Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Zombie Shake "Rochelle Goyle" and "Venus McFlytrap"--A Guest Review!

Over the summer, several of you asked if I would consider reviewing the Zombie Shake versions of Rochelle Goyle and Venus McFlytrap.  Within weeks of those requests, almost like magic, I got an email from Katla, a lovely Monster High fan from Sweden.  Katla emailed to ask if I would be interested in a guest review of this exact Zombie Shake pair...and of course I eagerly said yes.  Not only was Katla's email brilliantly-timed, but this is a set that I have been curious about myself.  I think Venus and Rochelle are two of the most interesting and unique Monster High characters.

I've really enjoyed getting a look at this fabulous zombie pair through Katla's artistic, detail-oriented eyes, and I hope you will, too.

Zombie Shake Venus and Rochelle
Zombie Shake "Rochelle Goyle" and "Venus McFlytrap," by Monster High.
Hello all you readers of Emily's fantastic blog!  My name is Katla, I'm 21 years old, from Sweden and this is my very first time reviewing a toy.  I've been collecting Monster High dolls for a couple of years and I'm really head over heels in love with this doll line, but I absolutely enjoy other toy and doll brands as well.

In this review I'm going to show you Zombie Shake Rochelle Goyle & Venus McFlytrap, which will be really fun for me since the original Rochelle was my very first Monster High doll, and on the other side, Venus is a completely new character for me!

These dolls recently showed up here in Sweden (it takes time for new toys to reach us up here in the north, if they come at all...).  I got them for the price of 449 SEK at my local toy store which, according to Forex, translates into $65.80 US.  If you live in America you can get them for about $30 on Amazon.

This is how the box looks:

It looks like a typical Monster High box with a black and purple theme.  It's a bit larger than the usual boxes of course, since it's a two-pack.

You can clearly see the dolls, and their names are printed in front of them.  There is no text that tells about this being the Zombie Shake line though.

There is an illustration of Rochelle and Venus in the right corner, and they look REALLY serious (or sad?) and are posing dramatically with their hands.

But if these girls are zombies, happiness wouldn't be a big priority, I guess!

This is the back of the box, it shows the full illustrations and gives us a good perspective of their outfits:

I get HUGE associations to Michael Jackson's music video for Thriller when I look at Venus' pose. It's pretty clever of Mattel to awaken the toy-buying parents' nostalgia!  Do you remember?  Thriller, thriller night...

Is there any information about the line on this box? Yes, actually!  You see the yellow-lined square at Rochelles feet?  Here is it up close:

It tells the reader to visit the internet page of Monster High to learn the "Zombie Shake" dance, but the text is really tiny.  Mattel should really write out the name of the doll lines better, like they did with 13 Wishes,for example.

Time to remove the plastic box!

Now you can clearly see how the dolls look tied to the cardboard under the skullette-shaped, purple disco ball:

Their hands are actually bound together with a little clear rubber band, I found that a bit cute!
I also noticed that there are a lot of unnecessary plastic strips and wrappings...

Here are two of the plastic strips, one around Rochelle's waist and one on Venus's purse:  

There were more, and it didn't seem that they had any big purpose since there where plastic ties and rubber bands also.  I don't get it.

And yes, about plastic ties...

And greasy stains...

These itty-bitt-tiny ties, that apparently came from Rochelles wings, were really annoying!  

Every scissor I had was too big to cut them, and they were so tightly-set that I couldn't drag the ends out with a tweezer to make room for the scissor.  Another person might just massacre the cardboard, but I wanted to keep it whole for the review, so that wasn't an option for me.  After a looong time, I damaged one of them enough to get it through its tiny little hole.

Here's the cardboard free from the dolls and the other stuff that was attached to it:

There are two rows of characters dancing.  The characters in the front row are lined in yellow, I think it's a male rat/cat, Gilda Goldstag and maybe the Create-A-Monster 3-eyed ghoul?  The figures in the back row are lined in violet, and the first one is really hard to see, but the second seems to be a female unicorn and the third looks like Deuce Gorgon.

