The 'Shroom:Issue 198/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

Summer is rapidly ending here, and with that comes powerful hurricanes tearing through every week, and with THAT comes cooler temperatures! I'll be taking advantage of that, along with several events I want to attend coinciding with this exact week, so I am now on vacation! Right now!! Vacation!!!!!! I'm writing this just a couple hours before it's posting because I spent all day outside sweating and also inside sweating doing all kinds of weirdo nerd things! You guys should be like me and take a chunk of your personal times off by reading all of these super cool review sections that peeps here wrote by taking chunks out of their own personal time!!

Thank you for voting Half-Baked Reviews as August's Critic Corner Section of the Month!! Be sure to give your love to all of our sections here, and give a shout out to our writers whether in chat or in their forum threads dedicated to their sections. Be sure to vote vote vote!

And now for my regular announcements: We've decided to implement in Critic Corner something similar to News Flush over in Fake News, where no formal sign-up application process is required for one-time or limited sections. From now on if you just want to send in a single review for something you just read, watched played, tried, whatever, you just have to send me your review privately either to me directly in chat, or in a message to me on the forum at least one week before each 'Shroom is to be released! There's no commitment or obligation to provide a full monthly section (although you absolutely can shift it into one if you so choose), just send us your thoughts on a thing and we'll feature it here! If you have any questions or curiosities about this, please feel free to ask!

As always, if you would like to help Critic Corner, we always have openings for more writers! You are free to write for sections such as Character Review and Movie Review, or really anything you'd like to do! There's no pressure to have a huge section; they can be shorter and concise! The application process is very simple, starting with reading the Sign Up page, and sending your application to Meta Knight on the forum. Any idea you have is welcome, and if you have any questions or need help signing up, please feel free to reach out to myself or other 'Shroom peeps!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 15 51.72% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Movie Review 12 41.38% Meta Knight (talk)
3rd 'Shroom FM 2 6.90% MrConcreteDonkey (talk)

Reviews / opinion pieces
Maybe more nightclubs should have vampires to talk with.
Can the Sun Warrior like...make the sun go away? Please??

Van Shoeul's House of Ghouls

By: Shoey (talk)

Genres Horror, Blaxploitation
Release date 1972
Starring William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Thalmus Rasulala
Directed By William Crain
Runtime 92 minutes
Streaming Youtube (Free with ads), Pluto TV

Good evening, dear readers, and welcome to another horrifying Van Shouel's House of Ghouls. I'm your proprietor of terror, Vincent Van Shouel. Do you remember issue 195, when we had our little scheduling mishap, forcing us to run a review of The Return of Count Yorga rather than our originally scheduled programing, Blacula? Well, I'm happy to report that the issues preventing the release of the Blacula review have been cleared up. With that, we are pleased to bring you Blacula, the story of an African prince cursed with vampirism by the evil Count Dracula. Before we begin, I feel it is my solemn duty to inform you this tale is not one for the light of heart. Tonight's tale features both cannibalism and racism. For those of you with weak constitutions, i implore you to turn back now, but for those of you brave enough to stay, I promise you this will be a thriller!

For tonight's featured performers we have: Gordon Pinset as Lt. Jack Peters, a white police officer helping the investigation of a mysterious rash of bite-related deaths; Denise Nicholas as Michelle Williams, sister to Tina Williams and the girlfriend of Dr. Gordon Thomas, who attempts to protect her sister from the dangers of Blacula; and Vonetta McGee playing double duty as Luva, wife of Blacula, and as Tina Williams, a modern-day woman with a striking resemblance to Blacula's lost bride. She becomes the unfortunate apple of his affection.

We also have Thalmus Rasulala as Dr. Gordon Thomas a police pathologist, who while investigating a strange rash of bite-related deaths. discovers the deaths are the work of vampires reborn in the modern world. Armed with this knowledge, he attempts to defeat Blacua and prevent him from killing any more people. Finally, we have William Marshal as Blacula. Once an African Prince by the name of Mamuwalde, after failing to convince Count Dracula to aid him in ending the slave trade, he was instead cursed by Count Dracula and turned into a vampire. Given the name Blacula to mock him, Blacula finds himself awakened in the modern world and sets out to feed and to woo a woman by the name of Tina Williams, who bears a striking resemblance to his lost love, Luva.

Produced by who else but American International Pictures, Blacula was the first in the "blaxploitation" horror sub-genre. Blaxploitation films, for those who do not know, were a style of film which first appeared in the late 60s and which remained popular throughout most of the 70s. Blaxploitation films were originally created as lower-budget affairs designed to appeal to the African-American audience. Featuring mostly African-American casts, Blaxplotation films are somewhat (although this probably wasn't intentional) successors to a type of film called Race Films that existed in the early days of the film industry before dying out in the mid-40s.

Blaxploitation films heavily incorporate majority African-American casts and always have an African-American as the lead protagonist. Typically, the films would feature an African-American hero taking down some part of the white establishment, that typically being either the police or white criminals. Soundtracks of Blaxploitation often featuring either R&B or funk music, with characters frequently using various racial epithets. Often, the theme of the films was black empowerment; the films portrayed African-Americans as clever and resourceful, always managing to defeat the antagonists even if the numbers are against them. They also oftentimes showed a sense of community; the heroes would often team up with local communities to drive out the white establishment. Good examples of this are like how, in Shaft, John Shaft teams up with a local Black Panther group to defeat the mafia, or how, in Foxy Brown, where Foxy Brown enlists the aid of the Black Panthers to defeat a gang of sex traffickers (Foxy Brown is the film where Peter Brown from Lawman gets his wiener cut off!).

Blaxploitation films have a controversial history, because, while they were important to showing that an African-American-led film could find success outside of the African-American audience, with films such as Shaft, Superfly, and Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song finding great success at the box office, they also oftentimes showed African-Americans in stereotypical roles. For example, you would see a lot of African-Americans cast as pimps and drug runners, and many African-Americans were portrayed as living in poverty as petty criminals. Couple that with the fact that they, a lot of times, featured heavy nudity and a lot of violence, and you can see why they have a controversial legacy. But we're not here to discuss that aspect of Blaxploitation films; instead, we're here to discuss Blacula, the first Blaxploitation film to mix in the horror genre.

