Vending Machine Monsters

Being born in the early 80's, I have distinct memories of the various toys and collectables that captured my imagination as a kid. When I reached a certain age in adulthood I experienced a huge nostalgia for the genres I was so obsessed with growing up. Horror, comics, sci-fi, toys, cards, cartoons, etc. I never really outgrew any of it. More or less my late-teens and early 20's were merely consumed with other mind-altering diversions. When I 'came to', I was dismayed to reflect on all of the cool stuff I once owned that had been lost or booted away. Collectors junk - worth little, aside from the huge sentimentality at stake. To me, that junk is gold.

I was thrilled to be able to replace a handful of awesome Selectra Prism Horror Movie Vending Stickers. They have become fairly rare and usually only obtainable on eBay. I can't be sure of where or when I picked them up as a kid, possibly a local roller rink, late 80's, early 90's.  But no later than that. There was a sweet spot for me between ages 9-12 (1989-1991) when it seemed like genre collectables were easily obtained at the corner Dairy Mart or comic shop. My uncle starting screening R-rated horror flicks by the time I was maybe 9 or 10. I still have a stack of really violent, blood-soaked drawings my young demented mind was coming up with in elementary school.


















As an only-child, I spent much of my time home alone occupying myself with my toy and card collections. Back in the day I for sure had a Nightmare on Elm Street and possibly a Friday the 13th vending machine sticker. Who knows what ended up happening to them as the years passed. Luckily, I was able to get my hands back on those as well as Howling, Halloween and Nightmares editions. What's cooler is discovering how many horror classics had stickers made that I had never seen before. 

The low-fi nature of the art and the foil prism printing effect make this series a unique time capsule. Looking at them today, catapults me right back to that Bill and Ted era of sleazy MTV rock and VHS tapes.

As 80's kids grew into glassy-eyed nostalgic "adults", demand for all manner of collector ephemera went threw the roof. You see the same thing with 70's generation collectables. I'm just glad enough of this stuff was preserved and is being made available to anyone willing to do some digging. 
























The awesome blog, Branded in the 80's is the King when it comes to capturing the era's defining geek material. In addition to a very thorough collection of the Prism stickers on display, the site is home to every other cool thing you had, or wished you had, from your pre-internet childhood.

These stickers, so irrelevant and meaningless to most, have a special place in my heart. Harkeneing back to simpler times of innocence when something as simple as a sticker could entertain me. 






















The other object of affection I was able to replace was a TOPPS picture card series set called, Fright Flicks. 90 glorious cards featuring images for films such as Fright Night, Alien, Day of the Dead, The Fly, Poltergeist and other cult classics. I giddily purchased the whole set in one fell swoop at a tiny comic show. 













































These cards bring back hyper distinct memories of me and another nerdy buddy huddling over each card, studying them for every gory  detail. The images are fairly explicit, showing off the amazing practical prosthetic F/X of the 80's. I still get a kick out of the "Did it ever happen?" stories featured on the backside, underneath an EC comics-like illustration of a knife wielding maniac. What's missing from the set I picked up are the 11 stickers and the sweet wax wrapper that came with each pack.

Cardboard Connection is selling the set for $65! I got very lucky and snatched my set for no more than $10. That's the beauty of going to off-the-radar comic shows at your local American Legion.


I'm far from the only one still pumped about these 25 year old trading cards. There's currently a company selling a Fright Flicks T-Shirt. There are plenty of other pieces of 80's/90's collector nostalgia to catalog, like Dinosaurs Attack! (which I own). But that's another post all together.


2 comments:

  1. Love those stickers! I still have my Fright Flicks cards too. They were awesome.

    ReplyDelete

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