Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Top Five Favorite Fast Food Toys

Five Best Fast Food Toys or Your Childhood in a Grease-Covered Box

I guess I could have gone for the stronger alliteration and titled this post "Five Favorite Fast Food Figurines" but I think we can all agree that would be too much. Recently on the OA forum there has been a lot of talk about fast food toys from the past. Members have been listing off their favorites and basically just reminiscing. There's nothing wrong with a little nostalgia, right?

Anyway, today's top five list concerns my personal favorite fast food toys of all time. Let's do this.

5. Alf Puppets (1988)- In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I never owned any of these. Of course, that doesn't make them any less bad ass. These Alf puppets came from Burger King in the late eighties, and I can't think of a better way for a child to spend his days than sticking his hand up Alf's ass and making him talk. There were a few variations, one had Alf with an apron and chef's hat, another had him with a guitar, and he was dressed as a baseball player in yet another variation. It seems Alf really gets around.

4. McDonalds "Changeables" - Imagine, if you will, a cross pollination of Transformers and fast food. Ah, yes, wouldn't that be a perfect world? Luckily McDonalds was way ahead of you and put these bad boys into Happy Meals all across the country in the late-eighties. There were eight figures in all ranging from hamburgers to ice cream cones, and each one would transform into (what I assume to be) evil creatures bent on world domination - one over weight child at a time. Don't believe me? Click here and see for yourself.

3. McNugget Buddies Halloween (1993) - There have been many incarnations of the McNugget Buddies over the years, but I really want to focus on the 1993 Halloween figures. Halloween at Mcdonalds has always held a special place in my heart, I remember using the Halloween pails that held my delicious October Happy Meals not just for trick or treating, but even as a lunch box for the rest of the year! And these little guys - pretty much ripoffs of the Potato Head Kids - were devilishly fun. They were plastic Chicken McNuggets that you could dress up as Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, a ghost, a witch, a pumpkin, or a mummy. If that doesn't catch your fancy, check out this fantastically macabre commercial for them here.

2. Looney Tunes/DC Super Heroes (1992) - What an awesome idea for a set, and I say that with little to no irony. You take Looney Tunes characters, which are great, and mix them with DC Super Heroes, which are also great, and you've got one hell of a product. The set is a standard PVC set that includes inarticulate versions of Daffy Duck as Batman, Bugs Bunny as Super-Man, Porky Pig as Wonder Woman, and Taz as The Flash. Of course, each one has their own play on the super hero names, but I just don't happen to have those. The coolest part of this set? You could actually alternate the characters between their secret identities and their super hero costumes (the costume was simply two pieces of plastic that snapped around the figure). How great is that? Check out the commercial here.

1. Muppet Babies (1987) - Released in Happy Meals from Mcdonalds in 1987, these little PVC toys included Kermit riding a skateboard, Miss Piggy in a car, Gonzo on a Big Wheel, and Fozzy on a hobby horse. A great, if small, set that came out at the height of the Muppet Babies popularity. When these came out I was only a few years old, but I held on to them for years. Just look how happy these little youngsters are playing with their new Muppet Baby toys here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Clip of the Week II

Children - Spirit Power

I know it's the second Clip of the Week. It's worth it right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Clip of the Week

This is a video that I threw together last night. The song is 666 by Kiki's Rock N Roll Adventure - which is a metal band that my friends and I started a few years ago. We actually recorded this song on 06/06/06, which definitely makes it extra evil! Extra points if you can name all the movies I took clips from to make the video.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All the Facets of the 'Choke

Hey gang, I just wanted to let everyone know that we here at Olympic Artichoke have finally broken down and signed up for a Twitter site. You can find us here. Feel free to follow us, and then you can read along as we post about stupid shit.

I also wanted to remind everyone that we do have a pretty cool forum that we invite everyone to sign up for. There is a lot great film, music, and sports discussion, plus a lot more. We've got a heated game of The Screen Grab game going (one person posts a screengrab from a flick, and the rest have to guess it) plus tons of other fun stuff. Go ahead and join up here. You won't regret it. Unless you do.

