Hello and welcome to the first edition of "Unearthing the 80s," where I look at obscure (and often forgotten) trends involving horror of the 1980s. This edition the focus will be on horror movie inspired trading cards released around 1988 known as "Fright Flicks". So, without further ado, let's get started!
Topps wanted to capitalize on the increasing popularity of horror in the 80s, especially the phenomenally popular Nightmare on Elm Street/Freddy Krueger craze. Thus, after having released some related horror-based cards (most notably a creature feature set involving classic monster movies), they came up with the idea of "Fright Flicks." The cards themselves are fascinating - they manage to demand immediate attention by featuring the shocking imagery that was so commonly implemented in 80s horror. Additionally, each card contained a humorous (and often absurd) line referencing the image featured.
The back of the cards displayed unrelated short stories whose intent seemed to be to provide an ephemeral way of inciting fear into children and young teens (the target audience of the cards). Overall, the cards do a really fantastic job of manifesting that "80s feel." The ethereal imagery coupled with the offbeat jokes mirrors that seen in many of the movies featured on the cards (especially gems like Fright Night and the Nightmare on Elm Street films). In total, there were 90 cards. Additionally, each pack contained a sticker and some gum!