In many ways, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island — now streaming on HBO Max — feels like a precursor to the franchise’s entire future. One of the most iconic animated properties in American media, the entire Scooby-Doo formula was effectively reversed in the 1998 direct-to-video animated film.
While remaining recognizable scooby-doothe series’ embrace of true horror beats elevated it to something special. Scooby-Doo and Zombie Island more or less set up the modern take on the franchise, and could still be one of the best entries in the series.
What is Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island?
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island starts much the same as the last one written by James Gunn scooby-doo film, opening with Mystery Inc. going their separate ways for a while. Eventually, Daphne and Fred reunite the group to help with their Ghostbusters show – leading the five to head to New Orleans and the supposedly haunted island of Moonscar Island. There they encounter the seemingly false fears they have faced in the past, including apparent ghosts and hordes of zombies. Only when Fred tries to pull off the creatures’ traditional rubber mask, he discovers that they are not costumes – the gang deals real supernatural threats.
The film picks up the established story of scooby-doo stories and overturns it – in more ways than one. The franchise has dabbled in supernatural forces in previous shows — like made-for-TV movies Scooby-Doo and the School of Ghouls Where Scooby-Doo! and the reluctant werewolf – but these had been defined by a cowardly and silly tone. Scooby-Doon on Zombie Island plays the deadly serious monsters, quickly forcing Mystery Inc. to flee. The film also plays the characters as more mature, with Daphne’s ambition and Fred’s attraction to Lena (one of the women who live on the island) adding the same kind of energy that would show in the action. live. scooby-doo.
What makes Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island special?
In many ways, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island changed the future of the series and revived interest in the characters. The film’s complete embrace of horror works particularly well once it subverts the series’ traditional trappings – something that has caused some behind-the-scenes controversy, such as an interview with the film’s Model Cordinator, Lance Falk with the APNSD! The podcast suggests a veteran scooby-doo Writer (and screenwriter of the film) Glenn Leopold initially bristled at the idea that the gang’s latest adventure would include overtly dangerous supernatural forces.
The film is still recognizable scooby-doo, finding time to slip in some cartoonish antics for the titular character, but the film is also packed with genuinely chilling imagery. The zombies are broken down and unresponsive, the ghost of a soldier is suitably sinister, and the film’s real villains – a group of immortal werecats – kill nearly the entire cast. On the screen.
Notably, the film is somewhat of a precursor to a resurgence scooby-doo properties from that era, and it was critically and commercially successful enough to spark a stream of other direct videos scooby-doo movies. Since then, the franchise has more openly embraced supernatural elements, with one of the best examples being Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporatedas it found a way to play with the traditional mystery structure and supernatural threats. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island remains one of the best examples of just how spooky the series can get – and how effective it is as a true horror story.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is now streaming on HBO Max