Western Animation: Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
In this entry in the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Scrappy-Doo are on their way to Miss Grimwood's Finishing School for Girls, where they have been hired as gym teachers. Once there, however, they find that it is actually a school for girl ghouls. The pupils include Sibella, the daughter of Count Dracula; Elsa Frankenteen, the daughter of Frankenteen Senior; Winnie, the daughter of the Wolf Man; Phantasma (usually called Phanty for short), the daughter of a phantom (not thatphantom!); and Tanis (which is a reference to an Egyptian city), the daughter of the Mummy.Thankfully, dark is not evil and the girls are actually fairly sweet (if creepy). Other residents of the school are Miss Grimwood, the headmistress; a floating white hand; an octopus, who is the school's butler; Legs, a spider that helps with the upcoming volleyball match, and the pet dragon Matches, who dislikes Scooby at first, but later becomes friends, and has a strong liking for Scrappy. Miss Grimwood soon starts gym class, with the intent to train the girls for their upcoming volleyball match against the boys of the neighboring Calloway Military Academy (who have always beaten them through cheating).As if teaching at a school of Cute Monster Girls isn't stressful enough for the cowardly Shaggy and Scooby, the girls' fathers come for Open House and they warn Shaggy and Scooby not to let any harm come to their daughters as they leave. As an additional plot twist, Revolta, the self-styled Witch of the Web, and her minion, the Grim Creeper, plan to kidnap the girls and make them her slaves, with the help of her spider bats. If she gets hold of the girls, she will make a potion that will make them evil forever.Of the movies based on the "Scrappy Decade" in the Scooby franchise, this is the most fondly remembered, not so much for our heroes than for the cool monster girls. It was frequently broadcast during the early days of Cartoon Network, often with the other two Superstars 10 movies on Halloween.
This direct-to-TV movie includes examples of:
Affectionate Nickname: The girl ghouls all have different words for their fathers. Sibella uses "Daddy," Winnie uses "Papa," Elsa uses "Dada," Phantasma uses "Father," and Tanis uses either "Mummy" or "Mummy Daddy."
Alien Lunch: Colonel Calloway is not pleased when Miss Grimwood tells him what he's been eating and drinking: "Fungus" fudge and "toadstool" tea.
Shaggy and Scooby unexpectedly get "gross" food revealed to them too, but ultimately decide they don't care because it tastes good.
Always Someone Better: Before Shaggy and Scooby were hired as Grimwood gym teachers, the Calloway Military School's cadets beat the Grimwood girls at the annual volleyball match every year. But the trope is subverted; it becomes clear that the boys win their games through cheating. And the girls beat them in the movie's timeframe thanks to Scooby accidentally screwing up their cheating devices.
Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: When Matches steals the practice volleyball the cadets were using to prepare for the game, the cadets charge in to take it back. Once they realize Matches can breathe fire, however, Tug orders the cadets to "advance to the rear...and step on it!"
Bait and Switch: This is the reason Winnie is the first to be brainwashed. Winnie successfully escapes the Grim Creeper by slashing him and then running into a cabin, but the cabin is full of spider-bats who magically enchant her head with brainwashing headphones, which was the Grim Creeper's plan all along. The brainwashed Winnie then does this to Phantasma, and the two of them in turn do this to Elsa and Tanis. Although the latter two figure out something's wrong from Sibella's shrieks, but are captured anyway.
Big Beautiful Woman: Miss Grimwood, the headmistress of Grimwood's Finishing School for Girls. She has a bit more body mass than the rest of the female characters in the movie, but Colonel Calloway is still willing to dance with her when they hold a celebratory "dance party" at the end.
Big Damn Heroes: Shaggy accidentally falls into a hidden chute, which causes him to slide into the "revoltizing" device and free the girls. Subverted, though, because this, along with Scooby, Scrappy, and Matches showing up, gives the Grim Creeper hostages to bargain with, and the girls agree to go back under the "revoltizing" device anyway to save their teachers' lives. Revolta's plan only goes wrong because she turns Scooby into a frog and then one of the spider-bats accidentally chases Scooby into dropping potions into a cauldron, making the brainwashing useless.
The Calloway Cadets prove instrumental in enabling Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, and the girls to escape the castle just before it explodes
Brainwashed and Crazy: Revolta's method of choice. She plans to have all five ghouls be "revoltized," which basically means permanent brainwashing, and then she'll use them to rule monsterdom. When the ghouls are brainwashed, they speak in monotone, "I obey only Revolta!"
