Sunday, June 23, 2013

What a scare!

You would have seen the dolls at Toys'R'Us. The Monster High dolls. Gothed up Barbies was what I called them when they started haunting the shelves sometime last year. I quickly dismissed them and tried to steer my girls away from the section, thinking they might be scared by the dolls. Well, they weren't. Not one bit. In fact, my youngest, L dragged me to the "scary dolls" aisle, pointing them out to me excitedly. Look, Mom, ghost dolls! she said. To her, anything monster-like or scary was a ghost.

From then on, every time we went to the store, she would drag me and her sister to see her ghosts. Go figure. For Chinese New Year this year, the girls begged me to let them use their ang pow money to get a doll each. So Draculaura (daughter of Dracula) and two DIY zombie dolls were added to their Barbie collection. 

This is Frankie Stein. Yep, you guessed it, daughter of Frankenstein. When you think about it, the entire Monster High range is quite ingenius. Take scary characters that we're all familiar with, and create their offsprings, prettier, albeit still imperfect, versions of the entire arsenal of ghouls and monsters from the literary world. Frankenstein, Dracula, the Werewolf, the Mummy, the Gargoyle, Phantom of the Opera, the Yeti, Medusa and even a Ghost. See? Genius!  

When the people at Go Communications approached me to do a series of blog posts on Monster High, I thought why not? My girls already love them, and I actually do think the concept is cool. To take dolls who are obviously imperfect, with monster baggage from their heritage, and to place them in the context that every kid is familiar with, school.

True, they still look like Barbie dolls, but when you present Frankie Stein, who's forgetful and forever losing her body parts, but full of enthusiasm about everything because she's newly made (just 15 days old), and Draculaura, the most popular girl in school, who's vegan(!!!) and Clawdeen Wolf, who's bold and makes her very weakness her strength (she has to shave every day but her full head of hair is shampoo-commercial-worthy), you suddenly open up a whole other world to girls. Their tagline of "Be Yourself, Be Unique and Be a Monster" makes it ok, even cool to be different.

Instead of pointing out how pretty the dolls are, the girls are busy noticing their flaws. Did you know Frankie has different coloured eyes? How come her skin is blue? How can Draculaura faint at the sight of blood? If she doesn't drink blood, what does she eat? Why does Clawdeen always say what she thinks, even if it's a little rude sometimes?

Questions, questions and more questions! Which is exactly what I want them to do. To not just accept everything at face value and constantly probe more.

Of course, the clever people at Mattel (the people behind this range and also Barbie) has a whole merchandising spinoff. Frankie has a convertible for her to zoom around Scaris (a ghoulish version of Paris! Hah!) with her pals in. The travel series dolls come with their own luggages and passports. There's a Monster High magazine with comic strips, quizzes and posters and even a cartoon TV series! At the end of 2013, they're launching a Monster High DVD.

But so does everyone else! I say if you're going to push out a whole range of stuff, make sure you have something to say. And I think these monster cuties do, what with thousands of years of history behind them. Watch this space as my girls and I discover more clawsome characters and get deadly serious about playtime. Sorry, couldn't resist that.

The ghouls from Monster High™ are haunting to Scaris: City of Frights™ for an international fashion competition where the winner will become THE apprentice to world famous designer Madame Ghostier.
On their way to the fashion capital, the ghouls made a pit stop – in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – to meet their fans and experience the voltageous city..
Check out their Malaysian adventure here.

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