As we travel farther and farther away from childhood, it’s often nice to bask in the nostalgic glow of old items, even if we were never lucky enough to actually own any. Reliving childhood insecurities could even be considered a form of time travel, really.
I’m going to stop now, before I kill myself.
Check out these long lost horror products. They don’t make them like this anymore. Mostly because parents have gotten so lame. Wait a minute… we’re the parents now aren’t we? That’s it. I’m killing myself.
I don’t know if kids these days still drink tons of Hi-C out of rectangular boxes made of waxed cardboard. If not, they’re really missing out on a huge pain in the neck. Those things were two things: Very delicious and very small. If you worked up a thirst playing outside, it’d take at least three of these bad boys to quench it, and Mom usually only gave one.
For many years, probably the most popular Hi-C flavor was the Ecto Cooler, a kind of tangerine flavored sugar pile with Slimer from Ghostbusters on the cover. It made us think we were drinking Slimer’s ass. We liked it that way. Are kids these days drinking any of their favorite characters’ asses? Didn’t think so.
Once upon a time there was such a thing as Slimer gum. You squeezed it from a toothpaste tube into your mouth. It was green. It may have tasted like gum, but it looked like poop. Poop from a very sick person. I have eaten my fair share of tubed bubble gum, but I don’t believe I ever had the pleasure of trying Slimer’s Poo-Poo gum. I wish I had just so I could tell you how awful it was.
Like Ghostbusters, Gremlins has lots fun stuff for kids because its overt horror elements were hidden within a relatively family friendly package. As a result, we had wonderful items like this Gremlins cereal, though it’s really more of a Mogwai cereal.
Supposedly Gremlins cereal tasted a lot like Captain Crunch. I never had it because I was always too busy eating the Batman cereal, which was awesome. No word on whether or not Gremlin cereal ravaged the top of your mouth like Captain Crunch, but given the nature of Gremlins, it seems like a missed opportunity if it didn’t. Each box also came with a Gremlins sticker, but I hear they tasted awful.
Crestwood House Books
It might just be me, but these books were a huge part of my childhood and movie education. From what I hear, some libraries out there still have them, so I’d look into that if I were you, especially if you have kids.
Why? Because these books offer the best introduction possible to movie monsters of old. From Dracula to The Blob to King Kong (my favorite), each book gave you loads of info (from a kid’s perspective, anyhow) about the movie or history of character in question. This includes both filmography and real life history stuff, so kids could learn about Vlad the Impaler, to give just one example. Absolutely vital stuff.
Stephen King’s Creepshow Graphic Novel
If you went to the library in the late 1980s or early 1990s, it’s likely you and your friends came upon this violent gem. Modeled after old E.C. comics, this graphic interpretation of Stephen King and George Romero’s first Creepshow film chilled bones and thrilled kids for the horror introduction waiting inside. This was before graphic novels were all over the place. To most adults, a book was a book. Many didn’t know what gory wonders this one held. And then, right next to it, was King’s illustrated Cycle of the Werewolf. That guy knew what he was doing.
This is out of print now, but you can easily find it so long and you don’t mind paying and arm and a leg. Of course, you’re old enough now to watch the film without upsetting your mother, but I always found the book much cooler.
Fright Flicks Trading Cards
Fright Flick cards were these amazing trading cards which featured a typically gory screenshot from a 1980s horror film accompanied by a horrible Crypt Keeper-worthy pun at the bottom and a brief, real life horror story and/or urban legend on the reverse side. I had the whole set, and they were about as awesome as not sexual things can get.
If they still made Fright Flick cards today I imagine they’d be pretty Saw heavy, with allowances for torture porn and found footage stuff. Unfortunately, part of the fun of the originals was the inherent effectiveness and/or goofiness of the practical effects we had back then. The series included cool shots from both Alien and Predator, for instance, while screenshots from either monster these days would likely be computer generated. They also came with stickers and a series of collectible cards that created a larger horror collage when put together.
MAXx FX Toys
They don’t make MAXx FX toys anymore, not because of shifting trends, but because dumb mothers across the country got mad about their talking Freddy Krueger doll, and shut their line down. Stupid moms, ruining everything.
In fact, other than that talking Freddy, MAXx FX only got one of their main toys into stores. The gist was really cool. Maxx was a regular looking toy representing a Hollywood makeup guy. He came with add-on pieces that, when applied, turned him to a movie monster. They produced a cool Freddy Krueger one, and had prototypes for Frankenstein’s Monster, Alien, Jason Voorhees, and some additional generic monsters before they closed their doors on the product all together.
Nightmare on Elm Street Board Game
Speaking of Freddy Krueger, he also got his own board game. I never played it but it sounds pretty cool, if a bit overcomplicated by too many rules. Essentially, you and a group of friends each took a regular, every day looking human as your game avatar and traversed Freddy’s house via the 3D game board (it had vertical “walls” separating each room). Eventually, gameplay would force one player to reveal himself as Freddy, bastard son of a hundred maniacs.
So you get to kill your friends. That’s great! The big potential problem is you need at least three players for the game to be interesting. Four would be better. But it’s never easy to get that many people interested in a board game, especially one in which everyone has to learn a bunch of new rules.
Texas Chain Saw Massacre Atari Game
There have been a few video games based on horror characters. Atari had a Halloween game. The NES has both Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street games. But only the Texas Chain Saw Massacre game for Atari let you play as the killer.
As a Leatherface-ish blob, it is your job to kill as many teenager-ish blobs as you can before your chainsaw runs out of gas. Unfortunately, the random cow skulls and wheelchairs strewn about your lawn slow you down. That’s it. Maybe this one is long lost for a reason, though it could find a second life someday as a really crappy mobile game.
This amazing toy was a user cranked film viewer in which you could watch (providing you had an adequate light source) roughly two minutes of Alien footage, that’s footage from a violent R-rated film, mind you. It featured three scenes: A bit of Facehugger action, Dallas’ death, and Ripley’s last bit with the Alien. This is just way too cool to have lasted.