Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is a 1998 animated comedy film based on the animated television series Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoon franchise. In the film, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred reunite to solve a frightening new mystery: They leave for a haunted bayou island to investigate the ghost of Moonscar the Pirate.
The film was released direct-to-video September 22, 1998, and the feature gained positive reviews in the press as well as commercial success. It is the first in the long-running series of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo films, as well as the first of the first four Scooby Doo direct-to-video films to be animated overseas by Japanese animation studio, Mook Animation.
The movie opens with Mystery Inc. being pursued by a green troll. After an accident with Scooby, he is caught and revealed to be a counterfeiter. This is actually a re-enactment of the now-dissolved Mystery Inc.'s adventures on a television program by Daphne and Fred, who are running a successful TV series (Coast to Coast with Daphne Blake). Velma has gone on and become the propietor of a mystery bookstore, and Scooby and Shaggy bounce from job to job, including working in customs at an airport, from which they are fired after eating all the confiscated imported foods. Since their mysteries have all involved mere crooks in monster costumes, Fred decides that Daphne's show should be about tracking down real ghosts, so he gets the gang back together for a trip to Louisiana.
After encountering a lot of fake monsters, like a nerdy guy in a lobster-man suit haunting a fish factory, an old man disguised as a gargoyle, a holographic ghost and a zombie policeman that turns out to be a woman, the gang finally arrives in New Orleans. There they are invited by a young woman named Lena to visit Moonscar Island, the home of her employer, which is allegedly haunted by the ghost of the pirate Morgan Moonscar. Although the gang is skeptical (except for Shaggy and Scooby), they decide to go with Lena, on whom Fred has taken a fancy. On the way, Velma informs the gang that Moonscar Island has had many unexplained disappearances over the years.
On the island, the gang meets Lena's employer, Simone Lenoir, a beautiful French-American; Jacques, the island's ferryman; and Beau, Simone's gardener, to whom Daphne takes a fancy (to Fred's disapproval). They also meet Snakebite Scruggs, a grungy fisherman, and his hunting pig, Mojo. The first act is like a standard Scooby-Doo cartoon, with the gang investigating and working to prove that the "ghost" is fake. Scooby and Shaggy are chased by Mojo and end up falling into a big hole. While trying to climb out, they pull down some of the wall, revealing a skeletal arm. A mysterious green fog envelopes the skeleton, causing it to transform into the grisly zombie of Morgan Moonscar himself. While running away, Scooby and Shaggy run into a suspicious Beau and bring everyone back to the hole, which is now, however, empty.
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. Later that night, Scooby and Shaggy eat in the Mystery Machine, so Scooby wouldn't chase Simone's cats. However, they burn their mouths on the spicy food, and both of them rush to the lake for water. The green fog reappears and sinks into the nearby ground, causing an army of zombies to emerge from the lake. Due to Shaggy's bad driving, the Mystery Machine gets stuck in a muddy bank, forcing him and Scooby to flee on foot. Fred, Daphne and Velma go to look for them, but bump into Beau, so they split up.
Fred and Daphne argue about each other's supposed love interest. They come across Scooby and Shaggy trying to escape, and they also capture a zombie. Fred thinks the zombie is another fake, but it turns out to be all too real, and when the other zombies begin to swarm them, Scooby, Shaggy, Fred and Daphne separate in panic. Fred trips on a stone, and his camera (which he used to record their investigation) sinks into quicksand. Fred and Daphne reunite with Velma and Beau (Velma is now suspicious of Beau because "he is never nearby when something strange happens" and she decides to stick by him). Scooby and Shaggy discover wax dolls that look like Fred, Velma and Daphne, and they play with them, causing his friends to undertake a series of involuntary actions for a short time.