The start of Blacula is really strong. Starting in 1780, a young African prince (William Marshall) attempts to get Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to assist him in stopping the Atlantic slave trade. The talks turn into an argument after Count Dracula refuses to help and even expresses his thoughts that slavery is a good thing. Which is pretty messed up! I mean, it's one thing to eat people, but it's another to support slavery. Not cool, Dracula. Dracula then makes a pass at Mamuwalde's wife, causing a fight to break out. After Dracula's men subdue Mamuwalde, Dracula bites Mamuwalde, infecting him with the vampire disease.

Never piss off a Dracula

Then, in a pretty horrifying scene, he dubs Mamuwalde Blacula and locks him in a coffin, cursing him to live an eternal life without feeding. He also locks Blacula's wife, Luva, inside the chamber so that she may hear her husband's pained, starving screams until she dies herself.

Blacula would remain in his coffin for nearly two-hundred years until he is awakened by Bobby McCoy and Billy Schaffer, an interracial homosexual couple who plan on selling the coffin. Unfortunately for them, Billy Schaffer cuts himself, awakening Blacula, who attacks and kills the couple. Then, at their funeral, police pathologist Dr. Goron Thomas begins to investigate their deaths. At the same time, Blacula sets his eyes on Tina Williams, believing her to be the reincarnated Luva. From here, the film's plots are Gordon Thomas working with the police to solve a rash of bite-related deaths and Blacula attempting to woo Tina while preventing people from realizing he's a vampire.

I love the Blacula character, and William Marshall brings all of the classic dignified charm that all good vampires have. Charming and charismatic, Blacula stands out among most vampires in that he doesn't seem particularly evil. Yes, he feeds on people, but that's only because he needs to eat to live. Unlike, say, Count Yorga or Nosferatu, he's not trying to build a kingdom or make people live in terror of him. Instead, he simply wishes to reconnect with a woman who he believes is the reincarnation of his lost love. He lacks the cruelty of most vampires and his love of Tina seems genuine. Unlike Count Dracula or Count Yorga, who have harems of undead women, implying that they simply shift through women they take a fancy to, Blacula only has eyes for Tina, even after realizing she's not the reincarnation of his lost love. He stands out as the only vampire to actually care what his would-be bride thinks. Unlike most vampires, he doesn't even try to turn her into a vampire, even though he has a perfect opportunity to when they make out. He even tries to follow her requests to not hurt her friends, sparing Gordon after knocking him out and fleeing instead of attacking him. The only person close to Tina he kills (outside of the couple from the beginning of the film) is Tina's friend, a photographer named Nancy. Even that's not to isolate Tina from her friends or to destroy Tina's circle; rather it's simply self-preservation because Nancy just happens to accidentally take a picture of him which could prove he was a vampire.

A very dignified vampire

Another thing I love about Blacula is that he's the rare inexperienced vampire depicted in media. Because Blacula had spent two-hundred years locked inside a coffin, he hasn't fully learned how to use his powers. There's a really good bit early in the film where Blacula realizes that he has been accidentally creating vampires, having had no idea until then that his bites would turn those he attacks into vampires. It's not even until late in the film that Blacula seems to have any control over the vampires he creates as their head vampire. Then, even when he does display these powers, he only uses them briefly to have his vampire slaves attack some police officers and Gordon, who are pursuing him. The film only kind of touches on Blacula's other powers, which seem to be pretty standard. He can turn into a bat, which he only uses one time to escape the police blockade

One thing I really love is how competent Dr. Gordon Thomas is. A medical examiner for the police, he's the one who figures out that a vampire is causing a sudden rash of deaths. Which I think is pretty impressive, considering all he had to go on was some deaths with bite marks involved and a body going missing from the morgue! Once he starts suspecting vampires are involved, he starts researching them and actually puts what he learns to good use! He's by far the most successful vampire killer in the film, killing Bobby with a stake to the heart and using his cross to kill Junita. He's only ever bodied by one vampire, and that's Blacula himself, and that only happens because Blacula gets the jump on him. A great investigator, he uses clues well. When Nancy, a photographer, has gone missing shortly after the group first met Blacula in a night club, he deduces that Nancy might have evidence that Mamuwalde is a vampire. Which she did! She had a photo in which Mamuwalde did not appearing despite her snapping a shot of him and Tina. He's easily the most competent character in the film, being the first person to deduce that it's vampires and being the one who kills the most vampires. It's a great performance by Thalmus Rasulala, who is every bit the equal of William Marshall in this film.

Conversely, I found myself very disappointed in the female lead, Vonetta McGee, who gives just a nothing performance. I don't really blame her, though, because I don't think it's her acting. I think it's the fact the script just gives her nothing to do! As a character, she seems to have no agency in her actions. With her first character, Luva, who is Blacula's wife, it makes sense, because she's the dutiful wife and she's only that character for like five minutes. But then, as Tina, she's just such a flat character that, despite the fact that the majority of the plot revolves around her, she's almost not involved at all. She just kind of floats through the film as Blacula's girlfriend and she's given very few scenes where she has any agency. Like, even the revelation that Blacula is a vampire doesn't seem to do anything for her. It's weird, because it would be one thing if she spent the film hypnotized, kind of like Cynthia in The Return of Count Yorga, but she doesn't. The entire film, outside of near the end, she's in the right state of mind. She just doesn't really provide anything. She is honestly basically just a prop to make the conflict happen, and it's very disappointing.

Luckily, the other female lead is much better. Michelle Williams, played by Denise Nicholas (who would later star in one of my all-time favorite shows, In the Heat of the Night!), plays a very active role in the plot, helping Gordon investigate Blacula, helping him research vampires, and attempting to protect her sister Tina.

One thing I found myself pleasantly surprised with was the relationship between Dr. Gordon Thomas and Police Lieutenant Jack Peters. Unlike, say, Shaft, where John Shaft and police Lieutenant Vic Androzzi had a fairy antagonistic relationship, to the point where I was shocked Vic didn't turn out to be a corrupt cop, Gordon and Jack get along swimmingly, and it's clear that they have a lot of trust in each other. Jack doesn't take any steps at halting Gordon's investigation into the deaths of Billy and Bobby. He is more than willing to listen to Gordon's theories on it, and, while he fails to get permission to exhume Billy's body (Gordon does it anyways), when Gordon realizes that a recently dead taxi driver named Junita has the same wounds as Billy and Bobby did, Jack agrees to help Gordon investigate the body in the morgue. Then, once he finds out that it's vampires, he helps Gordon stop them by giving him the full support of the police.

Someone actually using a stake against a Vampire? Neat.

