It’s been about 8 years since I started my journey with a gifted box of Boo-Berry cereal. Since then, it’s become something of a tradition for us to pick up a box or two of Monster Cereals each year. I’ve tried every modern release and become weirdly fascinated with them. I’ve even got some memorabilia now! To be honest, I’m a little surprised I hadn’t written a follow-up article until now, but then again, we did let this site sit around, busted and devoid of new content, for several years… so let’s rectify all that!

Naturally, the first two other cereals I had occasion to try were Frankenberry and Count Chocula, which, together with Boo-Berry, make up the original trio who regularly return every year at around this time (and yes – we’re actually getting Boo-Berry where I live! What a time to be alive). Last time, I said Boo-Berry is best when eaten either dry or with the milk poured over and left at the bottom of the bowl. I feel like this stands true for pretty much every Monster Cereal except for Count Chocula, which has a more standard cereal sweetness to it. The rest are somewhat muted and do indeed lose a lot of their flavour when drenched in milk.

I’d update that suggestion to instead say: pour the smallest amount of milk over the top and mix it all up to soften it if you so desire; otherwise, eat them dry. It’s just my opinion that the flavours of these cereals are washed out with milk. I have seen various comments here and there that attribute this to a change in General Mills’ recipes, swapping out oats for corn flour – I’m no cereal aficionado, but apparently this has ruffled some feathers, and it makes sense in hindsight. (If you’re looking for a legit cereal review, go to a cereal blog where people with an actual sense of taste talk about things; this is the madcap dumbass ironic blog where some nobody spews nonsense.)

General Mills The box art is fun. And yeah, they also did a cover of the Monster Mash song.

A couple years ago, General Mills came out with a new “Monster Mash” cereal that was supposed to combine all of the cereals into one. We thought this sounded neat, so we snagged a box. It was not, in fact, all of the cereals – just Frankenberry and Boo-Berry, with marshmallows in the colours of the other cereals. Still, I enjoy both of those cereals, so while I was a bit disappointed, I enjoyed it. Monster Mash has since returned each year, except on this third year, the Frankenberry pieces were swapped out for the newest cereal in the lineup – but more on that later.

Pulse Commander | TandemShock Frankenberry and Boo-Berry have made peace and intermingled and this wave of cereal is like their lovechild.

Why do I like these Monster Cereals so much? In all honesty, they are not even the best cereals out there. A lot of people seem to outright dislike them, and I get it – they’re not very sweet, and they don’t pair well with milk in the same way that most cereals do. But there’s just something about them that sticks with me.

When I was a little kid, I actually detested Halloween. I became anxious when the season rolled around because I knew I would be dragged into the stores with all that seasonal stuff in it. It’s not that I was afraid of Halloween or anything associated with it. It was the 90’s and the 00’s, there was a heavy emphasis on gross-out stuff… a lot of Halloween decorations and accessories were disgusting, and especially costumes; I knew each year I was bound to see some casual gore just walking through the store – or maybe a massive pair of fake knockers if I was in the back costume section of that one party store, but yeah, mostly gore. Even as a little kid, none of it was scary or realistic (especially not the knockers). But I never really needed realism to settle a disturbing thought into my mind, especially back then. Those images would stick with my young mind and disrupt my ability to function.

But the thing is, as an adult, I’ve realized I actually loved Halloween all along – just not that gruesome side of it. I loved dressing up and pretending to be whatever I wanted to be. And more than that, I was always attracted to the campy, cutesy side of the holiday – the colourful black and orange and purple everywhere, the goofy classical monsters, the tombstones and cobwebs, the spooky sounds and songs… I don’t know why, but I loved it all, and I still do. I just didn’t get a chance to enjoy it, because the other side of Halloween – the side that seems to resonate with most other people – overwhelmed me each and every year.

So now, as an adult, I try to celebrate the aspects of Halloween that I like. And with those things come these silly cereal-themed monsters. I like their designs, their dumb antics in the old commercials, the way they interact with each other and get spooked by their environment in those tiniest little blips of animation, and yes, I like the design of the cereals themselves (and even how they taste). Maybe I’m trying to recapture something I’ve lost. I believe my generation is largely realizing we don’t have to stop enjoying things we like just because we grow up. In a tangentially-related way, this is just something I never allowed myself to enjoy as a kid, that I am trying instead to enjoy now.

General Mills/Big G Creative You ever think about how it’s a bunch of fruity guys and Count Chocula? Firin’ up my Wattpad.

Some years ago, Ferny purchased me a strange Christmas present in the form of Monster Crunch! The Breakfast Battle Game. Yep, that’s right – they made a Monster Cereals tabletop game, and while it’s clearly designed for children, in my humble opinion, it’s quite fun. Ferny and I don’t have many people options for playing board or card games, so it’s pretty much just down to my parents whenever we have an opportunity. Dad doesn’t understand games with any degree of complexity, and mom usually spends the whole time dicking over dad while trying to help me out to her own detriment, so most games aren’t too fun when we play them… exactly once and never again. This game, on the other hand, we’ve played multiple times. It’s easy to pick up, a card game predicated on strategically playing numbered cards so you can “eat” the most cereal (i.e. play the most cards) and score big by the end of the round, all while preventing your opponents from doing the same. All five of the original monsters are playable, and each one has two of his own special abilities, so there are various ways to approach the game’s simplistic mechanics. Is it groundbreaking? Nope. But it’s simple fun, and the cards and pieces are trussed up in a cute and stylish retro look.

