Monday, October 30, 2006

Smith's horror bags



Horror and spooky themes have been a popular form, for a number of products, especially children's sweets and snacks. Advertisers are very clever in releasing a product that will attract their consumers, they only have to come up with some sort of theme that they know will sell a product. They can put a theme to any item, whether it is connected to the theme or not. Film and TV characters are especially very popular amoung children, monsters are another.
One such product from the 1970's was the corn snack made by Smith's Crisps [now Walker's]Horror bags. These came in 5 different flavored shaped snacks which included Fangs,Bones,Bats,Ribs and Claws. A similiar type snack would come out later-Monster Munch,which is still in production today.
As well as the cool artwork that adornded the packaging such as a top hatted vampire for Fangs and Claws, a skeleton for bones and a bat for bats, Smith's would sometimes have spooky promotional items that you could send away for by collecting so many tokens from the backs of the wrappers. These items included a set of four Horror grippers [see picture above], picture cards, a set of five plastic Creepy Clutchers [see below], a snakes and ladders type game called Serpents and Stairs [see below], a game called Identi-kit in which you had to sort out the sections of card body parts to make up the monsters and lay them in the card graves [something like that]. Take a look at the Identi-kit advertisement from Look-in for the kit below. I remember
a friend of mine from school had a black vinyl swimming bag featuring the vampire from horror bags printed on it in white, something he or his parents had sent for from horror bags. I tried for ages to try and persuade him to sell me it, but is parents wouldn't let him. If there is anyone who remembers horror bags and sent for items themselves or have any magazine/comic advertisements please let me know. maybe I could add some more pictures to this post.






33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic page!.How wonderful it is that merely seeing a picture of a crisp bag can suddenly open a whole lot of childhood memories!
Thank you for sharing your page.

chandler_lite@yahoo.co.uk said...

It's great to see a few fond and fading memories restored so vividly there!

The Snakes n Ladders game must have been slightly before my time but I sent for the 'Grizly Growling Mask','Horror Identi-kit'and 'Creepy Clutchers'.

I've still got remnants of the above which are hardly in the same condition as your wonderful exhibits (!) but I'll see what's scannable if you're interested..?

Have you still got the actual box cover for the identi-kit, that would be well worthy of a feature amongst the other packaging design classics!

Paul said...

Hi Chandler_lite
Thanks for your comments. I certainly would be interested in any scans you can do of your Horror bags items. I do have the box for the identi-kit, I shall try and put it on sometime.

chandler_lite@yahoo.co.uk said...

That'll give me an excuse to have a browse for ads in the 70's Busters etc. as well (!) I'll have to visit a 'cobwebbed loft' and get back with something - love to see that box cover again!

Cheers,

John

p.s. Have you heard Warfare's 'Hammer Horror' album from the mid-90's?

Paul said...

Hi Chandler_lite
I would certainly love to see some other Horror bags advertisements if you come across any at all, I am sure there must be quite a few. The one for the Identi-kit was emailed to me from someone who got it from a issue of Look-in.
Yes I have Warfare's Hammer Horror album, not a bad album, nice cover artwork.

chandler_lite@yahoo.co.uk said...

I've taken a trip through a boxfull of fleetway comics (two others to check!) and there have been a few related finds, so far.

Specifically, a '6th Creepy Clutcher' which was free in a copy of Buster and featured Frankenstein.

There have also been a few forgotten adverts which may be suitable candidates for the whole 'Cobwebbed' feel! I'll send some stuff through on Sunday evening, if you let me know of an e-mail address.

Warfare's album I really liked in places. The synths and female vocals seemed to capture the type of atmos that they were after although other tracks inclined towards humdrum thrash.

chandler_lite@yahoo.co.uk said...

P.S. Just checked the box art - that's awakened all sorts of eerie nostalgia! Like you say, 'clasical' and artistic rather than merely upleasant;a great escape from the everyday...

Paul said...

Hi Chandler_lite
Thank you so much for taking the time to look through your Fleetway comics for monster/horror related stuff, My email is - monsterscud@yahoo.co.uk

Looking forward to them. Do you want me to add them to the Cobbwebbed room? I shall of course mention that you contributed them, that's if you want me to.
I have a little peice on Horror bags that appeared in World of Horror magazine during the 1970's, I shall get it put on this blog soon.
Once again thank you.

chandler_lite@yahoo.co.uk said...

Ah, that feeling of waiting for suitably spooky ads on I.T.V. as a kid...and then the 'Mr. Sheen' lady would appear with her duster to dash round that macabre manshion - it's a bit like that flipping through the comics...all cheery material for the most part and then suddenly, it's time to reach for the candlesticks!

I ramble, just to say that the task is far from being a chore!

There's no need to put any acknowledgements alongside the submissions which you decide to use; the above lines are reassurance enough that you're not one of those egotists out to create something unfairly...we all know the type, not worth the rant!

The cobwebbed room is a great place to chill out and I'm glad to be able to add to the decor...first few items later today!

(The b&w piece is sure worth the feature and also adds an 'historical'element - no need to look through 'Shiver & Shake' now, unfortunately!)

All the best,

John

Darren said...