Card-Carrying Villain: Revolta. As just one example, she considers Grim Creeper calling her plan "revolting" to be a compliment; also, her plan is a very standard "take over the world" plot. The only "depth" provided to her motivation is that she thinks the girls' fathers have all gone soft and she'd be much better at the whole "ruling monster-dom" thing.
To a much more minor extent, all the girls. Tanis thinks playing in the quicksand is "fun" (possibly because the quicksand wouldn't sink her for some mummy-related reason), Elsa thinks ripe corn is "yuck", Sibella takes having a garden full of rotten food as a compliment and she constantly talks to everyone in a tone of voice that sounds like she wants to take them to bed, and Winnie has some bizarre "doggy" behaviors that show up in-context (running on four paws during a jogging exercise) and out-of-context (she misinterprets a remark by the Calloway Cadets on "flipping" for the serve and she thinks it means to flip over the net while howling).
Covers Always Lie: Shaggy has his green shirt in one poster◊ when he wears his red shirt and jeans in the movie. Not to mention, neither characters dealt with mixing anything in a cauldron.
Cute Monster Girl: All five ghouls. Which ones are the "best" examples of this trope depends on the viewer.
Cute Little Fangs: Sibella shows her gleaming pair of ivories in the first thirty minutes.
Dance Party Ending: In this case the dance party is held to celebrate the girls being rescued from Revolta's evil scheme, and to thank the Calloway Military School cadets and colonel of all people for contributing to the rescue.
Defrosting Ice Dragon: Not literally, since Matches himself breathes fire, but Matches begins the movie hostile to Scooby (though Scrappy quickly befriends him), and Matches only starts to like Scooby later in the movie.
Dhampyr: It is implied that Sibella may be only half vampire: She can be outside during the day and is completely unaffected by sunlight, unlike her father.
The Dragon: The Grim Creeper, who looks somewhat like an overgrown mutated potato with a single eye.
And Matches is a literal dragon, but not an example of this trope.
Failed a Spot Check: How Shaggy ends up brainwashed into taking the girls to Barren Bog. Scooby notices a spider-bat in the room, but when Shaggy investigates, he finds nothing at the window...and he doesn't notice the spider-bat is on his drapes instead.
Fictional Currency: Sibella is able to purchase a pizza for everyone with a Transylvania dollar (which is in the shape of a coin).
Funny Afro: Sibella has one when she's dried off after a swim in the moat, and because Winnie is covered in fur, when she's dried off, she practically becomes a Funny Afro.
Fur Against Fang: Partial example; Sibella and Winnie are fellow students and thus are obviously not out to kill each other, but they have a bit of a rivalry going on (examples: Sibella makes a joking comment about werewolves being such "show offs"; Winnie races Sibella and then complains her ability to turn into a bat is "no fair"). They still appear to be friends, though: for example, at one point Winnie rather rudely orders Sibella to "get flappin'!" (to buy a pizza), and Sibella complies.
General Ripper: Colonel Calloway is a very, very mild example. He's not itching to kill anyone, but he's extremely warlike and teaches the cadets that no matter what happens, they have to win!!!
Girls Have Cooties: Well, the topic of cooties doesn't come up literally, but this is the Calloway cadets' general demeanor towards the Grimwood girls. In fact, near the end, the Calloway cadets complain that they'll never understand girls, especially Grimwood girls!
Heel-Face Turn: The Calloway cadets. At first they refuse to rescue the Grimwood girls out of petty revenge for beating them in the volleyball game, but once they recall that the "Calloway code" requires them to help "ladies in distress", they go on a rescue mission to save the girls from Revolta.
Heroic Willpower: Sibella, Dracula's daughter, is the last to be captured by the spider-bats after she puts up a very good fight against them first (they only caught her because she was distracted by Elsa and Tanis getting captured). Then, it takes forever for the magical headphones to brainwash Sibella; Revolta even comments about how Sibella's will is as strong as her father's. The bats have to physically carry Sibella to Revolta's castle before the brainwashing finally works.
It's also her single most distinctive character trait; during a scene where Scooby is imitating all the girls to inform Shaggy that they've been kidnapped by Revolta's spider-bats, to imitate Phantasma, Scooby simply has to do her crazy laugh.
Hypocritical Humor: Minor example: Winnie dives into the moat for a swimming exercise while howling at the top of her lungs. Sibella remarks that "you werewolves are such show-offs", while dramatically flapping her arms like she's going to swoop down on someone before finally diving.
