These three faces don't turn up in Portland supermarkets all that often. In fact, I only see them once a year, usually around Halloween. Once November comes around they disappear like a cartoon spokesghost after the check clears. Hmm, what a peculiarly apt metaphor. Coincidence?
So while most of Portland is already blanketed in Xmas decor and the radio has been cranking out 24-7 Xmas songs on K-LITE
, I'm going to devote an entire post to breakfast cereals with undead pitchmen. I haven't tried any of these since I was a kid, mostly because nowadays they only show up on local store shelves during Halloween season. These three boxes have been sitting around my house since October and I just recently got around to trying them. Sorry if I've offended you, Santa, but I'm writing a review regardless of the date on the calendar.
Where these three cereals as good as I remember them? Let's find out.
Count Chocula was once a integral part of PDX cereal shelves. Then, sometime in the '90s, he was suddenly gone. Who was keeping the count's sugar-soaked product from the likes of Thriftway, Albertsons, Fred Meyers and the late-great Kenows? To this day, General Mills is still cranking the stuff out. Was some-sort of Portland grocery distributor kingpin/wannabe Van Helsing responsible? Who knows. I was just happy to see him back during a recent trip to my local market o' choice (unsurprisingly, it's not Market of Choice).
The cereal tastes like: Slightly less sugary Coco Puffs.
The cereal's bat-shaped marshmallows taste like: Chalk sprinkled in Swiss Miss cocoa mix.
What my stomach felt like after eating a bowl: An intestinal roller disco filled with teenaged marshmallow bats drunk on too much Mountain Dew.
What color the milk in the bowl turned: Milk chocolate brown (just like the Count's cape. Spooky!)
Final grade: B-.
Let's not forget Frankenberry, the Count's sidekick and coconspirator in rotting the teeth of the nation's cereal junkies. While the box says the cereal's flavor comes from artificial strawberry flavors, the contents don't taste at all like them. I suspect that they're actually made from frankenberries, which only grow in Transylvania and, despite the fact the cereal has been in the states since at least the '70s, have yet to be fully approved by the FDA. The makers of Frankenberry no doubt skirt this technicality by omitting the "franken" and sticking in "straw." Frankenberry, you're one sly dog.
The cereal tastes like: Diet Fruity Pebbles. Ever try Fruity Pebbles? They taste like super-concentrated Pixie Sticks. Even I, a hopeless lifetime cereal addict, can't eat them.
The Frankberry-shaped marshmallows taste like: Frankenberries.
And frankenberries taste like: Crap.
What my stomach felt like after eating a bowl: Crap.
What color the milk in the bowl turned: Super pink. Blinding pink. Too pink. Pinker than the inside of Barbie's private jet.
Final grade: F+. Sorry, Frankenberry. Your cereal sucks.
Ahhhh, Boo Berry. The elusive Boo Berry. Ol' Boo. I've always considered this one to be the most elusive of this trilogy of breakfast terror but I've been wrong all these years. Count Chocula's evil cereal crew had two other members even more cagey: Yummy Mummy and Fruit Brute. While I'm certain I've never seen either of those two anywhere near area supermarkets, I distinctly remember eating Boo Berry at one point or another. How can anyone forget eating a bowl of cereal that tastes like blueberries made in a high school chemistry lab?
The cereal tastes like: I've already the breakfast cat out of the cereal bag. Boo Berry tastes like chem lab blueberries, remember?
The ghost-shaped marshmallows taste like: Chalk drenched in the super-condensed blueberries. We're talking blueberry blood from the veins of a post-blueberried Violet Beauregarde before Wonka had her juiced.
What my stomach felt like after after eating a bowl: Strangely content. As if it were being gently massaged by the spirits of the Keeblar Elves (all of them died after they missed an eviction notice and their tree was chopped down in a clear-cut, right?).
What color the milk turned: Purple.
Final Grade: B.
While Boo Berry was pretty good, it didn't hold a candle to my memories of Super Mario Brothers cereal, still my favorite of all time. Frankenberry was just plain awful and, while Count Chocula was passable, why buy that with Coco Krispies and Coco Puffs out there? Really, it's a question for the ages.
Now I know what you're thinking after reading this. Did I mix all three? I thought about it but never did. I know of someone who once did though. You can read all about it here.