The return of Monster High

Hello and welcome back to my blog. Today I want to do something that I don't do that often and that it's write an opinionated post. I don't typically talk about doll news or comment on dolls I don't own yet, but from time to time I like to do something different. Please, keep in mind that is my own personal opinion, which is subjective. Also, my criticism is meant to be constructive, and not meant to disrespect the designers involved or their work. If anything, my main critiques are directed to Mattel as a whole. I will also try to break this post into sections, for easy reading. And now, let's finally get into it.  

Orange Hair Howleen Coffin Bean Clawdeen

A while back, it was announced that Monster High will be making a comeback. If you have been following me for a while, you know that I love Monster High. Hence, my nickname is "Monster Crafts". However, since the line was discontinued around 2016-2017, I have been focusing more on my Barbie dolls. 

A little backstory on Monster High

For those of you who aren't familiar with these dolls, Monster High was a line of fashion dolls produced by Mattel from 2010 to its cancellation around 2017. The line was centered on the teenage children of some legendary monsters (quite influenced by the Universal monsters). The first launch included the "Core characters" of the line, which includes: Frankie Stein, daughter of the Frankenstein monster, Cleo deNile, daughter of the Mummy; Deuce Gorgon, son of Medusa; Draculaura, daughter of Dracula; Clawdeen Wolf, daughter of the werewolves and Lagoona Blue, daughter of a sea monster (I always assumed she was based on the Creature from the Black Lagoon). 

The franchise also launched a series of self-concluding webisodes which allowed you to get to know the ghouls. They also included their bios on their website, which gave the characters more depth and some traits that kids could relate to. The diaries included with the dolls also gave them a backstory and help you immerse in the Monster High dolls. It was a brilliant marketing idea, if you ask me. 

Garrett Sander is considered the creator of Monster High, and I also believe he was the main designers. Other designers involved in the line were Rebecca Shipman (who also created the Wild Hearts Club dolls), Natalie Villegas and Javier Meabe. 

Unfortunately, the sales of the Monster High dolls started decreasing, so in 2016 they decided to reboot the line. The new dolls had more childish faces, less detailed clothing and accessories and many of them weren't articulated, which was one of the things fans complained about. More or less at the time the reboot happened, Garrett Sander quit Mattel and moved to Australia to work for Moose Toys (the company that makes Shopkins), where he worked on the Capsule Chix and Fail-Fix lines. The line was canceled not long after the reboot happened,  leaving some fans sad, but also upset at Mattel because they thought they ruined a doll line that was perfectly fine. 

So, what's happening now?

Group of Monster High dolls with a blue background
Draculaura, Deuce Gorgon, Frankie Stein.
Ghoulia, Clawdeen and Howleen Wolf.

The news

Around mid-late-February, Mattel started posting again on the different Monster High social media profiles and updated their profile photos. On Instagram, the Monster High account started commenting and liking on some random users Monster High photos. This made fans speculate if this could mean the return of Monster High, that had been speculated since... well, almost since the line was cancelled. It didn't seem to be happening anytime soon, but when the limited edition Skullector dolls (Grady Twins and Pennywise) were announced last year, fans started having hope again. 

On February, 23rd, it was revealed that Mattel and Nickelodeon had teamed up for two projects meant to air in 2022: an animated series and a live-action movie. Shea Fontana, who worked on the DC SuperHero Girls franchise, was announced as the showrunner for the animated series, which I'm quite excited about. I'm not so confident about the live action, since those can go terribly wrong. Plus, it's meant to be a musical, which I find a very divisive genre.  You can read more about it on this article from Deadline

Coincidentally, more or less at the time all of this was happening, Garrett Sander announced that he was leaving Australia and moving back to the US. Of course, this sparked the rumor that he was going back to work at Mattel on the relaunch. Garrett has denied those rumors, but I personally would love if he was involved. 

What can we expect?

Little is known about the reboot yet, since there's not much official information out there.  For what I have been able to find, it seems there will be some "high end" collector dolls based  on the original line, that will hit the shelves around late 2021. The full doll line (playline, I assume) will hit the market in 2022. It is said that one of the releases will be a reproduction of some of the main ghouls in their original outfits, which I believe it will be the "high end" line. If this is true, it might be my chance to get a Signature Ghoulia.

I think we can expect to see some characters from the original line, with maybe a couple new characters. As I'm writing this, Mattel has confirmed on their Instagram that Frankie, Draculaura and Clawdeen will be part of the reboot, which doesn't surprise me since they seemed to be the most popular amongst kids. Sadly, I assume some  characters that were added to the line later on won't be included in the reboot. One of the problems that  Monster High had is that it became too big in a short amount of time. There were too many characters, introduced in a short time span, most of which didn't really get much of a backstory or impact. I would assume that characters like Batsy Claro, Luna Mothews or the hybrids won't be included in the reboot. 