Fred, Daphne, Velma and Beau return to Simone's house and discover a secret passage under the staircase. They find Lena in the passage, who tells them zombies kidnapped Simone and dragged her away. Daphne, Fred, Velma, Lena and Beau proceed down the passage and find a secret chamber, where Velma finds Simone's footprints (meaning she wasn't "dragged") and questions Lena about the story. Indeed, Simone appears, and she and Lena use voodoo dolls to trap the gang in the chamber. They show themselves to be evil werecats, and Simone reveals that in the 18th century, she and Lena were part of a group of settlers who made the island their home. One night, during the harvest moon, while the settlers were celebrating their successful harvest, Morgan Moonscar and his pirates chased the settlers, except for Lena and Simone, into the bayou where they were eaten by alligators. A vengeful Lena and Simone begged their cat god to curse the pirates. Their wish was granted, and they killed the pirates, but the curse caused them to become werecats permanently, requiring that they drain life forces to preserve their immortality. Over the years Lena lured more people to the island, and they also gave Jacques immortality so they had a ferryman to bring them more victims. The zombies - including Morgan Moonscar - were the victims they have murdered over the centuries, who reanimate every harvest moon to warn away visitors.
Scooby and Shaggy accidentally tumble into the cave, interrupting the draining ceremony and disctracting the werecats. Velma is quickly able to untie herself and create voodoo dolls of Lena and Simone to interrupt their power. When they are finally cornered, the werecats' curse expires, causing their bodies to age hundreds of years and disintegrate, freeing the zombies' souls to rest in peace. Afterward Beau is revealed to be an undercover police officer sent to investigate the disappearances on the island (to Velma's fascination); Fred and Daphne become a couple again, and Daphne offers Beau a chance to guest-star on her show and discuss the adventure.
- Simone Lenoir: Born in the early 1700s and later "employer" of Lena Dupree. She is the lead Werecat and the cause of the Curse of Moonscar Island. Delving into the dark arts cause them to invoke a curse changing herself, Lena and Jacques into werecats. The curse turned out to be permanent and forced them to find new victims every Harvest Moon. The curse finally destroys them when they did not harvest the needed victims in time. Their bodies crumbled into a cloud of dust.
- Lena Dupree: A beautiful woman born in the 1700s. She was a settler alongside Simone Lenoir. Lena and Simone survived a massacre by Morgan Moonscar and his crew. Their cat god granted made them cat creatures to destroy the pirates, but they were cursed in the process. Lena lures visitors to Moonscar island for her, Simone and Jacques to feed on. She is finally destroyed after she and Simone fail to drain the Mystery, Inc. gang.
- Jacques: A man whom Lena and Simone offered immortality to in exchange for running the ferry to bring victims to the island.
- Scott Innes as Scooby-Doo
- Billy West as Shaggy Rogers
- Mary Kay Bergman as Daphne Blake
- Frank Welker as Fred Jones
- B.J. Ward as Velma Dinkley
- Adrienne Barbeau as Simone Lenoir, the owner of the manor and the main antagonist of the film. She is also a werecat.
- Tara Charendoff as Lena Dupree, a cook who works for Simone. She takes a liking to Fred and but turns out to be a werecat, much to Fred's dismay.
- Cam Clarke as Detective Beau Neville, a police detective who works undercover as a gardener at the manor. He later befriends Mystery, Inc.
- Jim Cummings as Jacques, the ferry owner, who is a werecat.
- Mark Hamill as Snakebite Scruggs, a grouchy fisherman whose goal is to catch Big Mona, he also has a hunting pig named Mojo.
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. 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 because he suffered a stroke. 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 as the 1st man standing.
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. The film is based on Glenn Leopold's unfinished Swat Kats episode "The Curse of Kataluna", and written by Leopold and Davis Doi.Template:Citation needed This and the following two films had a darker tone than the original cartoon series since the monsters were real. The film was dedicated to memory of Don Messick.
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. The film was animated and is presented in standard 1.33:1 full frame format.
The film was released on VHS on September 22, 1998, and made its television debut a little over a month later on October 31, 1998, on Cartoon Network. The film once again made its television debut on October 31, 2004, on TBS. It was released on DVD on March 6, 2001, and re-released with extra bonus features on February 8, 2005.
The film was promoted as part of Cartoon 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.
The videos sold well and received generally positive reviews in the press,Template:Citation needed leading to a series of future direct-to-video Scooby-Doo feature films, and a new television series, What's New, Scooby-Doo?. The movie currently holds a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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