Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Zombie Shake Venus McFlytrap and Rochelle Goyle

I really like when dolls take me by surprise. Sometimes, photos of dolls are released and I love them immediately, and it's just a matter of finding them on the shelf and taking them home. Other times, I see pictures and I'm not sure, or I'm pretty sure I don't like a doll, and then I see them in person and something changes. This set is definitely one of those ones that surprised me, but I think there's more to it that just the dolls themselves.

The Zombie Shake sets have been turning up in the US for a little while now, but I hadn't gone out of my way looking for photos of them or anything. I'd seen the promos and wasn't super excited, mainly because I didn't (and still don't!) understand why there's a whole line of zombie themed dolls in fancy outfits, and Ghoulia isn't part of it! In addition to Venus and Rochelle, there is another two pack of Meowlody and Purrsephone, the werecat twins, and after watching the Zombie Shake webisode, these are the only characters who do get a new look for the dance. The webisode is worth watching though; it's a take on Monster Mash, and Ghoulia does at least play a pretty big part!

Anyway, that's a lot of words to tell you that I like these two more than I expected to, once I was able to take my Ghoulia-goggles off and enjoy them on their own merits, and not think of what could have been. Could it be that this is my favourite Rochelle ever? Maybe...Click through to see more!

As always, we start with a look at the box! I really like the cartoon versions of them for this line, I just love their poses and how stylized they are. Very cool!

Also, the backdrop of the box is pretty interesting! It's obviously the gym at Monster High decorated for the Zombie Dance, but what's interesting is the silhouettes. We've got Deuce there on the back right, and on the left, there's what looks like a unicorn girl that we've never seen before. A hint of what's to come, maybe? The front row is interesting too. On the left there's some kind of cat boy, which would be interesting since we've never had a male werecat, outside of the puma Create-a-Monster. On the right is a three-eyed girl who is probably the Create-a-Monster, and in the middle, we have a background character that we now know is Gilda Goldstag! She's the daughter of the Golden Hind of Greek myth, and we'll be seeing her in a 5-pack called "We Are Monster High" with Scarah, Lagoona, Cleo and another Slo Mo! I love when Mattel manages to surprise us, and this was definitely a surprise!

Here's a quick picture of Gilda before we move on, because how cute is she? I love her horns and her funky hair. Can't wait for her!

Okay, back to the issue at hand: Zombie Shake! Here are Venus and Rochelle out of their box. They each come with a stand, which is awesome, and one brush which will go in the bag with all the others. They do come with a diary that is supposed to tell the story of how they all become infected with a strange zombie disease that makes them all want to dance, but...

Because I have the international version, this is the entirety of the English text. It's supposed to be a conversation between Venus and Rochelle but that isn't clear here, and this also tells us nothing about the story. I'd almost rather have no diary than one in this many languages because of how much the story suffers, and I can only imagine that people who speak the other languages and also only get one small paragraph probably feel similarly. It's frustrating!

But, it really is all about the dolls, isn't it? The diary is just a bonus, so the real question is...are the dolls awesome? I'm going to start with Rochelle, and she is definitely awesome! I have most of Rochelle's current releases with the exception of Scaris (though I do have the outfit!) and Swim Class, and I can say without question that this is my favourite Rochelle yet. Her hair, her makeup, her outfit, her shoes...it's all amazing!

I've always thought Rochelle had a lovely face, very quiet and serene compared to some of the other Monster High characters. I like how this doll manages to maintain that serenity but carries the heavy, fierce makeup beautifully. I love the addition of the bright blue to her colour scheme; it reminds me of her Dance Class doll, which was one of my favourite Rochelle's before this one. The blue eyeshadow makes her eyes look huge and bright, and I love the blue on her lips as well. Even though the matching shadow and lipstick is maybe a strange choice, I'm glad Mattel didn't go with a bright pink on her lips, which I feel would have been the other obvious choice. The blue is much more fun!

Rochelle also has "cracks" painted on one side of her face. I like how this represents the creeping infection, but also makes design sense since Rochelle is made of stone. I actually think it would be cool if she had cracks painted on her all the time, like Frankie's stitches.

Her hair is a bit wonkus though, and I'm not sure what to do about it. From the front it looks like a cut pile of curls, but from the side, half the ponytail droops kind of sadly and just hangs there. At least it looks adorable from the front, right?

