Tag Archives: 80s horror stickers

Peel Here #118: The Exhaustive Selectra Horror Prism Vending Stickers edition!

4560287382_404990f06c_oAs I approach my 10th anniversary of running Branded in the 80s I can’t help but feel a pull towards revisiting some of the topics and products that helped to launch the site back in 2006.  I’m a different person than I was at the outset and enough time has passed that I feel like I might have something more to add to those early articles.  Some of it is having a new perspective on the material, and some if it is finally having access to a much larger collection to showcase and the collector in me, the completest, is compelled to set about making something a little more definitive.

Back in 2009 I addressed one of my 80s era collecting holy grails when I wrote about a small collection of obscure horror movie-themed prism vending machine stickers.  Vending stickers are a hard thing to date because of their bootleg and disposable nature.  They don’t feature copyright notices so you kind of have to use context clues to date them.  As a kid, the only vending horror sticker that I manged to get my hands on was one featuring Clive Barker’s 1990 movie Nightbreed, so I assumed that the stickers were released in at least 1990, but I was also working under the assumption that the entire set of stickers (at the time I guessed that there were maybe 40-50 available based on some collections I saw online) were released at the same time.  Now I’ve managed to dig up some more information that leads me to believe that these stickers actually debuted in 1989 and were potentially released in waves throughout the end of 1990 or so.  But before I get ahead of myself let me bring it back to the beginning and talk a bit about what these are and why I love them so damn much.

tattoo-and-sticker-vending-machine-4-column-black

As I mentioned I found my first sticker back in 1989 while my family made a big move from Florida up to New Hampshire.  At the time I was 12 and had been sort of weaning myself off of stuff like G.I. Joe and Transformers and was turning into an angsty teen who wanted to spend all of his time reading Uncanny X-Men comics and Stephen King novels, listening almost exclusively to Metallica and Megadeth, and watching horror movies.  By this point I’d seen and was mildly obsessed with both Hellraiser films and had just recently picked up a secondhand copy of Barker’s first Books of Blood short story collection.  I was also an avid reader of Fangoria and remember reading an interview with Clive Barker about his new project Nightbreed in the October 1989 issue.  So I was excited for the flick and sometime during the drive up to New Hampshire my folks stopped off at a restaurant that had one of those sticker vending machines in the lobby.  I’m not sure if it was a Pizza Hut or something more in line with a truck stop diner, as we were inclined to have stopped at either, but sometime on that trip I found a machine, slid my two quarters into the push handle and pulled out a little while cardboard sleeve that had a foil prism Night Breed sticker inside.  I was beyond stoked and as soon as we were settled into our new home my dad gave me an old black particle board bookcase from his office and the Nightbreed sticker was peeled off the backing and stuck prominently above my collection of horror paperbacks.

NightbreedI always loved that sticker, partly because it had different imagery than anything else I’d seen relating Nightbreed, and partly because of the super simplified art style of these prism stickers.  Much like art adoring trading card wax wrappers, there’s something that I find really appealing about the bloby, offset, screen tone colors and thick, bold shadowy style of the reproduced line art.  And very similar to my Barfo candy experience, after I found my first prism horror sticker I was never able to locate anymore for a very long time.  In fact it wasn’t until 2009 when I finally found a small set of 5 stickers on eBay, 20 years later.  I mentioned this in the previous piece that I wrote, but these are the type of collectibles that become really hard to find years after their release.  Not only are they most likely unauthorized bootleg merchandise, but they’re designed to be disposable.  I mean they cheapo stickers that are used to adorn trapper keepers and school notebooks.  These things are used, abused and thrown away, so it really rare to see them pop up on the secondary “antique” market.  The best resource for finding them over the last decade has been when small stockpiles of them have been unearthed in old storage lockers and they show up in bulk sets for upwards of $1k on ebay.  But since these are highly prized and sought after collectibles by folks in the horror fandom community they tend to get snatched up and resold individually.  Sometimes you can get a good deal and sometimes folks sell these for $100 a pop.  So if you’re looking to collect these I’d suggest watching eBay like a hawk and being patient.

