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Western Animation / Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost

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It's the witch's ghost
She's what we fear the most
It's the witch's ghost
If she catches us we're toast
We got a problem...

The second direct-to-video film in the Scooby-Doo franchise, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost was directed by Jim Stenstrum and produced by Warner Bros. Animation with a Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. copyright. It debuted on October 5, 1999.

Also, as a side note, Scott Innes now voices Shaggy, taking over from Billy West.

The Mystery Inc. gang travel to a New England town called Oakhaven after being invited by horror writer Ben Ravencroft to view the fall color. When they arrive, the gang learn that the ghost of a colonial Wiccan note  who burned as a witch is terrorizing Ben's hometown, and she happens to be Ben's ancestor. While investigating the mystery, Scooby and the gang meet the local eco-goth rock band, The Hex Girls. With the Hex Girls' help, our heroes eventually find there's more to the mystery than meets the eye...


  • Ambiguously Brown: Luna is dark-skinned and has dyed red hair, but it's unclear if she's black or a non-white Latina. If Luna is her real name, however, the latter could be true.
  • And I Must Scream: Sarah's ghost drags Ben with her when she's pulled back into her diary. And then a burning branch destroys the diary so neither one can ever escape again.
    Velma: Ben Ravencroft's last book is one the world will never buy...
    Shaggy: But, like, it would have been a hot best seller.
  • Artistic License Religion:
    • The film establishes Thorn as one-sixteenth Wiccan, which would make sense if Wicca doubled as an ethnic identity, but it doesn't. They also push the age of Wicca back at least to the Salem witch trials, whereas it actually dates from the 20th century (so being one-sixteenth Wiccan, which would take five generations, is only barely possible even if you involve a lot of squick). In the finale, this means (and somehow it's Daphne who just intuitively knows this, and not the one-sixteenth Wiccan herself, though she was admittedly terrified out of her mind at the time and never took her vague Wicca-relation seriously in the first place) that she can cast magic, defeating the evil Witch. Oh yes, in this movie, rather than simply an ecologically-focused type of spirituality, Wiccans are good magic-users, and Witches are evil ones.
    • Overlapping with Artistic License History, Velma claims the word "witch" derives from "Wiccan." This is...technically sort of true, in that the root word is the Old English wiċċa, but this has nothing to do with the modern religion of Wicca, except insofar as modern Wiccans also take the name of their religion from this old word for 'witch.'
  • Asshole Victim: Ben Ravencroft. His intent of activating his Warlock powers to enslave the world and manipulating Mystery, Inc. to ensure his goal makes his fate of being imprisoned in the spellbook for eternity with his ancestor well-deserved.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Sarah Ravencroft tries to defeat Shaggy and Scooby with a giant turkey. Subverted when the pair of them immediately declare their intent to make it into Giant Food and it flees in terror.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Ben Ravencroft gives to to the Mystery Inc. gang after revealing his true colors and aging warlock powers from the spell book.
      Ben: This isn't one of your silly little mysteries! You can't solve me so easily!
    • The Witch gives one to Ben Ravencroft after the latter demands her loyalty for being released.
      Sarah: I serve NO ONE! Leastwise a worm like thee. Aye, thou hast freed me so now I can punish the world for my long imprisonment; I shall create an era of darkness over this land!
  • Balloon Belly: Shaggy and Scooby end up with gigantic stomachs after spending the better part of a day eating at Jack's diner. After getting scared by the Hex Girls, they run away, only for their stomachs to disappear.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Whereas the previous film answered Daphne's desire for real threats in the worst way possible, this film answers Velma's desire to meet her hero Ben Ravencroft in the worst way possible. He turns out to be a megalomaniacal warlock who longs to bring back his ancestor so he can conquer the world.
    • When Scooby and Shaggy order two of everything on the menu, Jack happily obliges since he loves people who can eat (it's good business, after all). However, as Scooby and Shaggy make good on their threat to eat everything, Jack grows visibly more stressed as the situation spirals out of control. Soon the pair leave fat and happy, while Jack is left with an unholy amount of dishes to clean. What's worse is that Ben is locked in the journal that burns, meaning Ben is now unable to pay for the huge tab Scooby and Shaggy ate, and leaving Jack with a gaping deficit.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Ben Ravencroft is gunning for this, wanting to rule the world alongside his ancestor Sarah. However, to his dismay, he finds that Sarah wants to destroy the world, not rule it, and ends up at her mercy while she takes center stage as the Big Bad.
  • Big Eater: Scooby and Shaggy, proving this once again in one of their more notable eating adventures. They apparently eat so much that Jack has to run to the market to stock up on food to cook, and leaves him with a massive pile of dishes and them with enormous stomachs. It's a wonder Scooby could walk with such a Balloon Belly. When they lose their guts after running away, Shaggy even complains that he's ready to eat again.