More please!! fantastic stuff! How about a blog for vintage comic ads,John??;)

John said...

Now there's a thought, Darren!

Alas, I'll just about be able to keep up with contributions for the 'Cobwebbed Room' with some fave Fleetway highlights on the way!

Let's hope it gets the cult status that such 'throwaway trash' deserves!

John

Wil said...

Another 'thank you' for a great page here. Have you got a good pic for the Creepy Clutchers? I remember them well as I was quite the Horror Bags fan.

John said...

Apparently there was a petition organised on Facebook which led to a pledge by Cadbury's to re-issue 'Wispa' bars...

Steve B.. said...

Hi there,excellent page but wherever did you get that claws packet,I must be honest I only remember fangs & bones myself and have been dying to get hold of an empty pack on ebay for ages-no luck.After school it was straight to the shop,if you did'nt have the 5p for a bag of fangs then it was 4p for abox of matches and black jack.I do remember sending off for a load of stickers and recieving them,the usual skeletons & bats etc..but I also remember these other spooky stickers that where glow in the dark and a bit more artistic you might say,wether they where from horror bags I cannot remember,I still have one of these glow stickers in my possession and would like to post a picture (how do I do that?) to see if anyone can shed any light-I've also got the same picture on a "want it now" in ebay~fangs for the memories..Steve..

Paul said...

Hi Steve
Pleased to read that you like the Cobwebbed room. Thanks for your memories about horror bags. I too wouldn't mind an empty wrapper from Horror Bags, the Claws wrapper is just a picture I got from ebay of an original bag that somebody was selling.
I would love to include a picture of your sticker on the blog. If you send it to: monsterscud@yahoo.co.uk.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

I recall one of flavours had a really strong smell of stale wee

steve said...

hi, i have one of the vinyl 'swimming' bags you mentioned- still using it now to take my sandwich's to work!!, i'll get a photo sorted soon, steve

Paul said...

Thats fangtastic Steve, thanks for letting me know. It must be almost 30 years since I saw the one my freind had. Will it be ok to feature it on the site?

steve said...

yes, no problem.. how/where do you want me to sent the pics.. i also found, in my mums attic, a scrap book filed with horror stuff including a packets of ribs, bones and count dracula lolly and the sticks!!

Paul said...

Why it just gets better, would you be able to do pics/scans of these too please?
If you could send to the address below. Thanks again.

monsterscud@yahoo.co.uk

steve said...

no problem, will do it today

Gutter said...

hi, i just found your site whilst googling for horror bags info. i have a promotional item which you can view here:
http://annexxed.blogspot.com/
feel free to add the image on your page. cheers

Paul said...

Thanks Gutter
Hope you are enjoying the site.

Anonymous said...

Just found this for 'Bats' Horror Bags :-)

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=aF9ISi9g_AQ

Paul said...

Thanks for the link, but the Bats advert is already here in The Cobwebbed Room, I wish we could find some other Horror Bags ads too.

cplmarr said...

I loved Horror Bags corn snacks! My folks sent off a bunch of empty bags and got me a Horror Bags T-shirt. It was canary yellow with the top-hatted vampire on it. Years later I gave it to my gf at university - she was very petite and it fitted her. I am sorry I parted with it now!

cplmarr

Paul said...

Hi cplmarr
Oh thats such a shame that you gave the T-shirt away, do you think she still has it? Or did you take any photos of the T-Shirt? I often wonder if any of these turn up in charity shops/jumble sales etc. Can you remember how many wrappers etc you had to send to get it?
Paul

John said...

Just looking over the 'Serpents & Stairs' game a bit more closely, all the Horror Bags get a mention apart from Ribs which may not have been on the market at the time.

The way it's all dealt with as smallprint makes it look as if 'Rats' were just another brand in the range!

I guess Walkers' 'Cajun Squirel' is as close as crisps will get to such a delicacy but just imagine that illo of the rats on a crisp bag in the local newsagents!

cplmarr said...

No idea how many bags it took to get the and unfortunately i don't have photos of it. It was a very bright yellow, though, and the material was pretty durable. I doubt she still had it - to be honest she didn't like it (I think) and only accepted it to please me. As I said, shame I gave it away!

These crisps were great - I ate so many of them! Can any one tell me when and why they stopped making them?

cplmarr said...

As mentioned above, I had a Horror Bags T-shirt with the vampire on it and just today I read about the iron-transfer. I am now wondering if it was this that I had and my mum may have put it on a blank T-shirt for me. Mine was on a very bright canary yellow T-shirt. I had had it since I was a little kid and gave it to a girlfriend at university in 1989.

Great to see the transfer again!

Paul said...

Hi John

I never really thought about the Serpents and Stairs game before like that, I should imagine that the rats was included to add a little more horror to the game, I couldn't imagine a corn snack rat in the range. Would be interesting to know if the rats was a possibility though.

Paul said...

Hi cpmarr
Yes its such a shame that you never kept the T-Shirt or took any photos, especially considering that your girlfreind didn't really like it. I wonder where it could be now?

I think the Horror Bag range finished in the early 1980's, not really sure why though, maybe sales were not as strong as they wanted.

Could be the transfer, would your Mum remember?

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