Thanks for your time, fiends.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Films from the Crypt: Episode 9 - Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

Films from the Crypt: Episode Nine - Fright Night Part 2 (1988)

Director: Tommy Lee Wallace

Tagline: "Welcome back..."

View the trailer

Starring: William Ragsdale, Roddy McDowell, Julie Carmen


Up until last night, I had never seen the sequel to one of my all time favorite vampire flicks, Fright Night. I really hadn't ever even thought to seek it out. The Artisan DVD has been out of print for a years, making it difficult to find, plus I had never read any good reviews over it to begin with. I thought I'd just let it go the way of The Howling Part 6 and Children of the Corn Part Whatever The Hell They Are On and just not see it.

But, it just so happened that yesterday was a particularly boring, and lazy, day for me, so what better way to spend it than by watching a dubiously acquired copy of Fright Night Part 2? And that is just what I did. And I didn't hate it.

Here's the thing: Fright Night is one of the more beloved genre pictures of the eighties and the reason for that is almost exclusively because of the characters. Everybody loves Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale) and Peter Vincent (Rowdy Roddy McDowell) so much that how could making another film with them go wrong? And to a certain extent, the film works like that. We get the familiar characters and we don't ask too many questions because we are getting what we want (SPOILER ALERT: like why is Regine halfway immune to crucifixes because of her age - - but her thousand year old "brother", Jerry Dandrige, wasn't?). The only real problem here is that Charley really isn't Charley anymore - - at least not the Charley we love. For some reason (and yeah, it's because it's an easy/lazy plot device - just reverse roles from the first film) they wrote Charley as the skeptic in this one. He goes to therapy for three years and stops believing in vampires, yada, yada, yada.

But, of course, we still get enough of Charley to keep us watching. Plus McDowell's Peter Vincent (couldn't we call him Cushing Price?) is still spot on and wonderful. Of course, after we get past the characters, most of the film is a mess. You've got plotholes, loose ends, and shit that just doesn't make sense. I'm never really sure whether Jon Gries' character Louie is a werewolf or a vampire that wolfs out because the equally confusing Bozworth character (who deflates and is full of bugs late in the film - some sort of zombie/ghoul?) always tells him to bite Alex on the neck!

Then we've got the rollerskating androgynous vampire and Regine. The rollerskating vampire is just kind of their, but Regine is really the pivotal baddie here. She's Jerry Dandridge's sister and is out for vengeance on Charley and Peter. I don't know why the hell she had to make her self so noticable - going so far as to take over Peter's role on the TV show "Fright Night"! But, there you have it. The entire plot of the film. Not much to it, but it was a decent enough way to kill a Sunday afternoon while eating some ice cream and laying in bed. The movie's not good, but it's not bad. But it was too bad Evil Ed was too busy making gay porn to reprise his character for the sequel.


Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

He gave us...

Road House...

Red Dawn...

and Point Break...

...thank you Pat!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Films From the Crypt: Episode 8 - The New Kids (1985)

Films From The Crypt: Episode 8 - The New Kids (1985)

Tagline: "The kids learned three things about southern hospitality, blood, sweat and terror!"

Director: Sean S. Cunningham

Watch the FILM

Starring: Lori Loughlin, Shannon Presby, James Spader

Sean S. Cunningham is certainly not known for his post-Friday the 13th output. Most people know him as the man that produced Last House on the Left, or the one that directed Friday the 13th. Both are rightful claims to fame, and I'm sure he has no problem being associated with those films, but he has had a career after F13. Notable films - for better or worst - from his later career includ Deep Star Six, Spring Break, and our Film from the Crypt, The New Kids.

