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Curse of the Oddball Monster Cards!
By Kurt Kuersteiner © 2004 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards

 It's that season again, when folks are afraid for no specific reason. There's a chill is in the air. People whisper and you wonder what they are hiding. Others wear masks to disguise their true nature. Despite all the hype, this eerie masquerade won't end until that scary fall night when the big event finally occurs. Yes, I'm talking about Election '04.

But that topic it too scary to discuss here. Our purpose is the 12th annual oddball monster card article. Let's check in and see what interesting and obscure monster cards have recently surfaced from the depths of cardboard hell.

Last year's article mentioned the first of a five part series called Monster Masterpieces. Artist Scott Jackson teamed up with writer Barry Kaufman to created a 50 card series of post card sized (4" x 5") cards. Last year saw the release of the first ten cards, and this year, we'll see the next ten. Once again, these are very detailed and stunning monster paintings. The plan is to release all 50 cards together in a regular size set when the project is completed in 2008. It will be a slow but exciting journey through many monster memories.

Remember Freddy Krueger? The school janitor burned alive for victimizing children? He inspired many a nightmare in the late 1980s, including several sequels to A Nightmare On Elm Street. Several card sets followed in his wake as well. One of them was from Comic Images, circa 1988. It's a 264 color sticker series of photos measuring 2" x 3". All of the sticker backs have identical advertising text on them, except that the number changes. There is also a 32 page book to stick them in. The cover has an eerie full color painting, and the inside features duotone images with short descriptions that match the stickers. The first three movies are profiled.

The other interesting but rather obscure Nightmare on Elm Street series was released by Impel in 1991. It's a 120 card set, plus ten behind-the-scenes cards and two different holograms of Freddy. It was originally sold in a cardboard coffin, but there was also a send-away "broiler room" box and seven different unnumbered promos. The card text is very detailed and does a good job narrating the movie. This series profiles the first five movies, plus Freddy's Dead-- The Final Nightmare. Yeah, yeah, yeah-- promises, promises! There's no denying it's a well executed set though, assuming you can stomach buckets of blood and gore.

If you like Freddy and slasher films in general, then you're probably a fan of Hellraiser. This film is so gory, even I am uncomfortable with it... and that's no small feat. Eclipse released a 110 card series profiling the first three Hellraiser movies in 1993. This is also an attractively designed set, but the smart layout is diametrically opposed to the gross photo content! The plot, for the screamish among us, involves demons who enter our world with the help of a mystery box. Tormenting souls is their specialty, and they can dish out as well as take plenty of pain and suffering. I have to say the set is a card turner, and makes one want to see the movie-- even if that someone has been avoiding the film due to its graphic reputation. There are also at least two different holograms in this series as well. One is of pinhead, the other is of the mystery box.

One of the neatest CDs in the last several years is Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe. My girlfriend (at the time) played this during her aerobics class, and at first, I thought it was cacophonous GARBAGE! (I don't usually like heavy metal music at all.) But after the third or so listen, I really started to dig it. (A little undertaker humor there, heh-heh.) And I wasn't the only convert. The CD did extremely well and put Zombie on the map. The music (as well as the CD liner notes) have a horror/ haunted house theme. Zombie eventually followed it up with three CDs and a major motion picture, all with horror themes. The movie was called House of 1,000 Corpses, and Zombie personally directed it. Having graduated film school myself, I snobbishly avoided seeing it. I figured a rock star couldn't direct a good film because he didn't have serious training or experience. Plus, the critics panned it.

But I'm happy to report that we were all dead wrong. A friend dragged me to it at the cheap movie house and it was a very frightening flick. This long haired, sleazy looking musician is not only very creepy, he's also very creative. He's not in the movie, but his bloody finger prints are everywhere. Zombie has also branched out to produce a series of Halloween masks (on the web at www.houseof1000corpses.com) and they are top notch as well! Can nothing stop this devilish dynamo?

Certainly not trading cards; A cool series of six promos for the movie have recently come to my attention. These are quite rare but worth tracking down. They are made to look as if they were passed out by the "killer clown" at his gas station/ haunted house. It's called Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. The blurp on the back of each color card says it all: "Blood! Violence! Freaks! Exit 13 off Route 1 at Ruggsville. Hot, Spicy, Tasty Fried Chicken. Home of the Murder Ride Journey into Danger. Fun for all!" The backs also include a couple of paragraphs about the killer featured on the front. The six promos are of Quentin Quail (Dr. Satan), Albert Fish, Eddie Gein, Lizzi Borden, Texas Chainsaw murderers, and Jack the Ripper.

The art was drawn by Strephon Taylor, who drew many of the Silly CDs stickers. His latest project has been the new Wacky Packages art for Topps. (I hope to include more about him in later articles.)

That will do it for this year's edition of Oddball Monster cards. (Hurricane Ivan is raging outside and the power might cut off at any minute!) Remember to pass out some trading cards this Halloween and see if we can't "scare up" some new collectors. Till next time, keep your eye balls out for more unusual monster cards!

 

 

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