Friday, April 1, 2022

HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN! - Monster Mash Cereal

Happy Halloween! I mean, April Fools!

Years ago I teased about shifting formats into a health-food blog or giving up junkfood forever, but now I'm old and dead inside. (Or should I say, undead?) 

Instead of a funny prank, or fake photoshoped flavors, I wanted to take a moment to remind you that April marks the halfway point to Halloween, and I LOVE Halloween. So today is an opportunity to review something I bought during spooky season and never got around to posting. Monster Mash cereal. 

It also piggybacks off of my previous post, the Strawberry Chocolate Kit-Kat Duo bar. Win-win!

This box art is fang-tastic. It feeds into the retro-throwback-thing a lot of other brands are doing (Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc.) and it manages to be colorful, yet, clean. I love everything about it. The subtle off-white of the irregular lettering, the stark black background, the Josie and the Pussycats-like band illustration, and the colorful streaks highlighting the cereal shapes and marshmallows. I love it so freaking much that I am framing it and hanging it in my house as art. 

The main trio have even BETTER instruments on the back-panel

As a concept, I don't know why this wasn't released sooner. It's so obvious! We have a bunch of  monster themed cereals, and an iconic (probably public domain) song about mashing monsters together. 

But, this cereal isn't exactly what it appears to be. 

We have Boo Berry and Franken Berry cereal pieces, a pretty good representation of what their flavors bring to the table, but Fruit Brute, Yummy Mummy and Count Chocula are relegated to representational, colored, marshmallows. And they're not even shaped like the characters or uniquely flavored. The box art is a monstrous mash-up of lies! 

The cereal is just berry flavored with marshmallows. The go-to generic flavors used for all novelty products and movie-themed cereal releases. A safe bet, and I get that all the flavors mashed up likely wouldn't work out all that well, but this feels like a missed opportunity to make something truly special.

Plus, this might an "old man yells at cloud" moment, but breakfast cereal doesn't taste as good as it used to. All the deliciously sugary things that made it terrible for me as a kid have been phased out for cost and health reasons, and now I find it hard to revisit childhood favorites without them tasting like variations of wet, fruity, cardboard. 

Sadly, this is no exception.

The generic berry flavoring of the cereal is better for me than standard Franken Berry, which always tasted chemical-y, but it's still fairly mild and cardboard-y. Especially in milk. Without milk the flavoring is a bit brighter, more like how I remembered Berry Kix being when I was a kid. Light, sweet, and just a little fruity. The marshmallows are just marshmallows, and as far as I can tell, they aren't fruity flavored or anything. Maybe the brown ones are mildly chocolatey, but I can't tell if that's just wishful thinking on my part. I want to love this, but it's okay at best. Just another modern day, fruity-ish, cereal with marshmallows. At least it's spooky shaped. 

As previously stated, Franken Berry isn't my favorite of the monster cereals, so to see it take center stage here, along with Boo Berry, I didn't have high hopes for the product. It was a beautiful box and concept, and I made my peace with that. Even though I am not in love with it, if this comes back next Halloween I am going to buy it again. Especially if it has new box art.     

What's your favorite cereal memory? Mine was eating Captain Choco's Cereal from Save-A-Lot and reading the one and seemingly only comic panel on the backside of the box over and over again. (If you click the link above you can go to a blog and see he resurfaced with a new comic in 1999! So now there are TWO pages of his adventures.)  

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