Jumping into the world of Monster High, I had no idea what to expect. Introduced in 2010 by Mattel as a line of fashion dolls, the franchise has branched out and become a multimedia phenomenon for the tween-and-under set. The dolls include characters such as Frankie Stein, Draculaura, and Venus McFlytrap, to name a few. The popularity of the “classic horror”-inspired dolls quickly expanded to books, TV, and the web. More projects are in the pipeline, but for now fans can pick up two 45-minute TV specials on one DVD, Monster High Double Feature: Friday Night Frights/Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?.
“Friday Night Frights” was the fifth TV special in the series, airing in spring of 2012, but it’s first up on the DVD. It centers on Monster High’s roller derby team, traditionally consisting solely of boys. But the ghouls (i.e. girls) have to step in when some of the male players in the Skulltimate Roller Maze competition are injured. It turns into a classic “girl power” scenario, with the ghouls proving that some traditions were made to be broken. “Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?” is a Valentine’s special that originally aired in late 2011. Basically, Draculaura is celebrating her “sweet 1600,” and her ex-boyfriend (appropriately named Valentine) is up to no good. He casts a spell in an attempt to make Draculaura fall madly in love with him.
The animation style is kind of like so-so cut scenes from a video game. The writing features lots of puns on typical horror and sci-fi terminology. The experienced voice cast does a suitable job of bringing life to the rather inarticulate animation. Video game veteran Laura Bailey handles Lagoona Blue, while Debi Derryberry—the voice of Jimmy Neutron (in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius)—voices Draculaura. In other words, the actors know how to enliven the characters even when the visuals come across a little stiff.
Monster High Double Feature: Friday Night Frights/Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? is harmless fun for very young viewers. It’s another in the long line of cartoons that exists primarily to sell toys and other items from the same product line.