Monday, March 12, 2012


Monster High is a franchise that mostly revolves around it's merchandise; cool looking dolls made by Mattel based on old Universal monsters and other horror characters. For example, Frankie Stein (Frankenstein, obviously), Draculaura (Dracula), Ghoulia Yelps (a zombie) and Blue Lagoona (granddaughter of the Creature from the Black Lagoon). The dolls all have their own outlandish clothing-style and little attributes to do with the characters. Although the dolls are what caught my attention at first, Monster High is worth checking out even if you're not interested in collecting awesome but freaky Barbies.

So far there have been three books, there's a web-series of very short Flash cartoons, an interactive website and a couple of iPhone apps. The books and the web-series seem to be set in a different kind of world. First of all, in the book (I'm currently reading the first one, written by Lisi Harrison) the monster girls, their families and love interests, have to figure out a way to blend in with the "normies" of the world. Frankie Stein, a very new 15-year old, wishes she could just be herself instead of having to cover her green, stitched-up skin with thick pancake make-up and always wear turtle-necks or scarves to cover her bolts.

While in the book she struggles to cope with hiding her true self and is trying to find a way for the normies to accept her and her friends the way they are, in the web-series the girls get to flaunt their unique looks and identities because they go to a school filled with monsters. In the very short (about a minute and a half each) episodes we see them come across all sorts of problems and situations that you might expect a monster to come across in high school. How exactly do you tell that zombie-boy you fancy him when you can't even really utter a single audible word? How do you put on perfect make-up any emo girl would be jealous of, without a reflection? The cartoons are very heavily laden with puns that wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Tales from the Crypt and have plenty of references to classic (Universal) horror films, to make a monster film fan happy. I like that even though the franchise is there mostly to sell stuff, enough effort has gone in to the details of the characters and story lines to not make it feel like they're just cashing in on a growing population of nerdy chicks.

So, if you like the look of the dolls but aren't willing to fork out any of your money for a just a toy, check out the web-series and you'll quickly find out whether you like the characters or not. The book is really worth a read as well, it's quite a lot like any other story about teenagers in high school, apart from that it's cooler because it's got monsters in it, so you don't have to feel like a weirdo for reading things aimed at people ten years younger than you. (Not that you should anyway..) I think all together Monster High is a very enjoyable, silly and light-hearted collection of characters and stories and it's at least worth a few minutes of your time to check it out!

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