[[caption-width-right:322:[[{{Tagline}} This time, the monsters are real...]]]]

->''"Mystery, Inc. is back in business!"''

The year is 1997. Most people would have figured the ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'' franchise had pretty much [[JumpingTheShark run its course]]. It had been 6 years since ''WesternAnimation/APupNamedScoobyDoo'' was cancelled, the only sign of life in the franchise being a made-for-TV-movie in 1994 called ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooInArabianNights'' in which Scooby barely appeared, and the ever-present reruns of exploits from decades past.

Then, out of nowhere, came something totally unexpected. Children and parents everywhere stared in amazement at one thing: a trailer on VHS tapes of several Creator/WarnerBros family films...

The trailer had sleek animation, dark colors, and featured a seemingly truly dark and potentially scary movie... and it featured Scooby-Doo and Shaggy running for their lives. The title? '''''Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island'''''. The tagline? ''This time, the monsters are real''. It was short, but it was enough to send kids everywhere into a furor.

Cut to 1998. Parents and kids grab the video off of video and rental stores' shelves. They're expecting something fun, nothing more dangerous than the average ''Scooby'' mystery. To their horror-filled delight, the latter assumption turned out wrong.

With a warmly-received journey into relatively mature writing (partially helped by being a DolledUpInstallment, see below), ''Zombie Island'' marked a – or, in some peoples' opinions, ''the'' – high point in the ''Scooby-Doo'' franchise. The film, as mentioned before, is beautifully animated – more so than any incarnation before and still unmatched today – with a literally dark and realistic feel to it. On top of that, it featured a somewhat cynical/mature look at what happened to Mystery Inc. after their adventures were done, which would be touched on again in TheMovie, but with less success. Characters were more fleshed out and three-dimensional, especially the newly empowered Daphne. The irrelevant pop songs of past cartoons gave way to Alternative and Metal music. The story appealed to older viewers with honest-to-goodness death as part of the backstory, and the end result for the gang if they didn't win.[[note]] Although the back cover mentioned that they ''do'' make it out alive.[[/note]] And the best part of it all? No contrived story with a guy in a mask... just like the ads promised, [[PunctuatedForEmphasis they were Real. Stinkin'. Zombies]]. Probably the only complaint the movie generated was, "[[AnimationAgeGhetto it's too scary for young]] ''[[AnimationAgeGhetto Scooby]]'' [[AnimationAgeGhetto fans]]." That's the price that comes when you ShooOutTheClowns.

The success of ''Zombie Island'' led to the creation of three more direct-to-video movies covering mysteries Scooby and the gang would solve as adults, starting with ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheWitchsGhost''. The success of ''those'' caused a wholesale revival of the franchise, culminating in [[Film/ScoobyDoo a live-action film]] and the first new TV series in over a decade, ''WesternAnimation/WhatsNewScoobyDoo'' (with more series to follow). The Direct-to-Video movies would also continue, even if the animation quality was not often up to the high standards set by ''Zombie Island''.

Production started at Creator/HannaBarbera, but it was completed by its then-new parent company, [[Creator/WarnerBros Warner Bros. Animation]] after the buyout. WB has produced all subsequent ''Scooby-Doo'' films.

The movie starts with Fred inviting Daphne, Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma to a long-awaited Mystery Inc. reunion, held in honor of Daphne’s birthday. The five of them travel to UsefulNotes/NewOrleans in order to find real monsters to discuss on Daphne's talk show. After effortlessly exposing several creature impostors, the gang accepts an offer to visit Moonscar Island. The island is home to a French chili pepper plantation owner named Simone Lenoir, and has become the site of several disappearances over the years. While there, our heroes grapple with zombies and voodoo, death becomes a real threat, and the adventure grows legitimately dark and scary for a kid's film.

