I love horror movies. Love ’em. From Psycho to the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, from the Exorcist to Nightmare on Elm Street, I can’t get enough of horror. A good horror movie can scare you, make you laugh, or even bring you down, depending on the tone. Horror movies aren’t for everyone… some love them, some hate them, and some are indifferent. But there’s one thing we can all agree on: children shouldn’t be watching them.
In the mid 80’s, something unusual started to happen. Suddenly, horror was being marketed towards kids! Not necessarily the movies themselves… more often than not, it was simply the characters associated with them. Freddy Krueger was a popular target for this, as his wise-cracking nature made him a hit with kids. There were Freddy toys, games, yo-yos… it was ridiculous. And it wasn’t limited to Freddy, either. Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th also got in on the marketing, as well as Chucky, Alien, Predator… and naturally, this didn’t go over too well with parents at the time. Toys bearing the likeness of horror icons were pulled off of the shelves. The marketing eventually died down a bit, but one thing was for sure: horror was now part of mainstream pop culture, and kids loved these characters.
So naturally, Topps stepped in with a fantastic line of trading cards, based upon some of the most popular horror films at the time. If you were a kid with a love for horror, these were perfect. A pack of cards, after all, was cheap, and cards could easily be hidden from your parents.
The box pretty much exemplifies the Freddy’s image in the mid-late 80’s. In the original Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy was terrifying. You never got a clear look at his face, and his personality was considerably more menacing. But in the later films, he became a jokester, wisecracker, and generally more of a comedian than a monster. By the time the sixth film came around, the series had pretty much turned into a cartoon. But even before that, the marketing push had churned out a “friendlier” Freddy… and here, we’ve got a child-molesting serial killer who just wants to show your kids something “gross”.
Freddy is, of course, the face of the series, but the packs also feature the likenesses of Pumpkinhead, Predator, and Amy from Fright Night. But even more films are represented on the cards within, so let’s take a look!
As you can see, Topps was a lot more generous here than they were with their Dinosaurs Attack series. Each pack contains 9 cards, 1 sticker card, and that same fossilized bubble gum. And damn, what fine cards they are. We’ve got all sorts of films on display here… Ghostbusters, The Fly, and Poltergeist II, just to name a few. There’s even a few from Nightmare on Elm Street II. Y’know. The homoerotic one.
The cards feature a screenshot from a famous horror movie, along with a humorous caption underneath. And by humorous I mean “horrible”, but in a good way. They’ve got that 80’s campiness to them that makes you chuckle. Or, chuckle as much as you can about a poor man vomiting up an eldritch abomination.
The backs of the cards are pretty nifty, too. In addition to showing the name of the featured film marquee-style, we’re treated to a spooky urban legend that probably never happened. I also dig the little murderous zombie dude. Looks like something from an Iron Maiden album.
The stickers are pretty fantastic too. I got Slimer in this pack, which is in my opinion the best of the bunch. Not that the others are bad at all, but I love me some Slimer. The backs of the sticker cards feature a piece of an image. If you collect them all, you can put them together and make this:
Yeah, it’s crappy, but I still dig it.
Compared to Dinosaurs Attack, the Fright Flicks cards tend to be a bit more pricey. They’re still easy as hell to come by, though, and if you’re as much into horror as I am, you might want to track down a few packs. So that’s it for Fright Flicks… I look forward to discussing Horror movies more in the future, but not today. And as for Slimer…
He’s currently pimping out my fridge.