get to a modern day Warner Brothers Store. The WB Store in the mall was always on my short list of places to stop at when I was a mallrat. And yes, well before it was a movie, I was an actual mallrat. My friend E and I used to basically live at the mall every weekend for a few years in high school before I started working at the local movie theater.
I don’t regret any of those wasted days at the mall. We’d get there at noon on Saturday and leave at 5. We’d sit on the benches by the fountains and trade Marvel cards that we bought. Afterward, we’d set up shop in the back of Burger King and inevitably always ran into a handful of people we knew. E would get free food because the girl that worked there had a thing for him, even though he was hung up on someone else. After Whoppers and Dr. Pepper mixed with 7 other sodas, we would literally sit there and bullshit for an hour. Miraculously, we didn’t have cell phones to pick up and look at every 2 seconds either.
After leaving Suncoast or The Game Room, we’d simultaneously launch into the geekiest disagreements and the deepest conversations about Star Wars at a time when it was super uncool. It was the dark times – way before the prequels. We were completely focused on debating details of Yoda’s origins and what brand of salsa pairs most perfectly with A New Hope for our Intergalactic Nacho extravaganza later.
I could literally write 6 pages solely about all the nothing that we did during those days. My Dad and Uncle used to tell me the craziest stories about the over the top hijinks they would get themselves into as teenagers. In comparison, me buying the ultra cool, brand new Wizard magazine and a cherry ICEE was about as extreme as things got during that period of time. We once spent 2 hours in the aisles of B. Dalton while E read Jack Kerouac and I read an Elvira young adult novel. Calling back to Batman Returns, do things really change all that much? Maybe just the backdrop. For a fleeting moment, I was in a store that reminded me of those times in the mall, and the memories rushed back into my mind.
We’d stay up late in the summer, walk around the neighborhood with our friends, make multiple stops at 7-11 for snacks, play SNES, Nightmare or HeroQuest, watch horror movies and then fall asleep at whosever house we were at. It was unbeatable. As an adult, I can live pretty much that exact same life, but it winds up paling in comparison because it’s missing some key elements. Sorta like when Gary and Wyatt forgot to hook up the doll in Weird Science.
In this scenario, one of the key elements missing is the actual mall. The mall I described earlier that was basically our headquarters for a long time has changed, and not for the better. Amongst stores like Heroes World, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, The Game Room, Sam Goody, and B. Dalton, was the Warner Brothers Store. The WB Store was a mainstay for us. There was NEVER a time we didn’t stop in to lust after their DC Comics knick-knacks on display. I still own a large cross-section of inventory from that store and I’m happy I do. So much of the merch they sold was exclusive to WB Stores. Thinking back, I always bought their large sized action figures that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Cut to present day, I still buy giant sized action figures of Batman called Big-Figs. Things do not change.
E and I would hover around in awe of their commemorative animation cels that we couldn’t afford, but pretended we could anyway. One time the older, professionally dressed salesperson got into a conversation with us about which pieces we were interested in and what our price range was. We had to slink away after swearing that we were just browsing before they roped us into a $350 dollar Road Runner animation cel.
The WB Store was also good for some exclusive t-shirts, plush toys, books, mugs, and statues…yeah statues! I type this sitting a foot away from a 24″ silver age Batman statue that I only dreamed of owning back when we thought it must have merely been a larger than life store decoration. It never seemed like it was actually for sale, and even if it was, it never sold because it was probably way too expensive. Years later, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I own it, an actual piece of the Warner Brothers store. Oh, and an enormous Gossamer statue too!
As I eased back into the present day, I was standing in a shop in Great Adventure. It wasn’t a shocking revelation to call it virtually the modern day version of the old WB Store. I’ve mentioned this here on the site before, but my last few visits here have been so nostalgic that I almost felt like they should just call it what it is: The WB Store at Six Flags Great Adventure.
When you first walk into the park, two or three stores are connected and basically make one huge mega store. This is very similar to how shops are linked together in Disney World. In this case, you walk through the Looney Tunes section and then the DC Comics section. I stop into these stores every time I go to the park, but this time I literally spent 45 minutes because there was so much new crap to look at. As I browsed around, much like the WB Store before it, it’s safe to say more than half of all the merch was exclusive to Six Flags and Great Adventure specifically.
In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that the Hall of Justice shop was the pinnacle of stores in the entire park, and for DC Comics fans, it truly IS. Unfortunately, there’s been a bit of a misstep. Things are changing. The shop has lost so much of it’s personality since they decided to change its name to the…Gotham City Gift Shop? Are you f*cking serious bro? WTF! The name change obviously capitalizes on its proximity in the park to Batman: the Ride and The Dark Knight Coaster, but with the build up to the Justice League movie looming, the Hall of Justice is the most appropriate name for the shop, no question. On top of that, the OG storefront was faintly designed in the spirit of the actual Hall of Justice in the comics. Six Flags can try to justify the change in various ways, but there’s no better time in the history of Great Adventure to have a shop inspired by the headquarters of DC’s iconic Superhero Team. Now dropping a Roman Reigns quote on you: “Believe that!”
Just as a brief downpour began, I hopped in my car and headed for the Turnpike. On the way home I stopped in at Wawa. I rarely get their fancy pre-made iced drinks, but not because they aren’t delicious, more because they are filled with so much sugar. I felt pretty good about things at that moment. As I flipped through the touch screen options, I came across an iced mint creme drink. I know mint isn’t a flavor that everyone digs, but it’s probably my favorite flavor of ice cream or iced beverages. I was pleased with my decision and I loved it. I inhaled it about 2 minutes after buying it. It was refreshing and a cool way to cap off the trip. Treat Yo’ self!
On a trip to Great Adventure I would’ve never expected to get a rush of fond memories about the Warner Brothers store and summer days in the mall. Did I use this post to reminisce? Sure I did, but it was all legit. The ironic part is that I don’t even want to step foot into a mall nowadays, so in that respect, things have absolutely changed.
Since so many malls have lost their luster over the years, If you’re even remotely in the vicinity of Great Adventure this summer, I recommend escaping there for some thrills. It’s a blast, a diversion, and a therapy session all in one. Plus, they have the closest thing we may ever get to another Warner Brothers Store, and that’s one hell of an endorsement if you ask me.
For a guy who rarely likes to leave his condo I’ve sure been getting out a lot lately. I had a cool weekend and I’m here to tell you about it. Now’s a good time for a bathroom break because there won’t be another one until the end of the post!
JC Oddities Market, Cathedral Hall, Jersey City
Saturday marked the return of the JC Oddities Market at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City. I missed the last Oddities Market, so I made it a point to get there for this one. Plus, I needed to to fill my lifetime quota of attending an oddity flea market in an old church. Not only did I need to fill that very specific void, but with a long family history in Jersey City, I always look for any reason to venture there. Adding to that, my friend Bob Burke (the Glow Art champion of the world!) mentioned to me that he’d have a table there again. And to further reinforce my trip, the church is getting demolished at some point in the near future, so I’m glad I decided to go.