This actually leads to one of the best scenes in the film. Shortly after Jack finds out about the vampires, he and Gordon discuss strategy. Gordon proposes that they put out an APV on Billy McCord, whose body has gone missing from the morgue. But Jack points out that putting out an APV on two dead guys would cause mass hysteria and probably cause Jack to lose his job. Jack wants to put a car on every street, but Gordon points out that doing that would cause people to start questioning the increased police presence, which could also lead to mass hysteria. It's a scene that really shows how much these two respect each other and how much trust they have in each other. Even the police officers themselves, outside of a single one (the one who destroys the report on Billy and Bobby's death), are portrayed as people who genuinely want to protect the community and have no problem taking orders from Gordon when they fight these vampires. Gordon and Jack even made an effective vampire-fighting duo, killing a number of vampires with antique oil lamps that explode upon contact when they get ambushed by Blacula's vampire slaves. It was very refreshing to see a horror film where the police aren't portrayed as either incompetent morons or petty obstructionist jerks, but rather as people who are genuinely working to keep people safe.

The film has a number of great dialogue scenes. One I want to highlight in particular is one that happens at a nightclub shortly after Gordon kills the vampiric Junita. At this point, Blacula and Tina are dating, so he's at the club too. So, while at this club together, Gordon starts asking Blacula if he knows anything about the occult. Blacula and Gordon then have a conversation about vampires, with Blacula singing the praises of vampires, talking about how the fact that people no longer believe in vampires is their greatest strength, just really talking up vampires. It's great because, at this point, Gordon heavily suspects Blacula of being a vampire, and Blacula knows that Gordon suspects he's a vampire, so Blacula starts the conversation almost mocking Gordon. But Gordon manages to turn the tables by saying the police are looking for the vampire's place of rest, which spooks Blacula, who attempts to convince Gordon that maybe the modern vampire doesn't need a place of rest. The conversation ends with comic relief character Skillet interrupting the conversation, giving Blacula the chance to leave the night club with Tina.

One of the biggest things that set this movie apart from other horror films was the soundtrack. Eschewing the traditional horror film soundtrack of classical music and creepy sounds, producer Gene Page instead went with a soundtrack full of funk and smooth R&B, something which, while common in Blaxploitation films, was unheard of in horror films at the time. The soundtrack is honestly a banger. It even has three songs written and performed by the Hues Corporation (best known for "Rock the Boat"), one of the early disco groups. The soundtrack is honestly pretty great, with a very funky vibe to it and, while it may not stand out as much against its contemporary Blaxploitation films, it's a breath of fresh air against other horror films at the time. Not only does it work really well within the film, but it's also pretty good to listen to just on its own.

The film contains a few decent scares outside of the intro. One of the creepiest things is when Blacula fully bares his fangs to eat his victims. He goes from the suave, dignified vampire to what can only be described as a cross between a vampire and a wolfman.

50% Wolfman 50% Vampire all Blacula!

Another good scare is when Gordon digs up Billy Schaffer. The scene is dark and the music is tense, with Michelle holding a light as Gordon digs. Then, from the grave, a blue-faced Billy attacks Gordon, who just barely manages to fight him off, killing him with a stake to the heart as Michelle screams, not realizing Billy was a vampire. The scene where the vampires attack the police officers in an abandoned warehouse is pretty cool too. Hot on the trail of Blacula, the heroes find themselves ambushed by vampires who just tear them to shreds, killing a number of nameless cops before Gordon and Jack fight them off with antique oil lamps that explode for some reason! But the number one scare, and maybe even the number one scene, is when the taxi driver Junita comes back to life.

So, the rules of vampirism in this film aren't super defined. Some people come back immediately and other come back in a few days. There doesn't really seem to be a rule or anything, but that looseness leads to this great sequence where Junita, who had been killed by Blacua, is put in a morgue freezer (nobody knew she was killed by Blacula). Gordon, shortly after killing Billy, calls the morgue and has the morgue remove her body from the freezer so he can show Jack the vampire. The body slowly defrosts, and you can see the body get more rotten as it defrosts. Finally, she fully comes to life and attacks and kills Sam, the person working at the morgue, before attempting and failing to kill Gordon and Jack. It's a really well-done scene and a very creative use of the fact that the vampirism virus has a delayed effect.

For as good as the film is, the ending doesn't make a lick of sense. It all starts out fine enough. Gordon and the police find Blacula's hideout. Then, one of the police officers fires his gun at Blacula, but misses, hitting Tina instead and fatally wounding her. This causes Blacula to go on a rampage of revenge, killing that nameless police officer. He then turns Tina into a vampire and places her into his casket for protection while he goes out and kicks ass, and kick ass he does! My favorite parts are that he apparently gains the ability to make electrical circuits explode and the part where he just starts chucking barrels at the police officers like he is Donkey Kong.

Gordon and the remaining police officers then find the coffin and Gordon pries it open as Jack sticks the stake into the casket's occupant… who is, uh, not Blacula. Instead it's Tina. Blacula, upon finding out that Tina is dead, decides to kill himself via sun exposure, because he can't stand to live without his love. But like… why would the police think Blacua was in his coffin? They just saw him throwing barrels! Did they think that he was using astral projection? It's a decent ending otherwise, and the death scene for Blacula is very well-done.

The tragic end of Blacula.

After going on a monologue about how he has nothing to live for, he slowly climbs the stairs of this abandoned warehouse, visibly struggling and recoiling in pain as he gets closer and closer to the sun beating down on him. So, like it's a really well-done ending, but how we get to it doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Blacula is a very good film and a great proof of concept for the Blaxploitation horror mix. It's a great mix of likeable and competent characters, a great soundtrack, and some decent scares. Blacula is a great watch (and I should know! I had to watch it like three times in order to write this review because my laptop broke last month while I was halfway through writing the review!). The film itself was a success and the character Blacula would end up one of the iconic horror characters, probably the second-most famous vampire. The success of the film spawned the sub-genre of Blaxploitation horror, which would feature such classics as Blackenstein and Abby. It would even get a sequel in 1973's Scream Blacula Scream, a movie that we may even cover someday!

That will conclude another twisted tale. The moral of tonight's story? Isn't it obvious? Never go to Dracula for help, as that guy is a jeeeeeeerk. That will bring this month's chapter to an end. As always, I've been your guide through the darkness, Vincent Van Shouel, inviting you to join us next month for another horrifying tale.

