Monster High: Friday Night Frights/Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love?

  • Review Date: November 20, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Some positive messages about diversity; iffy body images.
  • Review Date: November 20, 2013
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Primarily meant to entertain, not educate. Most characters are the offspring of legendary monsters, ghouls, vampires, and zombies. Some simple research could acquaint kids with the literary and pop-culture origins of these famous fictional creations.

Positive messages

A number of straightforward messages are delivered: It's OK to have fantasies so long as they don't get in the way of what's real; and when fantasies become expectations, they create pressure. Not all traditions are good; most positive traditions bring people together. Members of different cultures, identities, and strengths achieve goals by working as a team.

Positive role models

The premise of the Monster High series is to enfranchise those usually thought of as "outsiders." Monster identities stand in for ethnic and cultural diversity. In Friday Night Frights, male characters learn that their female counterparts have the athleticism and smarts to compete and win. Despite the movie's emphasis on all-around competent, strong female characters, the girls are drawn as doe-eyed, curvaceous teens in short costumes and very high heels. No adult participants.

Violence & scariness

Some pushing, shoving, falling, and crashing in roller-skating competition scenes. Toralei Stripe, daughter of a werecat and Monster High's "mean" girl villain, provides some mild suspense as she plots to create trouble for the heroines.

Sexy stuff

Romance blooms in Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? and includes some modest kisses and snuggling.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Monster High videos are integral to the marketing of the Mattel franchise, which includes books, dolls, toys, and video games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this DVD is made up of two Monster High episodes originally aired on Nickelodeon TV. All the popular characters are included -- Frankie Stein, Clawd Wolf, Draculaura, and more -- and it's assumed that the viewers are familiar with both the premise (a high school filled with the offspring of iconic monsters) and with the individual identities of the kids and their off-screen parents. No explanations or introductions are provided here. There's a bit of cartoon action in Friday Night Frights as the teens participate in a roller-derby competition, complete with shoving, falling, and crashing into walls. No one is hurt. Teen romance is the subject of Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? with some mild kissing and a charming villain who wants to "harvest" Draculaura's heart. Although this series centers on female heroines who are portrayed as clever, strong, and loyal, they are drawn as doe-eyed, curvy, long-legged fashion figures (in the style of Barbie and the Bratz Dolls).

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

The two episodes included in MONSTER HIGH: FRIDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS/WHY DO GHOULS FALL IN LOVE? find the popular Mattel teens in a roller-derby competition and in a romantic Valentine's Day story centered on Draculaura's "Sweet 1600" birthday celebration. In Friday Night Frights, the champion Gargoyle team makes fun of Monster High's female skaters, only to find that Lagoona Blue, Draculaura, Operetta, and company stay true to themselves using teamwork and smart play to defeat the perennial winners. Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? teaches Draculaura and her friends the difference between a slick, charming ladies' man and a caring, genuinely sincere boyfriend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Lighthearted, upbeat, and girl-centered (with enough male monsters to appeal to boys, too), Monster High and its "diverse" population is a step above other franchise fashion dolls and their often ho-hum adventures. With a core message about accepting differences and diversity, the filmmakers have taken the offspring of often scary characters and made them accessible and worth getting to know. This DVD includes: a clever twist on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream when spells are cast that make the monsters fall in love with the wrong people; the ultimate punishment for wrongdoers -- a "cauldron of eternal body odor"; and a funny fictional story about the origins of Valentine's Day. Older kids and young tweens will find plenty to enjoy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss how the Monster High teens are like "outsiders" in real-life school situations. What can you learn from these fictional kids about respecting and accepting people who are different from you?

  • Choose one or two of the daughters or sons of the "monsters" portrayed in this movie and find the origin of their famous "parents" (Dracula, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon).

  • What do you think the filmmakers mean when they say, "Not all traditions are good"? Give an example of a tradition you may not want to participate in.

Movie details

DVD release date:February 5, 2013
Cast:Debi Derryberry, Kate Higgins, Ogie Banks
Directors:Dustin McKenzie, Steve Sacks
Studio:Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:High school, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Monster High: Friday Night Frights/Why Do Ghouls Fall in Love? was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byBookNerdMom April 3, 2015
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Girls can be, like, pretty and sporty

When I heard of Monster High, I suspected I wouldn't like it. When I actually saw these episodes, those suspicions were confirmed. It's not just the body image stuff (super thin yet busty girls; inverted triangle dudes), but the overall "this is what a girl is, this is what a guy is" gender representation. To me, 20 minutes of reinforced gender stereotypes wrapped up with two minutes of a decent conclusion that negates those stereotypes doesn't balance out. I was also weirded out by the girls' conclusion (spoiler alert) that they lost because they were trying to play like guys--so they got out their nail polish, lipstick, and high heel roller skates (I kid you not) and played like GIRLS (I repeat, "playing like girls" = playing with makeup and heels). I don't think that gender equality means girls dressing/acting like guys, but I don't think the core attributes of femininity are being pretty and an obsession with fashion.

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