The majority of her hair is cotton candy pink, shot through with thick streaks of teal and black, and she has nice, round bangs. Her bangs sit really nicely across her forehead which isn't always the case, so yay!

On top of her head she's wearing a black headband molded like wrought iron, and topped with a little blue brain and a spray of black tulle with gold sparkles. This is an incredibly cute head piece!

Moving down, we can see she also has cracks on her upper arm and lower leg, tying everything together.

Her dress is so cute, and I would like to have one in grown-up sizes! Underneath, there's a dress with a sweetheart neckline, overlaid with black tulle gathered up to her neck. The tulle is covered in multi-coloured glitter, and the hemline of both the dress and the overlay are jagged and torn, which feels very appropriate for a zombie dance! The dress underneath is black with a hot pink foil pattern that looks like a rose window. Rochelle always has really great details like look like carved stone or wrought iron, but I like the addition of stained glass, especially something as gorgeous as a big rose window. I studied medieval history in university, and you spend a lot of time studying the architecture of  old churches and things, so little details like this make me smile!

She's also wearing a bright blue belt with a fleur de lis in the centre, and I totally put this belt on upside down after I removed the plastic band that was underneath it in the package. Get used to it, because I'm pretty sure I put Venus' on upside down too and didn't notice till after I'd taken the photos. Oops!

She wears a bracelet on each wrist, one blue and one black. The blue one is simple, just resembles cracked stone, and the black one matches the texture of her headband. I should also mention that she has clawed hands, like we sometimes see on the werecats or Howleen.

Now, onto her shoes! These shoes, I can't even tell you. They are just so, so great. From the front they're pretty simple...

But from the back and side? Wow! On the back of each heel there's a little perching gargoyle, who is actually (I'm pretty sure) Rochelle's pet Roux! Along both sides of the shoes are molded stained glass windows that make me think of Gothic architecture. The heels are made to look like twisted iron, like the kind of bars you'd find in a fence or gate. I absolutely love all the details in her shoes, and these were one of the best surprises about getting these dolls out of their box, because I hadn't seen anyone talking about the shoes. I mean, Monster High often has incredible shoes, but these are high on my person list of best ever.

Her purse is simple, but it continues the stained glass theme nicely, with a large rose window in the centre, and a tall, thin window on either side. The other side of the purse has the same pattern, but it's not painted.

So that's Rochelle! Right now, she is definitely my favourite Rochelle! She's everything I've always liked about Rochelle but turned up a bit, and I think she carries it off really well.

I probably wouldn't have thought to put Rochelle in a line like this, though I'm not sure why, but she owns everything about this look!

I think that Rochelle alone is awesome enough that I've have bought this set just for her, but luckily, her partner is pretty awesome too, so let's take a look at Venus McFlytrap!

As much as I obviously loved Rochelle, Venus is pretty awesome in her own right. I have three other Venus dolls, and it's a close race for my favourite between this one, Ghoul's Night Out and her original doll. I'm singing her amazingness from the rooftops like I did with Rochelle, but it's only because they came packaged together than I'm even comparing. Venus is definitely awesome!

Her face is done in a similarly monochrome fashion to Rochelle's, with green eye shadows and dark green lips. I really like the dark green lips, and the varying shades of green in her eyeshadow gives her eyes depth.

Where Rochelle had cracks in her stone to represent the zombie infection, Venus has scrolling vines. I love how they didn't try to make them both the same, and let their individual features colour how the zombie infection is represented.

Venus always has nice hair, soft and silky, but I think this is her first doll with curls! Her hair is soft and fluffy with no styling product at all that I can feel, which is really awesome. Usually Monster High dolls with curls have super crunchy or sticky hair, so it's a nice surprise just how wonderful her hair feels. The shaved side of her head is printed with the outline of a brain, which I think is a brilliant touch. Her hair is the usual mix of pink and green with the addition of wide black streaks. I like how wide the streaks are; it really makes for a very dramatic look!

She also has a pretty huge, awesome hair accessory wrapped around her ponytail featuring curling vines. I like how it doesn't follow the lines of her hair exactly, but stick up and out kind of wildly. It's very cool! She also has a vine earring in one ear that curves up to follow the line of her ear. I'v always loved Venus' ears and how they look like leaves, complete with little veins. So cute!

