In my travels to Orlando this summer, my pals and I discovered a world of Chinese knock-off toys the likes of which we’d never seen. Seriously. We spent about an hour taking pictures, laughing, and making purchases. We found everything from a line of Dino Ninjas (like Dino Gary) to a PCP videogame system to these Monster High bootlegs.
Monster High is a wildly popular toyline, and though I’m not a rabid collector, I have a couple of the dolls, since they appeal to my love of things like comic book-loving zombies and Dia de Los Muertos skeleton girls. If you’re not familiar with the line, it all started a few years ago with a San Diego Comic Con exclusive of Frankie Stein. Frankie is the fashionable daughter of Frankenstein’s monster and his bride. All of the characters in the line are the sons and daughters of famous movie and mythological monsters. The line is popular with both adults and kids alike, and there’s even a cartoon that goes along with it. I love that it’s an alternative to Barbie, and had this been around when I was a monster-loving little girl, I would have gone crazy! As it is, I had decided I only needed a couple, but the more I see, I realize that it could easily become a collection.
So back to these lovelies. I found three Monster High-scale knock-offs and one bizarre smaller homage. It seemed every seller who carried a large selection of Chinese knock-off toys had at least one variation of these dolls. They may have different packaging, but they all have one thing in common–they’re just as crappy as you think they’d be. And yet, there’s a beauty to them.
First up is Monster Girl. Right away you should notice two things. One, these dolls cost $2, and two, the label at their feet says “Popular Trend Best in Beauty” and that it’s supposed to be a “Monster-conic Lipgloss Set”. There is no lip gloss to be found here.
This one changes the Monster High logo just enough, but still manages to use images of Frankie Stein and the other main Monster High characters. Also, note how hard it’s trying to sell you on the fact that the doll is high quality and how wonderful the styles are. HIGH QUALITY FASHION DOLL! YELLING! So let’s see how wonderful she really is.
Out of the box (ignore the errant speaker and mouse cables), you’ll see that Fakie Stein here is a simple doll with five points of articulation: arms, legs, and a swivel head. This is in direct contrast to the original Monster High dolls, who are super posable. This poor girl can’t even stand on her own, which is why she’s leaned up against a crappy tiki cup on my desk. Her dress is pretty cool, though, I have to say, and her face kinda looks like Amanda Seyfried. I don’t know if that’s a selling point or not, but I did notice it. She definitely matches the style of Monster High, what with the big head and small body.
Next up is Devil Girl. Again, note the $2 price tag and that these say “Fashion Girl Happy Every Day.”
The left doll is definitely the Devil Girl version of one of my favorites, Ghoulia Yelps, the zombie.
Here’s the back of the Devil Girl (oops, I mean “Devil Igrl”) box. You’ll notice the graphic is the same as the previous sample, with a few changes to color scheme. There’s also a poem, contemplating the purpose of pretty girls and fashion in bringing joy to life.
And next we have the most blatant of rip-offs. This one is a boxed set of three dolls, representing the main characters of bootleg Monster High: Fake-u-laura, Faux-deen, and Fakie Stein. The Fakie is the same as the one in the Monster Girl box, except this time her dress is a bit fancier. They are, the box shouts once again, “HIGH QUALITY FASHION DOLL!” I like that we get “each type of wonderful fun.”
This is the only set that comes with an accessory: a Monster High brush.
The back of the box is, once again, a blatant copy of Monster High artwork, with a repeat of the text on the front of the box.
Here we have the weirdest Monster High knock-off I encountered on my travels: Ghost Girl. You can see they’re going for the Monster High aesthetic, but these dolls are about four inches tall. I found the pink one first, and she’s by far the biggest mess, with her fleshtoned head and pink body.
These dolls guarantee a “Happy Horror Party”. I don’t know what that is, but I’ve seldom heard “Horror” and “Party” used in the same sentence and it turn out well.
I love the back of this package. It may be my favorite of all the bootleg boxes. It definitely has a Monster High feel to it, even down to “Be Yourself. Be Unique. Be a Monster.” But the best part is the clip art of Boo from the Super Mario Bros. franchise. It’s like the person designing this package said, “Hmm, she’s a Ghost Girl, so I should put a ghost here. I know! I’ll use this one from the video games.”
This doll is super cute, but her feet are so tiny that they can’t support the rest of her body. Also, the picture makes it look like her legs are not the same length. That would make standing a challenge, but since she’s a ghost, I guess she didn’t think she needed to stand.
So let’s take a look at one of these dolls with their Monster High counterparts. As you can see, Fakie is a bit shorter than Skelita and Ghoulia, and everything about her is simpler. It’s okay, Fakie, I love you.
All in all, I spent $16 collecting the different versions of these that I found. I actually did find one more variation, but by the time I found it, I already had a bag full of Monster High bootlegs, so I left it to discover another time. And the last time I was at my local Dollar General, I noticed they had a line called Gothic Girl (I think). They’re fun, especially if you can find them for $2 like I did. They would make a good transitional doll for kids who are too young or destructive to appreciate Monster High dolls. Plus, the packaging alone makes them worth the price.
So how about you, gentle readers? Have you encountered any fun knock-off toys at discount stores or flea markets?