Category Archives: horror

Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…

MY CARD COLLECTING PROJECTS

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.

Stillwell

Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.

Horror

Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.

Music

Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

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Christmas gift ideas for your Stranger Things-loving friend

Many of you will be gathering around the dinner table tomorrow to devour some turkey and fixings. Chances are, some of your family members that will be eating with you will be fans of the phenomenal Stranger Things Netflix series. Perhaps you weren’t sure what to buy these people. Maybe you were thinking about something like a restaurant gift card, or cold, hard cash. And while those are certainly acceptable gifts for those you don’t know very well, a Stranger Things collectible might be a better option for fans of the Duffer Brothers series. Here are a few ideas:
Stranger Things

Personally, I liked the second season much better than the first…and that’s saying something, because I absolutely loved the first season! So whether your friends/family members/neighbors/secret Santa partners are fans of the original cast or enjoy the additions of Bob, Max, Billy, and Dr. Owens, these gift ideas will hit the mark.

Christmas gift ideas for your Twilight Zone-loving friend

One of the most entertaining anthology television series in history is The Twilight Zone, hosted by Rod Serling, which first aired in 1959. The fantastical stories, many written by Serling himself, took the viewer on a suspenseful ride through science fiction and horror. There has never been another anthology series that has reached the same heights, but fans of The Twilight Zone are always hungry for more. With that in mind, I offer some lesser-known series that may appeal to fans of Serling’s finest work:

Night Gallery Twilight Zone

I like Stranger Things

Possibly worth an entire year’s subscription to Netflix (which is now free on certain T-Mobile plans), the second season of Stranger Things was released just over a week ago. Seriously, this is not just the best show on Netflix. This is the best show period. Nothing else holds a candle to it, except maybe The Goldbergs, but that’s a whole different genre.

Last year, Punk Rock Paint made an awesome set of trading cards for Stranger Things, and he implied yesterday that series 2 is in the works…

I love my set of season 1 cards, and can’t wait for the second series…but I’m very impatient.

So I made my own…

I dropped a few on my Twitter last night…

I have a handful more that I plan to post soon, if there is interest to see them. I’ve tried to keep them spoiler-free, but I offer no guarantees.

Dear A&G: Where’s Eddie?

The Night Owl posted a list on his blog last night of all the non-baseball subjects in Allen & Ginter since the brand’s 2006 inception. Has it really been around that long? I perused the list and only came up with a handful of cards that I would care to have in my collection: Jack the Ripper (2007), Bram Stoker (2008), George W. Bush (2011), Bobby Knight (2012), and Tommy Lee (2013). I had originally commented on his post that I only found four, but I had overlooked Stoker in my initial reading of the lists. A sixth would have been added if Mr. T was not identified as Clubber Lang in 2015. Hundreds of non-baseball cards in these baseball card sets, but only five that I would actually want.

As many others noted in the comments section, the checklist is getting worse each year. The biggest omission in my eyes is one of the greatest writers in American history, Edgar Allan Poe. You could make the case for other writers in the horror genre, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman, but Poe must come before all others.

Unlike Lovecraft, King, and Gaiman, however, Poe is not without cardboard glory. He was featured in the 1952 Topps “Look ‘n See” set, and the card is fairly affordable depending on condition. There is also the 1992 Starline Americana set, 2009 Topps American Heritage, 2009 Topps Mayo, 2011 Obak (which featured a younger Edgar along with his five brothers), 2011 Goodwin Champions, and 2012 Golden Age. I am almost ashamed to admit that I own none of these issues.

There is one other interesting Edgar Allan Poe card, and perhaps the one that I want above all others: the 2013 Garbage Pail Kids “Adam Bombing” Edgar Allan Poe. I’m a huge fan of GPK, and this card just captures everything there is to love about the brand’s irreverence.

Poe

One of these days I will load up my COMC cart with all the Poe cards I can afford. And I may pick up those five A&G non-baseball players I want at the same time.

Goodbye, Tobe Hooper

(January 25, 1943 – August 26, 2017)

Iconic horror film director Tobe Hooper

Iconic horror film director Tobe Hooper passed away yesterday at the age of 74 from natural causes. He is best known for the classics Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist and the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. A highly respected director, Hooper also worked in television, directing episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales from the Crypt, and Masters of Horror, as well as the music video for Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.”

