Yeah, It’s Gonna Suck – Monster High The (Live Action) MovieThe Dark Herald
Today’s post was done at the urgent and enraged request of the Eldest Dark Spawn.
From Nickelodeon and Paramount +, the one-two punch of suck comes Monster High – The Movie. This is going to be a live-action version of the toy/video cross-over series from about ten years ago.
I can’t fault the original business model as it handily had its way with my wallet whenever I made the financially ill-considered journey to Toys R’ Us. The dolls were meant to be cute, girly versions of classic movie monsters and they all went to high school together at (of course) Monster High.
However, what made these toy monsters such a terror to my checking account was that (a) they were cleverly marketed to young girls) and (b) all of the monsters conformed to known high school tropes and stereotypes, PLUS they were fashion dolls. Monster High made epic bank by playing on girls’ social dynamics, one doll was the fashionista, the next was the sports chick, then there was the girly girl, and their leader was the generic girl. Their antagonist was the minotaur bully girl. There was also “cool boy.” That was the starter pack. It grew a lot from there.
What took Monster High to a new level was the use of webisodes on YouTube, which was new stuff back then. These were just cheap, quick, flash animation, first acts. The very successful idea was to set up some basic stories like girly-girl is afraid she’s going to flunk a test or brainy girl dreams of making the cheerleader squad, with a lot of Crypt Keeper puns thrown in. The webisodes established the basic character of each doll and the nature of their interactions. Girls would then beg Daddy to, “please, please, please buy Draculaura because, for me, I’ll die if I don’t have her! Oh! And Frankie!!!”
“Why do you need Frankie too?”
“She’s Draculaura’s best friend. I’ve got to have HER!”
“I’m glad you’re so focused on this. We shall now discuss how you are going to earn my money.”
The webisodes created settings, the doll’s characters provided the setup, and little girls provided the story when they played with them. Usually, it was a group of girls playing with them, and the play mostly involved the dolls talking to each other and getting dressed for the prom. Because fashion dolls don’t blow up tanks.
But here is the big thing, (Darklings of long-standing can skip this paragraph), the human brain isn’t designed to understand the difference between fictional characters and real people. There have been university studies where people have been wired up, and their brains show identical activity when thinking about either fictional or real people that they know. Intellectually we know there is a difference but emotionally, not so much.
Which is why I can understand the outrage of young women who were playing with their Monster High dolls a dozen years ago.
They don’t have anything against a live-action revival, but they are furious about a remake that butchers out the Monster High characters about as badly as The Last Jedi gutted Luke Skywalker.
Oops forgot to put this in.
Eldest Dark Spawn: Deuce is supposed to be cool. That guy is a dork. Cleo wouldn’t touch him.
Dark Herald: I suppose he’s cool in a different way.
Eldest Dark Spawn He is cool in no way. No way is he cool. And look at Lagoona!
Dark Herald: Must I?
Eldest Dark Spawn: She is supposed to be blue. It’s in her name Lagoona. BLUE.
Dark Herald: She wouldn’t look brown that way. They’d lose diversity points. The actress is from Columbia.
Eldest Dark Spawn: SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE FROM AUSTRAILIA! And Draculaura is NOT a witch, she’s a vampire and she is sixteen hundred years old. And she’s from Transylvania! How many Asians were in Transylvania sixteen hundred years ago?
Dark Herald: Technically everyone in Europe is an Asian. You can use the word Oriental in this house.
Eldest Dark Spawn (cups ears looks around as if listening in and then points to her iPhone)
Dark Herald: Good girl.