Another fall, another monster cereal
By Mark Voger, author
‘Britmania: The British Invasion of the Sixties in Pop Culture’
Am I a child? When summer yields to fall, I’m not thinking about glorious foliage. I’m thinking about Franken Berry.
I’m not alone. Every year, General Mills pulls some stunt to create excitement around its “monster cereal” line (which only graces supermarket shelves during the Halloween season). For 2023, GM is bringing out its first new mascot in 36 years — and it’s first-ever female character. (Feminists can relax. The glass ceiling has finally been obliterated.)
Here she is … Carmella Creeper. Carmella is up-to-the-minute ’80s with her gunjo headphones, skunk-stripe bangs, spiked choker, fishnet sleeves, and Jam Master Jay turntable. She looks like someone Googled “daddy issues,” then got AI to ad mottling, scars and green skin. (It’s what happens when corporations go after the youth market. Like when Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris as his running mate.)
Here’s a closeup of the cereal. It’s green, like Carmella. But does it taste apple-y? The cereal shape is still in the Pac-Man-Ghost milieu. (Your grandparents can explain that reference.)
Also in the mix for 2023 is Monster Mash Remix, a cereal that combines General Mills’ monster line: Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Frute Brute, Yummy Mummy, and newcomer Carmella. (In 2021, General Mills introduced Monster Mash cereal, hence this year’s “Remix” tag.)
Carmella materializes to the delight of fellow monster cereal mascots Frankie, Brutie and Choc, in this detail from a comic strip panel on the back of the box.
Carmella identifies herself as a “cousin” to Franken Berry in this panel detail. (It’s not clear whether the other mascots are related to one another. Universal was very strict about the Frankenstein bloodline. Basil Rathbone and Cedric Hardwicke played brothers, though not in the same movie.)
Above is the complete comic strip from the back of boxes from the 2023 line. Not graphic-novel-level stuff, but it does have word balloons.
This is how Frankie and Choc look on their respective boxes in 2023. We last saw this box art in, oh, 2020? Boo Berry is also being sold, but Yummy Mummy and Frute Brute will hybernate this year. (You can still sample those varieties in Monster Mash Remix — that is, if you don’t mind separating the grains.)
Why does this matter? Um, it don’t. We the sheeple should be addressing climate change and mass shootings, not Franken Berry.
The above song, “Monster Mash Remix,” is from General Foods themselves. They must’a forked over some serious cash; you can clearly hear samples of Bobby “Boris” Pickett imitating Boris Karloff in the original #1 hit of 1962, “Monster Mash.”
Above is Mandy Spooks‘ impromptu review of the new cereal. Spoiler: “It honestly tastes the same as Franken Berry to me,” says Mandy. “I don’t taste the apple.”