Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Huntara from Mattel

I have never been aroused by an action figure, not even the Adult Superstars Brianna Banks figure. But if it was going to happen, it would’ve been because of a purple chick with lightsabers.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics 2015 Club Eternia Exclusive Oo-Larr from Mattel

I know that the feeling isn’t universal, but I am delighted to finally have Oo-Larr.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Toy Review – WWE WrestleMania Heritage Series Undertaker from Mattel

I wanted to close the week out with a Superstar that is not only one of the greatest and most respected of all time, but that is also synonymous with WrestleMania.

Needless Things Podcast 51 – WrestleMania 31

Listen up, Phantomaniacs – it’s that magical time of year when the WWE comes to the forefront of the entertainment world and puts everything it’s got into producing the biggest, wildest, and most entertaining spectacle of the whole year! 
 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Toy Review – WWE WrestleMania Heritage Series Kane from Mattel

Let’s talk about Kane.

I have no idea how to talk about Kane.

I have a lot of respect for the guy as a performer. He has taken everything that WWF/E has handed him over the years and made the best of it. He has been terrifying, powerful, tragic, and even at times hilarious. It’s interesting to note that at this point in his career, Kane has spent more time unmasked than masked, though I will always prefer the menacing, masked Big Red Machine over Corporate Kane or any other maskless variations. 
 
Obviously I like masks.

WrestleMania Week - The Cage Match by Jerry Chandler


I pretty much figure everyone this week is going to be looking at the best of wrestling. There will also be a ton of stuff about the best Mania matches, the best Mania performers, the best memories of Mania, and so on. Just for the hell of it, I’m going to go in the other direction by looking at a “worst” match. Hell, I’m not even going to look at a Mania related match with this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Toy Review – WWE Elite Series 33 Junkyard Dog from Mattel

My earliest memories of Junkyard Dog are of a bunch of ladies talking about how handsome he was.

I cannot remember the setting. I don’t know if it was at an aunt’s house or a military base or a gas station. I have no idea. But I remember hearing ladies saying things to the effect of , “Oh, my, what a big, handsome man.” And looking up and seeing JYD’s face on the TV screen, then a shot of him dancing on the ring apron. I don’t know that I thought of him as particularly good-looking, but he sure did seem like fun.

Where's The Attitude?



If you were to ask most fans of wrestling or people who used to be fans of wrestling about the attitude era of the WWE (WWF at the time) you will likely get the same response. “Man, thats when wrestling was good,” is a common response which isnt entirely accurate. I mean sure, the attitude era offered us a lot of good stuff. I mean we got StoneCold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Rock, and Mankind/Cactus Jack/Dude Love becoming huge stars by doing some outlandish things, crazy interviews and ridiculous bumps. We got some great catchphrases such as “Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your ass” and “If you smell what the Rock is cooking.” I mean hell, we even got a sock that was more over than some of the wrestlers. And lets not forget The Undertaker crucifying Stone Cold Steve Austin to his symbol or the dark wedding between Undertaker and Stephanie McMahon.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Toy Review – WWE Amazon Exclusive Mankind from Mattel

I used to really like – nay, adore – Mick Foley. 
 
He was a hero to me for the many different things that he not only pursued, but excelled at. There’s no questioning that he’s a bona-fide wrestling Legend. He changed the face of the business and is one of the greatest sports entertainers to have ever entered the ring. I can’t mention Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, or The Rock without mentioning Mick Foley. He was an innovator and a trendsetter like none other.

WrestleMania Week - Mike Nelson on WrestleMania 31

Mike Nelson is the Content Owner/Manager for Youtube Channels Trexlight and Nerds of the Apocalypse, has been a lifelong wrestling fan. Much of his fandom comes from the days of ECW and knowing Paul Heyman was possibly one of the best promoters in Professional Wrestling.

Monday, March 23, 2015

WrestleMania Week Toy Review – WWE Defining Moments Hulk Hogan from Mattel

I have found that my own personal case of Hulkamania has been creeping back over the past few years.

Not for the present day Hulk Hogan - the one that wears black jeans and has douchey tattoos and makes me sad when he shows up in WWE because his spirit is absolutely gone. Also not for WCW Hulk Hogan, who coasted along for two years before catching fire again as Hollywood Hulk Hogan after horning his way in on the nWo gimmick.

No, I’m reliving my childhood love of the Hulkster of the WWF Rock N’ Wrestling era. The irresistible force that told me to say my prayers, eat my vitamins, and believe in myself. The golden superman that might get knocked down, but always got back up. The head Hulkamaniac that ignored his doctor’s advice and defended his WWF Championship against King Kong Bundy in the STEEL CAGE at WrestleMania II, despite (or perhaps because of) the broken ribs that Bundy had inflicted just a month before.

WrestleMania Week - Phantom Troublemaker on the State of WWE

Welcome to WrestleMania Week here on Needless Things!

Over the course of this week leading up to the granddaddy of ‘em all we’ll be talking wrestling, reviewing figures, and wrapping it up with a WrestleMania episode of the Needless Things Podcast. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I’ve been using the #wrestleraday hashtag to post a different wrestling toy every single day since the beginning of the month. 
 
I have been immersing myself in professional wrestling lately.