''Zombie Island'' is also notable for having the first permanent [[TheOtherDarrin shakeup of the franchise's vocal cast]].[[labelnote:±]] Prior to this, the only main character to have been permanently recast since ''Where Are You'' ended in 1970 had been Velma (although ''WesternAnimation/APupNamedScoobyDoo'', being a SpinoffBabies series, necessarily replaced the entire voice cast except for Shaggy and Scooby).[[/labelnote]] Creator/DonMessick, Scooby-Doo's long-time voice, retired in 1996 and died in 1997 shortly before recording could begin – the movie is dedicated to his memory; Scooby himself is played by Scott Innes instead. Casey Kasem, who had played Shaggy in every incarnation of the franchise up to this point, declined to reprise his role here after refusing to voice the character in a Burger King commercial (though he would return four years later after he successfully fought for the character to be a vegetarian), so Shaggy is played – for the first and only time – by Creator/BillyWest[[labelnote:±]] though Billy did voice the BigEater one additional time in a KidsWB commercial[[/labelnote]]. Daphne and Velma are played here by Creator/MaryKayBergman and Creator/BJWard respectively, replacing original VA's Heather North and Nicole Jaffe (also respectively; both original voices would briefly return four years later). Creator/FrankWelker, reprising his role of Fred, was the only original cast member to return.
!!This film provides examples of the following {{Tropes}}:
* AgentScully: Fred takes his sweet time accepting the possibility that ''real'' zombies and ghosts are pursuing them.
* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler: The existence of the zombies. They were once normal people who had their life force drained by the cat people. Consequently this turned them into aware but immortal zombie monsters.]]
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler:Simone and Lena.]] Both [[SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains Type II]].
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: [[spoiler:Simone and her servant Lena prayed to cat gods for the power to protect their island from pirates. The gods granted them such power, but also cursed them to turn into Werecats during the harvest moon]].
** One could also argue that Scooby and the gang suffered this trope after Daphne expressed desires to meet real monsters.
* BigBad: [[spoiler:Simone, since Lena and Jacques are subservient to her, though to a nominal degree in Lena's case]].
* BigDamnMovie
* BigEater: Scooby and Shaggy, duh.
* TheBrute: [[spoiler:Jacques.]]
* CastingGag: Possibly the casting of Adrienne Barbeau ([[spoiler:Catwoman]] from ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'') as Simone Lenoir and Jim Cumming ([[spoiler:Fat Cat]] from ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'') as Jacques.
* CatsAreMean: Scooby has an ongoing rivalry with Simone's cats. [[spoiler:Also, Simone and Lena are really {{Cat Girl}}s who gain immortality by stealing visitors' souls]].
** TheStinger shows that Scooby and Simone's cats eventually made peace.
* CharacterDevelopment: Daphne retains her more proactive personality from ''WesternAnimation/TheThirteenGhostsOfScoobyDoo'', and takes it a step further by never once really being a DamselInDistress (at least, not when others weren't in as much trouble as she).
* ChekhovsGag: During the "It's Terror Time Again" scene, Shaggy accepts a vine from a zombie to pull Scooby out of some quicksand. It seems like a classic DoubleTake gag. [[spoiler:It's actually foreshadowing that the zombies don't mean any harm.]]
* ChekhovsGun: The cloth Velma uses to clean her glasses. Later, [[spoiler:Simone and Lena use the cloth to power a Velma voodoo doll]]. Fred's ascot serves a similar purpose in this movie.
* CounterfeitCash: This is the scheme the 'Moat Monster' at the start of the movie is attempting to cover up.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The castle on the poster only appears briefly at the beginning of the movie. Most of the movie takes place on a plantation.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Averted and how with the female zombies. [[spoiler: And Simone and Lena's cat forms]].
* DarkerAndEdgier: When it first came out, this was the darkest interpretation of Scooby Doo in existence. It's still one of the scariest with ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' being the only interpretation that could match it in darkness (and that's saying something!).
* DarkIsNotEvil: [[spoiler:The zombies. They are scary undead monsters... that are just trying to save others from suffering their fate.]]
* DeathEqualsRedemption: Morgan Moonscar and his fellow pirates, Confederate soldiers, and arguably the plantations owners (since it was a 'plantation') [[spoiler:come back as zombies and successfully manage to hold off the villains long enough for the spell to be broken]].
* {{Deconstruction}}: There are some elements of this in the film.
* TheDragon: [[spoiler:Lena]].
* DolledUpInstallment: The movie was adapted from the story of an unmade episode of ''[[WesternAnimation/SWATKats SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron]]'', ''The Curse of Kataluna''; the original story was supposed to have a {{Succubus}}.
* EatTheEvidence: How Scooby and Shaggy got fired from their job sniffing out contraband food in airport luggage.
* {{Expy}}: In one of the direct to TV animated videos made several years later, ''Pirates Ahoy'', they blatantly reused the design for Captain Moonscar for their main pirate monster.
