Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mona the Vampire: Brainwash Boogie – review

Director: Louis Piché

Co-director: Jean Caillon

First aired: 2000 – 2001

Mona the Vampire was originally a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Sonia Holleyman and adapted for television over five seasons that ran 1999 to 2003. The Brainwash Boogie DVD takes its name from the first story in the set and consists of three episodes, each episode containing two stories, the first from season 2 and the other two from season 3.

Now, Mona the Vampire is something I have not featured on TMtV before and it was something not falling out of my childhood, thus I had no rose-tinted wish to revisit it, and not something my son particularly watched as a child. However, this was a DVD for sale at a car boot sale in Whitby when my family went there with friends in January 17. I spotted it but ignored it.

Later that day my friend Paul texted me to say he had purchased the DVD with the sole intention of giving it to me so I had to review it. I appreciate the good-natured humour behind the gesture but, you know what, this is vampire material and plays a part in the mainstreaming of vampires – I will explain.

Mona and Fang
The series primarily follows Mona Parker (Emma Taylor-Isherwood), a young girl, and her friends Lily Duncan (Carrie Finlay) and Charlie Bones (Justin Bradley, Eternal & Being Human US). In their play they become Mona the Vampire, Princess Giant and Zapman. Mona’s cat, Fang, wears a pair of bat wings. In these personas they keep their local town safe from evil (such as the vampire Von Kreepsula – who features in a story on this disc). It shows kids using their imagination and this, of course, is important.

the gang
However, from a genre point of view and like Sesame Street character Count Von Count, this brings a vampire character (even if only a make-believe one) into the living room for kids and makes it the character they identify with. This then mainstreams the concept of vampires and the kids who watch shows such as these are hopefully the filmmakers of the future, keeping the vampire alive (or undead at least) in media. Arguably this mainstreaming is also partly responsible for stripping away some of the horror aspect of the vampire figure as well but that is a whole other debate in itself.

Von Kreepsula
The animation for Mona the Vampire is bright and colourful. The voice acting clear and consistent and the stories imaginative (as they should be, given that they are based on the imagination). For younger kids this will be a great little set. However you might find the score a little strange today as I am not giving my normal out of 10 score. After all, the disc was provided, with a tongue firmly in cheek, in order that I would have to watch and review the material and as such I’m going to give it a score of “Paul out of 10”!

The imdb page is here.


Everlost said...

A first ever Paul out of ten! I take it that puts it firmly at the top of the top 100 list?

I would like to point out before being lynched by your army of followers that I do supply some decent vampire film links for Andy to review :)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Paul out of 10 - its the new standard