Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Fashion-focused tale with strong messages, products to sell.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Using fashion design as the art form, the film encourages artistic expression. Reminds that there's room for more than one voice or creative vision in any art. Imagination and originality "can take you anywhere."
Positive Role Models
The Monster High ghouls are loyal, open-hearted, fun-loving, and resourceful. The ethnically diverse female characters are drawn with curvy bodies (long legs, pronounced breasts) and doe eyes, and, not withstanding their individualized monster characteristics (fangs, a ghost-like appearance), all are traditionally beautiful. They wear very short skirts and high heels; some clothing is skimpy and revealing. Villain here is an older, successful fashion designer who preys on the innocence and creativity of the leading characters.
Violence & Scariness
Not very scary. A few of the monsters the girls encounter -- abominable snowman, yeti, sea serpent -- might be frightening for very little kids, but after a few growls and some thrashing, they inflict no harm. Mild cartoon action includes an animal stampede; good-guy monsters imprisoned; a plane explosion; a hot-air balloon burning; characters plummeting into a pool; and a wild cycle ride. No resulting injuries.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some hugs and brief kisses between established Monster High couples. Unrealistic body types.
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Products & Purchases
Promotes an extensive Mattel line of dolls, clothes, toys, games, TV specials, and other merchandise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights is a fashion-focused entry in this popular, heavily marketed brand for girls. The curvaceous, high-heeled teens take their first European trip, headed to "Scaris" for a stylin' good time. The travel aspect of this story has launched a whole new genre of products for purchase; all the regulars now have travel clothes, travel accessories, and Parisian-inspired Mattel merchandise. The ghouls wear very short skirts and high heels; some clothing is skimpy and revealing. There's nothing really scary in this story, except for a few of the usual fang-toothed or growling beasts, which turn out to be friendly. Only very young or highly sensitive kids will have trouble with the villain and cartoon action here. This story was originally a 2013 TV special, and to give the DVD a one-hour running time, Playground Productions has added a 15-minute filler story about a few of the girls on an obstacle-filled trip back to the U.S.
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Monster High: Scaris, City of Frights
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What's the Story?
MONSTER HIGH: SCARIS, CITY OF FRIGHTS takes Clawdeen Wolf (Salli Saffioti) and some of her BFFs out of school for an adventure in the fashion capital of the world. Clawdeen's design submissions have made her one of the three finalists for an apprenticeship to fashion-design icon Madame Ghostier (Cindy Robinson). But all is not as it seems; Madame Ghostier has a more sinister plan afoot. In the midst of the competition, the other "ghouls" take in the sights of the city, and Frankie Stein tries to help Rochelle Goyle find her long-lost first love, who seems to have disappeared from the Scarisian map. Meanwhile, back at Monster High, Clawd Wolf and Deuce Gorgon desperately miss their "ghoulfriends," so they take off after them, with Heath Burns along for the ride. When Madame Ghostier's malevolent ambition puts Clawdeen in terrible danger, it's up to the rest of the gang to keep both the design "ghoul" and her artistic freedom out of harm's way.
Is It Any Good?
It's refreshing to see high school girls treat each other with respect and empathy, but let's be honest: fashion is the not-so-subtle focus of this Monster High entry. The filmmakers have found a formidable way to tap into young girls' love of clothes, shoes, hairdos, and style. So that's what the story is about, along with the introduction of a few new likable ghouls, Jinafire Long and Skelita Calaveras, who join the gang with opportunities to purchase those new dolls as well as all the regular dolls in "travel" attire. And travel it is, as fans watch the girls take in the sights and sounds of Scaris, City of Frights, a place that looks and sounds a lot like Paris, City of Lights. The messages here encourage artistic freedom as a means of expressing oneself and promote staying true to yourself in spite of outside influences.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can discuss the emphasis on friendship in all the Monster High stories. The characters are almost always respectful of their differences and the uniqueness of each player's look and personality. Are you always as accepting of differences among your friends? Do the "ghouls" seem like positive role models?
Why do you think the Monster High specials and DVDs continually introduce new characters? How does creating travel experiences for the Monster gang increase sales potential for the companies that license and sell all things Monster High?
Monster High is noted for its comic puns, such as "ghouls" for "girls." Look up the word "pun." What are the puns in this movie's title?
- On DVD or streaming: July 7, 2015
- Cast: Cindy Robinson, Laura Bailey, Salli Saffioti
- Director: Dustin McKenzie
- Studio: Mattel Playground Productions
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Friendship, High School, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 61 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 6, 2023
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