It’s Halloween, and that means it’s all about movie monsters tearing apart the innocent for our enjoyment. Whether it’s Leatherface or the Mummy, it’s a wonderful tradition to sit back and be entertained by these villains doing their thing. Of course, even though they make their names in the field of horror movies, there’s more to them.
Ever since the days of the Frankenstein Monster putting together an all-creature dance party for “The Monster Mash”, we’ve seen all sorts of extracurricular activities. While they carry the stench of death with them, some of these guys are able to take a moment from their busy schedules of slashing teenagers to spend some time in the recording studio or do some interviews with the media. To narrow down the choices, I’m only using entries that have some air of being “official” to them. I mean, getting someone to play Dracula in your Energizer commercial is easy enough, but that’s just some schlub playing a public domain character. These all at least include someone important signing off on it in some way.
So let’s take a look at some of the more bizarre appearances of horror icons outside of the big screen…
13. PINHEAD PLAYS CARDS AGAINST LEMMY
Motorhead “Hellraiser” Music Video (1992)
A thing to remember about horror villains is that they’re essentially super bullies. They’re supervillains living in a world without heroes on their level to fight them and keep the regular people safe, unless you count the psychic girl from Friday the 13th Part VII. Otherwise, these guys only lose due to underestimating average people who rise to the occasion. What I’m trying to say is, you don’t want to overreach your boundaries.
John Kirby from Silent Rage is a good example. He was cut from the same cloth as Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, but chose to go after Chuck Norris in his first killing spree and we’ve never heard from him again. Lesson learned.
Pinhead learns this lesson in the Motorhead music video for “Hellraiser”, which came out to promote Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth. Motorhead rocks out in a concert with a disappointingly low turnout…other than Pinhead and his Cenobite henchmen. A metalhead sits down several rows in front of them to enjoy the show, which catches the eye of Pinhead. It’s not like the guy is being rowdy or even blocking their view, so it’s a real jerk move that Pinhead stops paying attention to the concert in order to have his guys drag the skinny dude away to endure unspeakable torture.
This apparently doesn’t sit well with Lemmy. Maybe it’s because one of his fans just got torn to pieces off-camera or because Pinhead wasn’t paying attention to his rocking. Who am I to understand Lemmy’s reasons? Either way, the two have a showdown in a dark basement where they play poker and reveal their cards one at a time. Pinhead has four kings and a deuce. Lemmy has four aces and – don’t forget – the joker. He swipes everything off the table, stands up, gives a cropped-out middle finger (Pinhead’s reaction is the best), walks away and takes a second to dramatically point at Pinhead.
Footage from the movie of Pinhead being defeated and turning into early ’90s CGI is shown, suggesting that he just got OBJECTION!’d back into oblivion.
12. FREDDY KRUEGER TAKES PART IN MORTAL KOMBAT
Mortal Kombat (2011)
They included fan-favorites Kenshi and Rain, as well as turning an urban legend into an actual character with Skarlet, but who was going to be the fourth and final reveal? Everyone left was pretty lame. Fujin? Dairou? Jarek? Hsu Hao?
Instead, we got Freddy Krueger, which made sense, as Netherrealm Studios is owned by Warner Brothers. Freddy has his own backstory trailer that shows that he tried to prey on Shao Kahn in the Dream World, only for Kahn to overpower him and drag him kicking and screaming into reality. Freddy finds himself with an axe to grind and enters Shao Kahn’s tournament with two razor gloves for the sake of symmetry.
After the tournament, Freddy is identified by the Native American shaman Nightwolf as a dangerous demon gone astray, so Nightwolf decides to take care of the problem and send him away. Now, if you haven’t played through Mortal Kombat‘s story mode, you should know that one of the themes is that the good guys are REALLY incompetent to a hilarious level. Nightwolf decides that rather than try to kill or contain Freddy, he’ll just send him back to the Dream World…where Freddy can go back to slaughtering teenagers on Elm Street. Way to go!