Over the last 6 years I’ve been buying them here and there and before I knew it I had a pretty sizable collection.  I’m still not sure exactly how many different horror stickers were offered, but I’ve been able to identify at least 93 including variations.  On eBay I also stumbled upon a 1989 catalog for the company that produced and distributed them, Selectra, which answered the question of when they were originally released…

1 Selectra Catalog a

1 Selectra Catalog b

So, without further to do, here’s a gallery of all the awesome Selectra prism horror movie vending stickers that I’ve been able to track down (there are four that I know of that I haven’t gotten my hands on, a second Nightbreed one featuring Dirk Lylesberg, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, one with a lady being force-fed a spider from a movie I can’t identify and a Puppet Master sticker.)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 1   A Nightmare on Elm Street 1b   A Nightmare on Elm Street 4

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5   A Nightmare on Elm Street 5b   A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 1

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 2   A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 2b   A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 4

I find it interesting that there were variations of the same sticker offered in slightly different formats.  Like there were some that were die-cut and didn’t have any prism material showing through the ink like with the second Freddy in the three stickers above.  Also, though obviously they are based on the same promo still of the character, two different artists tackled the stickers with one being way more accurate.  Then there are some that are just downright embarrassing in terms of execution like the Nightmare sticker on the far right in the row below…

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5c   A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 3   A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 6

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy 5   An American Werewolf in London   Bark at the Moon Ozzy Osbourne

Beetlejuice   Brain 1a   Brain 1b

Then there are weird variations like the two stickers for the 1988 movie The Brain above that are based on the same poster artwork but are vastly different in quality…

Blob   Friday the 13th Part 8   House

Brain Dead   Childs Play   Creepshow

It’s also interesting looking at the imagery that was used for the various movies.  Most of these draw from poster or VHS artwork while some of them, like the Child’s Play sticker above, are more interpretations of the movies, sometimes with some weird logo designs…

Critters   Day of the Dead   Deep Star Six b

Deep Star Six   Evil Dead2   Fly

Then there are some stickers which seem vague when it comes to the title of the film, or at least the entry in a series of films, like the Evil Dead II sticker above that drops the “II”.  Yet the Fly II sticker has the the correct title and tag line.  Weird…

Freakshow   Frightmare   Friday the 13th Part 6

Friday the 13th Part 5a   Friday the 13th Part 5b   Friday the 13th Part 7

Funhouse   Halloween   Halloween 4a

It’s also interesting to me to see what films managed to get stickers, and sometimes, specifically what films that are part of a series.  So some of the more obscure horror flicks like Frightmare and The Brain get stickers, yet as far as I know there are no Pumpkinhead, Night of the Comet, or Lost Boys stickers.  Then there is are stickers for the first and fourth Halloween flicks, but not parts two or three.  Can you imagine a sticker featuring all three Silver Shamrock masks from Halloween 3?!?

Halloween 4b   Hellraiser 1a

Hellraiser Pinhead 1   Hellraiser Pinhead 2   Hellraiser Pinhead 3

Then there are stickers, like the three Pinhead variations above, that were produced repeatedly.  I think there might even be a fourth variation of that design with a plain silver prism fill around the portrait.

Hellraiser   Hellraiser2a   Hellraiser2b

Hellraiser2c   Horror Show   Nightbreed

Nightmares a   Nightmares b

Howling b   Howling   Memorial Valley Massacre

Monkey Shines       Night of the Demons

Phantasm 2a   Phantasm 2b   Phantom of the Mall

Phantom of the Opera   Psycho 3b   Psycho3

Return of the Living Dead Part 2   Return of the Living Dead Part 2b   Return of the Living Dead Part 2c

I love seeing the differences between some of these variations.  I find it interesting how different each of these Return of the Living Dead Part II stickers came out…

Return to Horror High   Scanners   Scarecrows

Screaming Mad George 1   Screaming Mad George 2   Screamtime

I also think it’s interesting that of all films to be adapted into sticker we get not one, but two variations on Brian Yuzna’s Society (above), neither of which is the more famous imagery of the face emerging from a butt

Shocker 1a   Shocker 1b   Slaughter High 1

Slaughter High 2   Sleepaway Camp 3   Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 Leatherface

Supernaturals 1   Supernaturals 2   Swamp Thing

The Gate a   The Gate b

They Live   Thou Shall Not Kill Except   ToxicAvenger

Vamp   Werewolf   Zombie Nightmare

So, are there any other Selectra prism horror vending machine stickers floating around out there that you’ve seen that I didn’t cover here?  I’m curious just how many different ones were made…