Monster High: Fright On/Escape From Skull Shores (Blu-ray)

“A Double Feature to Die For!”

Monster High: Clawesome Double Feature (Blu-ray) is the latest offering from the Mattel brand of ghouls. They can be thought of as Barbie’s The Addams Family relatives. This time around there are two movies hosted on one disc and the theme of the movies is facing differences, both those within yourself and those found in others.

* Escape from Skull Shores
It’s time for spring break! But instead of fanging out the gang is distraught when their boat capsizes. Luckily they are rescued and it seems as though their trip to the Great Scarrier Reef may happen after all. That is, until their rescuer reveals his true colors and threatens not only their vacation but all of Monster High as well!

* Fright On!
As part of a school district experiment Monster High is going to open its halls to vampires and werewolves who had previously been attending schools where only their own kind were allowed. The fur flies and the fangs come out and it’s not long before everyone’s feeling the tension. But is it a simple case of prejudices or is there more going on than meets the eye?

The best part of this release is the two types of animation showcased. The Escape from Skull Shores boovie…er, movie, is presented with the now-standard computer animation while Fright On! offers an alternative which favors a more hand-drawn aesthetic. While this animation style has been used for some of the webisodes (a frequent special feature within the Monster High releases) this is the first time I have seen it used for one of the features.

It ties in well to the “being different” theme the Monster High gang deals with during these two movies. The stories tread well-worn paths as they tackle feeling like a freak and being scared of people who are different from you. But they are handled with kid gloves, not delving any deeper into the motivations behind the prejudices and worries the characters must face than is necessary to present the conflicts. This is a gentle persuasion, not an attack on anyone. Monster High: Clawesome Double Feature (Blu-ray) receives a recommendation because the message is worth promoting, the animation offers a new alternative for the features and the endless puns on all things horror still tickle me.

The CGI leads the way within the very well-done technical specs. The video is a 1080p high-definition transfer with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The pink hues are still the part of the palette which pops the most but there are some really lovely neon shades which also populate the landscape and provide punches of color to help elevate the black levels. The only issue I have is that certain elements of the animation feel as though they occupy their own space. For instance a claw may not look as though it fully connects with the physical space when it closes on someone’s arm. However these moments are few and far between. The audio options are almost an embarrassment of riches with two DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks as well as a DTS 5.1 track. Two DTS 2.0 tracks round out the offerings. Especially considering how much music plays a part within the Monster High releases the more audio options the better. I could not detect any of the standard issues such as non-integration of tracks’ levels or too soft leveling. The sound is great and never overpowers the visuals. It will offer a bit of a workout for your system.

The special features are two downloads, an UltraViolet as well as an iTunes option, as well as a DVD copy of the films.

I really appreciate the two types of animation offered within this “Clawesome” double feature. The Monster High gang continues to espouse the “Be Yourself” message Mattel is known for promoting so you don’t have to worry about what you’re learning. However, the differing animation styles may bother some youngsters who are used to their ghouls looking a certain way.


Fright on, ghouls! Fright on!

Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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