Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
|Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island|
|Directed by||Jim Stenstrum|
|Produced by||Cosmo Anzilotti|
|Written by||Glenn Leopold|
Mary Kay Bergman
B. J. Ward
|Music by||Steven Bramson|
|Edited by||Paul Douglas|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
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 opens with Mystery, Inc. being pursued by a moat monster. After an accident with Scooby-Doo (Scott Innes), he is caught and revealed to be a counterfeiter. This is actually an old case of the now-dissolved Mystery, Inc., who went their separate ways because they were frustrated with their mysteries having all involved mere crooks in monster costumes, as told on a talk show program by Daphne Blake (Mary Kay Bergman), who now, along with Fred Jones (Frank Welker), is running a successful TV series Coast to Coast with Daphne Blake, which involves her and Fred going to historic and inspiring places all across the country. For the show's upcoming second season, Daphne intends to visit haunted and mysterious places and track down real ghosts. When Daphne confesses on air that she misses the gang and that she wishes they were with her, Fred arranges a reunion and contacts Velma Dinkley (B.J. Ward), who has gone on and become the proprietor of a mystery bookstore, and Scooby and his owner Shaggy Rogers (Billy West), who have been bouncing from job to job, including working in customs at an airport, from which they were just fired after eating all the confiscated imported foods. The reunited gang surprise Daphne on her birthday and they go for a trip to Louisiana for her show.
After encountering a lot of fake monsters, like a nerdy guy in a lobster-man suit haunting a shellfish cannery, an old man disguised as a bat monster in a graveyard, a holographic ghost and the zombie captain of a riverboat casino that turns out to be a woman, the gang finally arrives in New Orleans. There they are invited by a young woman named Lena Dupree 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 and convinced Shaggy and Scooby, they decide to go with Lena, on whom Fred has taken a fancy (to Daphne's disapproval), and the ride on the ferry with Jacques, the island's ferryman. On the way, Velma informs the gang that Moonscar Island has had many unexplained disappearances over the years. They also meet Snakebite Scruggs, a grungy-ill-natured fisherman, and his hunting pig, Mojo.
On the island, the gang meets Lena's employer, Simone Lenoir, a beautiful French-American, and Beau Neville, Simone's gardener, to whom Daphne takes a fancy (to Fred's disapproval). Their initial meeting with Simone does not go very well when Scooby abruptly chases Simone's cats, but she becomes receptive to the gang when they confess their interest in the hauntings. When Shaggy and Scooby are eating harvested peppers in Simone's kitchen, to prevent Scooby from chasing her cats, they witness mysterious writing "GET OUT" appearing out of nowhere on the wall. The rest of the gang notices the writing and Fred films Daphne and Simone talking about the writing for Daphne's show with his camera. All of a sudden, wind blows into the wall, where "BEWARE" is also suddenly written. Simone explains that the haunting is starting and the ghosts get more restless after sundown. Indeed, Velma ends up floating in the air for no apparent reason. Scooby helps her get down, and breaks her fall when she lands right on top of him.
In Simone's library, the gang inspect the clip of the writing more closely. When Fred enhances the image, everyone sees the ghost of Morgan Moonscar. Fred is skeptical, believing that it is a hologram, while Daphne and Velma are more curious about the mystery. After Scooby and Shaggy pack some food for a picnic, Velma discovers something hidden behind the wall. When she scrapes the wall further, to Lena's horror, she discovers a sign: "MAELSTROM". She studies the sign more closely and finds that Maelstrom is the name of Morgan Moonscar's ship. Simone explains that given the house's age, pieces of the ship may have been used in the house's construction. In addition, the pirate was rumored to have buried treasure under the island, which has never been found.
During Scooby and Shaggy's picnic, Scooby chases Simone's cats again and runs into Mojo, who scares him and Shaggy off until they end up falling into a large 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. At this point, everyone begins to become suspicious of the mysterious gardener.
Seeing that sundown is approaching and that the ferry does not run at night, Simone invites the gang to sleep over at her house. 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, Simone asks Scooby and Shaggy to eat in the kitchen, but after Scooby chases Simone's cats yet again, Lena arranges for them to eat her homecooked food in the Mystery Machine. 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 voodoo 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 to look for more clues. At this point, Velma is now suspicious of Beau because "he is never nearby when something strange happens" and she decides to stick by him.