And that’s not the only weird Monster Cereals merchandise I’ve acquired.

General Mills/KAWS It’s a good thing I save flattened cereal boxes like a lunatic so I could take these photos. And no, the usage of “lunatic” with regards to a werewolf is not lost on me.

Last year, two interesting things happened in the world of Monster Cereals. First, Frute Brute returned, after a 9-year hiatus. This werewolf-themed fourth cereal, originally produced in 1974 as a generic fruit cereal with lime-flavoured marbits, lasted for 8 years before being permanently taken off the market. He returned along with all four other cereals back in 2013 with a new cherry flavour, but of course, I missed out. Last year, Frute Brute returned once more for a single-year run, again with the cherry flavour. And I have to say… I rather liked it. Cherry is an interesting departure from your standard cereal fare. In fact, Ferny also tried a bowl and approved of it, to the extent that, when it (to no surprise of mine) failed to return this year, they expressed annoyance because it was the only Monster Cereal they actually liked. I feel like that says a lot, coming from them. Actually, they should be the one writing a food review, not me. They have a refined palate. I have the palate of an animal that eats anything you throw out the window. I mean, have you seen some of the things I’ve eaten? When we first got married, I used to cook this dish my spouse called “white girl chicken”. It was just canned chicken with mayonnaise and some seasonings on a skillet, sometimes with a chopped up onion in it. Ferny detested it. And you know what? On some nights, when they’re not gonna be home for supper, and I’m feeling tired and cheap… I still cook it.

The other thing that happened was a collaboration with the artist KAWS, who I confess I had never heard of beforehand. You may have noticed from the cereal box above that the Frute Brute character is drawn in an unusual style, wavy lines, X-eyes – and the other characters have massive bones sticking out of the ears (as opposed to the itty-bitty bones there should be inside ears?). This is KAWS’ trademark style, and every one of the monsters’ boxes was released with his artwork year. Additionally, they ran a special sweepstakes through which 100,000 4-figurine sets were released. Each set featured flat plastic figures of the four returning monsters done in a style reminiscent of a much earlier set, but with KAWS’ added flair, and the addition of Frute Brute.

Pulse Commander | TandemShock It’s rather hard to get a good quality picture with them in their plastic baggies, but here at TandemShock, we don’t care about quality!

And guess what, baby? I actually secured my own set! I couldn’t believe it, but I won one of them. I never win these kinds of things. The figures came packaged in four uniquely-printed plastic bags, so the preservationist in me makes me still hesitant to open them, even though I’ve no plans to ever sell them, and even though I’d love to display them. I keep them in a drawer for now. Gosh, I love having them. I am a goofass moron, I know.

General Mills I was literally thinking “what if there was a new monster” and “what if there was a female monster” like months before this was announced. Clearly it’s time to capitalize on my mystic foresight.

So we finally come all the way up to this year, which, as I’d mentioned earlier, saw the rerelease of the Monster Mash (now labeled “Remix”) cereal with a new flavour swapped in – that of Carmella Creeper. That’s right, a female cereal mascot. Absolutely wild to see, and I am here for it. Why should breakfast be a sausage fest? I mean, aside from breakfast sausage.

This time, General Mills decided to expand upon the Monster Cereals Universe, or MCU as I’ve just dubbed it (do not steal), by introducing Frankenberry’s zombie DJ cousin who, according to the back of the box, he hasn’t seen in centuries. Holy shit, centuries?! Just how old are these monsters? I mean, granted, most of them are undead, but still… does this imply the cereals have also been around for centuries in their world? Were serfs munching on Count Chocula cereal back in medieval times while preparing for the chance to stake its namesake through the heart should he terrorize their village? These are the questions that don’t keep me up at night but are kind of weird to think about if you’re the kind of person who thinks too much about fucking monster-themed cereal products.

General Mills The Monster Mash Remix box, for completion.

Carmella Creeper has a very modern design and thus looks a lot different from her cohorts, but that’s alright – there hasn’t been a new monster since the 80’s, so why shouldn’t a new one have an updated aesthetic? Her cereal is of a candy caramel apple flavour, which itself is quite rare in the cereal world, I think. Like most of these cereals, it is a bit muted, and is better with minimal milk. I quite enjoyed it, but you know me – limited palate and all that. Ferny did not try a bowl, so I didn’t get a second opinion. I like the neon green zombie colour of the cereal pieces a lot. Golly, I sure am easy to please.

You know what I would like? I’d like a Monster-Cereals-themed falling blocks puzzle battle game. General Mills, are you listening to me? There are now six characters so there could be a decent roster to pick from, with six total colours for tiles. Maybe the different shapes of marbits could cause different effects when eliminated from the field… In case you haven’t noticed after 8 years of TandemShock, I am fucking ridiculous. I’m a lost cause, stop listening to me, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m ranting on and on about Halloween-themed children’s cereals. Get outta here before I start waffling on about another licensed Smash clone fighter, except this time you’re not Bugs Bunny or a ninja turtle from a show that didn’t even air on Nickelodeon, you’re fuckin’ Cap’n Crunch beating the shit out of that leprechaun bastard, or the Trix rabbit finally getting revenge on those asshole racist kids who wouldn’t let him eat the cereal, or some shit like that, seriously get outta here, you made it to the end, just go enjoy your Halloween if there’s still time!

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