By Andrew Blumetti
As the once fresh-green leaves begin their inevitable journey to crunchy Orangeland and Yellowville, and the mercury on the thermometer drops while the daily dose of white girls in yoga pants fawning over Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte on Facebook shoots up, there’s no denying it any further ladies and germs- We are in full autumnal mode.
A season I never was super crazy about as a child, (what red-blooded kid really likes the carefree summer ending and school to start again?) years later, I absolutely love this time of year.
There’s a refreshing crispness to the cool evening air, football season is in full burst, fresh-pressed apple cider is on every shelf, and Halloween season, my favorite holiday, is ramping up speed. Chock full of creepy haunted houses, blood-curdling horror flicks, just-carved pumpkins, and spooky decorations as far as the eye can see…
…and don’t think your the walls of your local supermarket can keep you safe.
Rise and shine, wipe the gross eye-gunk out and look twice in the morning, cause your simple breakfast is now in danger.
The “Monster Cereals” have once again been unleashed upon us– a classic line of cereal created by General Mills, complete with a cult following, found annually on store shelves from September through Halloween. At one time produced year round, they now are only available seasonally during the fall, just in time to make Tony the Tiger run for the hills and Snap, Crackle and Pop shake in their sugary britches.
CHAPTER I: MEET THE GOBLINS YOU’LL BE GOBBLIN’
COUNT CHOCULA: Vampires drinking blood is sooo Twilight, cause this fanged-fiend has a Sweet Nosferatooth. His cape is nearly indistinguishable from his hair, he’s got a Barbara Streisand nose, square buck-teeth fangs, and “hunka-hunka burnin’ love” sideburns that’d make Uncle Jesse green with envy. Get your daily dose of Bran Stokers!
BOO BERRY: Get your spoooooooooooon ready this moaning, cause it’s paranormal snacktivity time when this blueberry ghoul fills your bowl. While his snazzy bowtie and hat may scream out “1920’s jazz musician”, it’s you who will be screaming when this always-tired looking poltergeist joins you at the breakfast table.
FRANKENBERRY: With all those gears, clocks and whistles on his head, he looks like a steampunker straight out of Victoria’s Secret, but this Pepto Bismol-y hellion is anything but. Flamboyantly tasty, this strawberry Frankenstein is “igor” to make your breakfast frighteningly delicious.
CHAPTER II: HOLY CRAP! THE LEGEND OF FRANKENBERRY STOOL
Take a trip back to the early 70’s…. Once upon a time, when disco reigned king, lava lamps had yet to become “retro”, and Cher had less fake body parts…
After the introduction of Frankenberry, the bloody-good cereal caused some unexpected and jarring scares to moms and dads nationwide…
As the tale goes, the mad scientists from the spooky lab at General Mills used a certain red dye to give the cereal its trademark color. Frankenstein had his final revenge on the living as said red dye didn’t fully break down in the human body, and the pinkish scare parents received during potty time became an unintended hilarious result infamously known as “Frankenberry stool”.
The braintrust at General Mills wisely decided this “my cereal’s turning my poop red” press wasn’t a wise marketing move, and have since changed the boo poo formula to a more stomach-friendly dye.
CHAPTER III: THE MONSTERS HAVE RECORD SALES!
I always thought my parents’ old Elvis records were a collector’s dream, but if you’re a true vinyl lover, your wax collection isn’t close to complete without off-tune breakfast ghouls serenading you.
Presented here, for your listening enjoyment, is one of a line of free records included with the cereal, entitled The Monsters Go Disco.
We’re still holding our breath on that ghastly cover of “I Will Survive”, but in the meantime, fasten your bell bottoms, here’s a taste of campy monsters gone campier:
CHAPTER IV: QUENTIN TARANTINO AND FRUIT BRUTE- A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
People of Internet Land, meet Fruit Brute…
Upon first glance, this hairy Halloween hooligan may not be instantly recognizable as a household name.
There must be a full moon out because here’s a fruit-lovin’ werewolf who met his eventual discontinuation in 1983. Much how John Travolta’s sinking career was thrown a grindhouse-y life preserver from director Quentin Tarantino, he also attempted to toss one to the Brute, as an old cereal box made a cameo appearance in some of QT’s most prolific films from the 90’s:
Here’s his appearance in with Lance, a mangy heroin dealer in 1994’s Pulp Fiction:
…and with Mr. Orange in 1992’s Reservoir Dogs:
“Are you gonna bark all day little Brute-y, or are you gonna bite?”