Book Review

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Heart of the Sun Warrior
Author Sue Lynn Tan
Release date 2022
Genre YA, fantasy
Pages 480
Available From

Greetings, readers! Welcome back to another edition of Book Review! This month, I will be reviewing Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan!

If you’ve been reading this section for the past year, you’ll probably remember my favorite book of last year, Daughter of the Moon Goddess. As I mentioned in that review, that book was getting a sequel, and it arrived last year in November. Regretfully, it took me nearly six months to read it, as I wanted to read the first book again so it would be fresh in my mind. However, Daughter of the Moon Goddess is not a mere book to be read, it is a monster to get through, and following a 500-page book up with a 450-page sequel was not something I was able to do for quite a few months. However, I was able to get through both of them on a recent long weekend, and I am ready to review Heart of the Sun Warrior! For brevity’s sake, I will just be referring to it as HotSW. Let’s jump in! Beware spoilers for Daughter of the Moon Goddess.

HotSW picks up where the first book left off. Xingyin and her mother have been living on the moon, finally in peace. Prince Liwei, one of the love interests from the first book, visits often, but there is turmoil brewing below in the Immortal Realm. A twisted advisor to the Celestial Emperor has stealthily been working his way up through the ranks to a top general position, holding massive power over the entire army. When Xingyin attends a banquet one night with Prince Liwei, her mother does not light the lanterns on the moon and the Celestial Emperor and Empress perceive it as a slight to them. Upon investigation, Xingyin’s mother was lured away from the Moon by a mysterious note telling her to go to the forest where her husband’s grave is. When Xingyin goes to find her mother, she ends up finding her father. The archer Houyi is alive, although he is gravely ill and does not have long to live, and he makes Xingyin swear to not tell her mother that he is still alive, not wanting to cause her more pain. As punishment for not lighting the lanterns on the night of the banquet, Chang’e, Xingyin, and their family friend Ping’er are put under house arrest on the moon. Desperate to help her ailing father, Xingyin leaves in an attempt to break into the Royal Treasury to steal an Elixir of Immortality from the Celestial Emperor. Upon her return to the Moon, Xingyin and her mother are chased off the moon by the advisor, who seems to have his own agenda to push rather than the best interest of the Emperor. Now on the run, Xingyin must work with her allies and her enemies to unite against the advisor and keep her family safe.

I have to admit, I was very nervous going into this one, afraid that it was going to be a case of “the sequel is not as good as the original” as that can sour the original for me. It happened last year with the Book of Tea duology, one I had high hopes for, so I was hesitant to jump right into HotSW. Overall, the tone of this book keeps you on the edge of your seat. Nothing is ever guaranteed, whereas in the original, it felt like Xingyin was clever enough to make it through whatever was thrown at her. It was a lighter book, where you felt like she was going to get her happy ending. This one feels more uncertain, where you never really know if the party is going to make it through. Houyi is obviously the one wearing the red shirt, so to speak, the father that Xingyin never had, the one she wants to protect, the clear choice for who to kill. I won’t spoil his fate, but beloved characters do die in this story. The ending is bittersweet, although not disappointing. Probably the bittersweet ending that I am most satisfied with.

Xingyin’s character arc this time is mostly inner turmoil to her two close friends, Prince Liwei, her first love, and Wenzhi, her second love. Her relationship with Liwei is tentative after the turmoil they went through in the first book, after he was forced into an arranged marriage for a kingdom alliance. Pressure from the Celestial Emperor and Empress on their relationship pushes them to the shattering point, and Xingyin must determine how she truly feels about Liwei, and whether she wants to be with him or not. Wenzhi, on the other hand, betrayed and trapped her in the previous book, destroying her trust in him. In the sequel, he seems truly remorseful, but after such betrayal, Xingyin cannot open her heart to him ever again. HotSW is a lot more focused on romance than the first book was, and if that’s something you didn’t enjoy from the first book, I can’t in good faith recommend this one to you. It’s a lot of Xingyin questioning, and confronting her bitter feelings and confusion. At times it can get a little excessive, where you just want her to move on a bit. It never goes on for too long, and this book moves along at a good pace, never getting too stagnant. It’s not as much of a fervent page turner as the original was, as there are plenty of spots here where you can take a rest and put it down, if you need to, but it’s never boring.

If you enjoyed Daughter of the Moon Goddess, you will enjoy Heart of the Sun Warrior as well. It’s not a sequel that will disappoint, and there will be no pretending that the first book is the only book here. Admittedly, the heavier emphasis on romance might turn away those who were only interested in the action, but you should at the very least give it a try before you make that judgment. I also can’t recommend that you read this book if you haven’t read the first one, either, so maybe make both books your summer reading goal and get cracking?

That’s all for me this month, readers! I’ll see you next time for a new Graphic Novel Review!

Anton's Half-Baked Reviews

HalfBaked 198 comic.png

Guest Written by: Fun With Despair (talk)
Featuring Art by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Exclusive U.S. Goodies

Well, here I am. With a big box of stuff. Straight from the United States, courtesy of Anton.

If you couldn't tell from that little comic up there, this month I'll be filling in for Half-Baked Reviews to provide my own perspective on some various American snacks. You see, I'm from Canada, and we don't tend to have the best variety of snack foods here, with a supply that's almost always just growing smaller over time with the exception of terrible Mountain Dew varieties sold exclusively at gas stations. I don't know why they keep introducing those every couple months. Anyway, the U.S. seems to have a lot of strange concoctions and unique items that we just don't really get most of the time - which is why Anton took the month off, thrust a large box of assorted goods at me, and tasked me with reviewing them.

Lovely. Regardless, I've tried to get through as many of these as I can, but even then there's several items I just couldn't fit in here. Maybe I'll do a special feature for Spring Cleaning or something provided I can survive this initial ordeal.


Behold, the United States' latest war crime.

Man, I hate Buc-ee’s.

Something about the mascot and branding. Bucky maybe? Is that his name? The beaver dude? That sounds right. Anyway, I hate him. Maybe it's because I just know they make money off of this little asshole alone - plushies, branded accessories, clothing! All the while, Bucc-ee’s persists, from an outsider perspective, as mostly just a glorified 7-11 that thinks it's better than the rest.

Well, joke’s on you, Bucky, at least 7-11 has edible snacks.

Beaver Nuggets

Ugh. A while ago, I recall hearing Anton say that Beaver Nuggets were terrible, and I didn’t really believe him. I looked them up, and saw that they were puffed caramel corn pops, and I didn’t have a problem with that. I used to like Corn Pops when I was a kid, I like caramel corn, what’s the issue? Seems like a quality item, checks all the boxes.