  • Big Fun: Mayor Corey and Jack the diner owner are plump, jolly, welcoming individuals. That being said, both are part of the fake witch conspiracy. Mayor Corey does show up to apologize afterwards, but Jack doesn't.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Velma screams "No" when Ben activates the book's magic, and another when he is blessed with dark magic.
    • By Sarah when Thorn successfully recites the incantation to reimprison her.
    • Ben shouts three of them when Sarah pulls him into the book with her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Ben Ravencroft is a much worse person than he seems, what with all the Ship Tease with Velma and ultimately using Mystery Inc. to find the book and free his ancestor.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Velma and Ben without their glasses, leading to an adorable scene where they accidentally put on each other's spectacles and do a Double Take. Ben then uses Sarah's book to repair his eyesight.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Hex Girls consist of Dusk (blonde), Thorn (brunette) and Luna (redhead).
  • Bond One-Liner: Shaggy gets one when the book Ben and Sarah get trapped in is destroyed by a burning branch.
  • Broken Pedestal: Velma looked up to (and it's highly hinted that she had a bit of a crush on) Ben Ravencroft, he was her favorite writer. And then he reveals his true colors.
  • Call-Back:
    • After what happened in Zombie Island, everyone in Mystery. Inc. is more accepting of irrational events happening like Ben using black magic.
    • The Hex Girls performing at the conclusion with the gang performing along with them is like a throwback to Hanna-Barbera's numerous other cartoons about the adventures of a traveling band.
    • In a flashback, Ben is shown reading a newspaper article about Mystery Inc. solving "The Case of the Moat Monster," which was the opening scene in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.
  • Canon Immigrant: This was the introduction of the Hex Girls, who would return in Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire, and would go on to appear in What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Ben has no delusions about whether or not he and Sarah are the bad guys, and Sarah doesn't seem to either. Justified, as the spell to obtain dark magical power literally involves calling upon the forces of evil, so the spell book didn't exactly leave much ambiguity about which side you're on if you use it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The "book buckle" Scooby digs up, which matches the one Sarah wore in the painting, turns out to be part of the chest which holds Sarah's book, and Scooby happened to find the same place it was buried.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Thorn. Being one-sixteenth Wiccan, this allows her to recite the counterspell to re-seal Sarah.
  • The Chessmaster: Ben Ravencroft orchestrated the entire events that lead the gang to Oakhaven, including being behind the Museum mystery at the start of the movie that would lead to Velma meeting him.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Daphne elbows Fred when he gets distracted looking at Thorn singing with the Hex Girls.
  • Continuity Nod: Ben is seen reading about the gang's exploits in a newspaper detailing the "Moat Monster Mystery" the gang solved in the beginning of the previous movie.
  • Cute Little Fangs: The Hex Girls sport prosthetic vampire fangs as part of their image.
  • Dance Party Ending: The film ends with the gang dancing and performing at the Hex Girls concert the following evening.
  • Darker and Edgier: As compared to the original Scooby-Doo cartoon series, although its predecessor is still considered slightly darker. What sets these two movies apart is the fact that they feature real monsters (i.e. zombies, ghosts) and functional magic as opposed to technological trickery and petty criminals in masks.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Hex Girls. They may look scary and have an obsession with vampire lore, but they're really nice on the inside.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Subtly so, but the title and chorus of "Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air" mentions the same element twice (Wind and Air being the same thing in terms of the classical elements). One wonders why they couldn't have gone with 'Earth, Water, Fire, And Air". Perhaps "water" doesn't sound as mystique as "wind".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ben is shocked when Sarah wants to destroy the world in revenge rather than rule it. He then tries to banish her back, only to find that because he's not pure of heart he can't.
    Ben: This isn't what I envisioned. We were supposed to rule the world together, not destroy it!
  • Evil All Along: Ben Ravencroft, who kept convincing others that his great-grandmother Sarah was just a misunderstood woman who was unfairly executed, but she actually was an evil witch all along, and he intends to use her to become a warlock.
  • Eviler than Thou: Ben finds out too late that Sarah not only dwarfs him in power but desires to destroy the world in revenge for her imprisonment rather than rule it as he intended.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ben frees Sarah from her imprisonment in the hopes of ruling the world together along with her. What he doesn't count on is that Sarah is more Omnicidal Maniac than Evil Overlord.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • The Witch's Ghost has one clearly inspired by The Wizard of Oz. The real Witch's Ghost has a much more impressive one.
    • Ben Ravencroft has a pretty great one too, after his true nature is revealed. Of course, it's a given since he's voiced by Tim Curry, who's known for his memorable Evil Laugh.
  • Evil Overlooker: The official poster features Sarah Ravencroft in the skies overlooking Shaggy and Scooby while casting a spell on them.