* FaceHeelDoubleTurn: [[spoiler:The zombies are the good guys while the seemingly benevolent Simone and Lena are the BigBad.]]
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler:Simone and Lena after the curse.]]
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath: They disintegrate horrifically--it's worse than vampires, as you can actually see ''bone fragments''.
** In the flashback, when the pirates force the villagers into alligator infested waters...their deaths occur offscreen, but you still hear the screams and other horrible sounds, as the camera shows the horrified faces of the two girls that survived because they hid behind a tree.
* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence: In ''Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island'' there are a few examples of this, one zombie has his head ripped off and two get cut in half.
** Earlier than that, the guy in the monster suit in the intro gives Fred a nasty gash on his back.
* FireBreathingDiner: Scooby and Shaggy after eating the Moonscar Island peppers.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: ''Zombie Island'' has several signs linking to the end of the mystery, including one in one of the chase sequences, where [[spoiler:a Zombie gives Shaggy a vine to pull Scooby out, at first, it looks like just a gag involving the whole "monster helps them to save themselves", but it foreshadows that the Zombies are not as evil as they're made out to be]].
* ForgottenBirthday: Inverted. At the beginning of the reunion, Daphne tells her friends that she got so caught up in her work, she didn't realize her birthday had arrived until everyone else showed up to surprise her.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: [[spoiler: Lena and Simone were colonists of Louisiana who lost everything due to Morgan Moonscar. Their revenge turned them into life draining cat monsters.]]
* GenreShift: From a straight ''Scooby-Doo'' story, to a supernatural horror mystery film.
* GoneHorriblyRight: [[spoiler:Simone and Lena pray to their cat god so that they can revenge on the pirates that murdered their friends and family. They succeed, only to become cat monsters that suck the life out of others.]]
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: After Fred drops the camera into quicksand, the gang fears that no one will believe their adventure occurred. They realize [[spoiler:Simone's only surviving servant Beau]] can act as a witness, but even he doubts anyone will believe them.
* HeelFaceTurn: It happened to [[spoiler:Morgan Moonscar and his crew after their deaths. The above {{Foreshadowing}} entry makes clear that they ''don't'' want to kill the gang: in spite of being real zombies, they want to scare them away from the area (which was ironically a much more noble version of what most of the series' previous villains wanted to do)]].
* HeroicSacrifice: The zombies [[spoiler:fight off the villains at the end long enough for the spell to be broken resulting in their final deaths as well]].
* HotScoop: Daphne.
* HumanSacrifice: In a HoldTheLine moment, [[spoiler:the zombies keep the real villains at bay so Scooby's gang can get permanently rid of them]].
* IncongruouslyDressedZombie: A rare justified case. The zombies range from 18th century pirates all the way up to modern tourists.
* ItsAlwaysMardiGrasInNewOrleans: Averted. There isn't a single mention of Mardi Gras in the entire film.
* JerkassVictim: [[spoiler:It's hard to feel sorry for Morgan Moonscar's fate.]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch: The first thing that the villains do is murder Morgan Moonscar and his men.
* LastMinuteHookup: [[spoiler:Velma and Beau.]]
* Creator/MookDLE: First of four direct-to-videos animations for the franchise.
* MythologyGag: Fred tries on his orange ascot while getting ready for dinner at Simone's mansion, but tosses it aside after realizing it looks ridiculous.
%%* NoImmortalInertia
* NotAZombie: A rare case of this reaction being completely justified given the characters involved. Both Averted and played straight. The avert is one of the Mysteries the gang is doing involves a zombie ship captain (which happens to be a woman in the costume). Played straight with not only Morgan Moonscar, but [[spoiler:his pirate crew,]] other inhabitants, ''Civil War soldiers'', and past tourists.
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood: Two cases:
** Beau, the gardener, seems like a shady guy and always gets annoyed when his flowerbeds are ruined. [[spoiler:However, he's really an undercover police officer investigating the disappearances of missing tourists.]]
** [[spoiler:The zombies so very much. Yes, they're quite terrifying and they know it. That's the point. They're not trying to hurt or eat Scooby and his friends. They're trying to ''save'' them from being consumed by Simone and Lena.]]
* OhCrap: Several characters, several times throughout the film. One in particular that stands out is Fred when he finally gets it that the zombies really are real, and really are trying to kill them [[spoiler: ...or not. The zombies are actually trying to scare them away so the ''real'' villains won't sacrifice them to their cat god]].
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: ''Very'' different. Not the [[Film/NightOfTheLivingDead flesh-eating kind]] or the [[ReturnOfTheLivingDead brain-eating kind]].