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, filming with his camera, thinks the zombie is another fake, but when he pulls off the head, 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 and Daphne hear Lena's screams, and they rush back to the house to save her and Simone. During this, Fred trips on a stone, and his camera, still recording, sinks into quicksand, leaving them without their filmed proof for Daphne's show. Fred and Daphne reunite with Velma and Beau. Elsewhere, Scooby and Shaggy discover wax dolls that look like Fred, Velma, and Daphne, and they play with them, causing their 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 that she walked instead of being 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, who drain the souls off of victims who stay on the island every harvest moon. Meanwhile, Shaggy and Scooby, fleeing from the zombies, run into Jacques and beg him to give them a ferry ride home. However, Jacques instead transforms into a werecat and chases Shaggy and Scooby.
Back at the chamber, Simone reveals that in 1798, she and Lena were part of a group of settlers who were devoted to a 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. 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.
When Jacques corners Scooby and Shaggy, he is attacked by the zombies. Shaggy and Scooby attempt to make their escape and accidentally tumble into the cave, interrupting the draining ceremony, and distracting the werecats. After Scooby and Shaggy accidentally scuffle with the voodoo dolls while running away from the werecats and encountering the zombies walking in on them, Velma is quickly able to untie herself and free the others. When the werecats attempt to drain Scooby and Shaggy. Velma and Daphne create voodoo dolls of Lena and Simone from pieces of their clothes and thrust them about to interrupt their power, rendering the draining ineffective. 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. After this, the spirit of Morgan Moonscar appears one last time to thank the gang for rescuing them.
When Daphne struggles to come to terms with the loss of the footage for her show, Beau is revealed to be an undercover police officer sent to investigate the disappearances on the island, to Velma's fascination; and Daphne offers Beau a chance to guest-star on her show and discuss the adventure. The next morning, Fred and Daphne discuss the island now being a romantic place for both of them, and Beau and Velma bond with their shared love of mysteries. Just before everyone leaves the island via ferry to head back to civilization, Simone's cats then climb onto the ferry with them, scaring Scooby.
In a post-credits scene, Scooby feeds the cats milk.
- Scott Innes as Scooby-Doo
- Billy West as Shaggy Rogers
- Mary Kay Bergman as Daphne Blake
- Frank Welker as Fred Jones
- B. J. Ward as Velma Dinkley
- Adrienne Barbeau as Simone Lenoir, the owner of the manor and the main antagonist of the film. She later turns out to be a werecat.
- Tara Strong as Lena Dupree, a cook who works for Simone. She takes a liking to Fred, but turns out to be a werecat, much to both Fred and Daphne's dismay between them.
- Cameron Clarke as Detective Beau Neville, a police detective who works undercover as a gardener at the manor. He later befriends Mystery, Inc.
- Jim Cummings as Jacques, the ferry owner, who is also a werecat. Unlike Lena and Simone, he willingly became a werecat so he could be immortal.
- Mark Hamill as Snakebite Scruggs, a grouchy fisherman whose goal is to catch a large and elusive catfish named Big Mona. He also has a hunting pig named Mojo.
- Jennifer Leigh Warren as Chris, a television hostess.
- Ed Gilbert as Mr. Beeman, a real estate agent.
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. 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. 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 (Hanna-Barbera's operations had moved to the Warner Bros. Television Animation building in 1998), 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. The film was animated and is presented in standard 1.33:1 full frame format.
The film was released on VHS on September 22, 1998, 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. 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.
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.
The success of the film led to the creation of the second movie, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999).
- Michael Stailey (March 21, 2003). "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - DVD Review". DVD Verdict. Retrieved March 21, 2003.
- IMDB - Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) (V) - Soundtracks
- Jillian Mapes (October 23, 1998). "Ghosts, Goosebumps Celebrate Halloween". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
- John Wirt (October 30, 1998). "Scooby's Zombie Island TV premiere is Halloween treat for lucky dog Innes". The Advocate. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- Tom Maurstad (October 31, 1998). "Scooby-Doo, where . . . oh, there you are". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- "Car number 9 in 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 24, 2012.