Here's everything that came in the box:

The little "diary" has a lot of text in it, but it's actually only the same piece of text repeated again and again in twelve (!!) different languages:

It seems that Ghoulia has been up to something in the lab and the result of her work is turning everybody into dancing zombies!  I'm glad that they only dance and not eat each other's brains, like normal (or stereotypical) zombies do!

Okay, let's take a look at our dancing zombies!  Since Venus is totally new for me, I will start with her.  The doll box has no information about her, more than her name, but I know already that she's the daughter of the plant monster.

Green, black and pink takes up the majority of her color scheme, but there is also a very tiny bit of white and metallic.

She's wearing a short party dress together with a green belt:

It's a two-layered, pink tulle piece with tiny bits of pink glitter over a tighter piece of black tricot fabric with printed wide stripes of green metallic and thin stripes of white.  It opens and closes in the back with velcro.

Her green belt is fastened with a little plug and a hole:

The belt snaps off and on very easily, and here you can see it on its own:

The mold resembles grass or leaves to me.  The belt is very flexible and is probably made out of soft vinyl. 

I decided to undress Venus to get a better look at her dress, but...easier said than done!

It got a little bit tight here...
Eventually I got the dress off and got better pictures of the fabrics.

The pink tulle is actually cut into petal-like shapes on the edge, but they are very twisted and hard to photograph.  Tried to catch the glitter!

On her feet, Venus is wearing two hot pink shoes with wedge heels together with separate green plant creeper vines.

The shoes have thorns at the heels, and smirks with fangs in the front.  They are very steady and I'm positive that Venus will be able to stand in them on her own!

Are they alive? Isn't it slavery to own living creatures (and literally walk all over them)?  Or has she slayed a couple of her enemies and sees them as trophies?  So many questions...

The plant creepers have thorns as well.

These are made out of transparent green flexible vinyl.  Their molds are mirror images of each other, but the packaging or something have made them a bit different.

Venus is wearing 3 different bracelets, two on her right arm, and one on her left:

More plant creepers!

The creeper on her right arm has a long loop that goes down to her hand, and it seems to be supposed to go around a finger.  Both the right and the left creeper are made of the same flexible vinyl as the ones on her lower legs.

The long creeper has the company of a black, spiked bracelet made out of hard plastic which is difficult to photograph (the color really absorbs the spikes).

I decided to put the dress on Venus again, and this time there were no problems with her hips!
Instead, her thumbs wanted to make things a bit more difficult...

Her shoulder joints are remarkably stiff, which does not help with the dressing either.  But don't worry, I got it on without damaging the fabric.

Around her neck, Venus has...another creeper!

It's shaped in a C-curve and does not close in the back.

Venus is wearing a pretty special earring:

Instead of hanging off her earlobe, this earring is leaning against her whole pinna.  It's a bit hard to see the mold, but I believe that it is three round berries/fruits/nuts with leaves all around.

I placed it on a stand to catch the light better.

See?  One, two, three round things.
If the round things are berries, fruit or other seed-carriers, does that mean that Venus is carrying her offspring (since she's part plant...) around on her EAR? o_o  Well, why not use your babies as a fashion accessory, I guess!

By removing the bab... *cough* earrings we uncover a very cute little leaf-shaped ear!

Only the right ear is pierced.

On her head, around her ponytail, she has a headband thingy that, thanks to the long spikes of creeper, reminds me a little of a crown.

Crown of thorns...
This piece is pretty tangled in to her hair--thorns and swirls do not go very well together with long hair.

Four crown "spikes" are visible, one is totally buried in that mess.
And it gets WORSE!

I tried to remove the crown/hairband, and of course it is bound to the ponytail with the same rubber band that holds her whole hairdo (how did they even manage to do that??)...

If I cut the rubber band, I will destroy the ponytail.
After a lot of bending and winkling, I got it off without cutting the band.

Here it is!

It's the same material as the previous creepers and it closes and opens in the same way as her belt.

Here are all of the accessories Venus was wearing:

Shoes, leg creepers, belt, bracelet creepers, black spiky bracelet, necklace creeper, earring and crown of thorn.

But...haven't we forgotten something?  Oh, yes. Venus' purse!

