tek's rating:

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (not rated)
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This is the first in a long-running line of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movies. It came out in 1998, but I didn't see it until 2020. (And despite there being over 30 of these movies by the time I watched it, it's only the second one I've seen.) The movie was praised when it was released for better animation and writing, a darker story, etc., than the franchise used to have. And I guess I can kind of see that, but I don't think it's that much better. The main difference that stands out in this new line of DTV movies is that there are actual supernatural elements, which is cool.

It begins with what may have been Mystery, Inc.'s final case before breaking up, having all become bored by never finding any real monsters. Daphne (Mary Kay Bergman) now stars on some kind of journalistic TV show, on which Fred (Frank Welker) is the cameraman, producer, etc. Velma (B.J. Ward) runs a book store, and Shaggy (Billy West) and Scooby (Scott Innes) have had a series of jobs that don't last long. When Velma decides that for the next season of her show, she wants to find genuinely supernatural stories, Fred decides to get the gang back together. They go to New Orleans, where they meet a woman named Lena (Tara Charendoff), who tells them that the plantation house where she works, on an island in a bayou, is haunted. So they go with her to the island, where they meet the house's owner, Simone Lenoir (Adrienne Barbeau). They also meet a grumpy fisherman named Snakebite (Mark Hamill) and a grumpy gardener named Beau (Cam Clarke).

It isn't long before the ghost of a pirate captain reveals himself, and later the ghost of a Confederate soldier (both voiced by Jim Cummings, who also voices Jacques, the captain of the ferry that brought the gang to the island). Meanwhile, there's plenty of silly humor with Scooby chasing cats, as well as Scooby and Shaggy competing with each other to see who can best tolerate the super-spicy peppers that grow on the plantation. But eventually, they discover there are a ton of zombies that come out after dark, including former pirates, soldiers, tourists, and anyone else who may have ever come to the island (and never left). But ultimately there's a twist I don't want to spoil, except to say that while in the old days, people pretended to be monsters to keep others away from whatever place they were haunting, Simone has used the stories of her haunted house to lure people to her island, for a reason I won't reveal.

Well, it is a pretty decent movie, even if I'm not sure it quite lives up to the hype. But I'm glad to have finally seen it, and I hope to watch more of the movies in the series, eventually.

Scooby-Doo index
zombie index

Scooby-Doo franchise
Scoobypedia; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

TV: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! * Night of the Living Doo * The Mystery Begins
movies: animated DTV * Scooby-Doo * Monsters Unleashed * Daphne & Velma