Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Spooky Riddles

Blimey, Hallowe'en already? That was quick! It's on a Wednesday this year, so there's not even a midnight screening at the local cinema, which is a bugger. Suppose I'll just be watching some "scary" films, maybe sacrifice a few cats or something. Anyway, just for a final dose of chuckles for October, here's Spooky Riddles by Marc Brown (creator of Arthur!). It's from 1983, and the jokes have aged well. Be warned - some of the pages have an answer THEN a question on the same page. And there's a VERY deep spine on this one, which explains the strange way that the double pages look.

Regardless, here we go, have fun!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hallowe'en-ish Cartoons and the like

So, him over at Deadpan Flook, her over at Your Daily Cartoon and probably a billion other people have been posting some of their favourite "spooky" cartoons this week. And I want a slice of that pumpkin pie for myself, so here you go (bwahahaha thunder & lightning etc).

Stickers for Satanists

From the same notebook of rescued stickers as the Icky Sticky Creepies... It's these things! I can't remember what they're called, so can't help there. All I know is that they originally came from Horror Bags sometime around the mid-1990s. In "real life" they all have neon backgrounds, but scanners don't seem to like neon things much. The pictures are still there though, and what pictures they are:

Cheap and nasty and horrible, just like the best horror films! I'd love to see what the album you were supposed to put these in looks like. Anyone got any clues?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Icky Sticky Creepies

Those of you that were viewers of CITV or are currently jigsaw enthusiasts may be familiar with the name of Mike Jupp - the creator of The Dreamstone! All those strange and interesting characters that inhabited the Sleeping World might POSSIBLY have their roots in an earlier project by Mr. Jupp, one called Icky Sticky Creepies.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

More scary adverts, why not?

I've got LOADS of these things sitting on the hard drive, so let's be having them! 'Tis the season and all that.

So, one of the "57 Varieties" of Heinz was "Haunted House"? I've got no problem with that. Can't find it anymore so can only assume it was replaced with the smaller sized tins of Heinz Beanz with Curry.

Amazing colours here... is ANYTHING that colourful anymore?

This remains one of the most unsettling adverts I've ever seen. A beady-eyed fish man wants you to spread the word about how his planet is dying by wearing a T-shirt... and the way to help his planet is by drinking concentrated orange juice. Regard! The two who wear the T-shirt stare each other down - kindred spirits, or rivals for precious liquids? The other kids seem terrified, especially the Mohican-topped one.

Not really seasonal, unless you think of the Jelly Invaders as aliens or something. This remains the best yoghurt that ever existed. A big heap of jelly, and you'd tip the yoghurt into it and mix it up for a wobbly, gooey mess of a dessert. Suppose you could always pretend the jelly was a brain? Would that work?

Scream Soda!

Even though it was sort-of "invented" over here, Hallowe'en's never been as popular in the UK as it is across the Atlantic. So whilst that lot get to enjoy all sorts of spider/Frankenstein/pumpkin-themed foodstuffs, what do we get? Themed bags of Haribo, and Milky Bar Ghosts if we're lucky. Oh, a couple of years ago Tango declared themselves to be the "official sponsors of Hallowe'en" and stuck some zombies on their cans, which was mildly exciting.

THIS year, however, the powers-that-be have only gone and re-branded my favourite drink! Observe:

Scream Soda! It's like cream soda, only scary. Yeah! Covered in cobwebs, gravestones, spiders and bats, and it even says "spooky value" on it.

There's also a weird claw-handed man lurking amidst the trees, which is something different. I only saw these cans for the first time yesterday, but the one pictured above is my fifth one. Wonder if Barr will be turning any of their other drinks into "scary" drinks? They could have "Banshdy" as a clumsy way of integrating a banshee into their shandy. Or "Cloudy Lemon-afraid". Perhaps "Dandelion & Murder-dock" or "Igor Bru". It's a nice thought.

While we're at it, let's take a moment to remember another vaguely monstrous soft drink... 

Nemesis! Launched in 1994 to celebrate the new ride at Alton Towers, the most delicious blend of blackcurrant and liquorice you'll ever find in a can. Think I only had perhaps three of these before they disappeared forever, and still I mourn.

There was another one too, Zig and Zag's Zog Juice - named after those puppets. Only ever had it once, from a vending machine. It was more or less a small-sized carton of Ribena, but it had globs of jelly floating about in it. Strange stuff, and I can't even find a picture of it to prove its existence (this makes it "spooky").

And as much as I think about it, that's all of the Hallowe'en-ish drinks I can think of, and even Nemesis is stretching it. See what I mean about the whole thing just not being as big over here? Ah well. Here's the Tango zombies again, at least they tried:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Creaking Floorboards, or Why My Back Is Hurting

So, I've had twelve days off work just now. Bit of travelling, bit of fun, bit of adding to the pile of stuff...

