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Topps’ Fright Flicks Playing cards: The place Horror and Comedy Collide


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In 1988, the Topps Firm – creators of buying and selling playing cards devoted to every thing from Main League Baseball to Rubbish Pail Children – launched some of the formidable strains ever to hit the non-sport market: Fright Flicks. Every pack included 9 playing cards that featured photographs from horror films like Alien, Aliens, A Nightmare on Elm Road 1-3, An American Werewolf in London, Fright Evening, Pumpkinhead, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist and Poltergeist II, The Fly, Predator, and Day of the Useless. Additionally featured in every pack was one sticker and a chunk of the corporate’s notorious bubble gum.

To be clear, Topps had a storied historical past of making playing cards that catered to monster children, having already launched Alien and Jaws 2 strains (and that’s not even scratching the floor, garishly illustrated playing cards had been an indicator of their Wacky Packages, and the corporate had utilized their inventive MVPs like Norm Saunders and John Pound for his or her legendary Ugly Stickers in 1965). In 1973, their Creature Function line showcased black and white photographs from basic horror movies paired with comedic captions to boost the trendy enjoyable. A second line adopted in 1980, however it will be almost a decade till the idea reached its full potential with Fright Flicks.

What made this line so unforgettable was the way it utilized a bunch of R-rated movies, and the pictures used had been typically full of blood and guts – the precise kind of factor that appealed to children and grossed out their dad and mom. For lower than a greenback, tweens might get their fingers on scenes from films that had been forbidden to see. The offbeat humor of the playing cards helped to undercut the usually disturbing imagery that they had been showcasing, diffusing potential nightmares within the course of. A cult success throughout its launch, the road by no means acquired a observe up, one thing that may be attributed to every thing from the ethical panic of the period to the truth that excessive schoolers who would have actually cherished this stuff had aged out of shopping for buying and selling playing cards. Not less than briefly.

And so Fright Flicks stay that the majority intriguing of collectible, a spot the place horror and humor collide. To rejoice the road, we needed to current this kind of Fright Flicks 101. Geared in direction of critical collectors and novices alike, this information will current you with all the data you want to expertise the film magic of Fright Flicks for your self.

Topps' Fright Flicks Unopened Box
photograph credit score: eBay

Fright Flicks Unopened Field

The alpha and the omega of Fright Flicks amassing is to attain an unopened field of playing cards. That includes unbelievable field artwork that includes Freddy Krueger himself and containing 36 packs (which extra probably than not ensures you a complete set), this a straightforward—if considerably dear—option to full your Fright Flicks fandom at one fell swoop.

Enjoyable reality: If we had been eccentric millionaires we might purchase up each unopened field of those on eBay and provides packs out on Halloween to make us the champions of the neighborhood…at the very least till the dental payments from children consuming 30-plus-year-old gum began getting despatched our means.

Purchase the Fright Flicks Unopened Field right here

Topps Fright Flicks Unopened Wax Pack (Predator Art)
photograph credit score: eBay

Predator Unopened Wax Pack

Every wax pack of Fright Flicks included eye-catching imagery from both Fright Evening, A Nightmare on Elm Road, Pumpkinhead, or Predator. Of those, the most effective of the lot is the one from Predator. Extremely illustrated with simply the correct amount of menace, this pack screams to would-be customers that they’re in for a buying and selling card deal with not like no different.

Purchase the Predator Unopened Wax Pack right here

Topps Fright Flicks Card: Bishop from Aliens
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Aliens Bishop Card

For many who don’t need to make the leap and acquire the whole set, this record might be that includes a number of particular person playing cards which can be excellent for displaying on fridges or imaginative and prescient boards (hey, he don’t choose).

First up, this entry within the line during which a newly eviscerated Bishop, as portrayed by the always-great Lance Henriksen, cracks a joke about getting ripped aside by the Alien Queen. As a result of if 2020 has taught us one factor its that you simply’ve gotta chortle when occasions get robust.

Purchase the Fright Flicks Aliens Bishop Card right here

Topps Fright Flicks Complete Card Set
photograph credit score: eBay

Full Fright Flicks Playing cards and Stickers Set

For the sensible amongst you, we propose looking out eBay for the no fuss, no muss Fright Flicks units that embody all 90 of the playing cards and the stickers with out making you cope with doubles or the gum or the wrappers or anything that you could be really feel is standing between you and stupendous, sardonic monster film enjoyable.

Purchase the Full Fright Flicks Playing cards and Stickers Set right here

Topps Fright Flicks Alien "thank you" card
photograph credit score: eBay

Alien Card

Alien collectibles are tremendous bizarre by the very nature given how unabashedly grownup and terrifying the movie is. Not that this stopped Topps from releasing a complete card line based mostly on the flick in 1979.

