Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Ghouls Rule Cleo De Nile

Ghouls Rule has proven to be a popular line for Monster High. The clothes! The hair! The makeup! It's all so ridiculously over the top, and fans have loved it. Me, I'm not so into it. Sure, these dolls look ready for the kiki, and indeed tea may be spilled, and just desserts served. Fun stuff, but it's not my thing. That said, this line included my golden girl, Cleo De Nile, and I simply couldn't pass her up. Plus, of all the Ghouls Rule dolls, she looked the least like a drag queen on a bender. And sure enough, once I had her in my hands I found myself falling in love.

Cleo has shoulder length, tinsled black and turquoise hair. She has a bump-it in the back (borrowed from a drag queen bestie?). Her eyes are gorgeous -- green-yellow irises surrounded by navy blue shadow, with a gold strip through it that comes to her characteristic prongs. Small circular details accent the top and bottom. Her lips are gold. Both the eyeshadow and lips have glitter over them.

She wears a one piece dress with two layers over the bodice. The outer layer is nude and has turquoise stripes jutting off in geometric patterns, including over short sleeves. Under this is a layer of gold with an embossed print of circles; this layer is sleeveless. The layered effect is impressive, and the patterns emphasize her mummy theme. The bodice ends at the thighs, where a hem connects it to a skirt made of black netting. Over the netting lays mid-length turquoise strips that come to a point. Once again, impressive.

Cleo wears a cape. The neck piece is a gold, curving snake. It doesn't fasten but the curves of the snake's body are close enough to function in place of a clasp. Hanging from the snake's body are shards of black gauze with a shiny gold print. The cape is incredibly cool, especially since you can take the gauze pieces and wrap them around her arms. It's a dramatic look, no doubt -- her queenly friends taught her well.

Her shoes are dark green translucent heels, with nifty gold bricks working in place of a traditional heel. There's also a snake-like strap that wraps around each ankle. I love these shoes so much. They function well but break significantly from standard doll shoe design -- just what we love from MH. Plus they emphasize her Egyptian theme. They're spectacular.

All the Ghouls Rule dolls come with a masquerade ball-style mask. Cleo's is gold and features a twisting wand with molded ribbons hanging off the side. The wand has a working grip so she can hold it herself. If you position her hand and face correctly she can hold the mask up to her eyes and it fits! The design of the eyepiece looks a bit like molded, stylized feathers. When held by Cleo directly against her face the effect is almost eerie. She looks a bit creepy, like she could be in Eyes Wide Shut or something. I really love it.

Her only other worn accessories are gold earrings and a bracelet on each wrist. One earring is a curled snake while the other is a simple "jewel". The bracelets are both rather simple. She also comes with some non-wearable pieces including a molded turquoise... uh ... pumpkin I guess? It has a handle. Is Cleo going trick or treating? Because I seriously have doubts about that. She also comes with a punch bowl containing purple liquid that's held by gold snakes. It has a matching ladle and cup with straw.

The fun thing about this dress is you can "puff" up the netted skirt and it will hold it's shape, splaying the turquoise strips every which way. The same can be done with the gauze that make up the cape. The strips can be wrapped around her arms, her body, you could even wrap them around her neck if you wanted. (I bet Rochelle has considered this a few times.)

After falling so thoroughly in love with this Cleo I went back to the store to check out the other Ghouls Rule dolls, thinking maybe I had unfairly judged them. But no, I still don't like them. That's okay. I couldn't be happier with my seemingly drag-inspired Cleo. I suppose it's fitting that a girl of royalty would find kinship with the modern queens of our world.

Overall grade: A+ Although the other dolls in this line don't work for me I totally love this Cleo! I feel the OTT aspects of the line are tamed down a bit on Cleo, just enough to make it work for me. I also love that her Egyptian mummy theme is out in full force on this doll, and executed quite stylishly. This is one of my favorite Cleo's.


  1. You didn't mention her really really small hands! Much smaller than previous Cleo's and all other dolls too! I think they're so endearing! :)

    1. Hi Carol! Thanks for stopping by!

      I hadn't noticed it but you're right, those are some dainty hands. I wonder if they made them smaller to better fit the grip of her masquerade wand? Now I want to do a compare and contrast between Cleo's tiny hands and Abbey's gigantic monster mitts lol.