Yeah, just a bit...

Music for the 31st

The 31st is getting closer and closer (time tends to move in a regular forward motion, but it can certainly seem to adjust its speed when things of excitement or dread are on the way). For most people, it'll be just another day, or perhaps a birthday. For many other people, it'll be a time for a "party" or maybe just a bit of self-enjoyed spookiness (maybe watching a couple of eerie films or something).

Regardless of what the day will bring, it's always fun to have some themed music, right? The short-lived days of mass file-sharing on the Internet seem to be mostly over, but there's still SOME good stuff out there, and three of my favourites this year are from Wonderful Wonderblog.

First up is Elvira Presents Haunted Hits.

Loads of smashing stuff on this, from the obvious (Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters and Bobby Pickett's Monster Mash), to film and TV themes (The Addams Family and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes), to spooky kooky stuff from Screamin' Jay Hawkins, The Cramps and the Ran-Dells.

Next we're turning up the novelty dial to "maximum fun" or whatever, depending on your tastes. It's the Old School Hip Hop Halloween Mix!

Featuring MC Hammer's Addams Groove, Run-D.M.C.'s Ghostbusters and that Fat Boys song about Freddy Krueger, it'll either have you grinning, cringing or doing those funny hand signs that people like to do when listening to rap music in an "ironic" sense. I'm of the grinning variety.

Last one from the Wonderblog now, and my favourite - Halloween Stomp. 

27 (or maybe 28?) big band jazzy floor-fillers from the likes of Nat King Cole, Glen Miller, Cab Calloway, Peggy Lee and the Casa Loma Orchestra, all with a running theme of shrieking. The complete life story of Mysterious Mose is included, and my personal favourite of the set is Rudy Valle & His Connecticut Yankees with the absolutely bonkers With Her Head Tucked Under Her Arm. Spooky sound effects and cuts from old cartoons are stuck between the tracks, but this adds to the fun rather than annoys.

Last of all, I've made my own one! Well, it was a couple of years ago when I made it, there wasn't time to do a "proper" one this year with a cover and everything (next year...), so... It's still good though. A fair few songs on it might not be considered Hallowe'en music in the traditional sense, but most of them are either spooky, silly, sinister or maybe even scary. There's a few "fashion bands" on there too, for those people who're into that sort of thing!

It's in two folders, each one of them will fit onto a single CD. People still use CD players, don't they? Get it from here and be sure to let me know what you "reckon" of it.

Here's the tracklisting, for those that are interested:

01-Danny Elfman - This Is Halloween
02-Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood
03-Pixies - Dead
04-Queens of the Stone Age - Hangin' Tree
05-The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)
06-Jeffrey Lewis - If You Shoot the Head You Kill the Ghoul
07-Panther Burns - Auto Sapien
08-Deerhoof - Giga Dance
09-The Cramps - Human Fly
10-The Unicorns - Tuff Ghost
11-Joe McDermott - Boss Battle
12-John Carpenter - Halloween Theme
13-Bonnie Camplin - Get Me a Mirror
14-...And the Native Hipsters - There Goes Concorde Again
15-Fiction Friends - Jump Jump
16-Rasputina - A Skeleton Bang
17-Bobby "Boris" Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers - Monster Mash
18-The Tinklers - Mom Kooks Inside
19-Chad VanGaalen - Molten Light
20-Crass - Reality Asylum
21-BBC Radiophonic Workshop - Dr. Who
22-Vrillion - Crazy Clown Song
23-Only A Mother - Lullabye
24-The Sounds of American Doomsday Cults - Preamble: Great Divine Rector's Call
25-Foetus Inc. - See Dick Run
26-Billy West - Dialogue from "Stimpy's Fan Club"

01-Tom Waits - What's He Building?
02-Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - The False Husband
03-Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre
04-Space Negros - Vigor the Ice Man
05-Man Man - Against the Peruvian Monster
06-Frank Zappa - Goblin Girl
07-The Bonzo Dog Band - Look Out, There's a Monster Coming
08-Liars - Flow My Tears the Spider Said
09-The Stinky Puffs - Monsters
10-Los Straitjackets - The Munsters Theme Song
11-Ed Ivory & Ken Page - Oogie Boogie's Song
12-Carole King - The Awful Truth
13-R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders - Mysterious Mose
14-Peter Stampfel - Werewolf
15-Bauhaus - Kingdom's Coming
16-Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones
17-King Missile - The Commercial
18-Napoleon XIV - They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!
19-Hank von Schpa - Mama Do
20-Tony Jay - Hellfire
21-Modest Mussorgsky - Night on Bald Mountain

More Monster Doodlings

Sorry for the brief absence there (if anyone noticed), I've been on an annual exploit. A holiday, if you will. Anyway, it involved TWO six hour bus journeys, neither of which were at a comfortable temperature, so I only had time to draw one thing before the hands fell off.