  • Expy: Ben Ravencroft is a dead ringer for David Xanatos. And he bears more than a passing resemblance to real life New England horror novelist Stephen King.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Excluding the prologue and epilogue, the movie is set over one whole day, with most of it occurring at night.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Though they don't actually kiss, Scooby and Shaggy pretend to invoke this dressed as a young couple to fool the Mayor. It works.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ben being pulled inside Sarah's spellbook when she is being re-sealed by Thorn, followed by the book being burnt by a flaming tree.
  • Fat Flex: Both Shaggy and Scooby gain a massive amount of weight early in the film after gorging at a diner for several hours (to the point the restaurant owner had to make a trip to the market to re-supply on food), and leave with tremendous, round bellies. When coming across the Hex Girls, the two try to impress them by pushing up their weight to give them a top heavy build, but it immediately flops down in fear when the Girls reveal their (fake) vampire teeth.
  • Feathered Fiend: The enlarged turkey that chases after Shaggy and Scooby. Until they scare if off by pretending they are pilgrims intending to cook it.
  • Five-Man Band Concert: After they solve the mystery, there's a celebratory concert and the gang gets to perform as a backing band of sorts for "The Hex Girls". Big Friendly Dog is on the percussion, Lovable Coward is on the bass, Girly Girl Daphne is on the tambourine, The Smart Gal Velma is on the keyboard, and Standardized Leader Fred is on the guitar. All of them are appropriately dressed following the goth style that characterizes "The Hex Girls". They play the iconic song "Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air" as well as "Those Meddling Kids".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Ben becomes visibly irritated and annoyed when Velma continues to incessantly gush about his work, and is extremely eager to cut her off once they arrive in Oakhaven. This is a hint that he is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and is only using the gang for his own ends.
    • Potkins begins the famous "You Meddling Kids" phrase after being caught, only to put the blame on Ben, hinting this is really a hoax. In addition, Ben is the one who does the unmasking, foreshadowing he set the whole thing up.
    • Ben somehow knows the names of the entire Mystery Inc. crew, he even snickers a little when pointing out Scooby and Shaggy. This is because he read about them in the newspaper, prompting him to set up the museum hoax from the start.
  • The Glasses Gotta Go: Ben takes off his glasses after repairing his eyesight with dark magic.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Subverted: The Hex Girls "ritual" turns out to be for show and the "potion" they were seen making was just an herbal treatment for their vocal cords.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Daphne gets a touch of this from Fred's interactions with Thorn.
  • Green Thumb: Sarah animates several pumpkins and trees to do her bidding.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Ben and Sarah's argument is essentially Tim Curry and Tress MacNeille trying to out-ham each other. It is awesome.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: When Thorn seals Sarah back into the book, Sarah drags in Ben with her saying she won't be alone again. Once they're sealed in, stray fire burns down the book.
  • I'm Melting!: Shaggy and Scooby try to melt the Witch's Ghost using water. But as it turns out, it doesn't work.
    Sarah: (unimpressed) What was that?
    Shaggy: You're not melting! Like, it worked in the The Wizard of Oz!
  • Impact Silhouette: Scooby and Shaggy leave these in a barn when fleeing from the false Witch's Ghost. When everyone returns, the holes are still there.
  • Keep Away: The gang does this with Sarah's book to keep it away from Ben, and then from Sarah so that Thorn can read the banishment text.
  • Knight of Cerebus: As with the villains featured in the film before this one, Ben and Sarah Ravencroft are very much dangerous threats that should be taken seriously. They don't drain all the comedy from the movie after their true colors are revealed, but the entire last twenty minutes of the movie become a desperate fight for survival against their dark magic.
  • Lighter and Softer: As compared to Zombie Island, but not by much. The Witch's Ghost is still exceptionally dark by the standards of Scooby-Doo.
  • Magic Must Defeat Magic: After evil witch Sarah Ravencroft's vengeful spirit is released from her spell book, only Thorn (who has Wiccan blood) is able to defeat her by using a spell to seal her back in the book again.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Sarah turns a few pumpkins into giant monsters that chase after Shaggy and Scooby.
  • Music Genre Dissonance: The Hex Girls are described as a band of eco- friendly goths, however they never play Goth Rock. They're alternative rock.
  • Nature Metal: The Hex Girls from Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost describe themselves as an "eco-goth" band. Despite this, "Earth, Wind, Water, and Air" is their only known nature-related song and they sing neither Goth Rock or any type of Heavy Metal.
  • Ninja Zombie Pirate Robot: The eponymous villain seems like an intended example of this, being both a witch and a ghost.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: The film opens with the gang pulling this while trying to trap the bad guys in a museum case.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The giant turkey. At the end it becomes the new tourist attraction.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Ben Ravencroft and Mystery Inc. attempt to clear Sarah's name because they believe she was this. As it turns out she was indeed very evil, something Ravencroft was aware of from the beginning.
