Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

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Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
Promotional poster features a group of teens and a prominently featured Great Dane creeping through the marsh and woods. The overcast night sky broadcasts a glowing full moon, casting a shadow over a castle under it. To the right of this is a group of disfigured zombies.
Promotional poster
Directed by Jim Stenstrum
Hiroshi Aoyama
Kazumi Fukushima
Produced by Cosmo Anzilotti
Jean MacCurdy
Written by Glenn Leopold
Starring Scott Innes
Billy West
Mary Kay Bergman
Frank Welker
B. J. Ward
Adrienne Barbeau
Tara Charendoff
Cam Clarke
Jim Cummings
Mark Hamill
Music by Steven Bramson
Edited by Paul Douglas
Production
  company
Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s)
  • September 22, 1998 (1998-09-22)
(VHS)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United States
Japan
Language English

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is a 1998 animated direct-to-video horror-comedy film based on the animated television series Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoon franchise. In the film, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred reunite to solve a frightening new mystery: they leave for a haunted bayou island to investigate the ghost of Morgan Moonscar the Pirate. It is the first in a long-running series of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo films; succeeded by 1999's Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. Production started at Hanna-Barbera, but was then completed by its then-new parent company, Warner Bros. Animation (which would produce all subsequent Scooby-Doo films). It was also the first of four Scooby Doo direct-to-video films to be animated overseas by Japanese animation studio Mook Animation.

The film was released direct-to-video on September 22, 1998 and premiered on Cartoon Network on October 31, 1998. The film received acclaim from critics who praised the animation, voices, and writing. The film also has a much darker tone than the original series. Unlike in the original series, promotional commercials for the movie announced that "This time, the monsters are real!"

The movie was dedicated to the memory of Don Messick, the original voice of Scooby-Doo, who died nearly a year before the film's release. The film is also one of Ed Gilbert's final roles.

Plot[edit]

The movie opens with Mystery Inc. being pursued by a green troll. After an accident with Scooby, he is caught and revealed to be a counterfeiter. This is actually a re-enactment of the now-dissolved Mystery Inc.'s adventures on a television program by Daphne and Fred, who are running a successful TV series (Coast to Coast with Daphne Blake). Velma has gone on and become the proprietor of a mystery bookstore, and Scooby and Shaggy bounce from job to job, including working in customs at an airport, from which they are fired after eating all the confiscated imported foods. Since their mysteries have all involved mere crooks in monster costumes, Fred decides that Daphne's show should be about tracking down real ghosts, so he gets the gang back together for a trip to Louisiana.

After encountering a lot of fake monsters, like a nerdy guy in a lobster-man suit haunting a fish factory, an old man disguised as a gargoyle, a holographic ghost, and a zombie policeman that turns out to be a woman, the gang finally arrives in New Orleans. There they are invited by a young woman named Lena to visit Moonscar Island, the home of her employer, which is allegedly haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. Although the gang is skeptical (except for the scared/convinced Shaggy and Scooby), they decide to go with Lena, on whom Fred has taken a fancy (to Daphne's disapproval). On the way, Velma informs the gang that Moonscar Island has had many unexplained disappearances over the years.

On the island, the gang meets Lena's employer, Simone Lenoir, a beautiful French-American; Jacques, the island's ferryman; and Beau, Simone's gardener, to whom Daphne takes a fancy (to Fred's disapproval). They also meet Snakebite Scruggs, a grungy-ill-natured fisherman, and his hunting pig, Mojo. The first act is like a standard Scooby-Doo cartoon, with the gang investigating and working to prove that the "ghost" is a fake. Scooby and Shaggy are chased by Mojo and end up falling into a big hole. While trying to climb out, they pull down some of the wall, revealing a skeletal arm. A mysterious green fog envelopes the skeleton, causing it to transform into the grisly zombie of Morgan Moonscar himself. While running away, Scooby and Shaggy run into a suspicious Beau and bring everyone back to the hole, which is now, however, empty.