** [[spoiler:Or the evil kind.]]
* OutdatedOutfit: During the opening sequence, the gang is seen in their classic outfits from the original show. For the rest of the film - and for that matter the rest of the series up until ''Mystery Inc.'', they wear more modern clothes. Fred even throws his prized ascot away.
* PetTheDog: When Scooby gets trapped in quicksand, a Confederate zombie passes Shaggy a vine to help pull him out.
* PlotHole: When Scooby and Shaggy first find the voodoo dolls and pick them up, their counterparts levitate into the air. However later on people hold the dolls and they don't levitate at all.
* PragmaticAdaptation: Many would even contest that this is ''the best'' Scooby-Doo story ever. Hands down.
* PuttingTheBandBackTogether: The story opens up after the gang have been separated for a number of years.
* [[RedemptionEqualsDeath Redemption Equals Undeath]][=/=]EvenEvilHasStandards: Morgan Moonscar and his pirates were brutal killers in life, [[spoiler:but even in their undead state, they try to scare people away from the area so innocents don't suffer the same fate as they did.]]
* RoleReprisal: Creator/FrankWelker returns to voice Fred for the first time since 1984 – admittedly this is the first time adult!Fred had appeared in ''any'' media since 1984. Welker is the ''only'' one of the original voice actors to do so (though it's heavily implied Creator/DonMessick would also have returned had he lived)
* RomanticFalseLead: Daphne and Fred develop crushes on Beau and Lena, respectively, invoking each other's jealousy.
* RunningGag:
** Scooby and Shaggy sampling some of Simone's spiciest peppers.
** The gang unintentionally interfering with a villager's attempts to catch a catfish named Big Mona.
** [[ObliviousToHisOwnDescription Dog? Where?]]
** Scooby Doo and Simone's cats. That is all.
* ScoobyDoobyDoors: Played with briefly at the beginning, where Shaggy and Scooby are running from a monster and use a hallway with doors to this effect while the monster just stands at the end of the hall and watches them.
* ScoobyDooHoax: Averted in the main villains' plan, but played straight for all the "monsters" the gang encounters before Lena invites them to Moonscar Island. It's why the gang disbanded.
--> '''Chris:''' Got a little boring, eh?
* [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer Lady Not Appearing on This Cover]]: Poor Daphne got cut off when this movie got packaged together with ''Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders'', and the cover designers had to fit ''both'' posters on the front.
* StabTheScorpion: After much criticism from Velma, Beau picks up a large rock and it looks like he's going to hurt her with it. Instead, he throws it in front of her, revealing that she was about to step in quicksand. She thanked him, but she ''still'' sees him as a suspect.
* SerialKiller: [[spoiler:The zombies turn out to be people being sacrificed/killed by Simone, Lena and Jacques.]]
* StartOfDarkness: [[spoiler:As told via {{Flashback}} by Lena and Simone - they originally gained dark powers to get vengeance the pirates that destroyed their home, but the price of the power turned them to evil.]]
* TakeThat: While dressing for dinner, Fred puts his old ascot on, then says "Nah." and throws it back into his suitcase.
* ThemeTuneCameo: Fred whistles the theme song to ''Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?'' at one part.
* TimeSkip: The movie begins with a flashback of a routine mystery, then progresses several years after the disbandment of Mystery Inc. Daphne hosts a popular talk show, Fred produces her show, Scooby and Shaggy work as security at an airport, and Velma owns a store selling mystery books.
* TookALevelInBadass: Sure, she would lose them in the next few movies, but ''Daphne''.
* [[spoiler:UndercoverCopReveal: Beau, although not in a way that matters to the plot.]]
* VoodooDoll: Used by [[spoiler: Simone and Lena]] at one point.
* WalkIntoCameraObstruction: With Lena as she is showing Fred to his room.
* WhamLine:
--->[[spoiler:'''Simone Lenoir:''']] [[EvilAllAlong I've been getting away with it for]] [[spoiler: [[ReallySevenHundredYearsOld TWO HUNDRED YEARS!]]]]
** Before, that moment, Velma made an interesting observation.
--> [[spoiler:'''Velma''': Simone wasn't dragged away. I saw her footprints. She walked.]]
** Fred encounters a zombie, and attempts to remove it's mask.
-->'''Fred''': It's the gardener.
--> '''Daphne Blake''': No!
--> '''Fred''': It's the fisherman.
--> '''Shaggy''': No!
--> '''Fred''': It's the ferryman.
** ''[[NotAMask Pulls the zombie's head off]]''
--> '''Fred Jones''': [[OhCrap Maybe it's]]... real?
* [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse What Happened to the Cat?]]: A RunningGag throughout the movie is Scooby chasing Simone's cats every time he sees them. The leader of Simone's cats is a white cat that torments Scooby more than the others but it suddenly disappears from the movie while the others are still constantly seen. [[spoiler:Even during the ending where the cats are shown to have boarded the ship with Scooby and co., leaving the island, the white cat is nowhere to be seen, not even in the post credits scene where Scooby makes peace with the cats. Perhaps it was of the same ilk as its owner?]]
* [[spoiler:WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: Simone and Lena.]]
* YouMeddlingKids:
-->[[spoiler:'''Simone:''']] I've had enough of that meddling dog!
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: When the gang captures a lone zombie, they initially believe it to be an obvious fake, an unusual case of GenreSavvy for this franchise. Unfortunately for them, in this case they're WrongGenreSavvy.