There are currently two dolls in the Sweet Screams collection: Frankie and Draculaura. The dolls are Target exclusives and cost $21.99. The story behind these dolls is that the Monster High gang is having a sleepover ("creepover") and Draculaura gets up in the middle of the night for a snack. She eats a ton of mysterious candy and then goes back to sleep. The sweet snack somehow ensnares both Draculaura and Frankie in a sticky candy-laden nightmare. Neither ghoul enjoys the dream, but Frankie appreciates her stylish dreamland outfit. Let's take a look:
|Monster High's "Sweet Screams" Frankie Stein.|
The Sweet Screams boxes are overloaded with neon decorations.
The back of the box is atypical for Monster High and is dominated by a giant blue and black swirl with text from the Sweet Screams story:
It's hard to read in a circle, so here's the text:
"How did I get here, this isn't right. I didn't eat candy at all last night!" But not being a ghoul to give into despair, Frankie decided to wake up right then and there...only she didn't. She thought to herself, "Well, this is annoying, I always wake up from dreams I'm enjoying." Frankie was not enjoying this one, for sure, although she did kind of like her stylish candy couture."
Both the front and the back of the box have a cartoon of Frankie frantically eyeing handfuls of candy, while being swarmed by angry-looking winged sweets:
The front of the box displays the Frankie doll against a frantic, bright background. She's surrounded by more mean-looking flying candy:
This box gives me a headache. It is so bright and busy, it literally makes my eyes hurt. I guess this is appropriate for a candy nightmare! Despite the glare, I was fascinated by the atypical color choices, and intrigued by the little candy version of Watzit:
The cluttered background scene makes it tricky to see what Frankie comes with. She has Watzit, and is carrying a red purse. There's also a small book tucked into the lower right side of the box, and the base of a stand:
The rest of the stand is tucked into the back of the cardboard backdrop--along with a black brush:
|A trick borrowed from Ever After High?|
|That is disturbing.|
Frankie's book tells the first part of the Sweet Screams story, including the excerpt that is printed on the back of the box. The story is meant to be continued, so there will be another wave of Sweet Screams dolls.
My favorite illustration in this book is the one showing Frankie embracing little candy Watzit:
The Watzit figure is made out of slightly translucent red vinyl. He has candy cane legs and ears that look like wrapper twists:
Watzit has swirly, mismatched eyes, white fangs and a blue tongue hanging out of one side of his mouth. My Watzit's blue eye is not printed in exactly the right location:
This is a really neat idea, but the figure itself is not as cute as the normal Watzit...I think the crazy eyes are a little alienating, and the red is very overpowering. A mix of candy colors would have been really fun.
Frankie's purse is made out of the exact same red vinyl. It also has a strange face with blue and white painted decorations.
One of the purse's eyes is swirly, the other is meant to look like a wrapped candy. The mouth is a crooked series of blue segments that's probably meant to be the same thing as those tentacles drawn on the box. It reminds me of an earthworm.
At first, I didn't think that the purse opened. However, it does have a small slit at the top that can be pried apart. This is about as open as I can get it to stay for a picture...
...and it very quickly clamps down again. Whenever I open this purse, I feel like it's trying to bite my finger.
I think this purse is a big part of Frankie's nightmare!
Let's look at Frankie herself. There's a lot going on in this doll's head area:
She has black and white striped bangs, long white hair with black and red streaks, and a plastic hair ornament:
The hair ornament is tied with black thread onto a bouffant at the top of Frankie's head:
The thread is coming loose on my doll and her hair was messy right out of the box, especially on the left side.
The piece of Frankie's hair that is pulled up into a bouffant is tied at the back in a small ponytail. The rest of the hair is loose...and very long.
Here is the hair before (L) and after (R) brushing:
The hair fiber is very soft and silky and brushes out beautifully. I really love the additional red streaks in this doll's hair.
Frankie has long black dangle earrings with dripping candy shapes at the end. At first, I couldn't pull one of the earrings out, and worried that Monster High earrings had gone the way of Barbie and become unremovable. In retrospect, that might have been better than what was actually going on.
What was actually keeping the earrings from pulling out was the huge glob of glue inside Frankie's head. Her head is rock hard (bad sign) and when I finally managed to yank the earrings out, they were coated in icky yellow glue. Barf.
|Made in Indonesia!|
Anyway, Frankie's elaborate face distracted me from the glue, at least for the time being. This doll has some of Frankie's hallmarks--like her mismatched green and blue eyes and facial scar, but the colors are very bright and there are several additional details, like her bright candy stripe lips:
Frankie's blue eye is a very bright, pale blue, and the same color is used for her eyebrows and her scar. She also has crooked blue swirls under each eye. This blue color seems overused.
She has broad bands of pink around her eyes and little black dots at the tips of her eyelashes.
Her left eye is a bright primary green. The pupils of both eyes are oddly shaped. They are not circular or symmetric.
I am not sure why the pupils are this shape--perhaps they are supposed to look like pieces of candy? Or maybe it's just to increase the sense of unease around this doll's outlandish face. To me, a focused gaze would have been a nice anchor point for all of the craziness.
Frankie's hands are painted with red and black fingerless gloves. She's also wearing bracelets on each wrist, but both bracelets are red.
The right arm has a red glove and a red bracelet that looks like a ring of dripping red candy balls:
There's some red paint spray on the fingers:
The left arm has a shiny black glove and a red twisted bracelet that reminds me of licorice:
There's a lot going on with Frankie's outfit, too. She has a black and white striped dress, a shiny red vinyl jacket tied with a belt, and a red and black striped tie...that hangs under her neck bolts.
|It makes my head spin!|
The tie comes attached to Frankie with clear rubber bands:
The tie has a piece of black and red candy for the knot. This would have worked better if it was white and black, like a real peppermint candy. I think Mattel just decided not to break out the white vinyl for this doll--all of the accessories are red or black.