Rumors abound that post-Star Wars, varied firms had been racing to grab up the Alien license with hopes of cashing in on the following sci-fi house spectacular. And actually, that sounds too actual to not be true.

Regardless, Topps Alien playing cards had been a suitably critical affair that mirrored the tone of its supply materials. However the playing cards that includes the xenomorph within the Fright Flicks line? Why that’s as completely different as Aliens and Mac and Me are.

And so we’ve this card during which the Alien seems to be taking a bow, though for those who ask us it appears to be like like he’s touching his toes. In spite of everything, It’s vital to remain match for those who spend your days chasing folks earlier than killing them in essentially the most nightmarishly heinous means doable.

Purchase the Combat Flicks Alien Card right here

Topps Fright Flicks Card: Fright Night
photograph credit score: eBay

Fright Evening Card

The dialog about underrated 1980s horror films too regularly fails to say Fright Evening. The horror effort from director Tom Holland (to not be confused with the Spider-Man Tom Holland), follows a teen who enlists the assistance of a washed up horror host to research vampires who’ve invaded his neighborhood.

One among these bloodsuckers is the charismatic-yet-smarmy Jerry Dandridge (seen above). Chris Sarandon delivers a usually nice efficiency as Jerry, who makes being undead look cool years earlier than The Misplaced Boys did.

Purchase the Fright Flicks Fright Evening Card Right here

Topps Fright Flicks Sticker Set
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Fright Flicks Sticker Set

Give your laptop computer, locker, or, hell, laundry room some supernatural sheen with the stickers from the Fright Flicks line. Freddy Krueger was the largest horror star on the planet on the time when these had been initially foisted upon the world, and that reveals as he dominates the proceedings right here.

the remainder of these, what’s attention-grabbing is how the Slimer sticker appears to be a direct response to the character’s increasing reputation from The Actual Ghostbusters, and the way Pumpkinhead was poised to a a lot larger movie than it turned out to be. A fickle bunch, horror followers.

Purchase the Fright Flicks sticker set right here

Topps Fright Flicks Freddy Krueger sticker
photograph credit score: eBay

Freddy Krueger Sticker ($2)

“The person of your desires is again,” declares this Freddy Krueger sticker, and who’re we to argue?

Should you weren’t round within the late-80’s, it’s possible you’ll not notice how ubiquitous everyone’s favourite sleep demon was again then. A lot so, that Freddy ventured right into a self-parodist purgatory from which he by no means recovered following the discharge of A Nightmare on Elm Road III: The Dream Warriors (actually, you virtually anticipated to see the dude flip up alongside Alf on The Hollywood Squares).

This sticker takes you again to an easier, pre-Freddy saturation time – one which we lengthy to return to.

Purchase the Freddy Krueger sticker right here

Topps Fright Flicks: The Fly card
photograph credit score: eBay

The Fly Card

Earlier than Jeff Goldblum turned the all-consuming popular culture god he’s at this time, he starred in David Cronenberg’s physique horror masterpiece The Fly in 1986. Remodeling a campy 1960s sci-fi flick right into a haunting metaphor for AIDS, Cronenberg crafted maybe the strongest remake in movie historical past.

A part of what made the movie so affecting was the movie’s creature designs (by Chris Walas, who additionally created Gizmo and his evil spawn in Gremlins). This card let film make-up nerds take pleasure in Walas genius by permitting them to essentially research the nuance he put into Seth Brundle’s deterioration from man into fly.

Purchase the Fright Flicks The Fly Card right here

Topps Fright Flicks: Day of the Dead card
photograph credit score: eBay

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Day of the Useless Card

George Romero’s 1985 effort Day of the Useless was a movie that was so violent, so gore-packed, so loud in each means that it was launched to theaters unrated – a rarity on the time, and a transfer that impacted its field workplace severely. Did we point out it was gory? It is a film during which a personality is disemboweled on display, the digital camera lovingly fixating on the grotesque ballet taking place on display.

So it feels greater than just a little bit subversive that any photographs from this movie by some means made its means onto a mainstream popular culture collectible like a Topps card, not to mention one full of disturbing imagery. In 1988, George Romero was nonetheless a largely underground phenomenon who had but to attain the mainstream adulation that his legacy enjoys at this time. For horror film followers of the period, his work being celebrated in such a means because the Fright Flicks playing cards felt revolutionary.

Purchase the Fright Flicks Day of the Useless card right here

Finally the remainder of the world would catch up, however Fright Flicks paved the best way. And that will very effectively be the largest legacy of this fascinating card line.

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