It's green, molded in one piece and does not open.  The purse itself is made of hard plastic, but the little holding strap is flexible.  As you can see, it has molded fangs around the opening (good security maybe? Who dares to steal something from a bag with teeth?!) together with some rivets, buckles and a zipper.  The metal parts are painted in a silver color in the front.

But as you can see here, the rivets are plain green on the purse's back.

Venus has the normal Monster High body, I cant find anything new except her hands.  The body is light neon green and the limbs are a bit mismatched with her torso, but it's nothing that disturbs me.

Her hands are in a grasping pose that matches the illustration on the doll box.  I don't understand the texture of these hands, though.  Why didn't they choose a more leaf vein-y design, like her ears?  These hands just look old and wrinkled.  Maybe the texture is supposed to represent bark?

Neon green bark.
Venus has very green face paint that does not stand out much.  However, it is very decorative with its little vines and goes well together with her overall look.

The only strong and bright color is a thin line of hot pink right on her eyelid, not even her own eye color or her eyebrows stand out very much.  Her makeup gives her a very calm (maybe a little bit tired) look that fits with the zombie theme.

Her lipstick is in a duller green and her painted fangs are white.

The paint goes a lot further than her lower lip does.
The paint doesn't follow the smile lines perfectly, either.
Let's move over to the hair.

You have already seen the hair here and there in previous pictures, but now we will get a little bit closer.

Venus' hair is mostly green with big streaks of pink and black in the front.  It is pulled up in a ponytail that sits on her left side, probably to show off the shaved side-cut that she has on her right side.

If you turn Venus around, you can see a lot of pink peeking out of the green though:

How green is the hair, for real...?

The side-cut on her right side is hot pink flocking with a black print.  The shapes of the print together with the pink color makes a perfect brain!

I learned by my mistake and will photograph the hair straight out of the box next time, but you can still see it pretty well in the first picture of Venus.

This is the overall look of the hair now, after all the mess she's been through.

I decided to grab the little brush that came with the dolls and tidy up the ponytail.

So, here are two post-brushing pictures.

I undid the rubber band to get a clear view of her hair color and to check up on the rooting.

And the result was...

It seems that they only put green in the outermost line of hair.  And yes, Venus should stay away from center-parted hairstyles.

After a lot of brushing, only a very few hairs were shed:

The ponytail was pretty easy to re-do, and now it's time for Venus to leave and give place for Rochelle instead!

But don't worry, she will return with some posing at the end!
(And yes, this photo was taken after re-doing her hair).
Here's Rochelle Goyle, daughter of the gargoyles from France:

Her color scheme is much duller than Venus', but the bright hair lightens it up.  Like Venus, Rochelle is also wearing a two-layered, short dress.

The design is very different from Venus' dress, but the concept is almost the same.  There's tulle with glitter over metallic-printed tricot, and a bright belt around the waist.

Here's the belt alone:

It's blue with molded swirls and a tiny french lily in the front.  It snaps on and off very easily.

I took the dress off Rochelle to get a better view of the fabrics (yes, this dress also got a bit tight around the hips).  Here's the printing of the tricot:

It is black tricot with metallic magenta print.  The pattern resembles the stained glass that you can find in churches, but also reminds me a lot of the original Rochelle's skirt.  You can see small skullettes in there, both the original Monster High skullette design and Rochelle's personal one (the ones with small ears and cracks in the foreheads).

The tulle is plain black, but has some pieces of glitter.

The glitter contains small flakes of blue, green and light orange.

Rochelle's shoes are black high heels with toe and ankle straps and a lot of molded details.

The pattern on the sides of the shoes seems to be small windows, not very different from the ones you can find on a church.  The high heels look a bit like pillars, but they are a slightly bent and appear weak.  Here's a better picture of the details of the mold, and it also shows a familiar face...

See, it's Roux!  Rochelle's pet gargoyle.
The shoes are really nice, but will Rochelle really be able to stand in these? I don't think so, but we will see...

Okay, on her left arm Rochelle has a black hard plastic bracelet with molded pattern.