Venus usually has some kind of coiled vine accessory, but this doll really takes it to the next level! She has a vine choker that climbs up nearly to her chin, and curls down onto her chest.

And she has vines that wrap around her wrists. I particularly like the one that curls down to wind around her thumb, like the zombie infection is causing it to grow out of control. She's also wearing one black spiked cuff, and her hands are the same clawed shape as Rochelle's, but with the leafy texture that Venus' hands always have.

The vines continue on down her legs, where they wrap around her shoes.her shoes aren't as amazing as Rochelle's, but with their bright colour and toothy grin on the front, they're still pretty great!

Her dress is similar to Rochelle's in that it's made up of a fairly simple dress overlaid with tulle. Venus' dress has a pointed sweetheart neckline, and is black with a print green foil pattern. It kind of looks like an oversized zebra print to me, but it's probably meant to evoke leaves. This is overlaid with a hot pink tulle that starts as sleeves, and gather to a full skirt around her waist. The hems on both pieces of this outfit are tattered, as on Rochelle's. Venus is also wearing a belt that I put on upside down, and her is made up of very large, sharp teeth. It's a little cockeyed here from posing her, but it frames her waist nicely.

Her purse is super cute! It's bright green, and has a sort of translucent, jelly-like look to it. It has some molded teeth on the front, and painted buckles and zippers. It's pretty simple but for some reason I really like it.

And that's Venus! She's not quite as amazing as Rochelle, but on her own, she's a really great doll. Like, if Rochelle is an A+, Venus is an A-.

I love posing them with these clawed hands! It really gives them character.

Don't let her get you!

Now that I've looked at them both, they had to get back together. It is the zombie dance after all, and it's not as fun to dance alone.

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand

Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize your neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down

Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years

And grisly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller!

What do you think of these ghouls? Have you caught the Zombie Shake? This may have been a pricey set, but I am really happy I got it! I love the theme, I love the outfits, the dolls themselves are gorgeous...basically what more could I want? Now to decide if I want the werecat twins or not...

(photo captions from Michael Jackson's Thriller, of course!)


  1. I bought this set and fell in love with Rochelle (she's the primary reason I wanted it anyway). I would have probably been warmer on Venus had I not A) Lost her purse within a day and B.) She didn't have a touch of wonk.

    1. Well, Rochelle is definitely worth the price of admission, I think! Venus is great, but Rochelle is even better. That's the tricky thing about multipacks, for me, there's always one GREAT doll and at least one meh doll, or one with a wonky eye haha

  2. I love this set! I liked Rochelle's promo pictures for all the darkness and Venus' makeup (at first I thought it was a custom!). I didn't know which one I like more, then I found out they come in a set - problem solved! :D I hope I can find this set somewhere because I love everything about it. Thanks for sharing detail pictures. I didn't notice the stained glass rosette on Rochelle's dress under the tulle until you showed it here. And the shoes - wow!

    1. I hope you can find it too, it really is a great set! I love looking at detail pictures, and sometimes they can be hard to find for Monster High so I make sure to take them :)

  3. Loving your reviews, as ever! If the other two-pack had contained any mix but the two twins, I might have gotten this one instead; all those tiny details and outrageous fashion choices really make this a hard miss! Contrary to everyone I think it's Venus I prefer of the two- her hair and vines really nail this wild, extravagent and yet solid MH look. Also, how many play-dolls come with dark green lipstick that fits the wearer perfectly? I simple adore dolls with unusual lip colours, and all four dolls from this line really nail that right on the head.

    But in the end it's really the twins that wooed me over, though I'm hard-pressed to find really detailed pictures of them online. Not such a huge MJ fan but that thriller outfit is really really cool, plus I don't own a copy of them yet, so there was no way I could say no to this line (even if it cost a fortune to buy and ship on Amazon)!

    1. I totally agree about the unusual lip colours! A lot of my favourite MH dolls have unconventional lipstick (scooter Ghoulia, ILF Frankie) and I really love that these two do as well! As I said, Venus is amazing, and if they didn't come packed together I wouldn't even be comparing them. Mattel really knocked it out of the park with this set!

      I don't yet own any version of the twins, but this might be the one! I'm going to wait till they start making it to other stores around here and hope for a sale though...I just wish they got more individual outfits, and not just basically the same but in mirrored colours. They deserve to have their own looks!