Nah. Naaaaah. These things are repugnant. Imagine biting into a corn pop (cereal) and as soon as the momentary crunch passes, you find yourself biting into a cheeto so stale that it’s been sitting in a warehouse since the 90s. These are so unpleasant. I was sent the “salted caramel” flavor, but all I taste when I attempt to eat one of these is burnt sugar. So no only do these taste awful, but they’re like trying to eat a deep-fried balloon filled with cotton swabs. No substance, miserable flavor, I actually regret even opening this packet to begin with. Are these popular in the U.S.? Do people like these? Is this a known beloved food product? Apparently, these are Buc-ee’s flagship item, which is just baffling. I think I could go to any country in the world and buy their cheapest snack food and it would still be much better than these. Why the hell would I go to Buc-ee’s for this garbage when I could just buy some Pizza Combos?

Not only that, but these are just outright worse than regular caramel corn would be. You can read Anton's review of these things here, and while he goes into more detail regarding the general minutiae of the experience, I believe the final impression is shared: namely, that these are nasty.

Followed by a second, equally heinous war crime.

“Chamoy” Gummy Bears

Traditionally Mexican, Chamoy is a savory sauce created via pickling fruit alongside chili powder, creating sauces of varying thickness and potency. I am sure this is wonderful alongside the dishes it is intended to garnish, and I figured that these might at least drown out the taste of the Beaver Nuggets.

“Chamoy” gummy bears, unfortunately, taste like vitamin gummies coated with the sort of “chili lime” seasoning that’s often sprinkled onto various mexican-themed pub dishes. Just like the Beaver Nuggets, these are terrible. I’ve had some sweet/spicy candy and dishes before, and it’s definitely not an incompatible combination, but these are bad. Really bad. The flavor of the gummy bears is actively at war with the seasoning that coats them, and as it so happens, both are absolutely awful. God, this doesn’t even have the dignity to hide away in the Natural Foods aisles or a farmer's market or.... I dunno, an MLM catalog like a lot of weird, nasty tasting junk. No, these are presumably some iconic Buc-ee’s snacks here. There seems to be other Chamoy flavored candy and snack food out there, and it might, MIGHT be better, but if this is what Buc-ee's is bringing to the table then count me out for good. Honestly, I don’t even really know if I can go into more detail about how these taste. They’re weird, and much like the Beaver Nuggets, they serve only to make me feel vaguely sick.

Stryve Beef Biltong

Well, the bags are cool at least.

I consider myself a fan of beef jerky, as far as vaguely dried beef-based snack foods go - which admittedly isn’t a very large category to pick from. Naturally, when I discovered these two packs of jerky in my mysterious box of wonders, my eyes lit up in wonder. In Canada, the barren lands above, we have approximately three varieties of jerky: the overwhelmingly common Jack Link’s brand, various store-brand exclusive jerkies that taste like what I imagine dog food tastes like, and McSweeny’s - better known as “the gas station stuff”.

So this, at least visually, was a pleasant surprise.

Complete with a window, so you can see what you're in for.

The branding admittedly resembles something more along the lines of either a plant-based substitute to… something, or a dental product of some sort, but I was intrigued. It was something different after all. Though, one look can tell you that this is definitely some hipster shit, the kind of product you pay double the price for, despite being half the quantity and usually falling somewhere in the valley of mediocrity. Amazon reviews also place this at 3.2 out of 5, which is frankly concerning considering your average Amazon shopper would give 5 stars to a used hospital bedpan.

Nonetheless… “Beef Biltong”, the label proudly proclaims - “a form of dried, cured meat which originated in Southern African countries” if Wikipedia is to be believed. From a cursory search, the main difference seems to be that biltong is cured with vinegar while jerky is not, but I’m going to refer to it as jerky for the rest of this article because it’s clearly trying to compete in that product space rather than the 20 people in the U.S. who have heard of biltong in a non-jerky context.

The "Peppered" variety. Note the appetizing texture of old cardboard.

I decided to start with the “Peppered” flavor first. I like pepper, and the camouflage-patterned packaging made me worried that if I didn’t try it now, I’d never find it again. Thankfully, these little packets have a window at the back, so I could see what I was in for. Didn’t look much like most jerky, mind you. More like… meat floss, I guess. Meat crumble? Whatever it was, I tore open the package and grabbed a handful.


Conversely, the Hickory Smoked version has some substance and looks like food, rather than landscaping mulch.

Man, what the hell is this? Talk about dry, even for jerky this was absolutely desiccated. One bite of this stuff, and my mouth felt like I sucked off King Ramses, like I was on my way to rescue the second Star Spirit. The only positive thing I can even say about it is that you could easily make an equivalent product at home by pouring a pound of black peppercorns and salt into a pile of post-drought soil. There’s absolutely nothing to really chew on either, it’s so thin and falling apart that it’s got the texture and mouthfeel of your average office paper shredder bin. Genuinely awful stuff. I won’t exaggerate and say that it’s the “worst thing I’ve ever eaten in my life” - it's not even close, but it’s at least the worst beef jerky I’ve eaten in my life. Could get the exact same experience just eating salt and pepper on their own.

Hickory Smoked

Well, after tossing the Peppered variant deep into my pantry where it will hopefully never be seen again by mortal eyes, I sighed deeply upon the realization that I still had another one of these to go: Hickory Smoked. I think… most beef jerky is smoked, so the name isn’t particularly descriptive, but if the last one is anything to go by, in this case it probably means that it’ll taste like gargling a bottle of liquid smoke instead of like eating the contents of a pepper mill followed by the pepper mill itself.

I took a look through the window on the back first out of morbid curiosity, and found that it DID look… better? The strips were thicker, or at least looked like they had some kind of shape to them rather than being a heap of glorified dust. Opening it up, my creeping suspicion was confirmed: this looked… edible.

It was edible. Just okay - but this very average jerky was a bit of a treat after the garbage I just ate. The smoke flavor wasn’t particularly overwhelming, and while it was still pretty dry, the slices being slightly thicker also meant that they were altogether more satisfying to eat. It maintained a papery quality, but it felt like you were actually eating something while you chewed, instead of biting into something that instantly crumbled to dust like a cartoon character after a bad run-in with dynamite. Let’s be honest here though. Hickory Smoked is okay, but when even more common, cheaper brands of the same thing are much better than even Stryve’s “good” flavor, the only people I can actually see buying this stuff are people with equally large amounts of money and self-loathing.

