It's Halloween time and you know what that means... Monster Cereals! If you like sugary cereals, you're probably pretty familiar with them. Back in the day, Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and Boo Berry were the coolest of all the cereals, with Universal Monster-inspired mascots and freebie toys included in every box. Nowadays they're regulated to seasonal fare, but I always grab a box or two every Halloween. Every year, gleefully blinded by the awesomeness of the colorful characters on the boxes, I lift the first spoonful of that marshmallowy concoction to my mouth, take my first taste, and think to myself:
Oh yeah, I hate this.
Maybe it means handing in my dork card to admit this, but Monster Cereals have never done it for me. It's not that I don't like junk cereals, mind you. My wife doesn't, and I often debate with her that she must be a little dead inside for not appreciating the sugary explosion of happiness that you get from a cereal like Apple Jacks. But Monster Cereals always come up short. Count Chocula can't hold a candle to the chocolatey deliciousness of Cocoa Krispies and Krave. Frankenberry and Boo Berry pale in comparison to the bombastic fake-fruitiness of Fruity Pebbles and Froot Loops. And if I want marshmallow perfection, there's nothing closer than Lucky Charms. Monster Cereals just can't compete with the junk cereal staples.
I've tried to like Monster Cereals, I really have. I get a box every Halloween in the hope that I've somehow developed a taste for them in the past year. Why do I care? Because I legitimately love the Monster characters and I think they're the most awesome of all the cereal mascots. In fact, I started what might have been the Internet's very first Boo Berry site, Nathan's Boo Berry Bonanza, way back in 1997. I somehow kept the files so you can marvel at my old-school web design skills...
I guess Monster Cereals are kind of like the Star Wars movies for me. I like the merchandising more than the product on which the merchandising is based.
And here we are, another Halloween, another year of Monster Cereals. But this year is a little different because two Monsters from years past are making a comeback: Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute! I got a box of each in the hope that I would finally find a Monster Cereal that I can stomach.
The idea is that Yummy Mummy is "orange cream" flavored, while Frute Brute is "cherry" flavored. I can honestly say this is the first time I've tried either orange or cherry-themed cereal. You'd think that neither would go well with the whole cereal concept, but you know what?
You'd be right.
The orange flavoring of Yummy Mummy is pretty strong and it meets the mission in that it does taste like an orange creamsicle. Frute Brute's cherry flavoring is more subtle but it does have that fake cherry taste. The problem is that both cereals just taste a little... off. The flavors don't mesh well with what I'd expect from a cereal and the result is something that is both sugary fun and vomit-inducing.
Left: Yummy Mummy, Right: Frute Brute. I get the whole ghost idea, but what are the marshmallows? Frankensteins? What does Frankenstein have to do with mummies or werewolves?
And that dichotomy is what's wrong with all the Monster Cereals for me. My heart thinks the taste is sweet partytime but my stomach thinks that the free pistachio ice cream has turned. I guess it's possible that if Monster Cereals were more a part of my childhood or if I had this stuff year-round, I'd develop a... tolerance... to it.
But why bother when there are other cereals that taste so much better? Why try to choke down Yummy Mummy when Cap'n Crunch can order me to set course to Crunchberry Island? Come to think of it, I doubt that I had to develop a tolerance for most of the other junk cereals anyway. With junk cereals, it's all about the balance between the sugary flavoring and the cereal grain. I would argue that something like Lucky Charms has the perfect balance. The Monster Cereals take that delicate balancing scale and put it right in the middle of a Bayformer-esque explosion of IHOP fruit syrup.
So, it pains me to admit it, but I have to say that I'm not a fan of any of the Monster Cereals. At least now I know that I wasn't missing out on Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute all those years that they weren't available. Although supposedly orange wasn't the original flavor of Yummy Mummy, so who knows?
Regardless, at least I can enjoy the Monsters themselves! The back of the box has a cool comic (which is the same regardless of the cereal). And for more Monster Cereal fun, check out the links below!
- DoomKick has a much more positive review of Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute.
- And here's Infinite Hollywood's take on Yummy Mummy.
- The Lair of the Dork Horde has 31 Days of Monster Cereals this month!