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Trading Card Treats: Six Notable Horror Trading Card Sets

Trading Card Treats: Six Notable Horror Trading Card Sets

Though they’re greatest generally known as “baseball playing cards,” buying and selling playing cards have an extended affiliation with horror, from the enduring Mars Assaults! sequence proper via to the current. I’ve been fortunate sufficient to gather tons of those units via the years; I vividly recall going to the comedian store repeatedly to choose up packs of Gremlins 2: The New Batch playing cards and stickers as a child, and taking them with me completely in every single place. Many of those may be discovered on-line or at comedian retailers, vintage shops, and flea markets– they’re positively a enjoyable and distinctive approach to accumulate horror historical past.

To cite HorrorHound Journal’s buying and selling card column, simply “Don’t Eat the Gum!” 

Listed below are six notable horror buying and selling card traces.

Mars Assaults! (1962)


Maybe the granddaddy of all horror buying and selling playing cards, the gory and controversial Mars Assaults! delighted children and horrified their mother and father. As Karen R. Jones particulars in Mars Assaults! The Artwork of the Film (1996), “the Brooklyn-based Topps Chewing Gum Firm [developed the] buying and selling card sequence to observe the previous 12 months’s extremely profitable Civil Warfare set, which had delighted younger collectors with its gruesomely rendered battle scenes.” Taking a web page from H.G. Wells’ Warfare of the Worlds, with a touch of EC Comics, artists Bob Powell and Norm Saunders created stunning, vividly horrific scenes with pithy titles like “Beast and the Magnificence” and “Destroying a Canine.” Their immediately iconic, large brained Martians had skulls for faces and senseless destruction and depravity on their minds. Children cherished them; adults, predictably, clutched their pearls. Dangerous press compelled the corporate to tug the playing cards earlier than they have been even launched nationally, however the Martians had the final snort.

Almost sixty years later, the playing cards are nonetheless revered and have impressed reprints, new units, comics, clothes, toys, and Tim Burton’s cult basic film.

Creature Options (1973/1980)


Common Studios licensed these two punny units of basic horror photos firmly within the Forrest J. Ackerman custom. Black and white photographs from the likes of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), and Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) are accompanied by groan worthy captions like “Sheesh! I higher be a part of Weight Watchers!” and “Will this treatment my hiccups?” On the again have been dopey jokes solely grade schoolers may respect– which have been most likely the audience for these playing cards.

At the moment they’re nostalgic, however for a technology of Monster Children discovering these movies on tv, they have been a enjoyable gateway into the fantastic world of horror.

Evening of the Residing Useless (1987/1990)


Think about Inc. and Fantaco Enterprises launched (and re launched!) a set of buying and selling playing cards devoted to the 1968 George Romero basic. (In 1992 they issued a hauntingly stunning comics adaptation of the movie.) The playing cards function black and white manufacturing stills and behind the scenes photographs accompanied by a inexperienced or pink border and the film brand and tagline “They Gained’t Keep Useless!” The backs function an illustrated background and the enduring Karen, with an entire recap of the plot. “Barbara flees in terror to a close-by farmhouse along with her attacker following behind,” reads the primary card. “Looking the home, she finds its solely inhabitant; a mutilated corpse.”

Uncommon autographed playing cards and foil border playing cards have been launched, and these weren’t the one NOTLD playing cards issued, both; Think about Inc. did one other set of full colour playing cards together with many different corporations via the years. Pennsylvania’s lengthy working Residing Useless Pageant has issued numerous playing cards of its personal.

