Nothing sets the Halloween mood quite like turning down the lights, turning on a great horror movie, digging your hands into a bowl full of candy and trying not to close your eyes!
Some of the most iconic characters in the history of cinema come out of the horror movie genre. Names like Freddy Krueger. Jason Voorhees. Michael Myers. Chucky. If you’re into sports cards, you know it’s the legends that generate the most interest in the market. However, unlike athletes, it can be difficult to find the rookie cards of these movie character legends.
This list below focuses on some of the top horror movie franchises, as well as where you might be able to find the best cards of your favorite fictional slashers.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is easily one of the greatest horror films of all time, with six sequels, a television series and countless merchandise and mainstream popular culture references since its release in 1984. This franchise elevated New Line Cinema from simply being in the business of film distribution to an extremely successful studio. It was even nicknamed “The House That Freddy Built.”
In 1991, Impel was producing trading cards for seemingly everything from Marvel Universe and Nintendo Mario Bros. to Terminator 2, and everything in between. These were the first stand-alone Nightmare on Elm Street cards, although Freddy Krueger’s rookie card can be found in the 1988 Topps Fright Flicks set below.
This set features a mix of 15 different horror movie franchises from the 1980s including:
- An American Werewolf in London
- Day of the Dead
- The Fly
- Fright Night
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 1, 2 & 3
- Poltergeist 1 & 2
- Vengeance of the Demon
The box artwork features an image of Freddy Krueger saying “Hi ‘ya kids…wanna see something gross?” to set the tone for these fun, yet dark collectibles.
These are still the only cards on the market for the original Ghostbusters, Predator and Poltergeist, but a good portion of the checklist is from the first three Nightmare on Elm Street movies, which was by far the most popular of the group when these were released.
Have you ever been to summer camp, or even just gone camping, and at one point throughout the night not thought about Friday the 13th‘s Camp Crystal Lake? To steal a line from Jay-Z, Jason made the hockey mask more famous than a hockey player can.
The iconic machete-wielding Jason Voorhees has only one true rookie card and it came inside this 1993 “Jason Goes to Hell” set, which was produced by Eclipse. This 110-card base set also included one promo card, but no inserts or any bells and whistles.
Hi, I’m Chucky…wanna play?!
The Child’s Play franchise centers around Chucky, a “Good Guys” doll that comes alive after having the soul of a serial killer transferred into him during a voodoo ritual. The only way to get his soul out of the doll is to transfer it to the first person he told his secret: a child named Andy whose mother purchased Chucky from a homeless man after failing to find one in time for Christmas.
The franchise has generated over $250 million, with six movie sequels as well as a new television series that kicked off on October 12, 2021 named Chucky.
These cards were another set put out by Fright Rags in 2019 and featured 77 base cards, two art parallel cards, two stickers, one checklist and one rainbow foil card.
The Halloween franchise has grossed over $640 million at the box office, ranking first among all horror movie franchises in America. There are twelve films, comic books, video games and all kinds of assorted merchandise based on the movies. The newest sequel Halloween Kills is currently in theaters.
These films feature slasher Michael Myers, who was committed as a child for murdering his sister. He later escapes to stalk and kill people in his hometown on Halloween.
Fright Rags released this set in 2017, offering Halloween sketch cards, autograph cards and printing plates in their “Sealed Box” option. There were (50) Nick Castle (the actor who played Michael Myers) autograph cards that were randomly inserted into the boxes.
These cards are extremely rare and sealed boxes are almost impossible to find.
“Do you wanna play a game?”
The Saw franchise might be the creepiest of all on the list, simply because while the rest of the villains were monsters, killer dolls, sharks, etc., Jigsaw was just a demented serial killer. It seemed way more real—and that terrified audiences everywhere.
This small 20-card set (18 cards and two stickers) is extremely rare and difficult to find.
“When we set out to offer trading cards, they were meant to be a nod back to the cheesy nostalgic wax packs, not premium foil cards that you find today,” said Liz Runswick of Fright Rags. “We wanted to release sets for some titles that had never previously had a set back in the day. All of them have been a labor of love, so we can proudly say we are fans creating items we want to own ourselves for our personal collections.”
These cards were produced and distributed by the studio to be displayed inside theaters to promote the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
While these aren’t your typical trading cards, the fact that they exist in such fantastic condition almost 50 years later made them too cool to not include in the list. This has to be considered Leatherface’s rookie card!
The images are absolutely terrifying, especially considering how controversial the movie was at the time, having been banned in several countries and many theaters refusing to show it due to its extreme violence.
The franchise has since seen comic books, playing cards and video games bearing its name—but as far as I can tell—these are the closest thing to trading cards currently out on the market. That said, they are extremely difficult to find so if you see them, you better scoop them up fast!
The exterior of the box displays the bright yellow Alien logo/type treatment as well as the movie’s tagline “In space no one can hear you scream.”
This film was way ahead of its time—it won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects—and that made for some really creepy looking imagery on the cards.
This set features a mix of cards and stickers, with each pack also including a stick of Topps’ famous gum. You can find boxes of these cards fairly easily on eBay.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…
Who can forget Jaws, the great white shark that terrorized Amity Island and moviegoers around the world? Jaws 2 is still one of the highest grossing sequels in history, and was the most expensive movie ever produced by Universal at the time, costing the studio $30 million.
These cards were just one of the litany of Jaws 2 promotional items that also included Coca-Cola paper cups, beach towels, shark tooth necklaces, and even a Marvel comic book adaptation of the movie.
The third movie in this franchise, Jaws 3D, also had its own trading card set from Topps.
If you’re a Hellraiser fan and want to get your hands on a Pinhead rookie card, this is the set where you can find it!
This 110-card base set features images of Hellraiser, Hellraiser II and Hellraiser III. Fans of this franchise can also go on the hunt for some rare inserts that include a Clive Barker auto card (only 50 were produced) as well as gold and silver Pinhead holos.