The belt is black bendable vinyl, and has a swirly, dripping design. I think the belt is great and reminds me of Dr. Seuss (as do many of the outfit's elements):
It has a small peg and hole clasp in the back:
Under the belt. Frankie's jacket has a small velcro closure. The jacket has an oversized collar and an uneven hem cut to look like it's dripping:
The black stripes in the dress are also made to look like they're dripping:
|Why is all of the candy melting?|
The jacket has a back seam and is nicely fitted:
There's a lot of detail crammed into this jacket--it seems a bit tortured. It doesn't lay flat, and has several puckers and creases. Granted, it looks much better on the doll (and with the belt) than off the doll all by itself.
I really like the oversized collar and the black cuffs on the sleeves:
Under the jacket is an adorable striped sundress with a short, full skirt and a dropped waist. The dress is made out of a very stiff, shiny fabric.
|I love this dress.|
The dress closes in back with velcro. The fold that you might notice in the back of the skirt is because there's a bunch of extra fabric in this area of the gathered waistline. There are actually several large puckers in the waistline of this dress where it isn't gathered evenly.
There's a tinsel-lined tulle underskirt on this dress which looks wonderful:
|Again, this is very reminiscent of Dr Seuss.|
I wondered if the belt could be worn with just the dress--it can, but it doesn't sit in an ideal location for the low waistline:
Frankie is wearing red sandals with straps that twist and drip their way around her lower legs:
The straps are very flexible, and can be pulled up to reach Frankie's knees, or scrunched down to a mid-calf height.
The shoes have black, dripping wedge heels. These look great, but the doll is not able to stand up in these shoes because the soles are bumpy and uneven:
All along the border of the heel, there are little red candy decorations:
Here's Sweet Screams Frankie undressed, next to my Scary Tales Threadarella Frankie. You can see that even without their clothes, these dolls are quite different. Sweet Screams Frankie has larger, wider eyes, and all of her scars are painted bright blue and silver--rather than Threadarella Frankie's traditional black and silver.
|Scary Tales Frankie, Sweet Screams Frankie.|
Also, Sweet Screams Frankie (on the right, below) has plain grey neck bolts--not metallic silver like my other Frankie dolls.
I have to say, I much prefer the precise, metallic look of Threadarella's scars. Sweet Screams Frankie's body paint does not seem as carefully done.
After I was finished taking all of my pictures for this review, I decided to let Frankie's lovely hair down and see what the style was like underneath that headdress.
The hair decoration is thin and black and mine has two bent prongs that were meant to stick into Frankie's bouffant.
Here's the hair without the plastic ornament:
The bouffant is achieved with a doubled-over ponytail. I undid the tie at the back of Frankie's head first, and this revealed a section of hair that was folded back toward Frankie's face and tied with several clear rubber bands:
The hair is really messy with all of the rubber bands removed:
I never like boiling the hair on dolls with glue-filled heads. I often get some glue leakage into the hair, and the smell isn't good. I did a very quick dip for Frankie, just to get all of the kinks out. You can see how her hair has two areas of red--one towards the back of her head, and one near her face:
Here's the hair after it has dried--now it's easy to see the band of red hair that is close to Frankie's face:
The hair is nicely rooted all over, and feels great. It could be fun to re-style this hair and play with the two bands of red.
I am not wild about the plastic hair ornament, but I will admit that I prefer this doll's hair up in it's factory style. I am not sure how well this style would withstand heavy play, especially given how poorly attached my doll's headpiece was. Still, I'd recommend keeping the up-do intact for as long as it will hold. It really compliments the overall appearance of the doll.
Here are a few more pictures of Frankie, taken before I released her hair.
I was constantly thinking about candy as I was playing with this doll--her black and red theme made me covet Twizzlers, in particular. So, I made Frankie a sticky little Twizzlers couch:
She finds it very relaxing--I just hope it doesn't remind her too much of her nightmare!
This doll also makes me think about striped peppermint candies. Yum.
Frankie thinks they are the perfect accessory!
Bottom line? This doll is too over-the-top crazy for my taste, but I like the creativity in her design. She is not like any other Monster High doll I have owned. Everything from her neon, mind-bending box to her dripping outfit and psychedelic face paint are distinct...and a little unnerving. I am a big Monster High fan, but have been feeling like lately many of the releases look too similar. Dolls like the grinning, yellow-haired Clawdia and this sticky-sweet Frankie are welcome standouts in the ever-growing crowd.
The quality control issues with my doll are about the same as I have experienced with other recent Monster High purchases. There are no huge flaws, but the sloppily-sewn dress, wrinkly jacket and loose hair piece were minor distractions. The biggest problem I have with this doll is that her head is filled with disgusting glue...that oozes into her hair and sticks to her earrings. I am finding this to be a serious deterrent when I consider purchasing a new Monster High doll.
Despite the flaws, this doll has some wonderful elements. Her dress is cute and looks perfect with her striped bangs. The jacket's bold, shiny red color fits nicely with the candy theme and looks great on the doll--especially with the belt. The shoes are typically fantastic, with their vine-like straps and dripping heels. I just wish the bottoms of the shoes had been flattened so that Frankie could stand on her own. The little Watzit figure is a clever addition, although he looks a little spacey. I think the red streaks in Frankie's hair add something special, making this my favorite Frankie hair ever.
Candy usually evokes such happy thoughts, so the idea of a candy nightmare is bound to produce conflicting emotions. This doll and her packaging produce a lot of mixed feelings in me, which I suppose means that the theme has been successfully conveyed at some level. Frankie's many bold features pull together to create a zany, slightly disturbing interpretation of a candy nightmare.