Once Upon a Zombie

Once Upon a Zombie is a small collection of only six dolls produced by Wow Wee, whom I never heard of before and on whose website I couldn't find any information if they plan to add more dolls to this toy line.
A Google search turned up that they produce all kind of things, from roy robots up to technical gadgets. Currently the zombies are their only dolls with real hair and of this size.
So I was very curious when I ordered Cinderella. In Wow Wee's official webshop these dolls cost 20$ and they can be bought for less than 30 Euro on the German Amazon Marketplace. Since Amazon doesn't sell them themselves I figure this series either never came out officially in Germany or they were gone again right away. According to the packaging Cinderella is from 2012 and they are listen on Amazon Germany since 2013.

As the name implies the doll of Once Upon a Zombie are... well, zombies!
Zombified versions of classical faerietale princesses, to be precise. There's Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and the Little Mermaid. I own Cinderella, Rapunzel and the little Mermaid.

The dolls are roughly 29cm tall and thus about half a head taller than a Monster High doll. I draw this comparison first away since the Once Upon a Zombie dolls are more than a little "inspired" by Monster High. Their joints are made in exactly the same way and they have movable wrists, ellbows, shoulders, knees, thighs and head. Like Monster High the dolls can only turn their head decently sidewards and up, which is espescially sad for a zombie. The shape of the head is very similar to the highschool ghouls. The hands can be removed so they too can easier slip into and out of tight fashion. The hip joint is constructed the same too.
There are some differences, though. E.g. the torso of a Once Upon a Zombie doll is more massive to make the princesses look grown up.

To end the comparisons with Monster High I want to state that the zombie princesses can easily wear Monster High shoes, although the angle of their feet are not the same and thus they lean forward somewhat when they do so. That isn't obvious on photos taken in a seating position and when they stand up you have to use some tricks. Since the zombies come barefeeted that's a good thing, anyway. That means shoes of Ever After High dolls should fit without problems too. I haven't tested yet if they might fit into some of their clothes too, but I know for sure they don't fit into Monster High fashion. One I find some time to make size tables for sewing patterns I'll definitely test stuff for the zombies too.

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The main point of sale for me are the "glass" eyes of the zombies. They have shiny, pretty eyes and real lashes. Sadly the lashes were inserted directly into the eyeball so if you look at them directly up front you can see some white of the eyeball above them. Still, real lashes are something luxurious. The eyes themselves are surely not really made of glass but of acryl. Very sophisticated fans might say they look a bit pixelated. I think they're pretty although they are not totally up to par with the super-nice glass eyes of Bratzillas.

Another plus factor is the clothes. Those are sewn quite carefully. All seams are well made, the outfit isn't two sizes too small and even the little gemstone on the front of Cinderella's dress is sewn on and not just glued on. There are some not-so-great seams on the tulle part of Rapunzel's dress but it actually emphasises her zombie look.

Sadly there are drawbacks too.

The dolls have quite a lot of hair but it's not of very good quality and starts to kink after just a bit of brushing.

Cinderella has some stains in the plastic spread all over her body (e.g. a black spot on her cheek, a line across her shoulder and a black blotch at the back of her leg. The make-up also has some defects. Her lipstick is a bit lumpy. Rapunzel's lipstick is a bit misprinted, apart from that she's okay.
The hands are made of a softer plastic, just like those of Monster High. Sadly, sadly - and that's the biggest downer - the shanks and knee joints are made of that soft plastic too. Her ankles are also thinner than the doll's arms, they are actually the thinnest part of her. That makes them stand very badly and gives them a strong tendency to bend backwards in the knees or to bend out of shape.
The ellbow and hand joints have a lot of leeway and sometimes move unintentionally.
At first, one of the legs didn't move at all. The hip made squeaky noises that sounded very worrysome. After some careful prodding the resistance was gone and now it moves, after all. At least the plastic doesn't smell, so the quality isn't quite as cheap as one might fear.

Overview of plus and minus:

+ acrylic eyes with true lashes
+ well-made clothes
+ fresh theme
+ dolls come with dollstand and brush

~ bodies may be stained
~ no shoes

- shanks and knees made of soft plastic which makes them hard to pose standing
- hair is of mediocre quality

Once Upon a ZombieA detail specifically pertaining to my Cinderella is that she was delivered with a damaged hand. It seems that the joint melted together with the hand and that it either ripped by pressure or that someone tried to repair it with a knife. (Not the shop, the doll came in its original sealed package.) As a result most of the joint clings to the hand instead of the wrist and the hand is stiff. When I asked the shop (Toysafari_Deutschland on the Amazon Marketplace) they said they never had a customer complaint about these dolls. So I hope this is rather rare. (And yes, I was compensated for it.)

Once Upon a ZombieMy opinion on Once Upon a Zombie:

I love the idea behind this.
It's somewhat the missing link between Monster High and Ever After High, a theme that in my opinion is quite clever and new. At first sight I thought the clothes were a parody of the Disney Princesses but at second sight only Rapunzel and Snow White have a resemblance to those. Even that they're essentially Monster High clones would not have bothered me if the quality of the bodies was a bit better. The eyes are so pretty and they are exactly what I wanted to try with a Monster High custom all the time.

I primarily wanted these dolls for Dolltopia to replace the zombies of the Living Dead Dolls which in comparison to the other dolls always look very bulky and can barely move. Monster High dolls don't seem very suitable for this since they have strongly premade characters which I could hardly change without alienating their fans. So undead faerietale princesses seemed just perfect!
Now I have the problem though that these dolls stand very badly thanks to their soft lower legs. I'm also not sure if the thin ankles or the pins which connect the knee to the thigh won't warp with strain. Only time will tell.

There's definitely not collector's passion coming up here. There are only six dolls anyway and only three of them I like well enough to buy them despite the negative points.

Of course the zombies are in the gallery too if you want to see more of them. And as mentioned they'll sometimes co-star in Dolltopia too.

 

 

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