October 2, 2019: Scooby on the To Doo

Rainy day. Popcorns balls. Mummy hot dogs. New Scooby Doo movie. That was my night. I don’t need to write this entry, right? Just turn those words into a haiku?

Warner Brothers releases a new animated Scooby Doo movie every year, and me and mine always look forward to it…even though they are invariably bad and never go in the direction I hope they’ll go tone-wise. But I can’t not watch anything Scooby Doo because Scooby Doo is an ideal for me.

And we always transform it into a mini-event. Even before I had a family, I did this. All alone in my apartment with a sadly smiling plastic jack-o-lantern and a seasonal Yankee candle battling back the dimness and the dull smell of depression and beef jerky. This year, after we lit all the decorations, we made mummy hot dogs and popcorn balls to make sure there wasn’t one square inch of non-Halloween anywhere near us, even on our plates.

Return to Zombie Island is the new Scooby Doo movie, which is sorta special. It’s the sequel to the first of the new-breed Scooby Doo movies that started back in 1998: Scooby Doo on Zombie Island. That was a great Scooby Doo movie, as was the one after it, the 1999 Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (the Scooby Gang in a Salem-analog town!).

Scooby Doo has always tried to combine the goofy and the creepy. And it’s at its best when it’s doing both well, but only the original series did them both well consistently. Most of the rest of the Scooby incarnations erred on the goofy side more often than not. The colors are too bright. Plots are half-assed. Monsters are bland (almost like the designers forgot that the bad guys in costumes shouldn’t look like bad guys in costumes). I know it seems weird to ding a children’s cartoon for all of that, but I recommend revisiting the original series with its horror-movie-level monster designs and creepy, almost apocalyptic backdrops.

And, though I had high hopes for it because of its predecessor, Return to Zombie Island was…particularly bad. One of the worst, I think. The plot was highly contrived and silly, and the zombies were badly designed (especially compared to the zombies from the original Zombie Island).

But it had some good points. Elvira had a brief cameo and looked awesome. We get to see a zombified version of the gang, which was cool. It had a great classic monster montage at the beginning of the movie that hits you right in the Halloween bone. And, in the end, it was Scooby Doo. And mummy hot dogs. And popcorn balls. And a rainstorm. Exactly what I want every night.