It Was Here, I Swear: This happens to poor Scooby-Doo twice! The first time, Scooby notices one of Revolta's venus spy-traps in the garden, but Revolta withdraws the trap before Scooby can get Shaggy to see it, so Shaggy dismisses what Scooby saw as a hunger-induced hallucination. This is played for a gag, but the second time this happens has much more serious consequences, because Scooby notices one of Revolta's spider-bats in the room, but can't get Shaggy to see it because the spider-bat moves from the window to the drapes. The spider-bat then brainwashes Shaggy into taking the girls on a field trip to Barren Bog, which indirectly sets off a chain of events that gets them all brainwashed and almost becoming Revolta's evil team forever.
The Calloway cadets too. Their conscience gets the better of them and they go to rescue the girls despite having been hostile towards them before.
Last Episode New Character: At the end three new girls show up with their parents. However they are un-named. Unknown if they were named in the model sheets though.
Milholland Relationship Moment: When the girls' famously ferocious fathers show up, Shaggy and Scooby run like hell, but are caught anyway. Shaggy first claims to Dracula that he doesn't want to eat him and Scooby, since they have "chicken blood" and are skin and bones. Then, more relevantly to this trope, Shaggy begs the "Mummy Daddy" not to hurt Shaggy's friends since it's Shaggy's fault they're here! The Mummy Daddy responds, "Hurt you? I want to hug you, for making my daughter feel like a winner!" Then it turns out the fathers are actually here to congratulate Shaggy for helping the girls win the volleyball game for the first time ever.
Mirror Universe: Shaggy gets temporarily stuck in one while his evil double escapes into the real world. They switch back eventually.
Missing Mom: Only the girls' fathers show up for their open house night, who are Dracula, a werewolf, Frankenstein's Monster, a mummy, and a phantom respectively. Nothing is ever mentioned about the identities of any of their mothers.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Shaggy and Scooby prove completely inept at this "rescuing the girl ghouls" business; Scrappy and Matches are more helpful but ultimately Matches' pilot light goes out a bad time. Revolta actually would've succeeded at "Revoltizing" the girls if she hadn't decided to magically turn Scooby into a frog...which gives him a small enough form to accidentally knock potions into the cauldron and screw up the formula, rendering the "revoltizing" potions useless. The spider-bat who chased Scooby into those potions also falls under this trope.
Nice Girl: All the girl ghouls, despite acting creepy and vaguely threatening when Shaggy and Scooby first meet them which doesn't leave a very good first impression. But, they do turn out to be very nice.
Sibella and Tanis stand out as the nicest. Sibella is very helpful and polite and will provide assistance whenever needed, and Tanis is the only ghoul who didn't intentionally scare Shaggy and Scooby out of their wits when they first met, unlike the others who apparently thought acting vaguely creepy and threatening was a hilarious joke to play (though Tanis did scare them by accident because they hid in the sarcophagus she happened to be sleeping in).
This description feels inaccurate. The worst thing Sibella did was show her fangs, which could have been a simple smile, Elsa and Phantasma actually simply said "hi" and introduced themselves, and the only one who acted even vaguely threatening was Winnie, as she put her claws up and howled. Seeing as she's a werewolf, it could have been a case of Face of a Thug as she always looks slightly more ferocious than the others, and the howl may simply have been a verbal tic as opposed to an attempt to be intimidating. First point stands, though, Sibella is definitely the most helpful and polite.
The Nicknamer: Minor example; Elsa never calls Shaggy by name, only as "Coach." The others sometimes call Shaggy "Coach" too, but Elsa never uses any other term of address.
Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Like a certain family, most ghouls/monsters/etc. in this movie are perfectly nice people who don't seem to understand why others would be freaked out by man-eating plants, quicksand, less then savory food and the like.
It should be pointed out, however, that their lack of understanding never causes them to act with cruelty: when the Calloway Cadets get trapped in quicksand, for example, Tanis and Elsa don't understand why the Cadets consider that a bad thing, but ultimately Tanis and Elsa do help the Cadets out just because the Cadets insisted. This, along with the Cadets suddenly remembering a crucial part of the "Calloway Code", convinces them to help rescue the Grimwood girls later on.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Grim Creeper, twice. When we first see him he appears to be Revolta's bumbling, idiotic sidekick, and for the most part he is. But when he actually shows up in person, he uses an elaborate plan to trick Winnie into getting herself brainwashed (which required Winnie to run from him; yes the Grim Creeper actually manages to act scary), and Winnie then helps capture the rest of the girls. Also, he proves a surprisingly formidable obstacle to Shaggy and Scooby's rescue attempt, due both to his multiple tentacles and his trump card of trapping them in a pit with the giant Well Dweller.