It’s partly due to the impending WrestleMania, but also partly because something about the convergence of various promotions and storylines has sparked that fandom in me again. I don’t know if today’s post will be more WWE-centric or if I’m just going to ramble about all of wrestling, but I’m definitely more invested in it than I have been in a few years. And I’m okay with that.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Needless Things Podcast Episode 50 – Leonard Nimoy

In what was supposed to be the start of an ongoing series of episodes focusing on Star Trek, Phantom and Gary Mitchel end up discussing one of the great heroes of science fiction – Leonard Nimoy.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

All Hail the Horror Host - Part 3 by Jerry Chandler


The story so far…

Throughout the country, an almost uniquely American art form staked out a place for itself in television market after television market. For almost 50 years the Horror Host entertained and inspired generations of geeks of all ages all across the land. By the time the 2000s were approaching, the horror host had begun to disappear, seemingly ready to become extinct, thanks to the quest for maximization of corporate profits. But two new options emerged, one having actually been there for some time, one a new and growing medium, which would help give the horror host a new lease on life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Wrestling Show

I want to tell you a little bit about this past weekend.

I had an extremely busy weekend that I was not, in many ways, entirely prepared for. I hosted a wrestling show on Friday night, I volunteered to emcee Radio Cult’s performance at Joelanta on Saturday night, and I hosted a toy panel at Joelanta on Sunday afternoon. Oh, and we also recorded an episode of Earth Station Who Sunday night, which may not seem like much, but that involves an hour (or so) of recording time as well as the time it takes to watch whatever story we’re reviewing (in this case two hours and thirty minutes for “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”).

As much as I love all of the things that I do and appreciate the fact that I can do them, they take time and effort and there’s only so much of me to go around. I think I pushed it a bit this weekend, especially after such a lengthy hiatus from public performing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

All Hail the Horror Host - Part 2 by Jerry Chandler

Before picking up where I left off in Part 1, looking at how horror hosting evolved to survive the television purge, I’m going to look at my hosts first. And, with at least one of them, that actually leads into talking about that evolution in a rather substantial way.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 49 – James Bickert

In today’s episode – the second this week! - Phantom Troublemaker interviews James Bickert, the director of the cult biker/exploitation/Bigfoot movie Dear God No! and its follow-up Frankenstein Created Bikers, which is currently raising funds on Kickstarter.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

All Hail the Horror Host - Part 1 by Jerry Chandler

Millions of years ago, back in the prehistoric days of television, say, the 1950s, the television landscape looked a wee bit different than it did today. For one thing, your viewing options were rather limited when it came to available channels. You had your networks, all three of them, and, if lucky, more than two local UHF channels. Even PBS didn’t come along until 1970.

That was, with regards to variety in television viewing, the downside. The upside was that your local stations, even the network affiliated ones, were far more independent than they are these days. When outside of the hours where they carried the network lineups they had the ability to play around, to create programming that catered to the local or regional tastes, and made their own programming in their own production studios. Some of this might be simple, inexpensive to make programming like game shows for kids, some of it might be DIY programming like gardening shows, and then some of this programming became the almost uniquely American art form known as horror hosting. If you never saw a good horror host at work, if you’ve never had a horror host of your own, you’ve missed out on something.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ancient Toys of Yesteryear – Angel Season 5 Angel from Diamond Select Toys

I think that Firefly is the greatest television show that’s ever aired.

But before I saw Firefly, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I think is the greatest television show that ever aired for more than one season.

And then there’s Angel. In some ways Angel is better than Buffy, and in others it’s nowhere near as good, but unto itself it is an excellent show that’s high up on my list of favorite shows.

These three shows all have two major things in common – they were created by Joss Whedon and they all took me a while to get into. But that’s a whole other post that I already wrote
 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Weekend Plans - Culture Shock and Joelanta & The Great Atlanta Toy Convention

I’m going to have a busy weekend.
It’s been far too long since I’ve gotten up in front of people and performed in any capacity. My day job has prevented me from taking a couple of opportunities – sorry, Possum Kingdom Ramblers – and when I have been available there just hasn’t been anything going on. I’ve been pathetically slack about scheduling another Whose EFF is it, Anyway? because I’m lazy and I hate organizing people; even reliable ones. And for a time it looked as though Monstrosity Championship Wrestling might be dead.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Scarlett Johansson, Ghost in the Shell, and Casting Outside of the Lines - by Jerry Chandler


Note- There’s a term, whitewashing, that’s being used a lot in these discussions. I won’t use it here other than towards the very end in large part because I think that it’s utter rubbish as a term. A part of why I do is that the term itself, and the usage of it by many, is misleading and disingenuous. The very term, and often the usage of it, implies that this act, what is basically nothing more than the same recasting of roles in adaptations, reboots, and remakes that occurs everywhere movies are made, is something limited to Hollywood or to the act of casting white actors into roles originated in foreign countries or with characters that were not white in their original form. This is not true by any measure as will be addressed below.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews March 2015: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Alan Moore

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Snake Armor He-Man & Battle Armor King Hssss from Mattel

On paper this isn’t necessarily a two-pack I would have gotten super excited about. I have as many He-Man variants as I might want and there are a lot of 200X versions I’d prefer to have before King Hssss (Teela, Sorceress, Roboto, Prince Adam, Skeletor, possibly even Orko). But the pictures Matty showed when they first revealed this set looked awesome. I still love the 200X aesthetic and wish we could see more of it in the Classics line, so these two figures were a welcome addition. Plus, I would at least have a King Hssss that I wasn’t ashamed to put at the front of the shelf.