This macabre market was unlike anything I’d ever been to before. The old church (Saint Bridget’s) was adorned with string lights and a random, oversized Delia Deetz-style snake sculpture in the middle of the floor up near the altar. I felt like I was on the set of a late ‘90s low budget horror sequel. (Definitely a part 4 or later.) The middle of the church floor was lined with vendor tables and artists selling everything from records and artwork to taxidermy and homemade jewelry. If only OMC sang a song called “How Bazaar,” now would be the most appropriate time to have that pop in your head. Even after being to so many cons and flea markets, most of these vendors were brand new to me. The basement featured even more tables, so I surpassed my usual 15 minute zip-through for one of these things.
I also ran into my friend Nicole and her girlfriend. You may recall Nicole, fellow Jerseyan and horror fanatic, who way back in 2014, let me post a piece of her writing here at The Sexy Armpit. It was so great to meet her after being friends with her online for so long. Nicole has since changed her social media handles so you can now follow her at @allthedamnvamps on Twitter and @allthedamnvampires on IG.
As for pickups, going into this thing I’d say that tea wouldn’t be a thing that I would come home with…AT ALL. Oddly enough, Brutaliteas was on site and proved me completely wrong. They were giving out samples and making tea cooler than it ever was, one tiny ass sample cup at a time. The creative offerings from Brutalitieas are truly game changing. This Jersey couple crafts their own homemade teas and infuses them with a horror or hard rock twist i.e Back in Blackberry, Apricot for Destruction? C’MON! Those are a must buy merely on the wordplay alone. I tried a sample at their table and it was delicious and the aromas are amazing. I was sold. I bought 3 packs. It was so hard to decide from a slew of amazing themes. I narrowed it down to Screamsicle, The Detoxic Avenger (obviously had to get that one), and A Nightpear on Elm Street. I haven’t brewed them yet, but I will very soon. I’ll likely throw in some ice cubes because I’m an iced tea freak.
The benevolent Brutaliteas donates part of the proceeds from sales of the Detoxic Avenger (Lloyd Kaufman approved) to canine cancer. Courtney and Adam are a seriously wonderful couple and it was great to meet them. You can tell that they love what they’re doing because it shines through in their teas. And those PUNS! You can read about their story at their website.
Barcade is for getting buzzed and playing old video games. That was what I did the previous times I’ve been there. Although, I never thought I’d intentionally waltz into a Barcade for a late lunch without taking in an arcade game, but that’s exactly what happened. This time, I plopped myself down on a stool at the bar and ordered my usual drink and a…wait for it…veggie burger?!?! What?
Possibly a little known secret, Barcade’s veggie burger is badass! Equally as shocking, I’m a bit of a connoisseur of veggie burgers. I order veggie burgers almost anytime I can’t get eggplant parm. Spots like Barcade that make their own patties from original recipes in-house are the best. To order a veggie burger from a place that uses frozen patties is crazy because those could be made at home. If you’re into Veggie Burgers, get one next time you’re at Barcade. YUM! Tell me you don’t start getting hungry after reading the menu entry directly from their website:
Veggie Burger Deluxe
6 oz. fresh patty of beets, brown rice, and black beans topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo & spicy ketchup on a bun.
In between all this I literally just wandered around Jersey City basically all day. I kept running into the best eye candy for my Jersey obsession. I snapped some photos for posterity.
8-Bit Mystery Pin, The Monkey’s Paw Store
Saturday was a good mail day thanks to the arrival of the pin pictured above. Scooby Doo meets Jason Voorhees has always been a mash up I’ve desperately wanted to see come to fruition. We’ve come very close a few times going back to an episode of Robot Chicken, and then some artwork from artist Travis Falligant, then there was also the Mystery of Crystal Lake enamel pin by The Monkey’s Paw where Shag and Scoob had a run-in with Jason. I snatched that one up as soon as it was released, but not too long after, they started teasing this 8-bit styled sequel to their original pin. What makes these pins so incredible is that they both had a run of only 50 worldwide. It’s a total collector’s item for a guy like me who loves both Scooby-Doo and Friday the 13th.
On Sunday, we went to iPlay for an event that wound up getting cancelled. We had a couple of consolation drinks then walked through the arcade area where I found this beautiful DC Comics game. All the major characters were featured on the game. I was stoked to see their Bronze age versions represented so I had to share it here. I didn’t actually play the game, just stood there drooling over it and took a thousand photos of every panel as blatantly illustrated in the collage above. Now that I got that out of my system, maybe I’ll actually play it next time.
With 2 WWE events this weekend, (NXT Takeover and Backlash) I spent a lot of time on the WWE Network. I wound up unexpectedly re-binging CAMP WWE. To call it a binge is a bit of a stretch since the season only lasted 5 episodes. I’m sure watching them all again sounds pretty wild to even the most die-hard WWE fans, since almost everyone I’ve talked to about the show haven’t seemed too excited about it. The first time I watched it was about a day or so after the WWE premiered it on the network and I found it amusing, but wasn’t crazy for it. After a second helping, I’m finding myself loving it.
When you think about it, there hasn’t been a WWE animated show since Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, which I loved as a kid (around 75 years ago.) Merely for that reason alone, it automatically gains major cool points in my book. Think about it for a second, a modern day WWE animated series is pretty monumental. Wrestling AND cartoons combined? Drink it in maaaan! Let’s not take it for granted.
There’s also the fact that it’s funny thanks to a ton of in-jokes for wrestling fans. It’s written and produced by lifelong wrestling fans and that translates to a show that doesn’t dumb anything down. I found myself having a blast with it way more this time. The summer camp backdrop is like built-in nostalgia and Mr. McMahon hamming it up is incredible. Some of the other highlights of the show feature The Undertaker becoming one with nature, A 7-year old Stone Cold Steve Austin getting tanked on beers at a bar, an amusing appearance by Goldust as Mr. McMahon’s personal assistant, the actual Lex Express bus blowing up, and a truly hysterical take on Bray Wyatt. Check it out if you haven’t yet!
Ice Cream at Jersey Freeze
Before we headed home to catch WWE Backlash, I abruptly screeched the car off Route 33 and into the Jersey Freeze parking lot for some ice cream. The last time I was here was at least 15 years ago, so it was about time to rectify that. I got a cone with peanut butter pie ice cream. It was so delicious. I’ve never had this flavor before so I asked the girl behind the counter what was in it. She had no idea so she asked one of her coworkers. Once she mentioned peanut butter ice cream, bits of pie crust, and peanut butter cups I was putty in her hands. If you’re in the area this summer, make a pit stop there! (or an ARMPIT STOP! <rimshot>)
Thanks for reading about my latest excursion! Hope to see you back here soon!
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Matt and I have a new Purple Stuff Podcast to help kick off your weekend! Many of you have a 3-day weekend so this means you have an extra day to listen to the show twice!
As you can clearly see from the picture that I made above, we’re going to be sitting around a fire at Camp Crystal Lake and discussing some of our favorite aspects of one of the greatest horror franchises of all time, Friday the 13th! We have a lot to say so this resulted in a slightly longer episode than usual.
