Three years ago, Burger King unleashed its HA1loween Whopper on the masses. The steak-sauce slathered burger was really no different from the franchise’s marquee product, save one characteristic: the bun itself was pitch black. We’re talking darker than the other side of midnight or a lump of coal’s shadow. Coupled with an awesome mummy-inspired wrapper, there’s no denying that, aesthetically at least, BK hit a home run with one of the greatest seasonal fast food stunts in history.
That is, until customers started reporting some rather, uh, unsavory side effects associated with the product. And like that, the HA1loween Whopper went from being the All Hallows’ Eve junk food extravaganza of 2015 to forever being known as “that one hamburger that turned everybody’s turds turquoise.”
Well, BK has been hard at work over the last three years refining the general idea of the HA1loween Whopper, and they return this Spooktober with a steak sauce-less variation with a totally overhauled gimmick.
This time around, the revamped and rebranded Nightmare King instead comes with a glowing, algae-green bun, an extra piece of protein and a brand promise that ingesting the burger will give you ACTUAL nightmares. As in, BK even commissioned a real sleep study to prove that eating this Hallow-burger will inspire bad dreams, which has to be the single most bizarre fast food marketing hook I’ve heard of, well, probably ever.
But beyond all of the advertising hullabaloo and the empirical shock of gawping at what appears to be a radioactive Whopper, does the Nightmare King actually deliver the gustatory goods as a limited time only product?
For starters, it’s almost impossible to describe the actual color of the hamburger bun. Sorry folks, but these photos don’t do the item justice. It’s not quite a lush, verdant green; it’s more of an off-copper gold-green. If Burger King sought to make this sucker look like poisonous fungi, it nailed it out of the park.
Of course, the hamburger bun, outside of its serpent-like sheen, tastes just like any old sesame seed sandwich. It’s a missed opportunity, in my eyes; I mean, if you’re going to release a bun the same color as swamp algae, wouldn’t you want to make it taste at least somewhat like guacamole or wasabi?
Regardless, the sandwich itself — the Halloween gimmick aside — is astonishingly decent. The Nightmare King is a huge mamajama consisting of a flame-grilled beef patty, a crispy chicken patty, an absolute TON of bacon, a nice slathering of American cheese, a hearty helping of onions and a generous dollop of mayonnaise.
Needless to say, it’s a VERY filling sandwich that would be as tasty sans the reptilian-tinted bun. It wouldn’t be surprising to see BK re-release this one a little later down the line with a more traditional bun. The dressings may scream “novelty,” but rest assured this is a damn delicious burger, no matter the time of year.
Lost amid all the hubbub about the Nightmare King, though, is the fact BK has wheeled out another spooky-themed L.T.O. to mark the 2018 Samhain season. And although it ain’t getting as much publicity as the franchise’s other holiday-hued offering, the Frozen Fanta Scary Black Cherry drink is one seasonal treat you don’t want to sleep on.
Effectively a cherry-limeade slush, this thing looks and tastes the way an L.T.O. Hallow-product ought to. It has a nice, velvety, blackish-purple sheen to it, and the half tart-half fruity flavor gives it a nice Jekyll and Hyde dynamic.
And considering the Nightmare King packs a jaw-dropping 1,800-plus milligrams of sodium, you’ll DEFINITELY need to have one of these things on hand to counteract that demonic dry mouth sensation, for sure.
Purchased Price: $6.29 (Nightmare King) $1.00 (Small Frozen Fanta)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Nightmare King)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Frozen Fanta)
Nutrition Facts: (Nightmare King) – 1,020 calories, 65 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,890 milligrams of sodium, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 51 grams of protein. (Small Frozen Fanta Scary Black Cherry) – 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 grams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.