This is the 10 card set for Picture A of Fright Flicks, 1988, from the Topps Company. Don't ask me what a pack of 9 cards, 1 stick of bubble gum, and a sticker cost. You might cry it was so cheap--compared to today's prices.
One of the key elements established by the modern horror film is that
you don't necessarily need monsters to generate terror. Rather, very
often, as the old cliche goes, the worst monsters of all are ourselves.
In other words, the real-life evils of the human mind can be far more
terrifying than any make-believe supernatural entity. Perhaps that's why
the serial killer sub-genre has proliferated so much in recent decades. (Vault of Horror: The Lucky 13)
I left graduate school with a degree in Forensic Psychology and a notion I could pursue a career probing the depths the human mind can sink through, assisting a criminal justice system burdened by such unsavory matters. It would be a lark, providing lots of fascinating party talk and dinner chat to titillate my listeners.
My notion was first tested when I was told to wear clip-on ties while in the agitated ward of a correctional facility--so I wouldn't be strangled by any of my spontaneous charges. It was vigorously challenged when sitting across the long, narrow table from me--on one of those days you've missed the coffee cart when you really shouldn't have--was an explosively violent young man wearing a straitjacket, threatening to jump over the table and choke the life out of me before the guard could stop him. What bothered me most wasn't how casually he said it, but that I believed he had a good chance of doing it, straitjacket or not. I looked at him very carefully and said, as calmly as possible, "that wouldn't be a good idea." He agreed and smiled. I started breathing again. I wondered if that guard, now suddenly standing very far away, had his cup of java that morning.
I gave up the notion entirely after watching another inmate perform a card trick. It's the one where each card is flawlessly used in telling a story, no matter what the arrangement after shuffling. This person didn't miss a pip as he went through all fifty-two pasteboards. I was impressed. He was very personable, fairly charming, always cheerful. I became depressed afterward when I found out he had placed his infant son in the oven and turned up the heat. Way up. It was the voices in his head, I was told. They told him to do bad things. I wondered if those voices helped him with his magic tricks, too.
Another notion soon occurred to me that perhaps pursuing a career in computing would be better than wearing clip-on ties and conducting Rorschach tests with serial stalkers. It was. Still is. My conversations at social gatherings are not as titillating, but I can live with that. Which brings me to Mother Productions' 52 Famous Murderers trading card set.
I doubt anyone would seriously want to trade these like Harry Potter's Famous Wizards Cards, or flip for them in the schoolyard like we did with Baseball cards (I always lost). And no matter how you shuffle this deck of infamous serial killers, their stories are always chilling and saddening.
So it's all right to be scared: the next time you're at the movies, tucked in your seat as you stare up at that make-believe serial killer cavorting safely-distant onscreen, look around you.
This is a wonderful set of 50 cards, 'an educational guide for viewers,' from Funfax, copyright 1994. This series 'examines the best sci-fi and horror programs from that decade' [1960 to 1970]. Click to enlarge. You will find the information on the back of each card nostalgic and interesting, and a very good selection of unforgettable episodes.
This 9-card subset from the The Simpson's Mania card set from Inkworks (copyright 2001) provides a taste of Treehouse of Horror Halloween fun from the television series. The picture on the back shows a ghostly surprise when held under black light.
How much longer till Halloween? Here are the Dart Flipcards, Inc. The Munsters autographed trading cards for your Munsterish delight.
I met the adorable Pat Priest at one of the Drunken Severed Head's invitation-only parties, held during a Monster Bash convention. She regaled us with funny stories of her work on The Munsters set, how she turned down a free car from Elvis, and how she threw away the show's scripts and other future hot collectibles when no longer needed. Memorabilia was not a hot topic in those days apparently. I ate at Al Lewis' restaurant called, fittingly enough, Grampa's in Greenwich Village back in 1987. I didn't notice the place until this guy sitting in front yelled "Are you hungry?" and held the door open for us, inviting us in. It was Al Lewis, chomping on a big cigar and having a ball. The Italian food was awesome, too.
Here is the twelve card story for my favorite one in the series, Desert Rats, from Rosem's Midnight Madness Card Set. Story is by Steve Kiviat, and illustrations by Alfredo Osorio. (Copyright 1990 by Rosem Enterprises.)
Can't you just eat it up! It is so quaintly gruesome. And look at those cute little fuzzy faces. They just gnaw at your heart, don't they?
I was rummaging through Zombos' closet last night and came across this set of Rosem's Midnight Madness trading cards, acquired in 1990. The box set is made up of six delectably creepy and morbid stories written by Steven Kiviat, with each illustrated by Alfredo Osorio in suitably mordant colors.
As an additional treat, the box itself opens into a wonderfully frightening pop-up cemetery scene. The six stories are Shroud of the Undead, The Surgeon, Robot Killer, Jungle Parasite, The Pharaoh's Revenge, and Desert Rats.