Considering how big of a flop the last reboot was, I would assume the relaunch will be closer to the original line than to the reboot dolls. Despite many people feel the line doesn't need another reboot, just to start doing things were they left them the first time, I have to disagree. Even though I do think it's important that they keep the essence of the first line, I do think that the line could benefit from some revamped and fresher looks. They can keep what made the first line special, such as the unique looks, the articulation, the backstories... and combine it with newer elements, such as new body types, clothes that follow current trends, etc. There's a sweet spot there were you can take the old and make it feel new. 

Orange hair Howleen Wolf outdoors photo

Hopes and concerns

One of my biggest concerns is the price point. Monster High wasn't the cheapest line out there, but the prices were on the playline range and still quite affordable. I didn't recall the US prices, so I asked on Twitter and a few users mentioned it was around 20-22$ for the more "complete dolls" (the ones that included a doll stand and a diary), while the more budget lines were around 12$-14$. 

Taking the current Barbie line as a reference, we can see that the prices of dolls have gone up, but not so much the quality. Some  current Barbie lines are quite pricey for playline. For example, the new Barbie Xtra dolls cost around 25$, for a cute box and a puppy. I don't know how much they would charge if they came with a doll stand, a diary and some unique accessories. Considering that, I don't expect Monster High to be cheaper than 25-30$.

My second biggest concern has to be the quality, specially if we consider that quality and price are related. Taking as a example the Fashionistas line, a line that hasn't changed is price, we can see that the quality has gone down since the 2016 Fashionistas line. And don't get me started on the BMR 1959 line, which is meant to be "collector". This issue particularly concerns me when it comes to the "high end" dolls, because I'm afraid it might mean "High price with cheap quality". I just don't want to pay over 35$ for a Signature Ghoulia to find out she has pixelated eyes and a cheaply made outfit. 

On a positive note, I'm really hopeful about the designs. The original line was praised for the fact that each doll was unique, with a distinct style, color scheme and their own unique head sculpt. That, mixed with the diversity that has been so praised from the Fashionistas line (dolls with vitiligo or prosthetic legs, curvy bodies, etc.), could become even more unique designs. I do really expect to see a new character with a curvy body. 

I also hope that, if this relaunch is successful, it could mean that Ever After High might come back again. One of the causes of Ever After High's downfall was the success of Disney's Descendants. However, like Barb pointed out on my last post, now that it's long gone there might be room for EAH to come back. 

Bottom line

I'm really excited about the return of Monster High. This was the line that got me into collecting dolls, so I'm really intrigued to see what they come up with. However, seeing how current Mattel is working, there's a chance they might not live up to the expectations. I really do think they have learned from their past mistakes, and will try to please the old fandom while trying to make it attractive for a new generation. If they screw this up, they might lose the trust of the fans and, of course, the money and time invested on it. Let's be real, if I don't like the dolls they come up with, the worst thing that can happen is that I will save that money for other things (which isn't that bad). I would say that I'm more curious about what's about to happen than hopeful of a line as exciting as the first one. 

Ghoulia and Picture day Frankie Stein

So, that's all I have to say about the upcoming Monster High reboot/relaunch. What are your thoughts on it? Also, let me know if it was easy for you to read and if you would like more posts like this in the near future. 

As for my next post, I don't have anything prepared. Lately I've been slacking off when it comes to blog content. I've been keeping myself busy with other things and I don't seem to find time to focus on my blogs. Keep in mind that now I have a second blog (a cooking blog) where I am trying to put constant monthly content, and it takes a lot of time. I've wanted to do another wainscot for quite some time, so maybe I'll do that. 

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy, and I'll hopefully see you in a couple of weeks.

Monster Crafts

Comments

  1. I am excited to see MH dolls finally return. I am worries about the price point and whether Mattel will even resume the play lines as well. I hope this comeback is not solely signature high end dolls, but is a complete revival of MH itself. Love your blog by the way, I've followed it for some time. I have a blog of my own where I cover fashion, lifestyle. books, and occasionally some doll reviews. I'd appreciate it if you can follow my blog as well. I am trying to connect with more bloggers! =) http://isbahstudio.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Isbah, welcome to my blog. I'm also concerned about the price point and the quality. Lately some collector dolls feel like playline. I'll add your blog to my reading list.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Thank you! I really appreciate it. I agree with collector dolls feeling like playline. Barbie is guilty of this. They'll release dolls that were the standard quality in the early 2000s and sell them as collector.

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    3. Excelent point. I do agree, this is exactly what is happening right now with Mattel.

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  2. I think a reboot is a good idea to lure younger customers in. I see lots of Instagrammers posting about how Monster High was their childhood; a reboot may interest younger viewers more than just showing the old videos would. It just occurred to me that Barbie gets "reboots" all the time; if that's what it takes to keep other lines around, maybe it would be worth it.