Personally, Friday the 13th was one of the earliest horror franchises I got into. Admittedly, I probably shouldn’t have been watching them at 5 years old, but I wasn’t a bad kid, so with that came some perks. Staying up late and watching Friday the 13th marathons on channel 11 was one of my favorite things to do. Since the F13 franchise has had such a long life, it’s essentially grown up right along with me (and you too, I’m sure).
Whether you’re more of Jason Takes Manhattan mark or a Friday IV fanatic, you’re in the right place. We all have soft spots for particular installments, songs, scenes, moments, and other instances of Jason in pop culture, so we bring to the table all kinds of nonsense that we dig so much about these films. Everything from Jason without his mask on to Jason on MTV is covered.
Do you see a familiar face hidden in the poster above?
We had a lot of fun delving into what is collectively one of our favorite horror franchises. It’s even more special for me because of the film’s New Jersey roots. I can’t wait for you to hear this one and if you are in the mood to share, leave us some of your favorite moments in Friday the 13th lore in the comments below!
Thank you for reading and listening! Please share the show or tell a friend!
2016 is history and I haven’t posted a damn thing in 2017 yet, but history is gonna change…
Recently, Matt from Dinosaur Dracula expressed to me that he was really charged up to dig through some long boxes. Coincidentally, there was a comic show coming up by me and I’m always up for comics. There’s nothing better than an old school comic book show. Picture a big room filled with geeks awkwardly attempting to navigate around other people trying to scan through thousands of old comics crammed too damn tight into long cardboard boxes. I’m talking about a true comic show run by local dealers where you can actually get some steals. This is the type of show that isn’t bogged down in ridiculous hidden advertisements from media conglomerates and not speckled with tables hawking products or podcasts that have nothing even remotely to do with comics.
Since NJ is my thing, let me clue you in on the city where this comic show went down. It’s the city where Rupert Pupkin hails from, the birthplace of Vera Farmiga and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, it served as the backdrop for a ton of scenes in The Sopranos, and it’s also home to a legendary place called The Gates of Hell. If you’re from the area, you know exactly what I’m talking about, but maybe you didn’t realize that they also have a pure, longstanding comic show that has been unfazed by trends. This is the Clifton, NJ comic show, the same show that I wrote about a couple of years back. Matt was super excited for that one as well. He’s onto something because stocking up on reading material during a cold ass winter ain’t a bad idea at all! He’s also detailing his windfall of comics over at Dino Drac so check that shit out when you’re done here! I can easily say that the plastic grocery bag I hauled home this time is 1000% better than that last time. Wanna take a look at some? Here’s 10, solely based off how eye catching their covers are.
1. Dracula Versus Zorro #2 (of 2)
Topps Comics, November 1993
During the comic book boom of the early ’90s, every company wanted IN on the comic book game. Though they were almost never in the same conversation as DC and Marvel, Topps had some decent comic book offerings. Starting in 1992, their lineup of well known licenses can only be described as wildly eclectic. During their 6-year stint, Topps ran comics from mega movie hits like Jurassic Park, TV shows like The X-Files and Xena: Warrior Princess, horror icons like Dracula, Frankentstein, Jason Voorhees, and Leatherface, and even the indescribably bizarre Barbi Twins Adventures. Shuffled in between was a classic hero who’s said to have inspired Batman. Zorro was created in 1919 and he’s still popping up in the comic pages, most recently with Dynamite Comics. Much like the Lone Ranger, I was introduced to Zorro as a young kid by my Dad (of course!) Reinforcing my interest in these characters were toy lines and cartoons for both LR and Zorro in the early ’80s.
I had forgotten that Zorro once faced Drac, but I’ll be damned if this cover doesn’t have me totally intrigued right now. The backdrop of a stained glass window bathes this cover in gorgeous hues of pink and purple. In the corner to my right, wearing all black, the man who leaves his mark in the form of a slashed Z, ZORRO, meets his match against the blood sucking DRACULA himself…and the Z-man even takes second billing! Since this is the second issue of a two-parter, we pick up the adventure right when the getting’s GOOD! It’s like an old fashioned swashbuckling movie serial where everyone’s fate (including the readers) is in Zorro hands! Giant rats are about to eat Zorro alive, but he’s fighting ’til the death. All veiny and gnashing his fangs, the ghoulish Drac is about to pounce as the enraptured Carmelita looks on in wicked delight. This is an old fashioned heroic horror adventure and now I have to hunt down the first issue.
2. G.I. JOE #43
Marvel Comics, January 1986
This issue was another one I picked out solely based off its badass cover. The grim reaper blasting a machine gun?!! Of course, auto-included. Wish there was a G.I. Joe figure of that guy. The story is thin and there’s nothing worth noting about this issue except for a two page ad where Spider Man plays detective and goes on a search to find Cap’n Crunch.
3. Betty and Veronica #104
Archie Comics, October 1996
With the upcoming premiere of Riverdale, everyone’s going to try to claim their lifelong alliegience to Archie Comics, but let’s be honest, before they revamped the characters with a horror/supernatural twist, the Archie gang wasn’t necessarily in the spotlight. I actually read the books quite often many years before the revamp because I always found them to be stupid fun, but mostly due to my affinity for the art by Dan DeCarlo and Dan Parent. Through the years, I’ve posted a few cool Archie items I picked up here and there, and I’m genuinely excited for the new era of these characters. Ironically, when I was a kid I thought the Archie comics were pretty dopey, so I think I’m aging backwards. Regardless, Betty and Veronica have consistently been one of the more entertaining aspects of Archie Comics, and the shenanigans depicted on this cover are a prime example. Betty faking the need for CPR so Archie comes and makes out with her, aw man, that’s the sales pitch right there. This book is filled with cheesy jokes and a few ridiculous storylines, but what do you expect? What will happen when Betty trips over Veronica’s in-line skates? Will Betty sue Veronica for real or is this just a ludicrous misunderstanding? You must read it to find out!
4. Darkhold: Pages of the Book of Sins #7
Marvel Comics, April 1993
I’ve got to be completely honest here, I’ve never heard of or read this comic series before, but look into those mesmerizing eyes! What the hell could she be so freaked out about? Oh, right, the SLIME! Coincidentally, DEATH BY SLIME is how I want to go out. Frankly, I don’t even care what’s inside this book because this cover needs to be framed. From what I gather, and I’m probably only a quarter accurate, is that the Darkhold book is sort of like the Necronomicon of the Marvel Universe. And go easy on me if that’s way off base. This comic features Scarlet Witch, Dr. Strange, a giant monster, demonic war planes, and…Ectoplasm Raining From The Freaking Sky. Ectoplasm Raining From The Freaking Sky. Sold. I’ll take it!
5. ALF #24
Marvel Comics, December 1989
Alf’s girlfriend Rhonda always amused me with her ginormous super wacky pink hair. Naturally, this one was a must buy. The cover to this issue features wordplay involving the fact that Rhonda’s Back with an obnoxious arrow pointing to Rhonda’s “back,” but we really know what they were going for. Marvel worshipped that Melmacian ass. How can you go wrong with a comic that proudly offers Alf making uncomfortably perverse jokes on the cover of a comic geared toward 7 year olds? In the oh so slight chance that none of that appeals to you, this issue includes a random Rocky reference. Alf’s working out with a boom box blasting “Gonna Fly Now” while rocking a Philadelphia shirt and doing Sly Stallone impressions. A++.