Fright Flicks (1988)

fright flicks

Topps actually was the MVP of horror playing cards, producing every part from the aforementioned Mars Assaults! to the seminal Rubbish Pail Children (1985-present). With Fright Flicks they utilized the Creature Options system to extra up to date motion pictures, pairing photos from fashionable fare like An American Werewolf in London (1981), Fright Evening (1985), and the Alien and Elm Road sequence with hokey one liners: “What do you imply? I simply had a manicure!” As Den of Geek’s Chris Cummins wrote final 12 months, “What made this line so unforgettable was the way it utilized a bunch of R-rated movies, and the pictures used have been typically full of blood and guts – the precise kind of factor that appealed to children and grossed out their mother and father. For lower than a greenback, tweens may get their fingers on scenes from motion pictures that they’d been forbidden to see.”

The backs establish the movies however element supposedly true tales of the paranormal underneath the heading “DID IT EVER HAPPEN?”, accompanied by a ghastly EC Comics type ghoul clutching a bloody knife. “*Names fictional. See disclaimer on wrapper,” reads the nice print. No matter, brother; we got here for the SFX photographs.

The Ackermonster’s Cardiacards (1991)


The legendary Forrest J. Ackerman dipped into his archives for this splendidly nostalgic set of basic posters and foyer playing cards. Common Monsters are represented, as are oddities starting from 1924’s The Thief of Baghdad (starring Douglas Fairbanks) to 1957’s The Black Scorpion, with animation by King Kong creator Willis O’Brien.

The playing cards are literally labeled “an academic information for collectors,” and with their detailed descriptions of so many classic flicks, these truly will college you on style historical past. Simply image “Uncle Forry” supplying you with a tour of the artwork in his Ackermansion; that’s the vibe.

The Blair Witch Challenge (1999)

blair 2

One of many good issues about The Blair Witch Challenge was that each scrap of merchandising was posited as a chunk of the thriller, from the tie-in CD (found in Joshua Leonard’s automobile stereo!) to the “nonfiction” e-book The Blair Witch File. Topps Buying and selling Card sequence was no completely different: along with the standard story recap, the playing cards function subsets on Heather’s journal entries, the seek for the lacking filmmakers, and “the Legend.” One card incorporates a believably quaint rendering of a bit of lady being pulled underwater by a spectral hand, whereas one other depicts the Blair Witch herself! It’s all splendidly, suitably creepy.

Honorable Mentions: 

The Nightmare on Elm Road franchise acquired its personal buying and selling card set, and the primary three motion pictures garnered collectible stickers and an accompanying sticker e-book from Comedian Photographs. I used to be fortunate sufficient to get mine signed by Mark Patton (Nightmare on Elm Road 2: Freddy’s Revenge), who added his signature to a variety on the notorious leather-based bar scene. “I’m gonna put my title proper on Bob [Shay]’s ass!” he quipped.

In 1991, Nationwide Secure Children Marketing campaign and Impel Advertising Inc. launched “Buying and selling Card Treats,” a substitute for Halloween sweet, with licensed illustrations of the Common Monsters. This was almost definitely in response to the hysteria over tainted Halloween sweet that had taken maintain beginning within the late Eighties. In any case, Frankenstein’s Monster could also be scary, however he’s acquired nothing on a razor blade in a Snickers bar!

Breygent Advertising created a set of buying and selling playing cards for the primary season of American Horror Story, and whereas the majority of the playing cards are pretty commonplace manufacturing pictures, the “chase” playing cards have been actually cool. Fortunate collectors may discover playing cards autographed by forged members like Frances Conroy (“Moira” in season 1) or containing material items from Jessica Lange’s wardrobe!

The parents at Fright Rags love buying and selling playing cards sufficient to incorporate one in each cargo; they’ve coated every part from classics like An American Werewolf in London and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) to, ahem, barely much less polished titles like Slaughter Excessive (1986), every one that includes a enjoyable truth. They’ve additionally carried out their very own “wax packs” for Evening of the Residing Useless, Halloween (1978), Silent Evening, Lethal Evening (1984), and Home of 1000 Corpses (2003).

The hyperlinks under aided me in my writing for this text.

Topps’ Fright Flicks Cards: Where Horror and Comedy Collide

Mass Hysteria: The Definitive Night of the Living Dead Trading Card Checklist

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