Remember geeking out over going to the local comic shop every weekend to pick up the latest comics, shirts, posters, and toys? Pepperidge Farm remembers.... Remember when you actually had a choice of movie and music stores to buy your random horror collectibles from? Pepperidge Farm remembers.... Remember when places like Spencer's Gifts and Hot Topic used to carry all kinds of horror collectibles? Pepperidge farm remembers......ummm....errr...enough with the Pepperidge Farm stuff. I REMEMBER!!!!....
When I first began collecting horror related merchandise, I was relegated to the Halloween season and the random off the shelf Universal tie in toys to get my fix. This was before the Internet, my friends. Then Todd McFarlane and his McFarlane Toys company released the Movie Maniacs line and the world of horror collectibles forever changed. I vividly remember the first time I walked into a store and saw them. I sat there in the middle of Wal-mart, of all places, soaking in every detail of the bloody visages of Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Freddy. I couldn't believe my eyes. A few weeks later, I went with my mom to Kay Bee Toys and I saw them again. On a visit to Toys R Us, they had an entire display of them. The market for horror collectibles had finally been realized and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. Soon, I could find the toys, posters, shirts, etc... that I was looking for in movie stores, record stores, toy stores, department stores, and even in drug stores. Other up and coming collectible and toy companies noticed how successful McFarlane was with the Movie Maniacs line and started producing lines of all kinds of horror related merchandise. I was one Happy Horror Dork indeed....
Gone were the days of trekking all across my area trying to find a single action figure. Whenever something new came out in the horror collectible world, all I had to do was drive down to one of many local stores and there it would be for me to drool over and buy. It was a good time to be a collector of horror. Suddenly, just as quickly as they multiplied in the stores, they began to disappear. At first, I just figured they were selling out of the merchandise and hadn't gotten their new stock in. I checked back a few weeks later, and the section where the horror-related merchandise once was, was now covered with My Little Pony items....you want to talk about Real Horror?!?!?!?!
This scale back quickly spread through all of the department stores and drug stores. It then moved into and through all the toy stores. Anywhere families shopped, the merchandise disappeared. It really upset me at first. How dare some faceless company come to a decision like that? Do they realize they have alienated me and all the other horror fans out there by no longer carrying this product? Do they not realize how great of a convenience it was for me to buy my deodorant, underwear, fruit loops, milk, and nippled Eve from Species was????
Then common sense smacked me back to reality....helped along the way by the back of my wife's hand to the side of my head....
If I had a child, would I want to have to deal with my kids seeing that kind of stuff every time we went into a store? What if my religious beliefs went completely against that type of thing? What if my entire family had been brutally slain by an inhuman-sized, mask-wearing, can opener-wielding maniac who comes back on the anniversary of the deaths every year and hides in my closet? What I am trying to say is this...I really could understand why the companies made the decision they made. I didn't like it, but I did understand it.
Besides, I still had all the movie stores, music stores, comic shops, and spencer's gifts to rely on for my horror collectibles fix. There were 4 great comic shops, several movie and music stores and of course Spencer's. Make that 3 comic shops.....no, wait.....2 comic shops....wait for it.....NO COMIC SHOPS!!!! These comics shops that had been in my area since I was a kid were closing down left and right. The last comic book store, also the biggest in the area, is now a butcher shop...kinda ironic...don't ya think...it's like RRAIIINNNN....ON YOUR WEDDING...nevermind.
Oh well, there were still the music and movie stores, or so I thought. One movie chain bought out another. One music store shut down all the stores in my region. A few of them just went belly up with the sagging economy. Now, there really is no such thing as a Music Store or a Movie Store. If you want music or movies, you go to Best Buy.....and that's about it. The only bright side to this was the massive clearance sales the stores had. Now matter how much I hated the fact that they were closing down the store, I just could not pass up the 2 dollar Leatherface Christmas lights...they were just so darn festive damnit!!!!!
And then there was ONE...so it was written...and so shall it be done. Spencer's Gifts continued to sell all the horror merchandise I went looking for, at least for the most part. Yeah, I had to make my way through teenage boys drooling over the fruit-roll up panties for women and the 14 year old hoochies-in-training buying playboy g-spaghetti-sequined-bedazzled thongs to wear to middle school, but ya gotta make sacrifices. I really couldn't even get mad for the company marking up their retail prices on the stuff either. They held the in-store market completely on them. They could charge double for them and we would still buy it.
As time passed, and like so many others, I just kept too busy to be able to make the drive to the mall, so I started buying more and more merchandise online via EVILbay, HORRORBID(The greatest horror auction site on the net....just sayin' is all) and at online merchants like www.HouseofMysteriousSecrets.com(Kevin....You Da Man!!!).
This morning, I had a completely free day, so the wife and I decided to head to the mall and check out the latest horror merchandise Spencer's had. As we head through the front entrance, I notice more clothing than the last time I had been there. My wife headed straight back to the toy/collectible area while I stopped dumbstruck at the logo that all men recognize...HUSTLER....Spencer's is selling Hustler clothing now....whoa....anyway, after that brain fart I head to the back and notice there is no section there, just bunches of HUSTLER apparel and Bachelorette party supplies, like Hang the Hung on the Stud. As we retrace our steps, we finally find it, between the tie die incense and dragon merchandise and this massive section of "Say Hullo to My Little Friend" Scarface collectibles. There were two small rows of horror action figures and a few boxes of stuff on the floor. That was it....I am still depressed about it.
I will only briefly speak of Hot Topic at this point only because I mentioned it earlier in this rant disguised as a blog. A good buddy of mine who is a bit older than me recently posted this comment in relation to Hot Topic on one of my regular message board homes. I will paraphrase him now instead of direct quoting him, since I don't want to piss yet another Cop off. Whenever I try to walk into Hot Topic, I instantly feel like a pedophile the way everyone in the store looks at me. That nicely sums up my shopping experiences there.
The days of being able to go to a real brick and mortar store and buy my favorite horror collectibles has, for the most part, died and gone to horror heaven. Every time I went and bought something, I would revert back for just a moment to how I felt when I was younger, finding those McFarlane Toys Movie Maniacs for the first time. Being able to look through all of the figures for the nicest paint job, or searching for the elusive variant is over. Snagging the newest licensed prop replica and being able to gloat over having it in my hands before all the people that pre-ordered it are gone....alas....the death of the in store horror collectibles is upon us.
I tip my forty ounce of OE to you and will remember you fondly....
Seems to me if you can't have one morally then that should cancel out the rest! Thank for writing what has been on my mind for quite some time now.
Another thing.. which is pissing me off. Twilight has completely taken over that store.. same with hot topic. I went to hot topic yesterday too, and the place that they kept the friday the 13th, spirit, mario figures.. ect ect. was gone.
I don't think me, justin, or joel have a spencer's gifts to go to anymore.. the spencer's gifts in our mall closed down about 2-3 years ago.. and the spencers in a louisville mall closed down 2 years ago.. so i believe we don't have any spencers..
great blog tommy
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