Last year, we took a look at the revival of the Scooby Doo franchise with Scooby Doo On Zombie Island, so let’s continue on that this year by taking a look at its’ follow-up film, Scooby Doo & The Witch’s Ghost:
Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost is the second in a series of direct-to-video animated films based upon Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoons. It was released on October 5, 1999, and it was produced by Warner Bros. Animation (although with a Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. copyright) starting in 1998.
The Mystery Gang (Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma) travel to a New England town called Oakhaven after being invited by horror writer Ben Ravencroft. Like a number of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo animated films released in the late-1990s and early-2000s, The Witch’s Ghost features real ghosts instead of simple bad guys in masks, giving the film a darker tone. The film has been adapted into a book.
It is the second of the first four Scooby Doo direct-to-video film to be animated overseas by Japanese animation studio Mook Animation. This film marks the first time voice actor and radio-personality Scott Innes voiced Shaggy, as Billy West (who voiced Shaggy in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island) needed time for his roles as Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth and Dr. John Zoidberg on Futurama.
Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Gang visit Oakhaven, Massachusetts to seek strange goings on involving a famous horror novelist and his ancestor who is rumored to be a witch.
The film follows up on the similar setup of Scooby Doo On Zombie Island where there were real ghosts instead of the traditional simple bad guys in masks to give the movie a more darker tone and while Witch’s Ghost does have that similar aspect to Zombie Island, I still say that Zombie Island is the darkest Scooby Doo movie ever made.
For one thing, remember how awesome the Scooby Doo theme by Third Eye Blind was in Zombie Island?
Yeah, now listen to the version done by, of all the people on the planet, Billy Ray Cyrus….this is 100% real:
And keep in mind, this is 1999 Billy Ray Cyrus, smacked dab in the middle past the Achy Breaky Heart era and pre Hannah Montana era. I mean, what the hell? Okay, to be perfectly honest, it’s not…the absolute worst but to go from Third Eye Blind to Billy Ray Cyrus, talking about going in the complete opposite direction with the theme.
As far as the film itself goes, it’s still a really solid movie, the animation is still really good, the voice cast once again works really well (although the character of Ben Ravencroft, I could’ve sworn they wanted to get Jeff Goldblum for that role because Ravencroft looks exactly like Jeff Goldblum but he might’ve passed on it and so they went with Tim Curry, not that there’s anything wrong with that but it just came off that they wanted to get Goldblum but went with Curry instead.), we got the introduction to The Hex Girls, who would later become supporting characters in the Scooby Doo universe appearing not just here but in What’s New Scooby Doo? & Mystery Incorporated, and they kept up with the idea of let’s take this Scooby Doo formula and make it real ghosts instead of these guys in masks.
It’s everything you can expect for these newer Scooby Doo films that were coming out at the time. Certainly not as good as Zombie Island but still quite enjoyable as an overall film, give it a watch this Halloween and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
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