With both this month’s theme and the weather outside being Hot as Hell, it’s only natural that the Collector’s Crypt should dust off some of our hottest fire and warm-weather themed items for this month’s edition!
With plenty of appropriate horror flicks to choose from, from horribly burned boogeymen seeking revenge (probably not the one you’re thinking of!) to victims stranded in the desert and forced to endure the elements to pyrokinetic adolescents, there was no shortage of items to choose from.
The Burning Strikes A Chord (And A Match) With Fans
The Burning was released in 1981 in the middle of the slasher movie craze that began after 1978’s Halloween and really exploded after 1980’s Friday the 13th. Though this summer camp-set slasher flick is commonly cited as one of the many Friday imitators, it actually had script treatments completed as early as 1979, the year before Camp Crystal Lake became infamous. Following a caretaker named Cropsy who seeks revenge on campers after he was horribly burned in a prank years ago, The Burning has maintains a healthy cult following thanks to it’s memorable villain, the so-called “raft massacre” where Cropsy deftly takes out an entire canoe full of campers, and the accompanying groundbreaking effects by Tom Savini (who actually chose to work on this film instead of Friday the 13th: Part II).
The Burning received multiple regional releases beginning in Florida and New York, as well as multiple re-releases over the years. While it never lit the box office on fire enough to spawn a sequel like so many other ’80s slashers, it did receive a handful of cool promotional items. Lobby cards accompanied it’s initial releases, teasing Cropsy’s weapon of choice, the hedge clippers. Also, a small book of matches was released to accompany the home video release of The Burning.
Tremors Provides Promotional Perfection
In 1990, the world was introduced to an all-new kind of terror: Graboids! Tremors, a horror-comedy about underground, carnivorous, worm-like monsters terrorizing a small desert town surely sounded just as crazy in 1990 as it does today. Nevertheless, Tremors has become one of the longest-running horror franchises around, with five sequels released as of August 2020 and a 6th due in October, as well as a TV series.
Starring the likes of Kevin Bacon and Reba McEntire, the original Tremors was set to be released in 1989 before being delayed so it could be edited down from an R-rating to PG-13. It was finally released in January of 1990, and while it made a small profit at the box office, it was a much smaller amount than anticipated. Despite that, Tremors was a hit with audiences on video and cable, leading to a television series multiple sequels that are still being made to this day.
Despite the small box office gross, a rather large marketing campaign was created to promote the movie. Most highlighted the small-town desert setting of Perfection, Nevada, beneath which the ravenous Graboids have made their home. These include cactus toys that vibrate, signaling the approach of the Graboids, and Tremors–themed thermometers. In addition, a prank snake-in-a-can themed to tie in to the movie was also released. The fun promotional items didn’t end with the first movie, as the sequel was accompanied to video stores by branded flashlights.
Surviving The Ruins Just Got A Little Easier
The Ruins came to theaters in the spring of 2008, based on the 2006 novel by Scott Smith, who also adapted it into the screenplay for the movie. It follows four college-aged friends on vacation in Mexico who take a detour to the remote ruins of a Mayan temple, unaware that the temple itself is covered in plants from hell and the locals will do anything necessary to stop the spread of the vicious vine. Now forcibly quarantined at the top of the ruins, the friends have to survive the elements and each other, even as it becomes clear that their escape routes are limited.
To promote the release, alongside a re-release of the original novel with the movie’s poster as the cover, a handy The Ruins-themed survival kit was sent to critics and other members of the press. The survival kit consists of a branded pouch containing a multi-tool, a compass, and a flashlight. While it may not do much against man-eating plants, it may come in handy should you find yourself stranded in the jungle in the hot sun, or if you just want to add it to your horror collection!
Bonus Item: Firestarter!
1984’s Firestarter, about a young girl with the ability to start fires with her mind and based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, has previously been covered in the Collector’s Crypt in the form of a Firestarter oven mitt. But one of the fun things about collecting promotional items is that new ones appear online all the time. Case in point: this heavy-duty Firestarter lighter that comes in an equally cool looking box! There isn’t really a catalog of every promotional item ever created, so it’s always a fun search!
That’s it for this edition of the Collector’s Crypt! Do you have any promotional items in your horror collection? Be sure to share them with on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter, and keep an eye out for next month’s edition of the Collector’s Crypt!