Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island

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Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
Promotional poster
Directed by Jim Stenstrum
Produced by Cosmo Anzilotti
Screenplay by Glenn Leopold
Story by Glenn Leopold
Davis Doi
Based on Scooby-Doo
by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Starring Scott Innes
Billy West
Mary Kay Bergman
Frank Welker
B.J. Ward
Adrienne Barbeau
Tara Strong
Cameron Clarke
Jim Cummings
Mark Hamill
Music by Steven Bramson
Edited by Paul Douglas
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Release date
  • September 22, 1998 (1998-09-22) (VHS)
Running time
77 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is a 1998 direct-to-video animated comedy horror film based on Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo Saturday-morning cartoons.

In the film, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred reunite after a year-long hiatus from Mystery, Inc. to investigate a bayou island said to be haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. However, the five find not only a deeper mystery on the island, but their first encounter with a genuine, deadly supernatural threat.

It is the first in a long-running series of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo films; it was succeeded by Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost (1999). 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 movie is also one of Ed Gilbert's final roles.


The film opens with the Mystery, Inc. gang solving the case of the Moat Monster. Becoming bored with solving mysteries, the gang goes their separate ways. Daphne Blake and Fred Jones start running a successful television series called Coast to Coast with Daphne Blake; Velma Dinkley becomes the proprietor of a mystery bookstore; Shaggy Rogers and his dog Scooby-Doo are fired from their job at an airport after eating all of the confiscated foods. For Daphne's birthday, Fred decides to get the gang back together for a road trip while Daphne is filming her show.

After encountering a lot of fake monsters, the gang finally arrives in New Orleans. They are soon invited by a young woman named Lena Dupree to visit her employer's home on Moonscar Island, which is allegedly haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. Though the gang is skeptical, they go with Lena, to whom Fred has taken a fancy.

On the island, the gang meets Lena's employer Simone Lenoir, as well as the ferryman Jacques, and Simone's gardener Beau, to whom Daphne takes a fancy. They also meet Snakebite Scruggs, an ill-natured fisherman, and his hunting pig, Mojo. The gang sets out to prove that the "ghost" is a fake. Shaggy and Scooby are chased by Mojo and end up falling into a big hole, where they encounter the zombie of Morgan Moonscar. By the time the rest of gang comes to investigate, Moonscar is not around.

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. Due to Simone's cats, Shaggy and Scooby eat in the Mystery Machine, but find the food spicy and get some water from the lake, where an army of zombies emerge. Shaggy's bad driving gets the Mystery Machine stuck in the mud, forcing him and Scooby to flee on foot.

Fred and Daphne find the Mystery Machine, but no sign of Shaggy and Scooby. They argue about each other's supposed love interests and come across Shaggy and Scooby. They manage to capture a zombie, which is revealed to be real when Fred pulls its head off thinking it is a mask. As the zombies swarm around them, the gang splits in panic. Elsewhere, Shaggy and Scooby discover wax dolls that look like Fred, Velma, Daphne and Beau, 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, who tells them that the zombies dragged Simone away. They find a secret chamber for voodoo rituals, where Velma finds footprints of Simone's heels and interrogates Lena about the story. Simone then appears, and she and Lena use voodoo dolls to trap the gang in the chamber before revealing themselves to be evil cat creatures. When Velma recognizes this, she accuses Simone of stealing Morgan Moonscar's treasure. Angered by the mentioning of Moonscar, Simone explains that centuries ago, they were part of a group of settlers who were devoted to a cat god. When Moonscar and his pirates chased the settlers into a bayou filled with alligators that later ate them, the vengeful Simone and Lena asked their cat god to curse Moonscar. Their wish was granted and they killed Moonscar and his crew, but the curse caused them to become cat creatures permanently, provided that they keep draining life forces every harvest moon to preserve their immortality. Jacques joined them later on, agreeing to bring them more victims in exchange for immortality. Daphne realises in horror that the zombies were never trying to harm them; their real intent, including the repentant pirates, was to try and scare the gang away in the hopes they would not meet the same fate.

