“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.
But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.”
A very mysterious, spooky, and all-together ooky October 1st to all you groovy ghoulies and cool ghouls out there!
October is indeed a special month. For us ho-rror aficionados, ghouls and ghosts roam throughout the year, but it’s the Halloween season when they reach their full potential and dominate this mortal plane. The wind bustles with the specters of Autumn and the monsters are no longer confined to the dark. For this most glorious month, the grotesque and beautiful become one. Those who generally dwell in the light take time to ho-nor the creatures of the dark. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year! 🙂
For this entire month, we’ll be handing out both tricks and treats to all you wonderful freaks! We’re painting the town black-and-orange with some of the scariest, creepiest things that go bump in the night! So clap for the Wolfman and whistle past the graveyard, ’cause it’s Halloween Time, Kinky Ho-mies!! 🙂 xoxoxo
Happy Birthday to the KING of Literary Ho-rror, Mr. Stephen King! ]
We’ve been talking about this gentleman a lot recently (but also, always because he rules ;)). With trips to TheDark Tower and visits from IT, the recent ho-rror scene has really been dominated by this man who has been in the public eye for over 40 years. He has weaved timeless nightmares from the mundane and has created creatures that have haunted us for decades and will continue to do so. Stephen King is truly a SHINING star in terror whose words will CARRIE on through the ages… but do you know what’s truly scary?
Stephen King hamming it up in an American EXXXpress commercial! That’s f-right, kreeps! King made a ghoulish TV appearance for American Express back in the ’80s! Like Vincent Price in his numerous commercial appearances, King plays up his spooky persona in a deliciously campy way. Dressed as a villain in one of Corman’s Poe films, Stephen King puns his way through a Gothic mansion before promoting the credit card. It’s truly magnificent!
For some conteXXXt, here’s a groovy 1984 article from PEOPLE:
A flash of lightning, banging doors, scurrying hunchbacks, disembodied human arms…and the cameras are rolling. As fog sifts through the haunted house—an old mansion ghouled up for the occasion—horror novelist Stephen King emerges from the gloom with a flaming taper in one hand and a sinister raven in the other. “Do you know me?” he asks.
Then he gestures toward a table littered with applications for a well-known credit card. “Isn’t life a little scary without it?” asks the maestro of macabre fiction. “The next time you visit your favorite haunt, why not apply for an American Express card?”
King’s gig, which will air in late September, highlights the 10th anniversary of one of TV’s most spectacularly successful commercials. When American Express shot the first spot in 1974 of the now famous ad series, featuring a parade of high achievers whose names are often better known than their faces, only six million people owned Amex cards. Now there are some 18 million. And Amex attributes a big part of the rise to their ads—of which King’s is the 61st and most flamboyant. “We are getting more ambitious with our spots,” concedes Glen Gilbert, director of advertising for Amex. “They’re so well established now, it gives us a chance to experiment and have a little more fun.”
The pioneer flasher of the little green card on TV was actor Norman (Three’s Company) Fell, who did a modest talk piece at the check-in desk of a hotel. And Fell remains the only subject who did not say, “Do you know me?” Rather, he began with “Thanks to TV a lot of people know my face, but not many know my name.”
After Fell the ads swung into the familiar opener that has held through all the spots leading into the spectacular by King, who, like most other Amex guests, confesses he was tickled to be asked to appear. “It’s just such a compliment,” says King, whose new novel, The Talisman, co-authored with Peter Straub, will appear soon after the ad. King did the spot more for laughs than for celebrity. “Certainly it’s not going to do much for my literary reputation, although,” he cracks, “many would say that I don’t have a literary reputation to worry about.”
One thing’s for sure. King, whose writings and film versions of Carrie and The Shining have earned him millions, didn’t do the ad for money. And neither have most of the other guest hosts. The $10,000 payment, plus residuals, has not changed in 10 years.
Despite the modest fee Amex has no trouble finding subjects. Together with Ogilvy & Mather, the Manhattan agency that created the campaign, Amex selects the potpourri of known-unknowns for the spots. Though hundreds of unsolicited requests pour in each year, the agency tactfully puts off the volunteers. “I can’t think of an instance in which we chose someone who approached us first,” says an Ogilvy & Mather executive.
One of the most successful invitations went to the late William Miller, Barry Goldwater’s running mate in the 1964 Presidential election. “It was amazing the recognition he got from the ads,” says his widow, Stephanie. “He used to say, ‘I definitely recommend that before someone runs for Vice-President, they do an American Express commercial!’ ”
Another especially popular advertisement was the one in which Tom Landry, the stonefaced coach of the Dallas Cowboys, appeared in a Western saloon decked out as a cowboy and surrounded by redskins—Washington Redskins, that is, in football garb. “My reputation is sort of stoic, which is planned,” says Landry, “so a lot of people were surprised.”