Simone, invites the gang to her house to stay for the night. As the gang is dressing up for dinner, Shaggy sees the ghost of a Confederate colonel in the mirror; Simone explains that the island was a temporary headquarters for a Confederate regiment during the American Civil War. Later that night, Scooby and Shaggy eat in the Mystery Machine, so Scooby wouldn't chase Simone's cats. However, the spicy food burns their mouths and both of them rush to the lake for water. The green fog reappears and sinks into the nearby ground, causing an army of Voudoun zombies to emerge from the lake. Shaggy and Scooby attempt to drive their way out, but due to Shaggy's bad driving, the Mystery Machine gets stuck in a muddy bank, forcing him and Scooby to flee on foot. Fred, Daphne, and Velma go to look for them, but bump into Beau, so they split up.

Fred and Daphne find the Mystery Machine, but no sign of Shaggy and Scooby. They argue about each other's supposed love interest and come across Scooby and Shaggy; they also capture a zombie. Fred thinks the zombie is another fake, but it turns out to be all too real, and when the other zombies begin to swarm them, Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, and Daphne separate in panic. Fred trips on a stone, and his camera (which he used to record their investigation) sinks into quicksand, leaving them without proof. Fred and Daphne reunite with Velma and Beau (Velma is now suspicious of Beau because "he is never nearby when something strange happens" and she decides to stick by him). Elsewhere, Scooby and Shaggy discover wax dolls that look like Fred, Velma, and Daphne, and they play with them, causing his friends to undertake a series of involuntary actions for a short time until they leave after disturbing a nest of bats.

Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Beau return to Simone's house and discover a secret passage under the staircase. They find Lena in the passage, who tells them that the zombies kidnapped Simone and dragged her away. Daphne, Fred, Velma, Lena, and Beau proceed down the passage and find a secret chamber for voodoo rituals, where Velma finds footprints of Simone's heels (meaning she wasn't "dragged") and interrogates Lena about the story. Indeed, Simone appears, and she and Lena use voodoo dolls to trap the gang in the chamber. They then reveal themselves to be evil werecats. Simone reveals that in 1798, she and Lena were part of a group of settlers who were devoted to the cat god. One night, during the harvest moon, while the settlers were celebrating their successful harvest, Morgan Moonscar and his pirates chased the settlers, except for Lena and Simone, into the bayou where they were eaten by alligators and crocodiles. The vengeful Lena and Simone begged their cat god to curse the pirates. Their wish was granted and they killed the pirates, but the curse caused the duo to become werecats permanently, requiring that they drain life forces to preserve their immortality. Over the years, Lena lured more people to the island, and they also gave Jacques immortality so they had a ferryman to bring them more victims (by this time, Jacques has already transformed into his werecat form and chases Shaggy and Scooby). The zombies - including Morgan Moonscar - were the victims they have murdered over the centuries, who reanimate every harvest moon to warn away visitors, and that they were merely trying to warn the gang to leave to prevent them from suffering the same fate they did.

Scooby and Shaggy accidentally tumble into the cave, interrupting the draining ceremony, and distracting the werecats. Velma is quickly able to untie herself and create voodoo dolls of Lena and Simone to interrupt their power. When they are finally cornered, the werecats' curse expires, causing their bodies to age hundreds of years and disintegrate, freeing the zombies' souls to rest in peace. Afterward, Beau is revealed to be an undercover police officer sent to investigate the disappearances on the island (to Velma's fascination); Fred and Daphne become a couple again, and Daphne offers Beau a chance to guest-star on her show and discuss the adventure. The next morning, everyone leaves the island via ferry to head back to civilization. In a post-credits scene, Scooby feeds the cats milk.

Featured villains[edit]

  • Simone Lenoir: Born in the 1700s and later "employer" of Lena Dupree. She is the lead Werecat and the cause of the Curse of Moonscar Island. Delving into the dark arts cause them to invoke a curse changing herself, Lena and Jacques into werecats. The curse turned out to be permanent and forced them to find new victims every Harvest Moon. The curse finally destroys them when they did not harvest the needed victims in time. Their bodies crumbled into a cloud of dust.
  • Lena Dupree: A beautiful woman also born in the 1700s. She was a settler alongside Simone Lenoir. Lena and Simone survived a massacre by Morgan Moonscar and his crew. Their cat god made them cat creatures to destroy the pirates, but they were cursed in the process. Lena lures visitors to Moonscar island for her, Simone and Jacques to feed on. She is finally destroyed after she, Simone, and Jacques fail to drain the Mystery, Inc. gang.
  • Jacques: An old man whom Lena and Simone offered immortality to in exchange for running the ferry to bring victims to the island. At first, he appears to calm and kind when the gang meets him, but turns out to be very sadistic and ruthless in general. He is finally destroyed after he, Simone, and Lena failed to drain the gang of their lifeforce.