6. The Real Ghostbusters #3
NOW Comics, January 1992
Out of all the comics I used to collect when I was a kid, NOW Comics were in a class by themselves. At the time, even mentioning NOW made my friends confused because it wasn’t Marvel or DC. In retrospect, NOW didn’t get enough credit. Unlike other independent comic companies, the majority of their books were printed in full color on high quality paper while even the big companies were still using cheap news type paper. I was hooked on all their big titles including Fright Night, Terminator, Married with Children, Twilight Zone and all of the Green Hornet iterations. What was cool about their Real Ghostbusters series was that it was perfectly in line with the cartoon and enriched the RGB lore with further adventures. You’d even see some ghosts that you didn’t see in the show. Many of the issues offered some outstanding art (especially some of the later run) and this line is worth a day of nostalgic marathon reading.
This cover is worth it just for Egon and Ray’s getup. If you dig the cover, you get a free pinup poster of it inside! As a kid, the idea of that was better than the actual poster itself. It would cause me so much heartache to know that I had to try to dismantle the staples from the comic in such a delicate way as not to ruin the comic while trying to remove the poster. Didn’t they ever hear of perforation? Currently, I have a class action suit against all comic companies in the ’80s for taking years off my life.
Also within these pages, you’ll see the winners of the draw Slimer contest, you’ll witness Ray vs. the Loch Ness Monster, and to sweeten the deal even more, you get to see what the actual Tobin looks like, yes, that guy of Tobin’s Spirit Guide fame! Oh, and there’s one more bizarre feature that I have been holding out on. In the ’80s, when adults needed tips on parenting, they usually picked up the latest issue of The Real Ghostbusters comic where Egon had his own section, “Egon Spengler’s Parent’s Guide For Health and Safety.” No, I’m not lying, and he even signed it at the end! Step off Dr. Phil.
7. G.I. Joe Action Force #23
Marvel Comics, August 1987
Picking up these magazine sized Joe issues at the US-1 Flea Market back when I was a kid was one of my favorite things. I was hesitant to include Action Force because I know it’s considered more of a magazine rather than an actual comic book, and I already brought up a Joe comic in this post, but whatever – this cover is too incredible not to show off! Simple, yet effective. This Cobra soldier really has a chip on his shoulder. It’s either that, or he’s been inhaling whatever’s in that toxic canister. If it’s none of the above, the sweats and bloodshot eyes could mean he’s coming down from some crazy drugs, or maybe he’s just MAD! Ultimately, it all ties back to my fixation for toxic stuff since I’m from New Jersey and live with a talking pile of sludge.
8. Toxic Crusaders #1
Marvel Comics, May 1992
Thumbing through thousands of comics you’re bound find some treasures. For me, that means finding some classic issues that I forgot had and buying them again. In this case, I probably have at least 2 or 3 copies of Toxic Crusaders #1, but it’s so good that it’s worth owning more copies just so I can make one into a Japanese war fan. The premiere issue spins the classic tale of how Toxie became New Jersey’s favorite superhero and met such cohorts as Headbanger and Major Disaster and foes like Dr. Killemoff. For a New Jersey freak like me, it’s a historical document as far as I’m concerned, and all for 50¢!
9. VAMPIRELLA #106
Warren Magazine, July 1982
You know that old saying, “I’ve never seen a Vampirella cover that I didn’t like?” Well, I resemble that remark. If I had the resources I’d buy every damn Vampirella comic that I came in contact with just so I can frame all the covers. That was the main thing that hooked me as a kid. I’d drool over the gorgeous art on the covers, then I’d thumb through the pages and notice they were black and white. FYI, my turn offs include: Black and White comic pages. See, I was able to watch black and white movies as a kid, especially horror and comedies, but when it came to reading a black and white comic book, I was flabbergasted. In my young mind, I thought “how could a B&W comic book have the audacity to sit on a shelf amongst fellow comic books that were overflowing with vivid, colorful artwork?” No matter how exciting and vibrant the covers are, the inside totally lets me down. It was false advertising if you ask me. Take this cover as evidence. It’s so unbelievably awesome that it sends your mind into a spiral of thoughts. It makes me think if the cover is this cool looking, I can’t even fathom what’s inside, but not so much. Vampirella’s dead husband is in it trying to seduce her, that’s for sure, in all his black and white glory. (womp womp)
10. DC Who’s Who Vol. XXI
DC Comics, November 1986
With the hundreds of comics that I have from when I was a kid, I don’t think I have more than one or two issues of DC Who’s Who. As a kid in the comic shop, you had to weigh your options. As it was, I used to be lucky enough to get a stack of comics on a weekly basis, but even my parents knew which ones were worth the purchase. To keep up on the main ongoing storylines, you need the base titles, not the comics that were character encyclopedias masquerading as an actual comic.
In the back of my mind I always wanted to have every single issue of Who’s Who and keep them in that badass binder. That’s right, at one point, Who’s Who came with three hole punches on the left side of the book so you can put them in a DC Who’s Who binder. It was a masterfully concocted gimmick, but still a stretch for me to justify. Doing a Google image search for DC Who’s Who will convince almost any DC fan in about 0.1 seconds that they need every single issue of Who’s Who that ever existed. That’s what made me pick up issue XXI. I’m a DC guy and reading obscure character bios makes everything right in this crazy world.
Now onto why I was hooked by that cover! Judging by this illustration of Solomon Grundy, I started thinking about how he could’ve had a career in the WWE back in 1993 against Yokozuna. Holy shit, I’ve never seen Grundy drawn to the point where he’s busting out of his shirt from eating over 4,000 White Castles. In addition to the character bios, there’s a map of Skartaris which details the Warlord’s stomping grounds. It was known to be a land where Dinosaurs somehow found their way to even though they were extinct on Earth.
Talk about stocking up on good reading material for the cold winter season! Trust me, there’s no better way to spend a snowy Saturday than to study the personal data and histories of Space Cabbie, Spawn of Frankenstein, Spellbinder, and The Spook, than in the yellowed pages of a limp, 50¢ comic.
Get yourself out to a local comic show and seek out the cheap bins! You never know what you will find. Until next time friends – thanks for reading!
It’s Christmas time and someone left a mystery present under my tree. If you want to know more…WATCH THE VIDEO!
Whenever I put together videos, they always seem to hit me at the absolute last minute. That’s what happened with the latest installment of The Sexy Armpit show. A total surprise Christmas gift arrived and it was imperative for me to document it with a video. There’s like a 99.7% chance that it’s about Sammi Curr, so you guessed it, it’s all about Rock’s Chosen Warrior, Sammi Curr!