CHAPTER V: THAT CRUMMY DUMMY NAMED FRUITY YUMMY MUMMY
To fill the void of those who love fruit cereal and missed the ‘Brute, “Fruity Yummy Mummy” was introduced to a yearning public.
You’d think calling a character fruity might be a bit politically incorrect, but it pales in comparison to his originally offensive moniker, “Wrapped-Up Flamer”.
Much like The Mummy films, public interest was tepid at best. Production “wrapped up” on Fruity Yummy Mummy as he joined the Brute in the cereal graveyard in 1993.
As the old saying goes, “everything old is new again”.
On a stormy, cold, early autumn evening, as the howling wind blew the rickety shutters around like a worn-out ragdoll, it was said that a unkempt cherry-scented paw and a decrepit fruity wrapped hand both broke open the foggy, cold cemetery ground and rose up from their breakfast graves, shambled past the chipped, weathered headstones of “Nerds Cereal” and “French Toast Crunch” …
…and then they traveled into your local supermarket.
Tell your milk to suck it up and get ready for a crap-your-pants scare. 2013 marks the long-awaited return of both Fruit Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy to store shelves.
The Smiths may never get back together, but this is a pretty close second place.
CHAPTER VI: TATBOO!!
A rabid cult following often leads to obsessive behavior- fanatics still line up for midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture show, and diehards camp outside McDonald’s for the yearly appearance of the fast food Bigfoot known as the McRib. Keep that in mind when the next time you come between a man and his breakfast food…
Skulls, crosses and heart tattoos are too pedestrian for these inked-up cerealites, as they’ve made their love of Monster Cereals permanent. While some monsters want to get under your skin, these monsters will have to settle for being on it.
Blumes note: Ladies, if you dig these, let me know, I just may end up with one.
CHAPTER VII: PRANK CALL MATERIAL
Ever meet someone with an unfortunate last name you know they grew up being teased with? Ask any “Tom Banana”, “Lisa Smurfs” or “Bill Spaghettios”, every day of high school ridicule must’ve been a daily nightmare.
Growing up with the surname of “Frankenberry” couldn’t have been a jolly walk in the park either, and I’m sure all these people could testify to that fact.
LISTINGS OF LAST NAME “FRANKENBERRY” IN THE UNITED STATES:
The Frankenberry family reunions in Pennsylvania must be a real hoot. Every meal is pink and the three-legged race is a suspenseful thrill ride.
CHAPTER VIII: MOVE OVER AL ROKER
Today’s forecast calls for a 30% chance of raaaaaaaaaaainnnnn! (Get it? Like a zombie?)
Actually, if we were to name this after Al Roker, we’d have to call it Poo Berry.
CHAPTER IX: COUNT ON A FIGHT!
There’s only room for one friendly non-blood sucking vampire in this town, and the eternal battle’s waged on for years. Hide the garlic, and stay outta the sunlight, this is most likely how True Blood will end one day:
“DING DING! Ladies and Gentlemen! Welcome to tonight’s main event– a fangy Battle Royale for the ages! Two pale purgatory pugilists in a fight to the (un)death!”
“In this ring, straight from a cardboard coffin in some creepy Cocoa Transylvania, the deliciously… the chocolately… the sideburned… the Riboflavin-y… Mr. Count Chocula!”
“And in this ring, hailing from Sesame Street- he’s lilac-colored, he’s got eight total fingers, he’s good with numbers, and he’s got Snuffleupagus poop on the bottom of his shoe… it’s Count Von Count!”
Frightened readers, it was said the infamous vampire battle went on for hours. So long, Abraham Lincoln and Buffy even konked out and lost the urge to slay them. In the end, it was Sesame Street Count who reigned victorious…
in one round, two rounds, ha ha ha…
“Number One baby!”
CHAPTER X: COUNT CHOCULA AND FRANKENBERRY WERE CROSSDRESSERS
They wore the same thing! How embarrassing…
Ru-Paul made a living out of dressing like a woman, but when it comes to dress-wearing, these bozos oughta stick to their day jobs. But I guess if it’s good enough for J. Edgar Hoover, it’s good enough for them.
Blumes note: Tell me you weren’t thinking Frankenberry looks like Charles Nelson Reilly.