The New Kids is a well crafted, very eighties, film that blends a few different genres together to create a taut thriller. There are elements of revenge films, backwoods films, teen romance, even slasher films to be found in The New Kids. Perhaps the best part of the whole thing is that Cunningham allows for his film to stay true to the exploitave elements without shying away when it comes time for the bloodletting. That's not to say it's a gore film by any means, but it's, sometimes, a very mean picture. As an extra bonus, if you watch the film you'll get to see James Spader, Lori Loughlin, and Eric Stoltz as young 'uns!

The picture starts off by showing our two stars - Loren (Shannon Presby) and Abby McWilliams (Lori Loughlin) - doing their early morning work outs with their military man father played by the always superb Tom Atkins. Soon after, the mother and father are killed in a car wreck and the kids are hastily moved down south (to Florida) to live with their aunt and bumbling uncle at their second rate amusement park (Santa's Funland!).

The new kids, used to being moved around as army brats, begin their Florida scholastic career but soon realize that not all is right in their new town. After a few run-ins with the local high school Charles Manson (Eddie Dutra - played by James Spader) and his gang of redneck goons, Loren and Abby decide that they have to fight back. Of course, in doing so, they escalate things even more and we're in for the showdown of the century that naturally makes its way to the amusement park (Bloodbath at Funland!).

The entire movie is played straight. All the kids do their best to pull off their roles and most of them do an admirable job. The script is not exceptionally strong, so the actors and director really had to step up in order to keep the film from sinking. Probably the major attraction here is Spader's Dutra, as dastardly a bad guy as has ever been put on the screen. Spader plays becomes that bleach-blonde bastard with ease and is the only one in the film that is actually able to take it to the next level.

I don't want to give you the false impression that The New Kids is a wonderful film or anything, it's not, but it is solid. It's a good picture with heart. And, as much of a genrephile as I am, that's a rarity with movies like this. If you're in the mood for a fun, dirty picture that you may not have seen before, I recommend you try out The New Kids and see what you've been missing.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

WTF? Rambo?


"John Rambo could track anyone - or anything - on earth. Now the military desperately needs him for a mission that his ultrasensitive instincts tell him he should refuse. A beast is loose somewhere north of the Artic Circle. It has already decimated a secret research facility and annihilated a squad of elite military guards. And the raging creature is headed south toward civilization, ready to wreak bloody devastation.

It's a job that Rambo and his 22-year-old hunting partner, Beau Brady, can't turn down, but they and a team of highly-skilled special forces kill team discover that the prey is a terror beyond their wildest imagination - a half-human abomination created by a renegade agency through a series of outlawed genetic experiments. It has man's cunning, a predator's savageness, and a prehistoric power that has transcended the ages. And even if Rambo and Beau survive its unrelenting hunger for human blood, they'll still have to contront the grim reality that it may have grown immortal."

So, not only are they trying to make the new Rambo PG-13, but also Sci-Fi? Really? I mean, who thinks that's a good idea? You know what, who really gives a shit?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Upcoming Film Preview: Shutter Island

Upcoming Film Preview: Shutter Island
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow
Country: USA
Release Date: Feb. 19, 2010
View the TRAILER

Plot Synopsis: (from IMDb) It's 1954, and up-and-coming U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels is assigned to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston's Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. He's been pushing for an assignment on the island for personal reasons, but before long he wonders whether he hasn't been brought there as part of a twisted plot by hospital doctors whose radical treatments range from unethical to illegal to downright sinister. Teddy's shrewd investigating skills soon provide a promising lead, but the hospital refuses him access to records he suspects would break the case wide open. As a hurricane cuts off communication with the mainland, more dangerous criminals "escape" in the confusion, and the puzzling, improbable clues multiply, Teddy begins to doubt everything - his memory, his partner, even his own sanity.

Now, we're talking about a Scorsese film here, so color me interested to begin with. We're talking about a Scorsese film with horror elements and I'm all over this bitch. Did I mention that Jackie Earle Haley also has a role? Yeah. It just keeps getting better and better. I will say that when I first saw the trailer, I didn't exactly jump out of my seat, but knowing Marty's work I'm not too worried that we're in for disappointment.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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