Not up to watching a full-on horror film this Halloween? Then grab some Scooby Snacks and stick on these Mystery Inc marvels…
Scooby Doo On Zombie Island (1998)
After years of staleness and Scrappy Doo, Zombie Island brilliantly reignited the Scooby Doo franchise just in time to make sure it lasted into the new millennium. It’s self-aware and smart but still retains the simple slapstick charms of the original series. The titular island is a suitably spooky setting and it genuinely pushes the boundaries of how scary the series can be. Also, it has a killer soundtrack. As does its follow-up…
Scooby Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost (1999)
While ostensibly not as original as Zombie Island – which beat it to the punch on the ‘oh look, actual monsters!’ front – Witch’s Ghost is just as enjoyable. Swapping the zombie-filled New Orleans for witchy New England really works. Though the Scooby gang are all good fun, it’s the guest stars that steal the show. Tim Curry is on fine form as a Stephen King-alike horror writer and who could forget the awesomeness that is the Hex Girls?
Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000)
Swapping the supernatural for the extraterrestrial, The Alien Invaders is a great Scooby Doo take on Area 51-type conspiracy stories. As with the previous two movies, there’s a well-told mystery at the heart of it and this one benefits from giving Scooby and Shaggy some actual character development – as they fall for a hippy chick and her golden retriever. It’s also a personal favourite of this writer due to being the first DVD I ever owned. Yeah, I was a cool kid.
Scooby Doo (2002)
The first live-action Scooby Doo movie basically pinches its structure – “let’s get the separated Mystery Inc. back together to fight genuine monsters” – from Zombie Island, but its slightly anarchic, irreverent tone keeps things fresh. The cast is perfect all-round and James Gunn’s script shows signs of the wit he would later bring to Guardians of the Galaxy. If you love this film, make sure to check out the deleted scenes, some of which really shouldn’t have been cut.
Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)
In response to the mixed reviews the first received, Monsters Unleashed tones down the meta angle and acts more as a straight-up love letter to the original cartoons. The decision to bring back tons of old monsters is a great one as it allows you to bask in nostalgia and play the ‘name that ghost’ game. Plus, there’s double the fun for Buffy fans as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Daphne is joined by Oz himself Seth Green as Velma’s love interest.
If you loved these, also check out:
Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987)
Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988)
Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School (1988)
Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001)
Scooby Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire (2003)