Other Amex stars were themselves surprised to find that the ads improved not only their image but also sales of their products. “It helped business,” says Roy Jacuzzi, founder of the whirlpool-bath company that bears his name. In 1982 he posed in one of his creations with a rubber duck—and artfully saved the show when the whirlpool quit during filming. Roy jumped out and, off-camera, shimmied under the tub with a pair of pliers and a wrench. The bath soon whirled back to life, with the cameras rolling again and a happy proprietor bubbling inside.
Opera star Roberta Peters agrees the spots provide a business boost. “It definitely helped bring people to the opera,” she says of her 1980 commercial. Peters also admits she is recognized more often since doing the ad. While she was trying unsuccessfully to flag down a Manhattan cab one day, a woman stuck her head out of a car window and yelled, “Do it da way you do it in da cammercial!” Peters obliged. She held up her hand and launched into a soprano trill. “Taaaxiii!”
For your viewing pleasure, here’s the commercial:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEPHEN KING!!! SLEEPWALKERS RULES!!!! 🙂 xoxo
As you Kinky Kreeps probably know, there is nothing in this world that we love more than a cl-Ass-Sick monster hawking their wares to us humans. Whether it’s The Phantom of the Opera promoting condoms (to be covered later) or Dracula pimping tomato sauce (ditto), we just can’t get enough of SpokesMonsters! While there have been many great monsters of advertising, we think Godzilla may be the King of the SpokesMonsters! Yessir, Big G has been A LOT of commercials, but we’re particularly fond of the campaign he did for Dr. Pepper in the ’80s! For some monstrous background, here’s a 1985 write-up from The Los Angeles Times:
Dr Pepper Bubbles Up To Godzilla
Here’s an introduction that could only be made in Hollywood, even though the subjects are from Tokyo and Dallas:
Godzilla, meet Dr Pepper.
Starting next week, the monster and the soft drink (now there’s a title) will be paired in the launching of a $10-million advertising campaign leading up to the Aug. 23 release of “Godzilla 1985,” a Japanese-made, American-modified horror film in which Dr Pepper will make a cameo appearance.
“This is the perfect marriage of product placement and promotion,” says Rusty Citron, director of national promotion and merchandising for New World Pictures. “We think everyone’s going to have a lot of fun with it.”
“Godzilla 1985” marks the comeback of Godzilla, the prehistoric monster who rose from the fallout of nuclear blasts to crush cities in a series of clumsy Japanese movies made in the ’50s and ’60s. It also brings back bulky Steven Martin (Raymond Burr), the American reporter whose scenes were shot in Hollywood and inserted in the 1956 “Godzilla, King of the Monsters.”
New World, which picked up “Godzilla 1985” from Toho Film, repeated the post-production gimmick, getting Burr to reprise his role in a two-day shooting at Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios, on the same set where (is nothing sacred?) “Citizen Kane” was filmed.
Those scenes, set in the Pentagon, will also include a Dr Pepper vending machine and cans of the product being consumed by the cast.
“It is done in the same good taste that Diet Pepsi did in ‘Back to the Future,’ ” Citron says, with an almost straight face.
Actually, Dr Pepper had already negotiated the use of Godzilla for a fall campaign when New World decided to pick the film up for U.S. theatrical distribution and video sales. TV commercials have already appeared linking Godzilla with Dr Pepper.
When Citron learned of the soft drink tie-in from Toho, he rushed to Dallas and offered to put the product in the movie for a piggyback ride on its ad campaign.
Citron says Dr Pepper approved the deal in three hours and starting next week copy promoting the movie will be included in all Dr Pepper/Godzilla spots on TV and radio.
Godzilla, the unfriendly Pepper, is going to be hard to ignore. Besides Dr Pepper’s $10-million campaign, New World will be spending $3 million to $4 million of its own money.
There’s even an MTV video on its way, featuring the love theme from “Godzilla 1985”: “I Was Afraid to Love You.”
Who would have believed fallout would be this much fun?
We don’t care for author’s haughty attitude towards Godzilla, but the information solid. As stated in the article, a Dr. Pepper machine appeared in the background of Godzilla 1985…
…Big G appeared in a few Dr. Pepper commercials…
…and both appeared in a music video for I Was Afraid to Love You.
Now, that’s some delicious product placement!
I don’t know about you Kreepsters, but I could really go for a Dr. Pepper right about now… 😉
As we said in Monday’s post, the zombie as we know it just wouldn’t eXXXist without the late, great George A. Romero. The influence of his Dead films can be felt in just about every form of zombie media, notably the ever-popular Resident Evil video game franchise. We here at Kinky Ho-rror just adore the unholy heck out of out of the Resident Evil series… but who doesn’t? The franchise has sold over 77 million units sold worldwide, produced countless pieces of merchandise, inspired theme park attraction, and inspired a series of Matrix remakes.