In the next game, Mortal Kombat X, Jason, Leatherface, an Alien, and the Predator would also get their times to shine against the warriors of Earthrealm and Outworld. Freddy’s a trailblazer.
11. FREDDY AND JASON TAKE VEGAS
Freddy vs. Jason promotional tour (2003)
God, has it been over a decade since Freddy vs. Jason already? Damn. Props to the marketing team behind this movie because they knew that it had to be about the two larger-than-life fictional characters and not the individuals playing them (awesome as Robert Englund is). The press junkets for these would feature the two murderers sitting together with Freddy answering questions and Jason being completely still and silent. It was great.
To hype up the movie, Las Vegas held a weigh-in, hosted by Michael Buffer. At this over-the-top press conference, the two get face-to-chest and each stood on the scale to be weighed like your usual big-time boxing match. The two then take part in a Q&A, which, once again, is very one-sided on Freddy’s part. The two regularly have to be pulled apart, mainly due to Freddy’s unparalleled trash talk.The highlight to me is Buffer announcing Freddy as having a “killer right hand.”
10. JASON HUNTS DOWN ALICE COOPER
Alice Cooper “He’s Back” music video (1986)
Unlike the Motorhead video from earlier, Alice Cooper’s video for “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” doesn’t have a narrative as easy as, “Rocker and demon play cards.” This promotional video for Friday the 13th Part VI is total nonsense, but let’s go with it.
An unseen father talks to his son, coincidentally named Jason, and tells him that he can’t use the car for his date. Teen Jason has to walk with his girlfriend to the movie theater to see the newest Friday the 13th flick, which is infested with Alice Cooper fanboys and girls.
Early on, a man in a hockey mask tears through the screen and reveals himself to be Cooper. He proceeds to get in the faces of the young couple and loudly sings about how Jason Voorhees is out for their souls. Then they go back to watching the movie a little more until the feed changes to Cooper sitting on a throne and singing more about the movie they’d rather be watching. Like, the teenagers are totally cool with watching Jason murder people, but Alice Cooper?! AH! GET AWAY!
Somehow they get sucked into the screen and momentarily get stuck in a cage while Jason’s on the loose. They escape, get back to their seats and when running home, Cooper briefly gives chase before being dragged off by Jason Voorhees. The teenager Jason goes back home and tells his father that the whole experience has confused him. Cooper reveals himself to be the father and is about to explain it all. The rest of us are left in the dark as the video ends right there.
If anything, at least that shocking twist ending explained teenage Jason’s horrified reaction at the movie theater. How terrible would it be to be on a date at the movies, only for your nutjob dad to show up in eye makeup and get up in your grill? Dude had every right to be mortified.
9. ASH WILLIAMS CROSSES OVER WITH EVERYONE
Army of Darkness comics (2004-2013)
Ashley Williams gets around. As the world’s most beloved horror movie protagonist, his tendency to alternate between comedic buffoon and baddest man on celluloid has led to his own comic series. Not only have his exploits brought him to different time periods, but he’s also been confronted with different worlds entirely.
The most mainstream of his adventures comes in Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness, where Ash is there at the dawn of that world’s zombie plague. It’s one of the better installments of the Marvel Zombies franchise and gives us such great moments as Ash splattering the brains of Zombie Howard the Duck and Ash getting choked by Dr. Doom for greeting him with, “Yo, 3PO!”
An unused script for the sequel to Freddy vs. Jason gave us Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, which also got its own sequel called Nightmare Warriors. The sequel, while not very good, is at least the more fun of the two as it goes completely balls-to-the-wall insane with the franchises, telling the tale of Freddy possessing the Necronomicon with Jason as his lieutenant while Ash leads a group of survivors from the various Nightmare/Friday movies. Meaning if you’ve ever wanted to see an Ash/Tommy Jarvis team-up, here you go. It ends with Freddy’s full demise and since it’s the last piece of media to feature the Robert Englund incarnation of the character, you can pretty much treat it as his final chapter.
Ash has continued to appear in endless crossovers, meeting with Danger Girl, Hack/Slash, and Xena. Twice!
8. CHUCKY MAKES HIS PRO WRESTLING DEBUT
In the world of professional wrestling, the lead-up to a debut can really make someone. Hyping them up for weeks before having their first match can really get the audience invested in what they have to offer. The more outside the box, the better. WCW had a good idea back in their latter days when after matches, wrestlers would hear maniacal laughter from the rafters. Who could it be? Even Hugh Morris, “The Laughing Man” himself, falls victim to the cackling and is left in disturbed wonder.
Then one day, “The Dog-Faced Gremlin” Rick Steiner comes to the ring to be interviewed by “Mean” Gene and seconds into discussing his upcoming match with his brother Scott, the laughter kicks in again. It turns out all this time, it’s been Chucky the killer doll! Um… okay. He obviously isn’t going to be wrestling or doing anything that isn’t pre-taped, so why is he even here? Why did this need a month of mysterious hype?
All he does is bicker with “Mean” Gene and Rick Steiner, which is where you have to question the company’s wisdom because while Rick has a cool voice and decent catchphrase (“You want some? Come get some! You don’t like me? Bite me!”), he’s not the most charismatic and capable of making such a segment work.
When Chucky outright threatens to murder Rick, Rick’s only response is to ramble that if he has something to say, then say it. Chucky briefly namedrops his new movie Bride of Chucky, which is received with mostly boos, and says something about wanting to direct Scott Steiner in an upcoming movie as a reason for why he’s giving Rick a hard time.
And it’s still not the most embarrassing celebrity appearance in WCW by a long shot.
7. THE CRYPT KEEPER IS IN! THE! HOUSE!
Tales From the Crypt soundtrack album (1991)
The puntastic Crypt Keeper hosted various TV shows and movies, but he also had his turn in the world of music. In 1991, a soundtrack to Tales From the Crypt was released, made up of mostly songs from the show. The final track, which has its own music video, is based on the Crypt Keeper busting some rhymes via “The Crypt Jam.”
Of all the characters covered here, the Crypt Keeper is easily the most tongue-in-cheek (so much as he’s chewing on someone else’s tongue! EHEEHEEHEEHEE!). That doesn’t stop this from being kind of cringe-worthy. This is during the early ’90s wave of corporate guys figuring that kids love the rap music, so let’s make the most generic hip-hop track possible and totally thug out our franchise character. You have dancers grinding it up, people partying in the crypt while acting like it’s the most normal thing ever, and the Crypt Keeper trading between a sideways baseball cap with a gold chain and a knit cap with sunglasses.
Not that it doesn’t have its charm. There’s a moment where you see someone’s foot tapping to the music and it pans up to reveal that the foot is dismembered and moving on its own. They also toss in a handful of clips from Tales From the Crypt, but whoever edited it must have been in a rush. Sure, you get some clips of people screaming in terror or even being attacked, but then they’ll toss in some random shots of, say, Tim Roth just standing there and looking at something.
The Crypt Keeper’s rap career didn’t end here. A few years later, they would release a holiday album, Tales From the Crypt: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas, which among other things, features a track of the Crypt Keeper rapping to Santa about what various murderers want for Christmas.
“The Headless Horseman wants a gift, I bet you can’t guess what! He’s not only lost his head, He’s also lost his butt.”
Come on, Crypt Keeper. You’re better than this. I know you’re better than this.
6. THE FISHERMAN PERFORMS A DUET
Saturday Night Live (1998)
The year is 1998 and Jennifer Love Hewitt is hosting Saturday Night Live to promote I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. During her monologue, the door behind her slams open to reveal the Fisherman, AKA the vengeful Ben Willis as portrayed by Muse Watson. With hook in hand, he confronts Hewitt and sheepishly apologizes for killing all her friends twice over. Hewitt accepts his apology and admits that when he was stalking her and trying to constantly gut her, she thought he was kind of cute.
The Fisherman admits that he didn’t share such feelings, as he was obsessed with thinking, “Kill her! The bitch must die!” but now recognizes her beauty. Having developed sexual tension out of nowhere, the Fisherman leads into a duet of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Glad to see everything turned out well for those two.
5. EL SUPERBEASTO VS. MICHAEL MYERS
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009)
Once upon a time, Rob Zombie had his hands on the Halloween franchise. He made two features with it and opinions were…mixed, to say the least. The latter movie came out in 2009, but it wasn’t the only Michael Myers appearance that year. Rob Zombie also released an animated movie called The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, which was basically his id in cartoon form. Luchadors in sweet-ass cars, big-breasted women, vampires, excessive violence, all that kind of stuff in one try-hard package.
In a brief moment from the movie, El Superbeasto speeds down the road just as Myers is crossing the street. With an exclamation of, “Holy shit!” Myers gets nailed by the car and spends a few seconds stuck to the windshield, swearing revenge. Not only does Myers talk, but he has a wacky Ed Wynn voice. For those young readers too lazy to hit Google, just pretend I said, “He sounds like Turbo from Wreck-It Ralph.”
Not having time for this, El Superbeasto turns on the windshield wipers until this goofball incarnation of the Boogeyman falls off the car.
4. JASON HAS A HEART-TO-HEART WITH ARSENIO
The Arsenio Hall Show (1989)
With the release of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, the studio knew that having Kane Hodder or any of the interchangeable teenagers promote the movie wouldn’t have much of a punch to it. Instead, they had Jason himself show up on the Arsenio Hall Show, where he sat there and…that’s about it!
After being introduced by an ominous cover of “New York, New York”, Jason sits down on the couch with axe in hand and silently stares at Arsenio. For five minutes, Arsenio nervously and laughingly asks a series of questions. Each one is met with complete silence. Even when asked to set up a clip, Jason remains completely quiet and barely even acknowledges Arsenio’s presence.
Once Arsenio runs out of questions (such as asking if he didn’t use his machete this time around to prevent being typecast), he offers his hand and Jason nearly pulls it off. Arsenio backs off and thanks his guest while keeping a distance.
3. FREDDY THREATENS A PUPPET GEORGE HW BUSH
DC Follies (1989)
DC Follies was a short-lived show from the ’80s put together by Sid and Marty Kroft that featured satire of politics via puppets. In other words, it was a poor man’s version of Spitting Image, only starring Fred Willard as a bartender with terrible jokes. While Spitting Image horrified the world with their Genesis “Land of Confusion” video, DC Follies instead brought in the king of 80’s horror, Freddy Krueger.
Freddy appears in three segments over the half-hour show’s run. In the first one, he threatens to murder President Bush until Willard explains that if he does that, Dan Quayle would be president. Freddy realizes the ramifications and suddenly wakes up from a nightmare, deciding that he’ll just stick to terrorizing teenagers.
Freddy is later shown sitting at a table with a puppet of Tammy Faye Bakker, where Willard shows that the two of them are ultimately very similar. The skit ends with Jim Bakker popping in and mistakenly kissing Freddy.
At the end of the show, once all the puppet characters are cleared out, Fred and Freddy have a talk about Freddy’s bout with depression. He’s feeling low about how he’ll only be remembered for a pile of dead teenagers and not for his other talents. Willard points out the time Freddy sang at Madonna and Sean Penn’s wedding and how there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Soon, Freddy feels better and goes off to maim a cat.
2. FREDDY KRUEGER’S AWESOME MUSIC CAREER
I have to consolidate all of these into one entry. While Jason and Pinhead have made their appearances in music videos, Freddy rules the roost. Starting things off, Dokken played the theme to Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors. The video for “Dream Warriors” is one of my all-time favorites, depicting Patricia Arquette’s character Kristen as she wanders through the dream world, being stalked by both Freddy and the rock group Dokken. Towards the end, when she’s cornered by Freddy, Dokken appears and the band starts rocking out. Through the pure power of rock ‘n’ roll, Freddy is defeated and wakes up in bed, clutching a teddy bear. “What a nightmare!” he yells before looking to the camera and growling, “Who were those guys?”
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince released a single about Freddy called “A Nightmare on My Street”, featuring the Fresh Prince rapping about being targeted by the dream demon, leading to Jazz being done in. At first, New Line was going to use this track for Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, but ultimately decided against it and broke all ties to the song, making them put a disclaimer on the cover that it was most certainly not affiliated with the franchise despite Robert Englund’s role in it. I guess they figured that they just didn’t see any lasting appeal in this Will Smith kid.
Instead, the honor went to the Fat Boys, who starred in a music video called “Are You Ready for Freddy?” The video features the obese trio having to spend the night in a haunted house, where Freddy happens to reside. He chases them around and even gets to rap the third verse, which is still less embarrassing than the Crypt Keeper’s lyrical attempts.
Yet none of those compare to the 1987 release of Freddy’s Greatest Hits, which is just too strange to exist.
A release by a group known as the Elm Street Group, Freddy’s Greatest Hits is comprised of nine poppy, upbeat covers of old songs with Freddy laughing maniacally and occasionally yelling something threatening in the background. These are mainly songs that you can skew the titles as having something to do with Freddy Krueger, such as “Do the Freddy,” “Wooly Bully” and “In the Midnight Hour.”
Goddamn, Freddy was popular in the ’80s.
1. THE UNIVERSAL MONSTERS GET REIMAGINED AS SUPERHEROES
Dell Comics (1966)
Dell Comics used to be one of the biggest deals in the comic industry, and a lot of it had to do with their use of licenses. They had Disney, Warner Bros, Hanna Barbera, you name it. In the early 60’s, they made a deal with Universal to do comics based on the Universal Monsters. Basically, while Dracula and his like are public domain characters that could appear in any comic, Dell had the rights to use the most iconic pop culture representations of them. And so, they released comics that retold the stories of the various monster movies such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Then they hit a big roadblock in the form of the Comics Code Authority.
The Comics Code had a ruling against using monsters in comic books. Some comics were able to get past this by including Dracula, but depicting him as a completely incompetent fool so as to appease the Comics Code Gods. Dell didn’t take part in the Comics Code, but there was heavy pressure to do so. Instead, they policed themselves and fell victim to the same rules, effectively caving in. But what of all these monster properties they were sitting on? Easy! They just turned them all into superheroes! Kids love superheroes, right?
Instead of Dracula the lord of vampires, we get Dracula, the scientist in purple tights with the power to turn himself into a bat while living in America under the assumed name Al U. Card. He’s actually the descendant of the original Dracula, but it’s only alluded to. Terms like “vampire” and “Transylvania” are completely absent. Eventually, he gets a love interest/sidekick named Fleeta and they dedicate themselves to rooting out liars who prey on the innocent.
Frankenstein is even weirder, as the creature finds his way into inheriting a ton of money and changes his name to Frank N. Stone, disguising himself with a flesh-colored mask. For some reason, only his head is green. Also, Castle Frankenstein was in America all this time. He’s a straight-up crime fighter, going around fighting giant spiders, mad scientists, evil robots, and a really angry deaf guy.
In all of this, both the Dracula and Frankenstein comics start at #2, as Dell considers the film adaptations to be #1. They also released a comic for Werewolf, which had zero ties to the Wolf Man film, but was also noticeably bonkers. It deals with a secret agent who wears a set of black tights that is “one molecule thick” and can hypnotize himself into changing his facial structure. To nobody’s surprise, all three of these superhero comics lasted three issues each.