Finding Shaggy and Scooby, Jacques transforms into a cat creature and chases them to drain their lives. Thanks to the zombies, Shaggy and Scooby escape and accidentally tumble into the cave, interrupting the draining ceremony and distracting the cat creatures. Velma quickly unties herself and creates voodoo dolls of Simone and Lena to interrupt their ritual. When they are finally cornered, the cat creatures' curse expires, causing them to age hundreds of years and disintegrate, freeing and avenging the zombies' souls and allowing them to rest in peace. Beau is revealed to be an undercover police officer sent to investigate the disappearances on the island. 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 town.

In a post-credits scene, Scooby feeds the cats some milk before howling out his name to the viewers.

Voice cast[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] When drafting the film, Doi would occasionally go to Iwao Takamoto — the original designer of Scooby-Doo, still working at Hanna-Barbera — for advising on scenes. Takamoto called the film "a good solid mystery", and storyboarded several sequences of interplay between Shaggy and Scooby for him.[2] 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 as he wished to only voice Shaggy if the character became a vegetarian, like 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.

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 three films had a darker tone than the original animated series since the monsters were real. The film was dedicated to the 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.[3] The film was animated and is presented in standard 1.33:1 full frame format.[1]


The film was released on VHS on September 22, 1998.[4] Sales for the film exceeded the studio's expectations, according to a 1999 Billboard article.[5] It was released on DVD on March 6, 2001, and re-released with extra bonus disc features Scooby-Doo and the Zombies on February 8, 2005.

The film was aided by a reportedly $50 million promotional push, with tie-ins including the Campbell Soup Company,[6] SpaghettiOs,[7] 1-800-COLLECT, Wendy's, LEGO, and Cartoon Network,[8] who debuted the film on television on October 31, 1998, after a month themed after the series.[9][10] It was also promoted as part of the 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.[11]


The film received positive reviews, and currently holds a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.[12] Donald Liebenson of the Chicago Tribune described the film as "ambitious" and calls it "a nostalgic hoot [that] resurrects all the touchstones of the original cartoons."[13] Entertainment Weekly's Joe Neumaier praised the film as "Fast, fun, and filled with knowing winks, the mystery honors the show’s beloved structure, but writ large."[14] A 1998 New York Times article by Peter M. Nichols complimented the film as "well-made."[15]

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

Follow-up film[edit]

Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost was released on October 5, 1999.


  1. ^ a b Stailey, Michael (March 21, 2003). "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island - DVD Review". DVD Verdict. Retrieved March 21, 2003. 
  2. ^ Takamoto, Iwao (2009). Iwao Takamoto: My life with a Thousand Characters. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 184. ISBN 9781604734775. 
  3. ^ IMDB - Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) (V) - Soundtracks
  4. ^ Mapes, Jillian (October 23, 1998). "Ghosts, Goosebumps Celebrate Halloween". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ Anne Sherber (March 6, 1999). "Toy Fair Provides Video Inspirations" (PDF). Billboard: 85. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  6. ^ "N/A". Brandweek. 39. 1998. Retrieved October 7, 2017. Come fall, the theory could be tested with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, a direct-to-video release set to get a Warner Bros.-backed $50 million promotional push, with partners that include Campbell Soup, MCI, Lego and others. 
  7. ^ Eileen Fitzpatrick (August 8, 1998). "Kathy Smith Signs with Sony; Mystery Machine Rides Again". Billboard. 110 (32): 60. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Animation World News - Video". Animation World Magazine. November 1, 1998. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  9. ^ Wirt, John (October 30, 1998). "Scooby's Zombie Island TV premiere is Halloween treat for lucky dog Innes". The Advocate. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ Maurstad, Tom (October 31, 1998). "Scooby-Doo, where . . . oh, there you are". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Car number 9 in 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup". Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  13. ^ Donald Liebenson (September 24, 1998). "Barking Up A New Tree". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  14. ^ Joe Neumaier (September 25, 1998). "EW reviews Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 
  15. ^ Peter M. Nichols (September 18, 1998). "Home Video; Fall Zombies And Ghosts". The New York Times. Retrieved October 7, 2017. 

External links[edit]