  • No-Sell: Water doesn't work on Sarah's ghost.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Upon being freed from her imprisonment, Sarah's immediate priority is to destroy the world as revenge for said imprisonment, much to Ben's shock.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Hex Girls. Dusk, Luna and Thorn are Stage Names. Later, when her dad gets unmasked, it's subverted in the case of Thorn; her real name turns out to be Sally McKnight.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Everything learned about Ben near the climax takes on a whole new meaning since the audience now knows his true motives and the reason he appeared from the start.
  • Scare Chord: A deep, guttural one plays when Sarah's journal is found and revealed to be an evil grimoire.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Dusk and Luna run for it after they're freed from the butter churn they are tied around.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The whole town pulls off a fake Witch's Ghost to boost tourism.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Sarah was actually a Wicked Witch and her ghost has been kept in her diary for centuries.
  • Shaking the Rump: Daphne shakes her rear during the Hex Girls' concert at the end of the movie.
  • Ship Tease: When Velma and Ben touch hands while reaching for their dropped glasses. Derailed by Ben turning out to be evil and just using the gang all along.
  • Shout-Out: At one point, Shaggy tries to splash a pail of water on the ghost of Sarah no avail.
  • Spell Book: What the diary, which Ben Ravencroft is seeking, is.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Downplayed. Daphne asks Ben why he doesn't just ask Mystery Inc. to find the spellbook, but Velma knew that they would never help him when they knew what the book was.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: In this movie, magic is hereditary. And both Ben Ravencroft and Thornnote  have the right ancestry.
  • Taking You with Me: Not wanting to be sealed back in the book alone, Sarah Ravencroft decides to take her descendant Ben inside the book with her.
  • Tempting Fate: Ben offers to pay the bill for Scooby and Shaggy's lunch before they start. Velma jokes that he's going to regret it, and she's right. Mercifully, he doesn't live long enough to have to pay the surely massive bill Scooby and Shaggy left him as he's taken into Sarah's prison with no way to return.
  • Third Act Stupidity: As Ben tells the gang that he's going to release Sarah from the book, get magic powers, and basically destroy all, they give him the "You won't get away with this" speech and wait for him to summon his powers. Of course, they're not going to tackle him before he reads the book aloud, otherwise the movie would be over.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Scooby and Shaggy go to eat at Jack's diner, Ben says it's on him. The others warn him that he's going to regret it, and sure enough, Scooby and Shaggy eat inhumanly huge amounts of food and surely rack up a colossal, easily four figure meal. Mercifully, Ben is trapped forever in Sarah's destroyed spell book before he has to pay the bill, but it elicits a similar reaction as this tropes.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Almost the entire climax of the movie is played up in the trailers, especially where Sarah is released and Ben is revealed to be Evil All Along. Sarah is even featured on the boxart.
  • Victory Fakeout: All the film's scary events have been revealed to be a hoax put on by the townsfolk to drum up tourism. The mystery is solved, hooray! The gang then gives Ben the broken buckle from Sarah's diary... and the real supernatural horror starts.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Ben and Sarah Ravencroft, however, Sarah is a definite force to be reckoned with.
  • Villain Has a Point: Ben isn't wrong when he chews out the mayor and Thorn's father for using his ancestor's legacy as a tourist attraction. He crosses the line by attacking them with dark magic, however. To be fair, they were genuinely sorry and admitted they only did it because an easy route to help the town's economy when they accidentally dug up her grave and it wasn't a directed attack on her.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The Hex Girls sing a song about the Witch's Ghost during the end credits.
  • We Can Rule Together: This was Ben's plan for helping free Sarah. It doesn't go according to plan. He also said he thought Velma would prefer the new him.
  • Wham Shot: The shot revealing that Sarah's journal that Ben has been searching for - supposedly one about her medicine that will clear her name - has a huge, demonic skull on it. This immediately makes it clear that Ben was not telling the truth about his ancestor.
    Daphne: Looks kinda evil to belong to a Wiccan healer.
    Velma: Ben, that doesn't seem to be a journal at all.
    Ben: Because it isn't, Velma. It's a spellbook.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Inverted. Sarah Ravencroft was indeed a witch, but neither the Mayor nor the modern day townsfolk knew that when they promoted the rumor of the Witch's Ghost as a tourist trap. When their "Scooby-Doo" Hoax is exposed, each of them is called out on the principle of their dishonesty, and seem to be ashamed about it.
  • Wicked Witch: Double subverted with Sarah Ravencroft, as Ben Ravencroft explains in one of his biggest lies. She actually was a witch and she actually was evil.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The real Witch's Ghost speaks it. Oddly, her spellbook averts the trope, as it's written in proper modern English.