Assorted Snacks

Doesn't really scream "voodoo" as much as it does "bowling alley carpet", but it'll do.

Honestly, I got a bunch of stuff that I can’t easily categorize. Rather than try to arbitrarily segregate it into a bunch of sad categories with like one product belonging to them, I’m just going to lump a bunch of these in here.

Zapp’s Potato Chips: New Orleans Kettle Style Voodoo
Some solid kettle chips, considering. Pleasant surprise.

As far as I can tell, “Zapp’s” seems like a fairly common brand of cheapass convenience store potato chips in the U.S., because I was in Chicago last month and I saw this exact same product sitting there right next to the Bugles - and yes, the Voodoo flavor too. A New Orleans exclusive, this is not.

If you’re Canadian, or maybe in the northern U.S., you’ve probably had or at least seen “All-Dressed” chips - they’re like a sweet barbecue, except with less smoke flavor. These are basically just that, except with the smoke intact. When I read “Voodoo”, I was expecting something so spicy I would start hallucinating, or maybe some kind of cajun flavor, and maybe this is an attempt at that, but regardless of authorial intent, this is still just barbecue at the end of the day. They’re good chips though. They have a nice crunch characteristic of kettle chips, and while they just taste mostly like barbecue, it’s a good barbecue. I think I actually would buy these if they were available here - barbecue (and all-dressed for that matter) is a flavor mostly relegated to the likes of Lay’s, Ruffles, and store brands like Great Value, and I could use a solid kettle chip with a flavor resembling greasy cheapo chips. Most kettle chips here try too hard to be fancy like “Miss Vickies” or several indie brands that have been banished exclusively to the Natural Foods aisle.

Cheddar Combos
These kind of look like dog treats, but I can't say no to an edible cylinder.

Prior to unboxing these, I’d only ever heard of them twice before. Once, when these items were being picked out for the review, and once during an episode of the Venture Brothers. Truly, my history with these runs deep. Everyone in the U.S. I talked to though said that these were great, so I was excited to give them a shot.

…Ehhh. I want you guys to keep in mind that I’m trying to judge these as “foreign foods”, unique stuff I can’t just go to the store and buy. While we certainly don’t have Combos, the thing is… these just taste like Ritz cheese crackers. They aren’t bad, they’re actually a solid little snack, but they aren’t really what I expected. When I laid eyes upon the Combos, I expected a softer, more pliable snack, or like a pretzel bite. Instead, these are little cracker cylinders wrapped around some cheese, and they taste identical to Ritz, which are something I could easily just run to the store and grab. I think these are probably better than Ritz by form factor, but unless the other Combo flavors like Pizza taste significantly different, I don’t see myself going to the U.S. to pick up some more of these when an identical snack is readily available and pretty cheap in every single nearby store. Similar situation to Stryve here, except these are actually good and not made of sawdust.

Pizza Combos
Even aesthetically, I think these look a bit more appealing than the cheddar ones.
I can't even remember the last time I had a juice box, let alone one filled with a nebulous, milky fluid.

I take back everything. I finally understand.

These are literally what I wanted from the regular Combos and more. Pretzel bite? Check. Softer filling? Check. They don't even taste like Ritz anymore at all. I'm not typically a big fan of "Pizza" flavored snacks (mostly because they either taste like just cheese, weird artificial flavor, or overwhelmingly like cheap pepperoni), but these don't really fall into either of those categories, even though I am fairly certain that they are every bit as cheap and artificial as the others. I also wouldn't say they really taste much like real pizza, but it's a gas station snack food so I'll take what I can get. It's good. Honestly though I could take or leave the filling regardless, even if I think it's better than the cheese variant on that metric alone. The real kicker here is the pretzel shell, which elevates the entire thing well beyond what the previous Combo was offering. The texture here is much better, and even if the regular cheese filling was maintained, pretty much all the mundanity would be excised from the product by virtue of them no longer having a cracker shell that just tastes like a Ritz. Unfortunately, that same pretzel shell is 50% of the reason why these ones wound up partially crushed in the packaging - the other 50% being the evils of UPS delivery. Not only did they almost lose this package, but they seemingly saw fit to use it as a kickboxing dummy.

I apologize for my earlier rejection, Combo Enjoyers. You were right. You were always right.

Ripple Dairy-Free Milk

Growing up, my mom would sometimes try to buy dairy-free milks. She wasn't vegan, and neither were we, so I don't really know why she did that. Morbid curiosity maybe. Either way, besides almond milk (while I feel like it makes a poor substitute for real milk, it's a fine product in its own right especially as a coffee additive) and coconut milk (does this even count? More of a cream replacement really), I don't think I ever liked a single one of them. Mind you, this was like 20 years ago, so I am sure the milk-replacement technology has advanced far beyond the primitive days where only the absolutely vile concoction known as soy milk was the only choice out there. Enter Ripple, an artificial plant-based milk that seems to rely mostly on pea protein rather than soy, almonds, or cow… stuff.

"Dairy Free. As it should be.", the slogan reads - a rather bold claim coming from a glorified juice box full of fake milk. I kept an open mind though, and took a sip. Thankfully, this leans much more on the almond milk side of the spectrum than the soy milk side. Ripple tastes somewhat like almond or oat milk, maybe somewhat milder on the nuttiness (though it’s still there), and a bit more watery, almost to a degree of being offputting or weird, but not quite. I wouldn’t really say this is particularly good, but it is, crucially, inoffensive. As a drink, at least. It’s too watery to really serve about 50% of the functions of real milk, but if this was the only thing I had and I was thirsty, I could drink it without wanting to run my tastebuds across a belt sander. It’s a bit weird, but it’s fine. I don’t really see why you’d buy this over almond milk though, it’s better in pretty much every regard.
Not really wine, but close enough to warrant candlelight.

I have a history with Cheerwine, the name at least. Back in 2011, a game was released on, a Mario fangame by the name of Cheerwine Deluxe. I played it, it was pretty bad, and I moved on, never really paying it much thought. What exactly was “Cheerwine” to begin with?

And of course, only the finest cuts of meat, to accompany my Cheerwine on this fine night.