Opposing Sports Team: The Calloway Cadets are the "insufferable" type. They snicker and laugh at the idea of beating the Grimwood girls, complete with an ominous "Goodbye Grimwood!" at one point, they're hostile and rude when they deign to speak to the Grimwood girls at all, and they cheat when they're about to lose. Interestingly enough, though, unlike most examples of this trope, the Cadets learn their lesson later on, after remembering that the Calloway Code requires them to help ladies in distress. It didn't hurt that Tanis and Elsa had previously rescued them from quicksand.
Our Dragons Are Different: Matches is tiny, and he can't breathe fire indefinitely; if he breathes too much fire in too short a period of time (or if he gets wet), his "pilot light" will go out and he'll only be able to breathe smoke until it recharges.
Our Vampires Are Different: Sibella never drains anyone's blood during the movie (though she does drain a crabapple), she doesn't get burned up in sunlight, and she has no problems crossing water (she can even go swimming). She plays some other vampire tropes straight, though: she buys a pizza with everything on it "except garlic", she can transform into a bat, and she's very strong (at one point she air-lifts Shaggy and Scooby out of danger in her bat form).
Painting the Medium: Twice in thirty seconds during the opening credits! The most humorous example being when Shaggy claims that the he's having trouble seeing through the rain... right when a credit is right in front of his face.
Papa Wolf: All of the girls' monster fathers are highly protective of their daughters. Bonus points to Papa Werewolf who is literally a wolf. This is best shown when they warn Shaggy and Scooby not to let any harm befall their daughters, despite having been friendly to them beforehand.
Pink Means Feminine: A more subtle example than most, but Tanis the little mummy girl wears a pink bow on her head. It stands out as this trope because it's the only thing she wears that isn't another bandage.
Three new students show up at the end of the movie (which finally prompts Shaggy and Scooby to take a hike, but they say goodbye to the original girls as they go), and one of them, the daughter of Godzilla, is wearing a pink ballerina tutu.
Plot Hole: A minor one, since it only affects the logic of an individual scene. In one scene of the movie, Sibella saves Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy from alligators by letting them all hold onto her in her bat form, then air-lifting them out of danger. But later in the movie, when Revolta's castle is about to explode because Revolta's potion got messed up, Sibella says, "I'll fly us out, but I can only take one at a time." Given that Sibella was able to take three at a time earlier in the movie, this makes little sense. However, this can easily be chalked up to "panicking and therefore not thinking clearly", given that everyone was about to be blown to smithereens.
To be fair, Sibella only had to fly those three a couple of feet the first time, flying them out of the castle would have been a MUCH greater distance.
Also, when the five Calloway Cadets are meant to be following the colonel through Barren Bog, four of them split off to go their own way (leaving only Baxter, the smallest cadet, to follow the colonel), and wind up caught in quicksand. At the end, they meet the colonel and Baxter again... yet Baxter is clearly shown with the others when they're caught in the quicksand.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Miss Grimwood herself; the only times she gets mad are when Matches is misbehaving. Scrappy-Doo temporarily becomes one himself when he referees the volleyball game; he wants Grimwood to win but will call Grimwood girls out on fouls, such as when Phantasma goes through the net, which is a technical violation that awards Calloway the ball. Though how he didn't see some of the Cadets' cheating is anyone's guess...
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shaggy and Scooby attempt to pull this off twice: the first time when they meet the girl ghouls, and the second time to get out of having to meet the girls' famously ferocious fathers. They fail both times. The mirror monster who replaces Shaggy gets burned in the rear by Matches, causing him to decide that it's too dangerous out in the real world, so he switches back with Shaggy of his own accord.
At the very end of the movie, three new students show up: the daughter of a Martian, the daughter of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the daughter of Godzilla. This prompts Shaggy and Scooby to make another escape attempt, and this time they succeed because their contract for this school year has run out by this point. They're nice enough to say good-bye to the rest of the girls as they're leaving, though.
Serious Business: See Papa Wolf above. The fathers all threaten, using euphemisms of course, to kill Shaggy and Scooby should anything horrible happen to their daughters. (The mummy and phantom, it should be noted, extend the threat to cover all the girls, rather than only their daughters specifically.)
As another example of this trope, Grimwood's Finishing School for Girls has an intense rivalry with Calloway Military Academy, which it settles every year by volleyball.
Shout-Out: To the Universal films, since the girl ghouls are the daughters of the Universal horror series monsters. But there's also a minor shout-out near the end to Gone With The Wind of all things! Specifically, when Elsa throws Revolta's wand into the cauldron full of brainwashing potion, the potion is "over-generalized", and Revolta realizes it'll explode. Winnie then howls and says, "We're gonna be gone with the wand!"
