Directed by: Jim Stenstrum
Written by: Glenn Leopold (story by), Davis Doi (story by)
Runtime: 1 hour 13 minutes
Full Credits at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166792/fullcredits
Through all of their many iterations and crazy cases, Scooby-Doo was always the show that taught kids that monsters aren’t real, and reveal to audiences of all ages that the real monsters, are humans, which is a very dark message when you think about it, but I guess you can’t take it to heart too much since humans, along with their trusty canine companion, are also the heroes of the show.
However, there came a time when the old “Who’s behind the mask?” shtick became a little too repetitive, and despite the brilliantly terrifying monsters and various portrayals of the Mystery Inc. Gang, Warner Bros. decided to take the franchise into a new era, where at the very least, some of the monsters, were real!
The film begins as any good Scooby-Doo film should, with the gang already in the middle of a mystery showdown, as Shaggy and Scooby-Doo do their best to escape the clutches of a large beast-like monster as the theme-tune plays over the top. The gang solves the mystery, revealing the man behind the mask, which apparently results in the gang themselves becoming bored with the Mystery Inc. job, going their separate ways, and taking on new jobs. Daphne becomes an investigative journalist, with Fred as the show producer for ‘The Daphne Blake Show’, Velma runs a spooky bookstore, whilst Shaggy and Scooby work airport security, sniffing out and eventually eating any food contraband being smuggled through customs.
When Daphne and Fred take on a new investigation in New Orleans, Louisiana, Fred decides to invite the rest of the gang along for one more ride. During a montage of ghosts, bat-creatures, and other various cooky costumes, the team begins to remember why it is they quit in the first place. That is until they meet Lena Dupree (Voiced by Tara Strong – credited as Tara Charendoff), who tells them about Moon Scar Island, a small island that was once used by Pirates to hide from the law. However, when night falls upon the island, strange things begin to stir, from Zombies to ghosts, and more! But…are the Zombies the villains of this story?
Story and Casting:
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island isn’t the first time the gang has met real monsters, as the ’80s saw Scooby and the gang meet real ghosts in “Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers“, along with various child-like creatures in ‘Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School’, and even Shaggy himself being turned into a werewolf in “Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf”, but this is the first straight to video animated film in the Scooby-Doo catalog, and the first movie in the Scooby-Doo franchise since the 1994 TV-Movie “Scooby-Doo! in Arabian Nights“, so it had to be something truly special, and it was.
The plot was dark but still kid-friendly (mostly), with all of the classic Scooby-Doo tropes the audience loves, from corny jokes to brilliant animation, chase scenes, and creepy monsters. The cast is, as always, exceptional in their roles, be it the gang themselves, portrayed by the voice talents of Scott Innes (Scooby-Doo), Billy West (Shaggy), Mary Kay Bergman (Daphne), Frank Welker (Fred), and B.J. Ward (Velma), or the variety of other cooky characters voiced by the talents of Mark Hamill, Tara Strong, Jim Cummings, Adrienne Barbeau, Cam Clarke, Ed Gilber and more!
The sudden change in aesthetic from the usual Scooby-Doo projects made this film memorable, and legendary among Scooby-Doo fans. It’s a film that seems almost too terrifying for kids because instead of an ending that sees the monster unmasked, the villains disintegrate into skeletons…real skeletons. They straight up die. It’s crazy to think something like that would happen in a Scooby-Doo film but it did!
The DVD (at least, the version I own) features only one special feature, a featurette that was advertised on TV for the release of the film, but other than that, it has the usual DVD features such as scene selection and language selection.
The DVD has a choice of eight languages (English, French, German, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Polish, and Croatian) with Subtitles being available in just five languages (English, French, German, Dutch, and Norwegian). This gives plenty of audiences the chance to be able to watch this DVD here in England, even if English is not their first language.
The menu for the DVD is easy to navigate with a simple vertical list, each designed with bold yellow text and skulls next to each individual option. The menu’s cursor is a silhouette of Scooby-Doo himself, making it easy to see which option you are currently hovering over.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island’s dark aesthetic makes it one of the best movies to ever be released among the franchise, as it escaped the usual stereotypical tropes we see from the rest of the films, whilst still remaining true to the source material, because at its heart it is still very much a classic Scooby-Doo tale, just without the unmasking. There are suspicions and mystery, a lore-enriched history, and a cast of kooky characters with corny humor to keep you guessing the answer to the classic Scooby-Doo question (and the question to any great Mystery in a detective story) “Whodunnit?”.
The animation is still very much child-friendly of course, with no elements that would actually be unsuitable for a kid’s animated film. Fred pulls the head off of a zombie but of course, there are no gory details added in and the Zombie eventually re-attaches his head as if it were as easy as twisting a cap onto a bottle. It is only the somewhat darker plotline that gives this film its PG rating, and though many of my friends say this film scared them somewhat as a kid, I think it’s safe to say this film will not terrify the younger audiences of today…much.
This film was so popular with audiences and has remained a legend of the Scooby-Doo franchise, even spawning a somewhat lesser loved sequel that some fans say was a disappointment, but I have not yet seen said sequel so if you haven’t, my advice would be to watch it for yourself and find out your own opinion.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is available on the Warner Bros. Shop along with so many others in the franchise. Just follow the link below to buy your copy today!