The horror community took to Twitter to remember the genius that was Tobe Hooper…

Goodbye, George A. Romero

(February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017)

Few people have impacted the horror genre like George A. Romero. Much of today’s zombie craze can be attributed to Romero’s work in Night of the Living Dead and other related films. He also wrote and directed The Crazies and Monkey Shines, directed Creepshow, and was a contributing producer of the Tales from the Darkside television series.

If you have never seen the original Night of the Living Dead from 1968, block off some time to watch it today.

The Hammer Vault: Treasures form the Archive of Hammer Films by Marcus Hearn (2016)

The Hammer Vault Marcus Hearn Titan Books

The Hammer Vault:
Treasures form the Archive of Hammer Films

by Marcus Hearn
Titan Books, 2016

Hammer is the legendary British film company that dominated the horror genre for decades. In The Hammer Vault, author Marcus Hearn recaps many of the films produced by Hammer with scant notes about the release, controversies, and images of promotional posters, stills, and props from the movies. He begins in 1954 with The Quartermass Xperiment, and concludes with 2014’s The Woman in Black: Angel of Death.

The Hammer Vault Marcus Hearn Titan Books

Most films are covered in two pages, while a handful only receive one page. It is certainly interesting to see the various images, such as annotated script pages, newsletters, and press passes to advance screenings, but two or three paragraphs about the films leave the reader wanting more.

The Hammer Vault is 12.9 inches by 10.1 inches and 184 pages long. It is an enjoyable overview of the company’s history, but is by no means exhaustive. The real value of this books is in the images rather than the text.

Purchase The Hammer Vault: Treasures from the Archive of Hammer Films by Marcus Hearn.

The Art of Hammer by Marcus Hearn (2016)

The Art of Hammer Marcus Hearn Titan Books

The Art of Hammer
by Marcus Hearn
Titan Books, 2016

Originally published in 2010, The Art of Hammer is a visual guide to the history of Hammer Films’ releases dating back to the 1950s. The artwork is stunning, at times risqué, and along with the films, often caused controversy upon release. The artwork on the front (pictured above) comes from Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, the 1972 movie starring Peter Cushing as Baron Victor Frankenstein/Dr. Carl Victor and David Prowse as the Creature/Herr Schneider. The book also comes with a jacket featuring artwork from Dracula A.D. 1972 starring Christopher Lee. The 200-page book is large at 10.3 by 13.1 inches, heavy and sturdy.

The Art of Hammer Marcus Hearn Titan Books

Except for a couple of introductory pages written by Marcus Hearn, the book is largely made up of images of promotional posters from around the world with brief captions identifying the film, as well as the dimensions of the original piece and the illustrator (if known). The author cautions in the introduction that The Art of Hammer is not intended to be a complete catalogue of Hammer posters, but a general overview of “examples from some of the most inventive and controversial marketing campaigns in post-war film history.”

As many of the original pieces were destroyed by theaters after they were used, a book like this serves as an inexpensive way to look into the past and see how far the art of movie posters has come, or how far it has fallen.

Purchase The Art of Hammer by Marcus Hearn.

Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series by Alyse Wax (2016)

Curious Goods

Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series
by Alyse Wax
BearManor Media, 2016
490 pages

Throughout the years, horror anthology programs have appeared on television. From The Twilight Zone to Chiller to Tales from the Crypt, there have been ample opportunities for fans of the macabre to enjoy the gory genre on the small screen. In the late 1980s, Paramount utilized the popularity of the Friday the 13th film series, using the name for a syndicated television show. Jason Voorhees was not a part of this show; cursed antiques were the central objects in this series. I remember staying up late to watch Friday the 13th: The Series, and loved every second of it. It has been years since I have seen the show, but still have vivid memories.

Alyse Wax’s new book, Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th the Series is a fantastic journey back to the antique shop with Micki and Ryan and their adventures of tracking down cursed objects. Wax gives an episode-by-episode breakdown for the entire three-season run of the show, along with quotes from the main actors, producers, writers, and directors. She also delves into John LeMay’s decision to leave the show after two seasons, the Don Wildmon controversy, and includes an interview with series creator and executive producer Frank Mancuso, Jr.

After reading this episode guide, I will definitely be revisiting Friday the 13th: The Series soon to see what I missed all those years ago while watching on my little grainy black-and-white television in my bedroom, long after I should have been asleep.

Learn more about BearManor Media.

Purchase Curious Goods: Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series by Alyse Wax.

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