  2. You're very welcomey! :) i've visited your blog a few times, i'm a member over in the mh forum and decided to finally leave a comment because you didn't mention her dainty wee handies! :p

    Lol You may be right there! I have all the Ghouls Rule dolls and she definitely holds the mask better than the others but makes me wonder why they didn't change the other dolls hands, hmm. Tis a mystery! Maybe they just decided to try out a new hand mold, guess we'll find out when fearbook Cleo is released!

    1. Awesome, I love it when people from the forum stop by here to converse! Ooh, Fearbook Cleo, can't wait for her! And yes, guess we'll find out then!

  3. I'm surprised you don't really like this line, considering you love Jem & the Holograms and the 70's & 80's in general.
    Also, what's wrong with drag queens or cross dressers?
    I also noticed you also have Draculaura, Clawdeen & Abbey from this line, but not Frankie. Frankie is the best of the bunch, IMO, and the only one I actually have. I think she's the only ghoul who accurately portrays her monster heritage. Which, based on the movie, is the whole point of this line (and to celebrate Halloween, of course).

    1. I don't know, Listie... there's something almost baroque (but modernized) about this line that just doesn't gel with me completely. Also, costume-y. That said, the line has grown on me immensely since it was first revealed. Though it's it's till not my favorite by any means. There's certainly nothing wrong with drag queens and cross dressers, I just don't entirely want my dolls to have that look. As much as I love Frankie I felt like GR Frankie was almost a slap in the face to fans. She doesn't have the darkness of ILF FRankie or the creativity of Classroom Frankie or the subtle sophistication of Scaris Frankie or the funkiness of PD FRankie. GR Frankie is kinda like the McDonald's of Frankie dolls to me. ALL THAT SAID, if GR Frankie is your thing, more power to you, no judgement here. :)

    2. Oh, that's okay. I don't mind if you don't like her.
      I'm thinking about repainting her lips black, just to make her look a little edgier. If I do, I'll post pics on flickr.
      I'm also gonna have a go at drawing Clawdeen & Abbey in re-imagined GR outfits (when I can be bothered, heh).
      I like Clawdeen's jumpsuit thing, but she doesn't appeal to me. Abbey looks nothing like a Yeti, more like a sparkling winter princess (which appeals to little girls, but not to the older demographic).
      I'm inspiredby MJ's 'Thriller' outfit for Deena and Jem & the Holograms (and the Misfits) for Abbey. Or basically just the 80's in general.

    3. I drew a picture of Ghouls Rule Clawdeen how I would have done her.
      I'm not very good at drawing, but I gave it a go.
      I've explained the changes in the description.
      What do you think? Does it look better, or worse?
      I'm gonna do Abbey next. :)

    4. Your ideas for Clawdeen and Abbey sound pretty great. I can see them working! Abbey's colors are already pretty 80's-esque, so amping that up will be a natural fit for her. If you do the drawings I want to see them! Sounds like a fun project!

    5. Just now saw your other comment with the drawing. Love it! The lightning bolt over the eye is a great touch, very Misfits! I like the released doll's hair better, but your bodysuit is much better! Can't wait to see Abbey.

    6. Thanks! It's not a lightning bolt, it's supposed to be a bloodied-up scar. (like she got into a fight or something.)
      The hair is supposed to be a mohawk/fauxhawk with flocked/shaved sides. would you like it better if it was a different colour? Or longer?

    7. I generally prefer longer hair so that may be it. Of course, it's your vision so you gotta go with what feels right!

    8. Well, I could always try another hairstyle when I do Abbey. I'll upload a different version of her on Flickr.

    9. So, I still haven't drawn Abbey yet, but I did paint Frankie's lips like I said I would.
      Link (There are other pics of her, too.)
      What do you think? Better or worse?

      Thanks to the NZ sightings topic on the MHD forums, I also finally managed to get my hands on the Skull Shores 5 pack.
      A year late, but nevertheless, WOOHOO! :D

    10. Oh wow, with the dark lips there's almost something 50's about her for some reason. I really like it! And congrats on your SS 5-pack! Obviously Cleo rocks but the real surprise imo is Clawdeen -- LOVE her swimsuit and wrap!!!