While the series eventually went for an action/adventure style, the first few games owe much to Master Romero. From the slow-moving flesh eaters to the claustrophobic setting of the first game, there’s no doubt that these games would not eXXXist without Romero’s mad genius.
In 1998, the series acknowledged the Romero influence by hiring the man himself to direct a live-action TV commercial for Resident Evil 2 (known as Biohazard 2 in Japan). The 30-second spot features a group of gruesome zombies raising hell at a jail and features game-accurate costumes. You can watch that bit o’ awesome below…
Though it only aired in Japan, the commercial inspired Sony to hire Romero to adapt the first game into a full-length feature. Unfortunately, the film eventually died, eventually morphing into Paul W.S. Anderson’s 2002 adaptation. However, it’s been said that the success of that film and the resurgence of zombies in pop culture allowed Romero to make 2004’s Land of the Dead. As an added bit o’ Romero goodness, here’s The King of the Zombies talking about the commercial:
Yesterday, we posted a clas-sick VHS screener promo for Child’s Play featuring Chucky. Well, it turns out that Mr. Fredrick Krueger was in the VHS promo business before Chucky was even packaged! To scare up some profits, Media Home Entertainment brought Freddy out of the dream world and into the TV screens of potential clients with a 7-minute video promo. The video features Robert Englund in full fright gear, hamming it up with the panache of Hulk Hogan. At this point, Freddy was more of a morbid funnyman than an unholy terror. But we like yuks with our yucks, and Freddy knew how to slay ’em! 😉 Once a monster has had at least one truly scary film, I think they’ve earned the right to sell out. In addition to some masterful salesmanship from Freddy, there are clips from The Late Show with Joan Rivers, scenes from the first three films, news footage, and other vintage goodies. If you ever wanted an idea of how big Freddy was in the ’80s, all you have to do is watch this video.
Who doesn’t love dolls? They’re just about the only companion who will stay with you forever… your friend to the end, if you will… Yes, some dolls laugh, some cry, some blink their eyes, and some go tinkle in their pants… but the doll we prefer is a cut above the rest… Of corpse, I’m talkin’ about Chucky, the tiniest tit-an of terror since Peter Lorre! Yikes! Sorry, Mr. Ray!
Anyway, Back in the glory(hole) days of VHS, studios would send VHS screeners of their new releases to video stores to entice them to stock their shelves with those movies. Well, MGM really took it to next level with their screener for 1989’s Child’s Play! They actually got the star of the film to scare ’em straight! In this 6(66) minute video, The Chuckster goes huckster! Brad Dourif voices the killer doll, who brags about his slashing boXXX office success, (g)rave reviews, and even takes time to smack-talk Freddy and Mah Boo… not cool, Chuck!
The video also includes clips and the most ’80s theme song to ever ’80s. In short, this Child’s Play screener is Chuck-ing great! 🙂
A fine Alien: Covenant Day to all you XXXeno-ho-mies out there! We’re celebrating this glorious day with a cold, refreshing can of vintage terror! It’s your friendly neighborhood XXXXenomorph in a gut-bursting commercial for Pepsi! To promote the release of 1992’s Alien 3, Pepsi unleashed the beast on the most radically ’90s teens imaginable. After being cornered by the eXXXtra-terror-estrial, the XXXtreme dudes resort to their most powerful weapon: the crisp flavor of Pepsi! How magical is that? Coke may cause “Mean” Joe Greene to give you his jersey, but Pepsi keeps movie monsters from eviscerating you! I’d say on usefulness, the point goes to Pepsi… with no offense to Mr. Greene. Can you imagine how many horrible deaths would have been prevented had Ripley just given the beast a Pepsi? It’s not like she wasn’t aware of the awesome power of Pepsi! Here she is having a Pepsi Day without a single care for the fate of humanity! YOU’VE DOOMED US ALL, RIPLEY!
Without any further ado, here’s the commercial. Just remember…
In Space, No One Can Hear You Say “Pepsi, Please.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here tonight to tell you a strange story… A story so strange that no one would believe it. But, ladies and gentleman, seeing is believing. Back in 1972, stop-motion master David Allen (The Howling, Doctor Mordrid) showed us the greatest thing our eyes have ever beheld… The Return of King Kong! Not just another ape suit, but a stop-motion marvel like the true Kong of 1933. What occasion lead to the resurrection of one of cinema’s great beasts? A car commercial, of course! The Volkswagen of America company recruited Allen to give us a show to gratify our curiosity and promote their Volkswagen 411 4-Door Sedan model, a “Volkswagen big enough for everyone.” The result was a pitch–perfecttribute to the greatness that is 1933’s King Kong. Why, the commercial even has its own Ann Darrow in the form of Victoria Riskin, Fay Wray’s daughter! For even more monster-y goodness, make-up wizard Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London, The Funhouse) appears as Kong’s arm. Ladies and gentlemen, look at Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World… and Volkswagen enthusiast!
If you crave more excitement, gaze upon these nifty behind-the-scenes photos: