The Collector’s Crypt has Reaper Madness! Taking inspiration from the traditional image of the Grim Reaper, a skull figure in a black rope, probably carrying a sickle, the theme for this month’s batch of collectibles is skull-shaped items, from night lights to squishy stress balls. Without further adieu, let’s get started!
MOVING INTO HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY
Moving into theaters in 1987, House II: The Second Story is a standalone sequel to 1986’s House, featuring a new story about a young couple moving into an old mysterious mansion. Before long, Jesse (Arye Gross) and Kate (Lar Park Lincoln) are dealing with the reanimated corpse of Jesse’s long-dead Gramps (Royal Dano), brought back to life by a magical crystal skull after being dug up by Jesse in search of said skull. More zombie corpses, prehistoric creatures, and even time travel soon follow, all brought on by the power of the skull.
House II was released to theaters in August of 1987. While it received negative reviews from critics, House II has long had a cult following behind it, and was financially successful enough to spawn two more unrelated sequels.
A couple of really cool promotional items exist for House II. The first is a replica of the crystal skull itself, in the form of a night-light. A plastic blue skull with the movie’s logo molded beneath it, these night lights do occasionally appear for sale online, but are usually quickly snatched up by fans.
In addition, a small figurine of the creature dubbed “Caterpuppy,” who is picked up during one of Jesse and Gramps’ time travel adventures, was also released as a promotional item. These often command an even higher asking price than the night light, though collectors searching for genuine vintage figures should be aware: near identical replicas do exist, and while extremely cool, may not be exactly what you’re looking for.
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TERROR (AND SKULLS) IN THE AISLES
In 1984, a feature length horror documentary, Terror in the Aisles, was released to theaters. Presented by horror veterans Donald Pleasence (Halloween‘s Dr. Loomis) and Nancy Allen (Carrie, Dressed to Kill), it is composed of clips dozens upon dozens of horror movies, grouped together by topics such as famous villains or animal attacks, and with added commentary from the hosts.
Released theatrically just before Halloween in 1984, Terror in the Aisles was a minor financial success, although it did not attract particularly positive reviews from critics, who felt that it was simply a compilation of movie clips with not much else added. Nevertheless, it sold well on video and has retained a fanbase, popular enough to be included on the 30th anniversary Blu-Ray edition of Halloween II (also starring Donald Pleasence) as well as several other DVD and Blu-Ray releases.
As part of the advertising campaign for the original VHS release, oversized versions of the skull featured on Terror in the Aisles’ poster were turned into hanging mobiles and shipped to video stores, along with small rubber skull toys, printed with the documentary’s logo. Both of these items occasionally appear for sale online, the hanging mobile more often than the skull, but they are rare and collectors are quick to grab them.
TAKE A FLIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
Not officially related to the famous zombie series with a similar name, Flight of the Living Dead concerns a manmade virus capable of reanimating the dead causing an outbreak aboard a passenger flight from Los Angeles to Paris. An infected scientist is secretly snuck aboard the plane, and as is expected in a horror flick, all hell breaks loose when he escapes and begins infecting the other other passengers.
Flight of the Living Dead, originally titled Plane Dead, was released in October of 2007, capitalizing on the horror-on-a-plane trend kicked off in 2006 by Snakes on a Plane. While it screened at a few a horror movie festivals, Flight was ultimately released straight-to-DVD by New Line Home Entertainment, accompanied by marketing campaign in the pages of Fangoria and other outlets.
As a promotional item, a squishy toy skull in Flight of the Living Dead packaging accompanied copies of the DVD sent to reviewers. A niche promotional item for a direct-to-DVD movie, these don’t appear for sale online all too often, but a cool item nonetheless!
A VISIT TO THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
This last item is a departure from the skull/Grim Reaper theme of the rest of this month’s collectibles, but it is just too perfect for Reaper Madness month to pass up. Horror opus The Cabin in the Woods features five college students departing to the titular location for a weekend of fun and unsuspecting terror, with iconic stoner Marty (Fran Kranz) among the gang.
First appearing in his car with smoke pouring out and a huge bong sitting in his lap, Marty surprises and impresses the others when he collapses his bong into a discreet travel coffee mug. The bong-mug also makes a crucial appearance later in the movie, when Marty uses it to save Dana (Kristen Connolly) from one of the murderous Buckners.
While not an exact replica of the bong in the movie, The Cabin in the Woods did receive an amazing promotional bong, and yes, it does collapse! Not into a coffee mug, but this is a really fun item nonetheless. The movie’s logo, tagline, and release date are printed on the outside, and once opened, contains the other pieces and can simply be pulled up to form it’s proper shape! This was one of my most wanted pieces for my personal collection, and I have only seen one appear on eBay in years of searching, so it seems these pieces are quite rare, but keep your eyes peeled if you’re a Cabin fan who needs one for your collection!
That’s it for the Reaper Madness edition of the Collector’s Crypt! Do you have any skulls or otherwise Reaper Madness related items in your collection? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, and check out another round of collectibles next month!