It’s called, A VERY SAMMI CURRISTMAS, because you know how I love word play. In the video, Sludgey and I spotlight my Trick or Treat collection, discuss what we want for Christmas, and there’s even an interview with Art Director and friend, Tyler Ham. We had fun throwing this episode together and we hope it brings you some holiday cheer, even if it arrived at the eleventh hour. Give it a watch and let us know if you dug it by giving us a thumbs up. Thanks for stopping by The Sexy Armpit!
Also a big thanks to Tyler Ham whose exploits you can check out at TylerHam.com
It’s the most wonderful time of the year and Matt and I are back with a festive Purple Stuff Podcast episode for you.
Currently, I’d imagine you’re immersed in holiday shopping, getting stuck in copious amounts of traffic, and getting tanked on some kind of Christmasy concoction. As I write this, I’m super behind with my own holiday celebration. My tree is up, but it’s still not trimmed. I’ve only watched Christmas Vacation and Scrooged so far, but I have a pile of Christmas DVDs that I still want to get to before December ends. I’m also hoping my mom or Miss Sexy Armpit makes me my favorite Christmas cookies. Beyond those traditions, the one thing I never fail to keep up with is my Holiday playlist.
Since I have a long commute for work, I get to enjoy the giant Holiday playlist that I’ve created over the years in my iPhone. Listening to these songs everyday through the end of November and all of December made it easy for me to bring some more playlist ideas to you in the latest edition of The Purple Stuff Podcast.
This is our 2nd Christmas songs podcast. If you haven’t heard our previous one, it’s episode 17 in our feed. I know some people are not big fans of Christmas music, but it’s incredibly nostalgic for the both of us and it remains a big part of our seasonal celebrations. So, in this episode, Matt and I offer up some Christmas song suggestions for you. These tracks range from traditional to obscure, but they’re all worth a few minutes of discussion. Whether it’s Whitney Houston or The Whirling Dervishes, we’re delivering an hour of audio cheer.
If you’re not already subscribed, it would be awesome if you did! If you like listening to us, one of the easiest way to support us is to leave us a positive review on iTunes! Thanks for listening and we hope you have an awesome holiday season!
Word on the social media street is that this Halloween season was painfully mediocre. While I can’t speak for everyone else, I feel like this Halloween will go down in my own personal Halloween Hall of Fame. To its credit though, as standard as it may have been, there was still enough stuff for me to write a giant recap post about it all, so dig in and enjoy! Happy Halloween!
First and foremost, our Halloween Special this year was our most batshit crazy one ever! I was really happy with it and we received a ton of amazing feedback. Thank you so much for watching it and if you haven’t yet – check it out at the link above! Special thanks to our cast and crew and New Needle Productions. Check out New Needle’s page for their annual Halloween Short!
PODCASTING AND BLOGGING
The Purple Stuff Podcast took a short break, but we will be back! In the meantime, I was a guest on the annual Nerd Lunch Halloween Show. Will from Casserole of Disaster joined us as we created Scary Movie Menus. It was a fun show so give it a listen! You can check it out at the Nerd Lunch site.
Dex over at AEIOU and Sometimes Why interviewed me for his Halloween Memories Series. It was very cool of him to invite me on there. You can check out the post HERE where I discuss Halloween memories, costumes, and other anecdotes, some that I haven’t shared anywhere else!
Not actual food, but I got one at a place that serves food, so this counts: McDonald’s offered The Great Pumpkin Trick or Treat Pails which were a huge win. Celebrating the 50th birthday of this classic Halloween TV Special, these pails are very cool. Even if you don’t collect these, their lineage ties back to the ’80s when McD’s released their McBOO pails!
There was so much pumpkin flavored stuff that hit the grocery store shelves this season that they forgot to make it feel important. Rather than make a big deal about some of these products with a promotional tie-in to Halloween, it seemed like shelves were flooded with Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn everything and not many of them had a Halloween vibe. I really hope that we see some strong, more blatant Halloween tie-ins in the future. The “Fall” offerings are usually weak. Let’s get some more spooky imagery on packaging and in commercials! I was still impressed with the Reese’s commercials, although it feels like they air only like a week before Halloween, which sucks.
After thinking on it, I agree with Matt, the pumpkin spice gimmick is getting a little long in the tooth. The only area where it will never get old is probably coffee, because there’s something about pumpkin flavored coffee that has become truly synonymous with the season. Although, as Starbucks highlighted, you don’t necessarily need pumpkin flavor to create a killer Halloween drink. Their Frappula came back this year and they even had an amazing poster touting it where the Frappula had bat wings.
Kool-Aid’s Ghoul-Aid changed its formula and not for the better. If you’ve ever had cough medicine, you know what I mean. The old blackberry formula was delicious and now it seems like they needlessly changed it and I barely heard anyone talking about it this year except to complain.
Butterfinger Skulls were pretty badass. If it wasn’t for their cardiac arrest inducing fat content, I’d be more upset to see them go.
Even though Ecto-Cooler came back way before Halloween time, it’s still on shelves, so it can loosely be considered part of this year’s Halloween season. The release of the new Ghostbusters on video and on demand definitely fell in the prime time of the season and that brought us the insane Wayback Burgers promotion. A Slimer Shake AND a Ghostbusters burger made for a tie-in of epic proportions. Thus far, it’s been pretty much the leader this year in terms of cool stuff.
In terms of cereal, Halloween Crunch still remains at the top for me even though the box art stayed the same this year. As for other cereals, Cheerios got into the Pumpkin Spice mix. I searched like a madman and finally bought roughly 18 boxes and had a tough time finishing half of one box. It’s heavier on the spice rather than the pumpkin, but at least they gave it a shot. Maybe if they went with a more mellow pumpkin flavor and did a Great Pumpkin tie-in too? You can’t go wrong with the Peanuts.
In this post, I will brag twice. I try to keep it to a minimum, but these are instances where it’s worthwhile. First, the Japanese Halloween Garlic Doritos. I hadn’t even the slighest clue that these would ever be made when I brought them up as an idea I had on The Purple Stuff with Matt. I just conjured up a product I would like to see made and BAM, a year later, they exist…but only in Japan. We ordered them and I wasn’t a big fan of the texture or flavor as it was a little different than the Doritos here, but it was still incredible that this became an actual thing. The spooky bag art was cool too!
I must say that I came right out immediately and called it from the beginning: the Monster Cereal Election tie-in was pure garbage! For me, and I know many of you as well, the Halloween season is pure escapism. We can travel back in time and recall memories of Halloweens of the past and we can delve into other horrific worlds while watching or reading spooky movies or books. Infusing some convoluted Monster Mascot election into the promotion of the cereal this year was utter nonsense. It brought us out of the nostalgia factor for those cereals and reminded us about the most mocked presidential election in U.S history. I felt like I was really onto something with the Monster High tie-in that I brought up on the Purple Stuff as well as on Twitter many times.
Matt at Dinosaur Dracula continues to enthrall nostalgia nuts with his monthly Fun Pack. His Halloween Fun Pack was one for the ages this year. You can subscribe at his website www.dinosaurdracula.com
8 Bit Zombie released one of their coolest and most unique items ever: The Monster Squad Lunchbox and Glass set. The cartoonish art by Matt Skiff is freaking awesome and the whole idea of this set brings me back in time. It’s such a cool addition to my collection.