These memories faded, until years later when I learned that Cheerwine was specifically a cherry soda available in the southeast U.S.A., which made the game’s name either more or less confusing, depending on your perspective and mental state. This memory too, would fade from my mind, until this package came knocking at my door, a bottle of this sacred elixir hidden within its depths. Yes indeed, I received a bottle of Cheerwine that day, and a nice, glass bottle too. Apparently, the glass bottles are kind of Cheerwine’s thing, though they do seem to come in plastic bottles as well. In Canada, it’s a pretty rare sight to come across glass bottled soda from a major brand outside of fancy-pants gimmick sodas, so it’s neat that Cheerwine’s glass variant still seems to be common. When I actually poured a glass and took a sip though, I was completely unimpressed. In order to really articulate this, I’ll have to delve into what seems to be a hotly debated topic online, namely whether Cheerwine tastes like Dr. Pepper. It does. Maybe a bit sweeter, like a Cherry Dr. Pepper, or a Dr. Pepper with grenadine, but it’s Dr. Pepper at its core. Slightly sweeter, slightly less tangy, and with milder fizz. I mean its good, I like Dr. Pepper, and I liked Cheerwine. But there seems to be ample debate on whether the two taste similar, and to me it’s not even a contest. They definitely do. It’s not 1:1, but they do.

Honestly, even if both were sold locally though, I might buy the Dr. Pepper over the Cheerwine anyway. Cheerwine’s slight extra sweetness kind of pushes it over into the category where it just makes me feel gross after.

Dinosaur BBQ - Original
I love this lil' guy.

When I noticed I had some barbecue sauce, I wasn’t sure what I would do. Use it as a dip for some chicken nuggets, maybe? I decided to actually try and invest in a real food for this particular attempt though, and bought a steak with which I would cook with this barbecue sauce. I also tried it on its own, no steak attached. Straight off the spoon. It was passable. The sauce, fun mascot aside, doesn’t really seem to offer what I personally enjoy in a proper barbecue sauce. It tastes like tomato sauce, with some garlic and also spicy. It’s good, but also in practice it didn’t add a whole lot. The steak I produced at the end of this marination ordeal was mostly carried by seasoning, with the sauce not making a big impact beyond vague hints of flavor on the crispy outside parts (admittedly, this was good).

I appreciate the simplicity here, I feel like the original Buffalo sauce would warrant a more elaborate bottle, but the restraint is charming.

I don’t really think this makes for a great barbecue sauce, but the mascot is cute and I do think it makes for a good dipping sauce. See, I actually did try it as a dip later, and found it to really shine in that regard. As it turns out, tasting like mostly a garlicky, spicy tomato sauce actually works in your advantage when you’re using it to eat flavorless junk. I wouldn’t use this with a steak or anything again, but I probably would buy this for generic dip purposes.

Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing Sauce: Mild

The Anchor Bar is commonly known to be the origin of the “buffalo wing”, a deep-fried chicken wing tossed in hot sauce and often served alongside a creamy dip and maybe some carrots or celery. Everyone knows what a buffalo wing is, you can go to Walmart right now and pick up some buffalo-flavored chicken nuggets, and you probably have a generalized knowledge of what buffalo tastes like. The real question though… is whether the original sauce actually brings anything to the table, or if it’s just overhyped. I know that Anton tried this previously, but this is my own opinion, swirling evermore in the depths of my own void.

I was actually really craving chicken wings around this time, so this was a convenient thing to receive.

Deciding that with this, at least, I needed the full experience, I made some wings using a pot of bubbling oil and human determination, then tossed them in the sauce. Not to brag, but these wings turned out excellently. Crispy, with just enough moisture inside, and the perfect level of saucy. The sauce itself, the main subject of this review, was a nice, buttery sauce. Slightly spicy and flavorful, but with a gentle touch and mostly lacking the intense vinegar that corrupts many buffalo sauces across the globe. This is a good sauce. Hearty, smooth, and just warm enough to make you feel like you accomplished something once you’ve finished the plate. While obviously this is the mild flavor, and therefore I got what I expected mostly, I think I would have liked to see an even just slightly spicier version of this sauce. If this really is the original, then I can understand why it caught on. I just crave a little more of a kick than this is willing to offer me.

Van Holten's Tapatio Pickle
Tastes about as good as what you'd expect a hot sauce branded pickle sold in a plastic pouch to taste.

I've seen products like this before, packaged up individual pickles or even pickle slices l, usually at truck stops and other vague Buc-ee's-esque locations. I don't think these sorts of things are particularly rare, but what caught my eye is that this particular pickle seems to be somehow related to hot sauce. At least, that's what Tapatio is. It's not a general flavor like Chamoy is, it's a specific brand of hot sauce, and one that I've seen for myself on store shelves more than once. I can't speak to its quality because I don't think I have ever actually purchased it, but it's definitely a thing that exists. As does this pickle, for better or worse.

The pouch says that you don't need to refrigerate this, but I decided to do it anyway because the alternative was eating a warm pickle which just didn't really sound particularly appetizing in any way. After it was cold, I opened the pouch, removed the pickle, and took a bite. The texture surprised me, because the few times I'd had pickles this girthy before, they usually ended up limp and watery. This one actually managed to remain crisp for the most part, with enough firmness inside to where I felt like I was actually eating a pickle rather than a waterlogged old cucumber, which I guess is technically what a pickle is anyway. With the texture out of the way though, I have to talk about how this thing tasted, and it was NOT good. I could sit and eat an entire jar of regular pickles easily, but in saying that I mean like, garlic dills. This pickle doesn't really taste like your average pickle, probably because it presumably tastes like the hot sauce - which also probably sucks if this is anything to go by. The pickle tastes overwhelmingly like vinegar and chipotle peppers, and it's not really appetizing. I know a pickle is basically like, vinegar incarnate half the time, but this one lacks anything that harmonizes with the vinegar, instead replacing it with a very obnoxious smoky pepper flavor and some relatively mild spiciness. There's a weird funk to it too, it's hard to describe. Bleh, not great.


Bugles... my beloved.

Alright, let’s end this on a positive note.

What can I say about Bugles? My favorite snack, and my stolen love… General Mills, the Judas that they are, decided to discontinue these in my country of Canada, for reasons mostly unknown. Some claim demand was low, some claim it was costing them too much to print out bags with French on them. But I… I see things for what they are. The whims of a cruel corporation, their only agenda being to personally kick my ass. I see how it is. Little do you know, General Mills, I’ve got a direct line to the country you call home, and now I have all the bugles I can eat - in multiple flavors never even available here. Who’s laughing now? It’s me.

The original red bag. I forgot to take a photo of the Nacho Cheese ones, so when you get to that section just imagine like, the same bag but in orange.