Simpleton Voice: Elsa. Ironically, she's probably the smartest of the girls; as a gift to her "Dada", she was able to create a portable Walkman-like device labeled a "Shockman" all by herself.
The Social Darwinist: Revolta has slight shades of this. Her motivation for wanting to turn the girl ghouls into her "evil SWAT-team" is that, in Revolta's opinion, the girls' fathers used to be the mightiest in the monster world, but have now gone "soft." Apparently Revolta thinks they've gone soft because Dracula was willing to offer the Mummy the former's cape to keep the latter out of the rain, so it can be inferred that Revolta would prefer herself as ruler of Monster-dom because Revolta would never do something that nice.
Take Over Monsterdom: Revolta's motivations for her plot. She thinks the girls' fathers, who used to be the most powerful in the world, have grown "soft", and naturally Revolta herself would be a suitable replacement ruler of monsterdom, complete with girl ghoul SWAT team.
Teacher's Pet: Baxter of the Calloway Cadets is this, with Colonel Calloway being the "teacher". In an unusual example of this trope, however, this is portrayed as a good thing: since Baxter was the only one of the cadets to actually listen to the Colonel's instructions and follow the Colonel precisely, Baxter finishes his hike in much better shape than the rest of the cadets.
Teens Are Monsters: Well, literally, yes! Actually, though, in terms of personality, the "teen" monsters are all very nice, and so are the "child" monsters.
Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The cadets at Calloway Military Academy have a pedal-powered helicopter. They use it to air-lift our heroes and the girls out of Revolta's castle in the climax.
Tomboy and Girly Girl: Elsa and Winnie are the tomboys, Sibella and Tanis are the girly girls, and Phantasma is the in-between.
Totally Radical: The cartoon ends with Scrappy rapping, which is just as terrible as it sounds.
To clarify, the music during the rap is actually pretty good. It's the vocal part that falls flat; Scrappy can't pull off the rap because he has little sense of vocal timing, so during some lines it sounds like he's just speaking really fast, rather than actually trying to maintain a rhythm.
Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: A ridiculous example. The Calloway cadets use a remote control to control the volleyball during the game, but then Tug attaches a jet pack to Grunt, and somehow nobody manages to figure out that the cadets are cheating (though the jet pack may have been acceptable, considering that two of the girls were capable of flying anyway and were never called out for it). But thanks to Shaggy and Scooby, the girls beat the Calloway cadets for the first time ever anyway.
Vegetarian Vampire: Sibella is probably one. The only thing we ever see her drain is a crabapple.
Sibella makes lots of "bat" puns, such as "fang-tastic" or "fright stuff" or just puns on the word "bat" in general.
Winnie takes the opportunity to howl if she is saying anything that would remotely sound like a howl. For example, she won't howl if she's just saying that Shaggy and friends "won't be hungry for long", since there's nothing in that sentence that sounds like a howl. But if she's greeting someone and saying "hello", she'll turn the last part of "Hello" into a howl. Also, she'll sometimes howl if her emotions are running really strongly, such as when Revolta's cauldron is "over-generalized" and is in danger of exploding and taking the whole castle with it.
Phantasma has a very distinctive laugh, which sounds something like "Ah-hee-hee-hee-ahahahaha!" or variations thereof. She does the laugh whenever she can get away with it.
Elsa talks very, very slowly all the time, and sounds like a simpleton (which does not reflect her actual intelligence, since she can construct a "portable Shock-man" by herself). She even sounds simple-minded when she's angrily telling Revolta, "You can't tell Elsa Frankenteen what to do." She also habitually refers to Shaggy as "Coach."
Tanis' verbal tic doesn't come out as much as the others; on rare occasions she'll start making Egyptian puns, such as being able to swim "a Nile and a half", and she calls her mummy daddy "Mummy."
On that note, Jamal of the Calloway Cadets has his own tic: answering questions with an "affirmative" instead of a simple "yes."
What the Hell, Hero?: A very minor example, but when Shaggy and Scooby discover the true nature of the school (that it's for female monsters, when they had originally assumed it was for human girls), their first reaction is to try to leave. Miss Grimwood stops them by reminding them that Shaggy had signed a contract, didn't he? And Scrappy and Scooby had even witnessed that signing! So they would be breaking their word if they left. Shaggy and Scooby reluctantly agree that this is the case (though they still try to run away from meeting the girl monsters at first).