This is one of them:

Started out with a frog, and intended to do a monstrous bird or something swallowing it. This turned into a snake, which then turned into a whole bunch of snakes emerging from within a big... plant? Got a bit lazy towards the base of the thing, but the general idea is a plant which attracts its food with tasty berries, before sending out the appendages to gobble up any nearby hungry creatures. I don't like it that much, but you know, practise practise practise and all that.

The other one I'm a bit happier with:

It's a mummy, BUT, under the bandages is nothing but EYEBALLS! Fleshy dangling eyeballs at that, of all shapes and sizes. It started out as a regular mummy (always fun to draw), but after giving it three eyes in the head, it'd seem silly to not give it eyes all over the place.

One day soon I'll try drawing while I'm NOT in a moving vehicle.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Raven, as interpreted by Gahan Wilson

Since 1992, around the time I first saw The Simpsons' version of Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven (YouTube only has the sound from it, but it's worth it to hear James Earl Jones's narration and the amazing score by Alf Clausen), there's always been a sort-of association between the poem and this particular time of year. A few months after first seeing said episode (you know, 25th December), I was given this book:

The Classics Illustrated Edgar Allen Poe collection, illustrated by America's greatest living cartoonist, Gahan Wilson. His sinister etchings are a perfect match for such a poem, making it the SECOND best interpretation of The Raven that I've encountered. Look at it?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Zig and Zag's Zogozine - Scary Special!

Everyone knows who Zig and Zag are, don't they? A pair of beings from the planet Zog, who started their TV career in Ireland back in 1987, before making their way over to the UK to help out with presenting The Big Breakfast in 1992. Go and read the Wikipedia page if you've no idea what I'm on about.

Whether you know them or not, by 1994 they were popular enough to get their own comic, in the form of Zig and Zag's Zogozine. Presented here is the paranormal special ("More horrific than Gary Glitter!"), dated December. Weeeeeird!

Tom Paterson's Spooky Buster Covers

During the late 1980s, Tom Paterson did some amazing covers for Buster, often depicting chaotic, ridiculous or downright strange things befalling the poor lad. As it's October and I'm feeling slightly restricted in that sense (but not in a bad way!), here's some of the "ghost/monster"-themed covers that were done over the issues...

"Win a Christmas Treat From Sellotape" - scary stuff!

Oh look - the date on this one's the same as my 2nd birthday. This one might not be Paterson's, but it's good all the same.

Unfortunately I don't have the "whole thing" - never even seen it!

But I do have the mask that was inside this one!


My absolute favourite - probably one of the greatest comic covers of all time. Playing on the comic's title too, nice trick! Actually, this one's SO good, that I'm posting the story that goes with it too. It's a good'un:

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A Haunted House to Call My Own

About a hundred Xmas Days ago (I'm guessing perhaps 1990, maybe even 1989?), I got this from him with the reindeer:

Oh yes! Make A Model Haunted House, by Jon Sutherland, Simon Farrell, Mark Hackett and Richard Jewitt. A dream team if ever there was one. It's a book, containing riddles and some big bits of illustrated card. With the help of scissors, glue and a patient grown-up, it enables you to make the thing on the back of the book:

This PARTICULAR book (as in, the one I've stuck under the scanner for the above display purposes) is another "as new" copy I've acquired within the last few years, as the original book is long gone.

BUT... The model haunted house has survived for over twenty years and through no less than three house moves! Let's take a looksee at it.

Cracker's Ghastly Geezers

ANOTHER of the "less famous" titles from DC Thomson is this one, called Cracker (87 issues from 1975 to 1976). It featured an immensly unlikeable spud called Sammy. He appeared on the cover and throughout the comic, making comments on the various strips within:

I'll be looking at Cracker in more detail another day (it's got some good stuff by Ken Harrison, Barrie Appleby, Gordon Bell and John Geering, after all). For now, and in the whole October "context", here's my favourite thing about Cracker - it's the Ghastly Geezers Gallery!

The usual drill - give some kids a bit of paper and a pen, and tell them to draw some monsters. Send them in and win a pound or a "weirdy consolation prize", whatever THAT is. Here's all the ones I have to hand:

Some talented kids out there! The one-legged Sherlock Holmes thing is my favourite. Wonder if any of them grew up and continued with the doodlings? All in all, it's a fun idea, tried and tested. See also the Flinklegloop stuff from the Dandy, fifteen years later.