Monster High: Freaky, No Longer Fabulous

Sydnee Cho, Staff Artist

Monster High has long been a childhood staple: the multimedia Mattel franchise has garnered loyal fans since 2010. From the freaktastic dolls to the clawsome animated series, there’s no question of Monster High’s popularity. However, with vapid reboots and rebrandings, the franchise has departed from its glory days. The newest Monster High live-action movie musical, “Monster High: The Movie,” released Oct. 6 and directed by Todd Holland, is disappointingly absent of the original flair that drew in fans.

In “Monster High: The Movie,” Clawdeen Wolf (Miia Harris) is a werewolf who finally found a place where she fits in: Monster High. She makes friends with her classmates, the bubbly Frankie Stein (Ceci Balagot) and the fashion-forward Draculaura (Nayah Damasen). As a mad scientist plots to destroy Monster High and Clawdeen Wolf’s attempts to hide her human half, “Monster High: The Movie” circles back to the original franchise’s message: embrace yourself for who you are.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the only similarity between the movie and its source material.

While the character concepts remain the same, they lack their original designs and personalities. The stilted character dynamics and lack of defining traits — such as Clawdeen’s fierceness and Draculaura’s bubbly ditziness resemble none of the original media. Clawdeen’s clumsy and “out of the loop” persona and Draculaura’s cold demeanor are one of many disappointments for old fans. 

Departing from the trendy, teen-savvy front of their franchise, the new versions market to an even younger audience. In previous movies and animated series, main conflicts focused on dramatized high school problems such as a strict teacher or a hallway crush. The movie cuts out the fun, light-hearted high school shenanigans many enjoy as part of the franchise’s media.

Another defining feature of Monster High was the unique fashion: high heels with monster-themed accessories, miniskirts adorned with cobweb patterns, and various other supernatural motifs that hold up as timelessly chic.

The toned-down approach of the movie makes Monster High lose its appeal, as many children were initially drawn to the eccentric, edgy fashion choices. The outfits of the movie characters neon biker shorts, knee-high ‘mom fit’ skirts in garish patterns, and gaudy sneakers have replaced the prior mini skirts and crop tops. The immature styling in comparison to the trendy, unique style associated with Monster High is a major letdown to those who have always admired the creative character design.

While many may have packed away their Monster High dolls, the iconic franchise will remain fresh in this generation’s minds. An unimaginably dull movie, “Monster High: The Movie” lacks the flair so many before loved. Lamentably, it seems Monster High is set on moving past the fashionable monsters of the original franchise and in a new direction.