Hm...Déjà vu?
While photographing this bracelet I couldn't get rid of the thought that I've seen it before somewhere.
So I went digging in my belongings and found a twin!

Zombie Shake Rochelle's bracelet (left) and original Rochelle's bracelet (right).
The older bracelet is a bit bigger and thicker, and the molded pattern is more clearly visible.
The new one looks miserable next to the original one.  Why did they re-use a poorly made version of an old mold?  Mattel, I'm disappointed.

On the right arm, Rochelle has a blue bracelet with molded cracks.

Here are the two bracelets together:

Rochelle has a headband of black plastic with a tulle flower/bow and a little blue something...a brain!

Is this what a brain looks like when you eat ice cream too fast and get brain freeze?
The tulle is black with small gold flakes and the head band has a mold that is very similar to Rochelle's bracelet.

That brain is very...cute, actually.
Can an organ be called "cute" in a non-insane way??
Sadly, the headband is attached to her head with plastic ties that go straight into her scalp.  I might remove it one day and glue a piece of elastic band to it, but not today.

Rochelle's bag is made of black plastic with molded stained glass windows.  One side has the details painted in blue:

But the other side hasn't:

Venus purse's strap was made of flexible plastic/rubber, but the strap to this one is not.  It is molded into a cool chain shape however!

Aren't chains more of a Spectra thing?
Well, actually I don't care--it looks good anyway!
This purse does not open, but it has a little tiny molded zipper (it would have been nice if it were painted in metallic).

So, here are all the (loose) accessories that came with Rochelle.

Shoes, belt, bag, bracelets.
Time to check Rochelle's body!

She has the normal Monster High body and some of you might already know, but Rochelle's skin color is a bit special since it has small flakes in her plastic to give bit a more realistic statue-look.  The original Rochelle had some problems with uneven amounts of flakes in different parts of the body, so you had to peek into the boxes before you bought the doll, otherwise you could get a Rochelle with some body parts significantly darker than others.

When I bought this Zombie Shake set, there was only one box with Rochelle and Venus and one with Purrsephone and Meowlody.  I guess they took up a lot of space and there was a clearance sale on older lines that needed most of the shelves.  Therefore, I didn't have a chance to compare bodies, but this Rochelle's flakes looks very even, so maybe I was lucky?

Rochelle has some cracks painted in black.  They are pretty sharp and don't look very realistic.
Here's a better picture of the ones on her arm:

She must dance pretty wild!
I decided to find my original Rochelle to compare them:

Left: Zombie Shake Rochelle
Right: Original Rochelle
The original Rochelle has way more flakes, they are smaller as well, and the plastic the flakes are blended into has a bit more of a warm color--with a touch of beige.  Zombie Shake Rochelle is just plain, cold grey.

Also, it seems that the new Rochelle has a flatter tummy.

The Zombie Shake leg is on the left.
Here's a comparison of their hands:

Zombie Shake hand (top) and original hand (bottom).
Rochelle's face paint is very different from Venus', they have totally different styles on their eyes.  Rochelle's eyes are bigger and therefore make her look younger and less mature than Venus.

Pink eyes and blue makeup make a good contrast and bring a lot of focus to her face, but it's very different from the box illustration (shown again here):

The slightly downward slanted eyebrows are typical for Rochelle and give her a shy or unsure look. In this case, they are painted in a very fair, grey color so they don't make her look as uncomfortable, especially not together with her smile.

Her lipstick follows her lip-mold better than Venus', with no paint below her molded lower lip.

But the lip paint still isn't perfect--it misses her smile line a bit.

It's quite worse on her right side:

It's hard to see in the previous pictures, but my Rochelle has glue or some hair product on her forehead.  It's probably from her bangs.

Or maybe brain fluids?
Rochelle's hair is very colorful and bright.  It's mainly pink but it also has a lot of blue--much more than the original Rochelle (my older Rochelle's head is undergoing a customization, so I don't have her hair anymore).

On top of that, there are some black streaks as well:

You can see her ear peeking up there--neither is pierced.
The hair is up in a ponytail and has being curled in a dramatic way.  The curls fall in two waves, or rows, on her right side, but only in one on her left:

Therefore, there is more hair to the right, and the back is very flat.