Voice Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film's screenplay was written by Glenn Leopold, of Nickelodeon's Doug, and Davis Doi, then a writer for Hanna-Barbera's production Dexter's Laboratory, contributed to the final script.[1] After Don Messick's death, Scott Innes replaced Messick as the voice of Scooby-Doo. Casey Kasem did not reprise his role as Shaggy Rogers due to him only voicing Shaggy if the character is a vegetarian like he is himself. Instead, Billy West provided the voice for Shaggy. Mary Kay Bergman was cast as Daphne when the character was taken in a new direction. B.J. Ward who played Velma in the Johnny Bravo crossover episode, reprised her role in this film. Frank Welker is the only actor from the original series to reprise his role as the 1st man standing.

The film was directed by Jim Stenstrum, who worked as a character designer on numerous previous Scooby-Doo productions, beginning in 1983 with The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. Hiroshi Aoyama and Kazumi Fukushima directed the film as well, but are not credited on the picture. The film is based on Glenn Leopold's unfinished Swat Kats episode "The Curse of Kataluna", and written by Leopold and Davis Doi.[citation needed] This and the following two films had a darker tone than the original cartoon series since the monsters were real. The film was dedicated to memory of Don Messick. Production started at Hanna-Barbera, the company that originally created Scooby-Doo, but was finished at Warner Bros. Animation (at the time, Time Warner had acquired Hanna-Barbera), whom would then go on to produce all subsequent Scooby-Doo direct-to-video movies (though still copyrighted to Hanna-Barbera.)

Professional composer Steven Bramson (who is also known for his contributions with fellow composer Bruce Broughton on projects such as Tiny Toon Adventures, JAG and Lost in Space) wrote all the music for the feature. The soundtrack for the film features three songs composed specifically for the film. "The Ghost Is Here" and "It's Terror Time Again", both written by Glenn Leopold, were performed by Skycycle. The title track, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You", was performed by Third Eye Blind.[2] The film was animated and is presented in standard 1.33:1 full frame format.[1]

Release[edit]

The film was released on VHS on September 22, 1998,[3] and made its television debut a little over a month later on October 31, 1998, on Cartoon Network. The film also made another television appearance on October 31, 2000, on TBS, along with Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost.[4][5] It was released on DVD on March 6, 2001, and re-released with extra bonus features on February 8, 2005.

The film was promoted as part of Cartoon Network's "Wacky Racing" sponsorship deal with Melling Racing in 1998, as the third of four paint schemes featured on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series #9 Ford Taurus driven by then-rookie Jerry Nadeau. The paint scheme debuted at Richmond International Raceway in the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 on September 12, 1998, and was featured on the car through the Dura Lube Kmart 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on October 25, 1998, for a total of seven races out of the thirty-three race schedule.[6]

Reception[edit]

The film has received a following of fans who credit the film for resurrecting the Scooby-Doo franchise, and for being a significantly darker film than the original series.

The videos sold well and received critical acclaim from critics, praising the animation, voices, and story for its originality. The success of the film and its near-universal acclaim led to a series of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo feature films and a new television series, What's New, Scooby-Doo?. The movie currently holds a rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

Follow-up film[edit]

The success of the film led to the creation of the second movie, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael Stailey (March 21, 2003). "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - DVD Review". DVD Verdict. Retrieved January 28, 1998. 
  2. ^ IMDB - Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) (V) - Soundtracks
  3. ^ Jillian Mapes (October 23, 1998). "Ghosts, Goosebumps Celebrate Halloween". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ John Wirt (October 30, 1998). "Scooby's Zombie Island TV premiere is Halloween treat for lucky dog Innes". The Advocate. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ Tom Maurstad (October 31, 1998). "Scooby-Doo, where . . . oh, there you are". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Car number 9 in 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 

External links[edit]