Your average Bugle. The plain variety. I’ve been eating these most of my life, until the recent discontinuation, and that’s mostly because they are satisfying to eat moreso than any real flavor bursting out of them. The plain Bugle is a humble snack, and mostly just tastes like a salted corn chip, albeit somewhat more airy and light in flavor, with a good crunch and a fun shape.

The shape, really, is where the appeal of the Bugle lies. Rather than a traditional chip, they're shaped like a hollow cone. This gives them a big boost in the crunch department, because every Bugle you eat is kind of like eating a bag of just those chips that folded up into the taco shape. It’s what makes them better than your basic Frito. This doesn't make them any easier to eat than a standard chip, maybe the opposite, but if you were ever a kid living in a place where Bugles were commonplace, you know their true appeal. Whether you call them "finger hats" or "demon claws" or "witch fingers", putting these on your fingertips allows you to pretend you have gnarled claws akin to some sort of terrible beast. It's fun if you're bored and 12, but more importantly, these little cones take me back to a better time.

A time when they sold Bugles in my damn country.

Nacho Cheese
After trying these in Chicago, I wound up buying another two bags to take home.

While the plain bugles are the iconic ones, there’s actually a lot of flavors this underrated snack comes in, though this one is the only other one that was ever available in Canada in any meaningful capacity (i.e. outside of import shops).

As expected, these are just a regular Bugle, but dusted with a nacho cheese powder. Think like, a dorito, except these are much less greasy, less powdery, and the cheese sticks to your hands less than a lot of other nacho cheese-flavored snacks. The flavor is lighter than something like doritos as well, though that might just be for the same reason. These make for a surprisingly great snack when you’re doing something like typing or playing a video game though, because you can munch on a couple of these and then pick up a controller or use a keyboard without infecting the thing irreparably with cheese residue.

Chili Cheese

I actually didn’t get these with the rest, I was in Chicago a month ago and picked these up because I spotted them in a random convenience store on the way to an arcade and figured they were worth a couple bucks to add to the collection. I already like nacho cheese, so these had to at least be alright. And they are, though they aren’t significantly different from the nacho flavor. They’re actually better, in my opinion, but not to a degree where I’d feel bad if either one or the other suddenly disappeared from the planet.

What really gets me about these is the specificity. Hidden Valley Ranch specifically? I dunno, just seems kind of funny.

The powder is a bit darker in color, and there’s a slight undertone of chili flavor, which is pleasant and helps add a “fullness” to the flavor that counteracts the airy corn flavor of the baseline bugle in a way that does enhance the experience. They’re less sweet than the nacho cheese flavor too, but I don’t really think that’s either a positive or a negative. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t notice five seconds after you finish eating one, and even sitting here right now writing this I’m forgetting what they taste like compared to each other. If you have a choice between nacho cheese and chili cheese, I’d honestly tell you to get these instead, but in like… a noncommittal way. They’re both good, I might just be swinging towards this one because they're a little spicy, and also they're something new I haven't tried before.

Ranch is one thing, but this is just weird.
Hidden Valley Ranch

When I first saw these, I honestly thought it was a shitpost. Hidden Valley Ranch? Not like, cool ranch? Sour cream and onion? Kind of a weird product crossover, in my opinion, but whatever. This is the kind of culinary schlock I was looking for in this crate of assorted foodstuffs. In Canada, you don’t really see a lot of ranch-flavored things outside of the actual dressing itself and specifically doritos unless it’s some kind of stupid meme item like “ranch soda” or “ranch ice cream”. Lots of sour cream and onion, but very little in the way of “ranch”.

Unfortunately for my soul, these are pretty tasty. To dispel all delusions, I’ll start off by saying that these taste neither like ranch dressing or the usual cool ranch flavor you’d find on doritos. They’re nothing like either of those at all. They mostly just taste like a creamy garlic, which I guess you could argue is a “ranch” flavor, but no, no, no. I’m gonna stop you there. Maybe it was just this batch, but these REALLY taste like garlic. “Creamy garlic” in this context has a big emphasis on the garlic. This tastes more like caesar dressing than ranch, actually. Maybe ranch is just easier to market? Anyway, If you’re a big fan of Hidden Valley Ranch for… some reason, then I regret to inform you that you probably won’t get much out of these, but if you just like garlic and/or sour cream and onion chips, then these are a solid choice. Just make sure to buy them at self-checkout so no one can judge you for buying the Hidden Valley Ranch flavor.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch

I said the last one was a weird crossover, but this one might just beat it. Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Man, what the hell? I don’t necessarily think that cinnamon sugar is a bad flavor on something like these, in theory, but “sweet bugles” were definitely never a thing I thought I’d see. Just kind of feels wrong, like if they released cinnamon bun cheetos or something. Don’t tell me if those exist, by the way, I’m enjoying my blissful ignorance for the time being.

I said that cinnamon sugar could work in theory, but in practice… it really doesn’t. These taste weird. The corn flavor of the bugles is a bit too strong to really jive well with the cinnamon sugar, and for some inexplicable reason, they’re still salted too. Sweet and salty is nothing new, but these aren’t really sweet enough to hit that perfect balance either. The bag says they’re “blasted with cinnadust”, but they’re so mild that they may as well have been blasted with regular dust. And salt, of course. Out of all the bugles, this might be the only one I didn’t really like, which is kind of sad because it’s probably also the most unique flavor of the group. These aren’t terrible or anything, but buying a box of the cereal and eating it dry without milk (or milk substitute) is probably going to give you a better experience.

Oh, and you can’t even see the cinnamon swirls, which if the commercials for the cereal are to be believed, is the entire point.


And that's about it, for now. Like I said, I've still got a couple more items, and probably have even more than that tucked away somewhere I forgot about. I'll revisit those one day, but until then... It's been fun. Half-Baked reviews is one of my favorite 'Shroom sections, and it's been an honor to guest-star this month and try a few things that I probably otherwise never would have even heard about. I'd like to thank Anton obviously for helping to make this possible - he provided a great selection of items to talk about, and I'm glad that all this managed to work out, no matter how obnoxious it was to deal with UPS. Seriously, I think you would have a more reliable shipping experience with less logistical issues just throwing the package in a river and hoping it arrives.

Anton will be back next month, and who knows what that future article will hold? Until then though, go buy yourself some Bugles. Unless you're not American, in which case you can weep with me in the corner instead. Always room for one more.

The 'Shroom: Issue 198
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