    I would love to see Ever After High come back as well, as you know. A reboot might be good for the franchise if the characters keep the same personalities, because the story wasn't much thought out besides the Royals and Rebels theme. For example, a lot of characters in the fairy tales aren't meant to be the same age, like Snow White and the Evil Queen, or Sleeping Beauty and the Evil Fairy. I just hope if EAH does come back, Mattel doesn't just use Powerful Princesses in lieu of a good story.

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    1. Hi Barb. I do feel like nostalgia is going to play a huge part in the success of this line. Many kids that played with Monster High are now young adults. Good point about Barbie constantly being rebooted to stay relevant with times.

      Despite there being a few flaws in the EAH storyline, it had a great main conflict and plot that touched on some things that could have a deeper interpretation. In general, I liked more the EAH animated series than Monster High. I never thought about the age difference. Itcould be explained if they get introduced into their stories at different points in the timeline, but get "sucked in" at the same time because "fairytale magic".

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Can't really comment on this post MC, I never owned MH doll so I doubt this reboot will effect my doll collecting at all. Besides, Mattel quality has been gradually slipping for years. As far as back stories go, I prefer to create my own for my dolls.

    Apart from my Intergrity Toys fashion dolls, I've just about sold all my other fashion dolls. I prefer dolls with a bit more substance to hold on to, like the Ruby Red Fashion Friends which I have just begun collecting.

    But don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading your post, it was very forthright and informative.
    Big hugs,
    X

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    1. Hi Xanadu. I do agree about Mattel's quality. I remember the first time I bought a Barbie Look doll, I wasn't very impressed with it, specially considering that outside the US they are much more expensive. Yes, you can always create your own story, but I do appreciate that dolls come with a distinct personality and unique style, instead of homogenic looks. Plus, it's great strategy to sell something to tweens.

      I'm glad that you found the post informative despite not collecting MH dolls. I was fully aware that not all of my readers collect Monster High dolls, so that's why I tried to provide some context.

      Big hugs to you too.

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  4. Hi Linda! I was just leaving a comment on your blog, when I got the notification of your comment. What a coincidence!

    Actually the first MH dolls were pretty good quality for quite a fair price, but then it started going downhill. I can't speak on the BTS quality, but I do expect the upcoming dolls to be decent quality. I didn't like the new dolls either, they were too bland. To me, they stripped the line of everything that made Monster High special, so I just moved to Barbie dolls. I hope they learned their lesson from that.

    Thanks I'm glad that you like the post. I was concerned I might not get my point across, but I think I did for the most part. Thanks for your kind words.

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  5. I remember when the line first came to Sweden and how my youngest daughter finally found something that suited her when it came to dolls. She was far from the cute and soft one, so I gladly let her play with Draculaura, Frankie Stein and the other girls in the collection. Later on, I started to buy these dolls on sale just to try out face ups and rerooting.

    The idea of having a doll and the booklet along was a great thing to do. The one thing I really did not like was when they decided to make softer faces and skipped the joints. The Skullector dolls gave me hope because those were amazing. But so expensive, here at least. I hope that there is something good on the way, because I do like the Monster High dolls. Especially with the joints. The prices have been high here and I am still on the hunt for some of the dolls they had out there before the cancellation. But at the same time, when it gets harder to find the ones you like, it is easier to turn ones head in another direction and other dolls.

    As for me - Sindy and those adorable Paola Reina dolls...

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    1. Hi Niina. As a child I would have been thrilled to have a doll line like Monster High, as I was always drawn to the dolls that looked different. You made a great point mentioning repaints. Their face sculpts were something many repaint artists enjoyed.

      Yes, the booklets were fantastic. You can find some of the transcriptions from the booklets online, if you didn't manage to buy certain dolls. I didn't like the reboot either, so I decided to move on onto other dolls. I do agree, the Skullector dolls were fantastic, but I didn't try to get them because they weren't for me. I do agree about loosing interest when a doll is hard to get. One of my rules when it comes to dolls is that I want them to be easy to get. Once I need to rush to buy a doll before it sells out or have to join a waiting list, my interest is over.

      Thaks for stopping by.

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  6. hello I'm going to get information from this blog for a school project, coincidentally it's also making a blog hehe, maybe I'll change something to not copy and paste, I'm not going to do everything exactly the same either but I'm just saying, there's no problem ?

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    1. I'm confused about this request. "Getting information" is not "change a few things". I wouldn't mind being used as a source, as far as I'm credited and you cite your sources properly (which you should do in any paper for school anyway). But I wouldn't agree on someone giving a face wash to my work and try to pass it as their own.

      I'm also confused as why this would be useful in a school project. This is mainly an opinion piece, not objective information. Also, I'm not a native English speaker, so it might backfire for you.

      Delete

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