If you grew up in the 1970s or ’80s, chances are that your first introduction to satire came either from Mad magazine or Topps’ Wacky Packages card. Of the two, the latter was more of a gamble. When they were originally released in 1967, it seemed questionable at best that kids would want to shell out their hard-earned allowances to buy cards spoofing consumer products aimed at adults. But thanks to some great colorful art (including some jaw-dropping work from Norman Saunders, the man who helped define the look of the Mars Attacks line) and edgy humor, they quickly found their intended audience and continue to be popular today.
For 45 years now, the most common way that Wacky Packages have poked fun is by giving real products monster-themed makeovers. Vampires, ghosts and other spooky creatures have been featured endlessly in each assortment of the sticker cards. Why? Because kids will always be obsessed with monsters. So for today’s super-sized Daily List, Topless Robot will be looking at the 50 greatest horror-themed Wacky Packages. Check it out to discover what happens when consumerism meets creepy comedy.
50) The Real Gross Blisters
Who ya gonna call? Hopefully a dermatologist.
49) Just for Wolfmen
Grooming is very important to today’s metrosexual werewolves.
The first of two ice cream-related entries on this list, the Screamsicle shows us that Slimer isn’t the only gluttonous ghost out there.
See sharks? This is what happens when you don’t floss after every meal.
46) Ghost Soap
Haunting is acceptable. Smelling like the funk or 40,000 years while doing so? Not so much.
The preferred shaving cream of Bub from Day of the Dead.
Lizzie Borden gets colds sometime too you know.
Fact: This is Cthulhu’s favorite toy.
When I was a kid, I went to Universal Studios and was fortunate enough to be able to check out the park’s Kongfrontation attraction. In it, visitors were treated to the site of a massive King Kong who, in a nice touch, had breath that smelled like bananas. As a result, I know assume that all simian breaths should share this fragrance. So even though this one has some brilliant art, I don’t really know if “Fang Flavor” is quite good enough.
Better this than My Pet Monster.
40) Kool-Offs All-Brain Cereal
Part of the short-lived Wacky Ads line, this cereal spoof from 1969 features some psychedelic monster art.
39) Count Funkula
Of all of the monster cereal mascots, I totally would have pegged Boo Berry for the one who was pimping on the side.
38) The Saturday Evening Ghost
If The Saturday Evening Post was illustrated by Famous Monsters‘ Basil Gogos instead of Norman Rockwell, the result would be the awesomeness you see above.
37) Coffin Mate
You may disagree, but I’d much rather have blood in my java than that powdered creamer whathaveyou.
Insert Jersey Shore joke here.
35) Air Witch
Snips, snails and puppy dog tales smell like complete shit, so this is a much-needed product in the witch community.
34) Ghoul Humor
It’s a treat and a tool to kill vampires all in one!
This, well, creepy illustration of a ghoulish gentleman is a terrific example why Wacky Packages have retained their popularity across the decades. Monstrous fun never goes out of style.
I’m somewhat of an anti-pun guy, but even I’ve got to admit the “chokelate” chocolate gag here is inspired.
It’s a little-known fact that having your head shrunk is an instant cure for constipation.
30) Fang Edward Exploding Cigars
This takeoff of King Edward Cigars has vampires placing stogies on their list of dislikes alongside of holy water, garlic and stakes.
29) Kongsford Charcoal
Ape barbecues are cool. Just as long as Peter Jackson has nothing to do with them. Did you see his King Kong? Blech.
28) Sic Blood Stic
Horror icons Freddy and Jason get immortalized as a Wacky Packages card in this, uh, sharp parody of Bic pens.
27) Yeti Wip
Screw Klondike bars. I want a frozen Yeti for desert. Topped with ample helpings of this, obviously.
26) King O’Scare Nervous Sardines
As someone who has never eaten a sardine, I must admit that this one earns its slot not because of how accurate a parody it is of King Oscar Sardines but rather due to my affinity for illustrations of vaguely European despots.
25) Scary Jane Candy
What exactly is”witches brew” you might ask? High fructose corn syrup…with a pinch of newt.
24) The Gravestones
|More than just an ordinary trading card, this one is a reminder that everything and everyone will die one day. Yabba Dabba Don’t ever plan on sleeping again kids!
23) Vlad Trash Bags
You know how you some weeks you forget to put out the trash so you quick roll out of bed, throw on some pants and shoes and run after the garbage truck? This isn’t an option for vampires. Let that be a lesson to all you lazy tweens out there who wish you could live like Edward and Bella.
22) Kong Fu
Monkeys doing kung fu? Fuck and yes.
Continuing the Topps spoofs themselves theme, this Wacky Pack makes me realize that I’d actually watch baseball if the players were as cool as the one pictured here.
20) Creature Barrel
A grilled Creature from the Black Lagoon sandwich with a side of tomato soup is the perfect snack on a chilly autumn night.
19) Scary Lee Screamberry Cheese Cake
Subsisting only on human plasma really gives you a sweet tooth. That’s where this one comes in.
18) Hostile Thinkies
In recent years, Topps has been offering the occasional Wacky Packages promo comic. If they really wanted to get clever, they’d include spoof advertisements in these. Just think of the comedic possibilities that a parody of the old Hostess comic ad featuring Hostile Thinkies could conjure up…
17) Wriggling Juicy Fright
Ha ha! Frankenstein’s monster lost a finger. Dumb ass. This one comes from the 2007 Wacky Packages lineup. I’m not sure who the artist is here, but they perfectly emulate the house style Norman Saunders and Tom Sutton helped establish for the classic cards in the series.
16) Haunts Ketchup
I’m not entirely certain, but this could be viral marketing for a gritty remake of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
15) Creature Crackers
Whenever I listen to The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get
What I Want,” these things are what I picture. (Pathetic, isn’t it?)
Sunshine still needs to make these a reality.
14) Dr. Ono
Norman Saunders at his grotesque best.
13) Bone Ami
Whether you staging an amateur production of Hamlet or looking to just tidy up your torture dungeon, this is the product for you.
12) Satan Wrap
Hell is other people…and having to put away leftovers.
11) Cult 45
This exists and they still chose to drink Flavor Aid at Jonestown. Senseless.
10) TV Ghoul
To be honest, getting choked by a ghoul is preferable to watching some of the shows spoofed on the cover here.
9) Hyde’s Rox
I know that I always change from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde whenever someone tries to give me Hydrox cookies instead of Oreos.
8) Doomed Matches
Even while burning at the stake Frank is more stylish than many nerds.
7) Fright Castle
Harold and Kumar have nothing on the classic monsters in terms of being stoners.
6) Run-A-Way Monster Vitamins
As we close in on the top five, take a moment to sit back. relax and soak in the museum-quality art of these Wackys. This is like the monster kid equivalent of the Mona Lisa.
This is to Tru Blood what Schlitz is to Guinness.
If I were this witch I’d ask for a refund.
3) Famous Mobsters of Frightland
Because there was some crossover between the Famous Monsters of Filmland and Wacky Packages artists, this card (as well as the Creepy and Vampirella spoofs also featured in the line) were inevitable.
2) Screech Tape
The strength of the joke aside, what makes this card the second best horror-themed Wacky Pack ever is that the mummy and damsel in distress included here wouldn’t be out of place in fright publications.
Anyone else get the sense that the Wacky Packages creative staff spends all their free time at Camarilla events? They seem to be one vampire-obsessed lot. Anyway, Fang earns the top slot because it is a parody worthy of Weird Al — an inspired spoof of a recognizable product. And isn’t that the whole point of these things?