This review is part of the Toyologist programme, where a team of hand-selected reviewers test baby products and toys with their little ones for useful insight by parents, for parents.
My heart sank a little when we opened our latest toy to review from Toys R Us – it was a doll from Monster High.This is a line from Mattel (of Barbie fame) with a supernatural high school theme. The doll we received was Frankie Stein, and she comes with a battery operated ‘Recharge Chamber’.
Other than some Barbies, this is the first real modern ‘fashion doll’ we have. The proportions of the figure are horrifying – and not in a fun monster kind of way. The visual similarities between this and the results of an extreme eating disorder are too similar to ignore – bone like limbs, head massively out of proportion to figure, a sexually mature body that is so skinny it also looks like a child’s. Beyond that, the overall look is clearly sexualised with Frankie wearing a very short dress, heavy make up, jewellery, and ridiculously high heels.
However, I must admit I quite like the supernatural theme. While some parents may balk at undead children’s toys, I (broadly) think it’s fun, is visually striking with a scifi/fantastical element to it, and I’d like to think the links to classic horror might create an interest in finding out more about the source material. At least the dolls have a diversity of colours – and if a doll is going to have makeup, blue & yellow (with matching hair), is a pretty funky look.
The Freaky Fusion Recharge Chamber is the interactive element of the toy. I don’t know the exact background of Frankie’s character, but she is supposed to be the child of Frankenstein’s Monster and The Bride of Frankenstein – I can only imagine that Frankie needs to same electric jolt of creation to stay alive, hence the chamber.
The dodgy looking receptacle – which a few followers have likened to looking like a blender for dolls – has manacle restraints for Frankie. After she is locked in, you push the button and the recharge takes place – lights flash and thanks to static electricity Frankie’s hair stands on end. It sort of works, but nothing like as effectively as the packaging suggests.
The overall build quality seems pretty flimsy – on both the doll and the recharge chamber.
I know this and other similar lines of dolls tend to split opinion. While I like the irreverence of the horror theme, I can’t ignore the potential issues around body image and sexualisation of children, and I would not choose to purchase this toy. However, my daughter (currently) quite likes it so it looks as though Frankie will be staying in our collection for the foreseeable future.
At least she is taking clothes from some of her other dolls and dressing Frankie up a little more.