Tuesday, June 10, 2014

What's With All The Boxes? The Strange Case of Horror Mystery Box Subscriptions

Let's talk about boxes. In horror, some boxes are clearly more intimidating than others. Take for example the puzzle box from Hellraiser. You wouldn't pay $20 to find out what your pleasure is would you? I've been noticing lately that there are mystery boxes and bags appearing all over the horror-verse. I think I first saw Dread Central put one out, and the fan response has been fairly good at times. Then I ordered my Fangoria Mystery Grab Bag item. Now it was pretty damn cheap, but I had hope that it would live up to the Fango name. Unfortunately, all I received was a book that looked like every other work of horror fiction from someone I had never heard of. That put a bad taste in my mouth. I want to run down a few of them because this phenomenon promises only to get more complex as the product evolves. When do we get the body bag of horror? Or little coffin's with toy guns in side?

I'm reminded of Freddy in Space's Stocking that he puts out each year which has the same feeling as a grab bag though isn't available for purchase. Hell, we even did a late Christmas giveaway involving all the monster cereals and other assorted candies and drinks from Halloween 2013. Not quite a grab bag I suppose.

We'll try to focus on the creepy goodies. Follow the links for actual pricing in case they go on sale or change.

Horror Block 
from the makers of Nerd Block

If anecdotal evidence is anything than we have to mention Horror Block first. Shawn Savage of the Dead Air Podcast and The Liberal Dead is an staunch advocate of this product. He is subscribed and impressed. Most recently they've announced that each box is going to come with the latest issue of Rue Morgue Magazine! That is half the value of the $20 box (of course you have to add shipping).

Of course they also offer Nerd Block and kids' blocks.

Full Moon Mystery Bag

Full Moon is getting in on everything horror has to offer right now. First they brought back the big box Wizard Video. Then they brought back Wizard Video posters. After that they launched their streaming service, licensed up some Blue Underground titles, unleashed their toys and merchandise and then ... brought out the bag. I don't know if the word is out on these yet, but it appears to be the most expensive one of it's type. They claim there's $100 worth of shit in each one. 

The current promotion includes a raffle to win the Six Shooter replica. T-shirts. Posters. Lots of cool Full Moon merch. One to keep an eye, but never forget... Charles Band is waiting in the wings.

Dread Central 

This is one of the top boxes in production that seems to be yielding the some blood for your buck. It's about $20 to sign up for a regular subscription to the Box of Dread, but the toys and other items I've seen in unboxing videos are at least worthy promo items. They also drop some nice prizes in each batch, and have a clever countdown clock on their website. 

It's seen The Conjuring, Godzilla and Walking Dead items to name a few. This is the major release horror fans' box.

Horror Mystery Box 
(a giveaway from author Anthony Rapino)

Now the contest to win this one is over, but in addition to the subscription programs offered by some of the major magazines, author Anthongy Rapino chose the mystery box as a promotional tool to display his works of fiction. Enter to win. Check out some short fiction. It looks like it attracted a good following as well.

It's a great idea for promoting your site or other product (see previous mention of my own giveaway)

Fangoria Mystery Grab Bag

I think I paid $5 for this one. I can't seem to verify it on the site any longer, as I don't think it's available for now. I even received an update from Fango at one point that there was a delay in the grab bags due to the high demand. Maybe that's the pricing at work or maybe it's because they were waiting to receive review copies of some not so great items to ship cheaply to customers. I'll try it again some day rather than playing slot machines.

Stay tuned. If the Fango box/bag/coffin comes back we'll may post a follow up. Maybe we should just do a consumer report litmus test. 

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of mystery boxes but I do think that some of the less reputable places are just happy to take your money and give shit in return. I would rather see them a bit more themed like you did with your Halloween grab bag. Otherwise I'm less inclined since it might be something I don't really want.