I really like Rochelle's curls and am afraid of ruining them by brushing or undoing the ponytail, so I will let her hair be.  I don't think I will find a perfect rooted row for center-parted hairstyles in there anyway.

I actually was going to sneak-peek at the rooting a little, but then I discovered this:

It doesn't look right down I do best leaving it alone.
Bonus-picture from above:

And now we're done with Rochelle!

Time for posing!

They can sit perfectly fine, but will they be able to stand?  I had to change locations for this moment, since fabric isn't very good for balancing.

Here's Venus first...

She stands like a queen!
The shoes are pretty steady, no problems at all with posing!

Rawwr, look at my bag!
The Zombie hands are actually very good for holding things, I discovered.

Is it raining?
What about Rochelle then, will she stand or are her shoes only made for their looks?


She staaaaands!
It took some time, and one of her heels is not touching the floor, but she does stand!

Hovering heel.
The sunset was coming, so I didn't have very much time for posing.  I tried some different camera settings and even used the flash a bit.  These following three are some of best shots I got with Rochelle and Venus standing together.

With flash.
Zombie dancing (Thriller, thriller night...)
Or are they fighting...?
I had tons of fun making this review, and I hope you did enjoy it!  Falling in love with these dolls is very easy, especially when you actually examine them closely like this, instead of just un-boxing them and placing them on a shelf.

Thank you a lot for reading!

Bye bye, all readers of Toy Box Philosopher's blog!


  1. I love it! I just wish there was a ghoulia in this line. She is a zombie after all!!!

    1. Thank you!
      And I agree with you, according to the story included in the diary, a mad scientist Ghoulia would fit!
      I know there is a Lab-set with her, but it's quite plain.

  2. Awesome review! I have this set of dolls, and I love them, but your review made me appreciate them even more.

  3. Totally awesome guest review! Thanks Katla and greetings from Finland :)

    1. Thank you very much, nice to see another notherner here! c:

  4. Great review, Katla! I love MH dolls especially the shoes. I bought that set too and just love it!

    1. Thank you, Queli!
      I also totally adore the well-detailed shoes of MH, it was actually their unique shoes and head-molds that made me start collect them :)
      I'm glad that you like the set as much as I do!

  5. Venus reminds me of Poison Ivy from DC's Batman

  6. Great Review! I got this set. It's amazing. Rarely are two packs equally balanced in awesomeness. My Venus doesn't have your colour problems. She is the same all over. At first I was attracted to the cat twins Zombie Shake set, but for some reason, I saw pictures of this set and it grew on me (so to speak!). Venus was promptly switched into a black ball gown. I like the contrast between her punkish hair and formal wear.

    I hadn't noticed the difference in Rochelle's box art. She really would look better with the darker eye makeup.

    1. Thank you!
      I know, they really succeed with the design of this pair!
      I'm so happy I got them because they are totally sold out everywhere here by now.
      I never understood the thing with the werecat twins though, why should I get two almost identical dolls with extremely similar outfits? :P
      I wish they would sell them parted... Then I would totally get one of them!

      I agree with you, a Rochelle with dull makeup would be really cool together with her skin color.
      The Rochelle I'm customizing right know will get dark brown eyes, I think they will suit her better than the usual bright pink ones.

  7. Great review, Katla! I never realized how cute Venus's leafy ears are :). Lovely photos!

    1. Thank you so much, Farrah, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :3

  8. Great review! They look so cute!
    - Zoë

    1. Thank you, Zoë! I totally agree with you c:

  9. Love the review! I appreciate the reviews done on the mainstream dolls because, without them, I would be missing out on a couple of very unique and cute lines. I have a few MH, but now I know I want that set, thanks to your excellent review of them (and those cute as heck ears on Venus!).

  10. Fantastic review! Also, I'm coveting Rochelle's outfit for myself. ;)

  11. Great review, Katla! Quick tip: fingernail clippers work really well for cutting the small plastic ties. They're also really good for cutting plastic ties out of doll hair.

  12. The ghoul to the left in the box art is Heath Burns!!!