If you haven’t visited the Cryptocurium, Jason McKittrick has been creating his own horror inspired sculptures and magnets for a while now. He’s done a hell of a job with his monthly Trick or Treat subscriptions this season.
Rob Zombie and Fright Rags tagged up to release a bunch of cool Rob Zombie related tees and sweatshirts. As always, the artwork was superior!
We were blessed with insane Zombie straws and a Pumpkin shaped Slurpee cup both from 7-11.
Artist Travis Falligant @IBTrav has been killing it with his Lost Mysteries pins and now he has Halloween Costume Kits for sale! The “Dead Dame” is in the style of Frankenhooker and it is perfect…but it’s now SOLD OUT! I’m glad I ordered early.
We’ve seen the release of a lot of cool pins and tees this season, although Matt Skiff’s Spooky Storyteller inspired by Curly the Skeleton from Goosebumps was a standout for me.
Tyler Ham aka @Ham_FX created a print mashup of Halloween III and The Great Pumpkin and it was GLORIOUS!
My friend Bob helped me realize that one of the most simple and dare I say overlooked aspects of this season was Walmart’s clothing offerings. They had horror t-shirts including Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, NMOES, and Hellraiser, as well as lounge pants, which are awesome. I instagrammed a pic of the lounge/pajama pants that I bought and I’vee been wearing them like crazy. They’re comfortable and they even have pockets, which is key for me. I need somewhere to put my phone once in a while.
The reboot film, Welcome to Monster High, came out for one day only at the end of August in theaters and then went to video and on demand. I saw it in the theater and absolutely loved it. I was actually surprised at how much of a jump it made from a quality standpoint compared to their previous movies. The storytelling was simple, dialogue was fun, voice work was on point, and the CG animation looked absolutely fangtastic (I had to!) I consider this part of the Halloween season since it really hit the world in early September. As if a brand new rebooted film wasn’t enough, the doll line was rebooted as well. And to put the exclamation point on the season on the Monster High front, the Lady Gaga Monster High doll was finally officially announced and went up for pre-order in mid-October. This doll had a long history and to see the attention to detail that it has received is awesome. It won’t arrive to The Sexy Armpit HQ until end of December/early January, but I’d say it really capped off a fine Monster High season.
MOVIES, TV, and MUSIC
Saturday Night Live created another classic Halloween sketch with a character who will be everywhere in future Halloweens: David Pumpkins! The Tom Hanks episode this season was strong and he put the David Pumpkins sketch over the top to become a pop culture icon in no time!
Scream Queens Season 2 premiered and by the end of the first episode it blew the first season out of the water, and I LOVED the first season.
“If you like seeing Alice Cooper and getting stuck in the rain” – I changed the lyrics, but you know that song, don’t you? I’ve seen Alice Cooper live before, and nothing beats seeing him in the fall. Alice played First Energy Park in Lakewood, NJ on September 30th and it was cold, windy, and raining all night. Of course, the show went on! It was still a blast to see him regardless of the weather.
The FOX production of Rocky Horror premiered and it wasn’t awful. Obviously, if Victoria Justice wasn’t in it, I probably wouldn’t have been as interested in seeing it, but it wasn’t terrible. It’s impossible to reach the pinnacle of the original, but this was halfway decent. To me, more Rocky Horror is always a good thing.
After pining for a new Blair Witch movie for 15 years, it finally happened. In disguise as “The Woods,” it finally revealed itself as a Blair Witch reboot, despite them saying it was a sequel to the original. It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but it was still cool that it exists. At times it felt robotic as if it didn’t have much of a soul. I’ve come to find out that I’m in the minority here, but I felt 2015’s “The Witch” was more in line with my expectations and preference when it comes to a new Blair Witch movie. I wanted something that would’ve added to the mythology. Plus, this one ignores the events of Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 and for that, it loses points in my cool book.
As a Rob Zombie loyalist, I was at the premiere of 31 front and center. Unfortunately, much like the Blair Witch situation, it wasn’t what I had hoped for either. Often, when a great deal of people are unimpressed with a film and I wind up liking it, I wonder “what the hell were they expecting?” In this case, I was totally expecting something more Halloweeny. I don’t mean it needed to star Michael Myers or little Sam from Trick or Treat, but I was hoping the story would be more tied into the holiday itself. More pumpkins and ghosts, etc you catch my drift. Maybe his next movie will fulfill that quota?
AMC’s Comic Book Men had a Halloween Special starring Elvira. This episode was filmed during a blood drive in Red Bank, NJ. I went to give blood and the folks at The Secret Stash asked if I wanted to meet Elvira. Although I met her before, who am I to say no to an opportunity like that? I’m an Elvira freak! I went over and met Elvira and out of all the people at The Secret Stash that day, the moment where I go to say hello to Elvira made it into the show! What better way to cap off this Halloween Season than to say that I was on one of the coolest TV shows meeting Elvira…in NEW JERSEY!
This year there were a few costume ideas bouncing around in my head, but only one that I really wanted to be. My favorite GI Joe character is Zartan, always has been. But I didn’t want to do any old Zartan costume, I wanted to do 1993’s NINJA FORCE ZARTAN!
Most people think this is way obscure, but if you’re a fan of GI Joe and 80’s and 90’s action figures in general, you probably know about this variation of the character. The Ninja Force subset of GI Joe was much more vibrant in color and had more of an edgy look to them.
We go out every year and this year it was back to Asbury Park and we had a blast. Miss Sexy Armpit dressed as Jillian Holtzmann from Ghostbusters 2016 and she was spot-on!
After reminiscing on all of this, it’s obvious that Halloween 2016 was pretty badass in the realm of The Sexy Armpit. I hope you’ve had a kickass Halloween Season and I’m looking forward to next year already! Happy Halloween Everyone!
With my immense affinity for all things Blair Witch, how is it possible that I’ve never gone camping before?
Well, for starters, I’m not the outdoorsy type.
Through the years, various friends have asked me if I wanted to go camping with them. Inevitably, they’d attempt to try and sweeten the deal. As if the luxurious amenities of public bathrooms and shower facilities would sway my decision. On a few occasions, a long time ago, when the incentives of girls and booze joining us were put on the table, even that failed to entice me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the woods. I especially love fall foliage, but I don’t feel that I have to prove that point by sleeping in it. In theory, camping sounds like a blast, but I prefer to leave that area as a home for the bears…and witches.
There are exceptions to the rule. Going back many years, my friend Paul has asked me almost annually to head up to a cabin with his family owned by their close friends for some birthdays. See, from my perspective, a cabin is like bucking the camping system. Screw camping…who needs it when you have a creepy ass cabin to hang out in? When I first heard his offer, I almost started to give it consideration. As it goes, life got in the way and I wound up never making it up there. You know how it is. You have commitments. You have to film you and your pile of sludge getting into predicaments. You know, normal run of the mill stuff.
