Universal // 2011 // 92 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dawn Hunt // March 23rd, 2013
"Walkin' down a darkened hallway
Everybody turns to look at you.
This school gives me the creeps
But when I'm with my peeps
You can't ignore us
This is where the ghoul kids rule.
Monster Monster High Monster High
Monster Monster High
Come on don't be shy
Monster High, the party never dies
Monster Monster High Monster High
Monster Monster High, freaky, chic and fly
Monster High where student bodies lie.
We've got spirits yes we do
We've got spirits how 'bout you?"
Brought to you by the same folks who produce all the Barbie films and toys, Monster High was created to cater to the kids who were a bit too young for the Twilight phenom yet still wanted to feel like they were part of the trend. Enter the "ghouls" of Monster High, sanitized female versions of the traditional Universal Monsters. They're not frightful to look at though. In fact savvy shoppers will notice the Monster High characters look an awful lot like Barbie and friends dressed for Halloween. There are about a dozen characters who come into play in Monster High: Friday Night Frights / Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love?
First up is Draculara (Debi Derryberry, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), the vampire of the clique. Next up are Frankie Stein (Kate Higgins, Naruto: Shippuden), Clawdeen Wolf (Salli Saffioti, Resident Evil: Damnation) and Lagoona Blue (Laura Bailey, Dragon Ball Z) the Frankenstein's monster, werewolf and creature from the black lagoon, respectively. Followed by Operetta (Cindy Robinson, Bleach), the Phantom of the Opera, and Cleo DeNile (Salli Saffioti), the mummy. Rounding out the group are Abbey Bominable (Erin Fitzgerald, Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy), the Abominable Snow(Wo)man, Robecca Steam (Julie Maddalena, Masked Rider), the robot and the gibberish-speaking Ghoulia Yelps (Audu Patton, Monster High: Ghoul's Rule!), the techno-ghoul.
Monster High Double Feature has two 46 minute films that try to instill positive values in the youngsters watching, just like their "Barbie" counterparts.
"Friday Night Frights" gives a nod to Friday Night Lights without having made it necessary to watch it. At Monster High, scream is the most important game the school participates in, like football in Texas. And when teams play more than honor is on the line, as each winning team takes home the losing school's spirit...literally. And when rival Gargoyles take Monster High's spirit by cheating? The boys of the scream team give up.
Now it's up to the girls to reclaim their school spirit and learn a few lessons along the way. Led by Draculara the team learns about girl power and staying true to yourself. There's plenty of positive thinking to go around as the girls' team tackles the challenge of winning, which they only do when they all work together, of course.
In "Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love?" it's Draculara's sweet 1600th birthday celebration. She's happy as a vegetarian vampire can be surrounded by her friends and her crush Clawd Wolf (Ogie Banks, Ultimate Spider-Man). But just when she thinks things couldn't get more perfect, in walks new transfer student Valentine (Jonathan Lipow, Revisioned: Tomb Raider), who happens to be her first love. And while there's still the message of being true to yourself as in all Mattel films, this time around there's an additional lesson. Through the course of having to choose between two boys who are after her heart, Draculara learns about the problems which arise when expectations are too high and when fantasies interfere with reality. It's a surprising choice for a kids' film but it was a welcome one.
These films are really cute morality plays. Having only the mildest of cartoon violence they're safe for anyone to watch, and as noted the "monsters" are still beautiful, so the scare factor is likely to be erased completely for little ones watching. Monster High: Friday Night Frights/Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love? offers up positive lessons for kids designed to encourage them to build self-esteem. Adults watching will pick up on the "fang-tastic" lingo the characters use more than the kids but the context should be clear enough it won't lose anyone. Plus for those looking there are nods to other shows and movies, such as a Say Anything reference, for example. All told this is an easy recommendation for those who not only like "Barbie" but also like Halloween and all the classic monsters which are part of the holiday. Be warned, it may cause kids to want the toys, which are abundant.
The backgrounds lack the kind of texture and depth you would see in a theatrical release, but youngsters probably won't notice or mind. However at times it does feel as though the characters and backgrounds exist in separate spaces, with some stilted movements and an occasional lack of precision in regards to mouth synchronization also noted. The palette leans towards a purple hue, with deep saturation a rare occurrence. Otherwise it's a rather muted purple-gray, which works when you consider the undead nature of the shows. The audio is an above-expected Dolby Digital 5.1 which holds up well and fills in some of the depth the video is missing.There are no bonus features.
Review content copyright © 2013 Dawn Hunt; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: Monster High: Friday Night Fights
* IMDb: Monster High: Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?