Eventually, I started to give this cabin some actual consideration. It was around December 2015 at a Christmas party when Paul and his close family friend Brian attempted one last pitch as to why I should head out there with them. They made it seem like I’d be in a wonderland of Fall, a veritable Halloween hullabaloo. They described drinking, debauchery, and demonic decorations. All right, so maybe I was drunk at that moment, but right then and there I had an epiphany and thought to myself, “Why the hell have I not gone to this cabin in the woods!?” I swore that when October rolled around, I’d be there no matter what – as long as it was after I premiered The Halloween Special.
Time flew and all of a sudden it was October 2016. The Halloween Special was completed and uploaded to YouTube. I was in the midst of getting the address of this storied cabin that I’ve heard so much about over the years. It was really happening and I was in for a nearly 3 hour drive (feel free to sing it to the Gilligan’s Island theme: a 3 hour drive!) Was I making the right decision? One thing was for sure, I thought way too much about what might happen there, especially left to my own devices in the car. Would I even make it there alive? The element of not knowing what this experience would entail was cool. Really, anything could happen. Would we wind up in alternate dimension? Was I going to be cut up into pieces and fed to hideous mutated beasts that they keep in the basement? Was it actually going to be a surprise birthday party for me 6 months early? That might have been the scariest option. Whatever happens, it seemed like I was in the opening credits of a real life horror movie. Then, I simply shrugged it off as watching too much AHS.
I was flying solo. Miss Sexy Armpit had to work, so she was off the hook. Since I love to drive and savor alone time, to me there’s nothing better than a good fall road trip. I was getting pretty pumped about the whole scenario. In the middle of the day I got a text from Paul: “What time are you leaving? It’s really hard to find this place in the dark.” I laughed it off with the assuredness that I can pretty much find any destination because of this newfound technology we have…Google Maps. “How difficult could it be to find?” I wondered. I got a much later start than I intended, mostly because I procrastinated and thought that the trip would be a lot quicker than it actually was. After I eeked out one more episode of Vice Principals, I mustered up the motivation to get ready, I packed up a few essentials, tossed them in the car, got gas, and headed out on the highway Judas Priest style.
Swigging a can of Monster and my iPod shuffling through my Halloween playlist, I was a happy non-camper. Once I made it up to Northwestern New Jersey, I passed by a giant pumpkin and had to pull over for an Instagram. You can’t pass up an opportunity to photograph a giant inflatable pumpkin monster. So, that was Detour #1. Seeing that damn pumpkin made me feel like I was on track for an epic trip. It was merely the beginning and I encounter this? The only way it could’ve been better is if it came alive and started warning me that “WE’RE ALL DOOMED!”
Things escalated within minutes. If I told you that out of the corner of my left eye I saw a raptor, would you believe me? I didn’t even believe myself so I had to bang a quick bat-turn to investigate. I thought I was taking crazy pills. First a mammoth pumpkin monster and now a Dinosaur? There you have Detour #2. Just a friggin’ dinosaur.
As I crossed the state line into PA, things started to seem more desolate. This was the ultimate leisurely fall drive since I kept passing huge stretches of nothingness. I saw creepy abandoned houses, dilapidated old farms, and ancient cemeteries. Sure, I was out of my element, but I was soaking up the vibe. Soon, I found myself driving through the center of a small town that looked like it was straight out of a horror movie.
Scanning around this ghost town, there was no one in sight. I was the only one on the road and apparently the only human for miles. That feeling came to an abrupt halt when I jammed on my brakes after a bear ran out into the street and almost into my car. The bear then jetted back onto someone’s lawn after he nearly hurled himself into my car. I swore I thought my poor car was going to get attacked by a bear. I was fascinated by all this though. Bears don’t live in our area so I was having flashbacks to being on the Six Flags Great Adventure Safari. The bear sprinted back over to a set of garbage cans where he continued to eat garbage that he previously attacked and clearly had been munching on earlier. This was where I nonchalantly zoomed in and took a photo for Detour #3. Saying that this ride was pretty interesting is a total understatement. I love that cliche “You can’t make this shit up!” because it usually applies to the whacked out trips I take.
Deeper into the town, I drove between a long stretch of small houses on the main road. I noticed that none of the houses had any lights on, except for one to my right. There was a house blazing with Halloween decorations. I slowed down so I could admire it for a second. What caught my eye were the vintage light up blow molds they had all over the place! I’ve been a sucker for blow molds ever since I was a kid. In fact, I used to beg my Dad to keep the ones we had, even though both my parents wanted to get rid of them after they had pretty much gone out of favor. After the ’80s, at least in our area, these wound up being looked at as tacky or cheap. Whatevs. To me, nothing beats those houses with a hundred blow molds set up all over their property for the holidays.
I was being a real creeper. I basically slowed down to a crawl and threw my car into park to snap a few photos of the house. This blazing blow mold house had a front porch that was large enough for several chairs and a dinette table. The older couple who lived there came out onto the porch with a couple of plates of food. I was so mesmerized by their blow molds that I didn’t even realize that they noticed me taking photos of their house. Luckily, this was a couple we should all aspire to be. To save myself from getting questioned by police, I did something I rarely do unless I’m seriously interested in something – I engaged them in conversation.
“HEY! YOUR BLOW MOLDS ARE BLOWING MY MIND!” Oh my God how embarrassing, what the hell did I just say? Did I actually just say those words out loud? F–k. Yes, I really did. But, what happened next was a pleasant surprise. The biggest smile came across both their faces and they walked down the steps of their porch. They started telling me how they’ve been collecting them for years and buy them from yard sales and flea markets anytime they see them. Not only was that anecdote so awesome, but, next, they delivered a little extra Halloween cheer that made my season. I asked them if they were big fans of Halloween and the gentleman said “Oh yeah, we LOVE Halloween and we’re just about to have Halloween dinner right here on the porch!” I thanked them and told them I just had to snap a photo. They actually thanked me for the compliment and we exchanged a goodbye. This trip kept getting more and more surreal.
Was I actually in a Halloween wonderland? This was like following the black and orange brick road. As you may have read here in the past, one of my favorite aspects of any road trip I go on are the random things that happen to me and the quirky things that I see. In both cases, they’re much cooler if you just happen to come across them by chance. There you have Detour #4. I was only halfway there and I felt like, if this was the best it got, then it was a successful trip.
To recap, there was an enormous pumpkin monster, a dinosaur, a giant garbage eating bear, and a blow mold couple eating Halloween dinner on their porch 3 weeks early. Seriously, was I in an episode of Eerie Indiana? Because that’s what I’ve always wanted out of life.
My late start meant I’d be driving the latter part of my trip in the dark. This is indeed what happened and Paul called it. Darkness started to fall and I realized that I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. I still had about 45 minutes to go, yet I had to pee. I also realized that I had forgotten a couple of necessities and I also wanted to pick up some kind of goofy Halloween decoration. Paul mentioned that the whole exterior of the cabin is decorated for Halloween and I wanted to contribute something. Wal-Mart seemed like a perfect spot to hit for all of this. Problem was, it was 35 minutes away from the cabin in the opposite direction. Stopping at a store was imperative so I had to go off course. I was already running late, so what was another hour or four? I knew this was going to make me even later, but I figured everyone would be nice and toasted by time I got there.
During my trip to Wal-mart, I passed the Circle Drive-In Theater on my right. For a second I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be pretty badass if they were showing a horror marathon or something to that effect? That would’ve been another notch in my belt to make this excursion even more insane. I squinted as I zoomed passed the marquee to see the lineup. The beautifully beaming sign actually had a goblin face on top of it (difficult to see in the photo). Sure as shit, Blair Witch AND Sleepaway Camp were playing as part of the Circle of Screams Halloween theme, and I couldn’t contain myself! On my way back, I tried my best to snap a pic although it came out blurry. To think that Jersey was the birthplace of the Drive-in, yet I randomly witnessed this magnificence in PA. I looked this place up and it happens to also offer a Halloween Haunted Attraction that bills itself as America’s Only Haunted Drive-In Theater! If horror and drive-ins are your thing, it’s your dream come true. Detour #5.
Here’s the guy I picked up. He’ll come into play later.
I didn’t think I could run into any more giant monsters, but I did.
This is where I ran into…a Gorilla. I am not kidding you guys. This is 100% legit. He was the coolest muthaf*ckin’ Gorilla I’ve ever seen, and he worked at a car dealership. This whole experience so far was unfathomable, better yet, PREPOSTEROUS! I was driving to a cabin and NOT tripping on LSD! Imagine if I had been on some kind of hallucinogen? Holy shit, this post would be 23x more entertaining.
Finally, after spending way more money than intended, I started on the final stretch to the cabin. This is the part that included pitch darkness, dirt roads, and the feeling of dread that made me feel like I’d be encountering the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers at any moment. Were these streets even listed in the GPS? I couldn’t be sure, but they felt just like some of the famous scary roads we have back home that always get mentioned in Weird New Jersey.
Next thing I knew I was driving through some kind of campsite where tons of teenagers were running around wildly with masks on scaring everyone. I was so overstimulated by that point that this was not surprising me in the least. Screaming Masked Teenagers? PAR FOR THE COURSE. Nothing compared to what I’ve seen. I later found out that this was a nearby campsite that was hosting their annual haunted attraction…an attraction that I’d been illegally K-turning my way back out of. Minutes later, the GPS had me turn into someone’s dirt driveway that wasn’t my intended destination, but fittingly looked like I had just entered into the Wrong Turn franchise. I had a hell of a time backing out and nearly hit a tree. That’s when I caved and called Paul. He made it very clear that the cell service there is spotty and he was right. He hopped in his car to find me and I was literally down the hill from where I was supposed to be.
I drove up a big hill into an opening in the woods. Yup, it was a cabin…in the middle of nowhere! As I parked my car I was in awe of the huge bonfire they had going. This fire looked like it was big enough for 35 people to sit around it. I greeted everyone and went inside to make a drink. I brought Tequila of course and wasted no time cracking it open. Inside the cabin, the decor reminded me of my Uncle’s basement. There were animals that had been stuffed greeting me from all angles. Some of them even had Halloween masks on. This was going to be interesting. It couldn’t have been more Evil Dead/Cabin in the Woods if it tried!
In the bathroom, I zeroed in on a random frame with a hologram of a demon faced girl. Always a fun Halloween gag. It was perfect.
The exterior of the cabin was being illuminated by the bonfire out front. All around the porch there was an eclectic mix of witches and skulls and demons hanging and eerily dancing in unison with the breeze. The air was crisp, a perfect October evening, hoodie mode=activated. I sat with Paul and his family and enjoyed my drink. I explained to them that I had a totally whacked out time driving up there.
Suddenly, the next thing I knew, I was being awoken by an incessantly spooky theremin sound. I swore the fact that now the sun was out and I was half asleep on a top bunk bed with a theremin playing meant that I had literally crossed over into the Twilight Zone. I hit my head on the ceiling as I tried to climb down from the bunk to figure out what the hell was going on.
I walked out into the living room area and everyone was up talking, laughing, and enjoying breakfast. I was being treated like a king and all I did was arrive, raise hell, and drink Tequila. A brisk, gray Sunday morning was being celebrated with good friends over some crispy bacon, eggs, English muffins, and Orange juice. What the hell did I do to deserve this? Did they secretly feed me mind altering drugs to go out and sacrifice one of those kids at the campground to Lucifer and they just knew the right smoke screen to distract me? Mmm breakfast. I’m like Homer Simpson. And, suuure get The Sexy Armpit drunk and make him do your bidding. I see. The plot thickened.
It wasn’t just me who was mystified, because it seemed as if none of us remembered what happened the night before. Legitimately, the last thing I remembered was playing Cards Against Humanity. The rest wasn’t even a blur. It just skipped from the card game to the spooky theremin waking me up. What happened in the meantime?
Something insane could’ve taken place the night before and I would’ve had no clue at all. My brain immediately went into deduction mode. Was it the Blair Witch? Did she possess the cabin to make us lose a gap of time?
After breakfast, Paul brought in the Halloween decoration guy that I bought. We’ll call him Simon for the hell of it. He had no idea where this dude came from and he was asking everyone if they happened to know his origin. I told him I bought him at Walmart, but I didn’t remember taking him out of my car at all. It felt like he mysteriously made his way onto the porch on his own volition. I needed to piece together the events in those missing witching hours.
Some of Paul’s friends had photos and videos on their phones. It was all there, although I had no recollection of any of these events. There was a video of us singing and dancing like idiots, nothing out of the ordinary when you hang out with me, but it was like seeing a clone of myself doing these things. I wasn’t even hung over at all, I actually felt great. That’s when I checked my phone to see if I had taken any pictures or video myself. Sure enough, I found a few photos that, for the life of me, I didn’t remember taking AT ALL! I had to believe there was something that overcame me while out in those woods so I couldn’t recall any of this. Was a I temporarily possessed by the Blair Witch?
There was also this blurry photo of a family of deer congregating on the lawn in front of the cabin. Finding this and not remembering taking it was quite amusing…and creepy! I headed home with the bizarre notion that I may never fully understand what happened at the cabin.
The next day, it all came together in a form of a text message from Paul and all it included was this photo:
In the middle of the previous night, in the wee hours, over a game of Cards Against Humanity, Paul’s sister thought it was a good idea for us to do shots of Jameson. Mystery solved. That’s one way to erase your memories and create a gap in your consciousness! The next time you suspect The Blair Witch is up to her old shenanigans, blame it on the Jameson.
It was more fun to believe that I may have been possessed by The Blair Witch, but there seemed to be enough evidence to the contrary. Buzzkilling it all even more, I found out later that I wasn’t actually in the Twilight Zone either 🙁 The spooky theremin that woke me up wasn’t my mind’s internal soundtrack, but actually Paul’s friend’s phone receiving non-stop text messages.
With that, my yearning for an actual Blair Witch experience of my own has been debunked, but there’s always next year.
If you enjoyed this insane trip, why not watch our 2016 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL on YouTube right now! Thanks for reading!