And the monsters grunt and groan
Rotting faces full of slime
Don't you know it's terror time?
And it's terror time again
They've got you running through the night
Yes, it's terror time again
Oh, you just might die of fright!
It's a terrifying time!"
The year is 1997. Most people would have figured the Scooby-Doo franchise had pretty much run its course. It had been 6 years since A Pup Named Scooby-Doo was cancelled, the only sign of life in the franchise being a made-for-TV-movie in 1994 called Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights 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 Warner Bros. 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 Dolled-Up Installment, 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 The Movie, 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 And the best part of it all? No contrived story with a guy in a mask... just like the ads promised, they were Real. Stinkin'. Zombies. Probably the only complaint the movie generated was, "it's too scary for young Scooby fans."
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 Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost. The success of those caused a wholesale revival of the franchise, culminating in a live-action film and the first new TV series in over a decade, What's New, Scooby-Doo? (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.
The movie starts with Fred inviting Daphne, Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma to a long-awaited Mystery Inc. reunion, held in honor of Daphnes birthday. The five of them travel to New Orleans 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. It remains one of the darkest and most dramatic installments in the entire franchise, with only the possible exception of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Scooby Apocalypse matching it or coming close.
Zombie Island is also notable for having the first permanent shakeup of the franchise's vocal cast.± Don Messick, 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 Billy West± . Daphne and Velma are played here by Mary Kay Bergman and BJ Ward respectively, replacing original VA's Heather North and Nicole Jaffe (also respectively; both original voices would briefly return four years later). Frank Welker, reprising his role of Fred, was the only original cast member to return.
Zombie Island provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Adrienne Barbeau voices a character who has several cats and turns out to be a cat-monster herself. Barbeau's best-known animated role is also known for a cat motif.
- Agent Scully: Fred takes his sweet time accepting the possibility that real zombies and ghosts are pursuing them. In his defense he's spent at least a decade of every monster and ghost he encountered being frauds and fakes.
- Ambiguously Evil: The "cat god". On one hand, he seemed benevolent and generous towards Lena's and Simone's settler group... but on the other hand, when the two asked him for revenge on Moonscar's crew, his response was to turn them into life draining werecats, and withhold the price from them until after the fact.
- And I Must Scream: 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.
- Anti-Villain: Simone and Lena turn out to be werecats who drain life from others due to the fact that they were cursed as part of a ritual to get revenge on those who slaughtered their townspeople.
- Asshole Victim: It's hard to feel sorry for Morgan Moonscar and his crew being turned into zombies after the horrible things they did.
- The Atoner: Morgan Moonscar and his pirate crew, Simone and Lena's first victims, and the only ones who were not innocent. In life, they were savage killers who slaughtered an entire colony of innocent settlers for no good reason, but in undeath, they are apparently remorseful for their actions, and have done a HeelFace Turn in trying to save others from being killed by the werecats.
- Bad Liar: Shaggy tells Lena that Scooby is "great" with cats when she expresses concern that he'll disturb Simone's pets. She quickly calls him out on this when Scooby goes on a rampage against them.
- Balloon Belly: Scooby and Shaggy become comedically obese after eating a ton of contraband food (or more likely just food they've been stealing from people).
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- 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 drain the lives of others during the harvest moon.
- Scooby and the gang also suffered this trope after Daphne expressed desires to meet real monsters.
- Big Bad: Simone is the main villain of the film, since Lena and Jacques are subservient to her, though to a nominal degree in Lena's case.
- Big Damn Movie: The first movie in the franchise to have truly dramatic and serious stakes, as Scooby Goes Hollywood had No Antagonist and had the conflict revolve around Shaggy and Scooby quitting their roles as television stars to pursue careers in Hollywood movies, while Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf had villains causing the conflict, but were still as lighthearted as your standard Scooby-Doo fare.
- Big Eater: Scooby and Shaggy as usual have enormous appetites.
- Birthday Episode: The Mystery Inc. reunion begins on Daphne's birthday. Ironically, she gets so caught up in her work beforehand, that she loses track of her birthday until everyone else greets her.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Simone, Lena, and Jacques all start out the film as decent and friendly people, especially the jovial Jacques. Then they reveal themselves to be werecats who have been murdering people en masse for centuries.
- The Brute: Jacques turns out to be in league with Simone and Lena in their plan to drain their victims of their life force, and is a much larger physical threat to the gang as a werecat.
- Casting Gag: Possibly the casting of Adrienne Barbeau (Catwoman from Batman: The Animated Series) as Simone Lenoir and Jim Cummings (both Fat Cat from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers and, since 1992, classic Disney ruffian Pete) as Jacques.
- The Catfish: A minor character fisherman introduced at the beginning is constantly trying to catch a massive catfish named "Big Mona". Big Mona sprays Scooby's face with water and is a large, mean fish.
- Cats Are Mean: Played with. Scooby has an ongoing rivalry with Simone's cats, though the cats themselves are ultimately neutral characters, with no good or evil intentions towards the protagonists. Played straight with Simone and Lena, who are very legitimately evil Cat Girls who gain immortality by stealing visitors' souls. In The Stinger, Scooby and Simone's cats eventually made peace.
- Celestial Deadline: The cat creatures have to drain visitors' life forces every midnight on a harvest moon so they can live forever.
- Character Development: Daphne retains her more proactive personality from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, and takes it a step further by never once really being a Damsel in Distress (at least, not when others weren't in as much trouble as she).
- Chekhov's Gag: 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 Double Take gag. It's actually foreshadowing that the zombies don't mean any harm.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cloth Velma uses to clean her glasses. Later, Simone and Lena use the cloth to power a Velma voodoo doll. Fred's ascot serves a similar purpose in this movie.
- Midway through the movie, when Shaggy is chasing Scooby, he stops for a moment to stuff his pockets with hot peppers grown on the island. Near the end of the movie, they are used as a mean of self-defence when Scooby sprays Jacques' eyes with one of them.
- Counterfeit Cash: Counterfeiting is the scheme the 'Moat Monster' at the start of the movie is attempting to cover up.
- Covers Always Lie: The castle on the poster only appears briefly at the beginning of the movie. Most of the movie takes place on a plantation.
- Crazy Cat Lady: Not only does Simone have so many cats for pets on the premises, but she is later revealed to be a werecat herself.
- Darker and Edgier: When it first came out, this was the darkest interpretation of Scooby Doo in existence. It's still one of the scariest with Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated being the only interpretation that could match it in darkness (and that's saying something!). Plus, this is the first time in Scooby-Doo where characters actually die on-screen.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Simone and Lena were part of a group of settlers who were devoted to a cat god, until Morgan Moonscar and his pirates showed up, and chased the settlers into the water where they were later eaten. Simone and Lena, the only two survivors, prayed to the cat god for revenge against the pirates. The cat god responded by transforming the two of them into cat creatures with the power to destroy Moonscar and his crew. Unfortunately, this blessing came with a curse of its own, requiring them to drain people's life forces every harvest moon to preserve their immortality.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The zombies. They are scary undead monsters... that are just trying to save others from suffering their fate.
- Deal with the Devil: Simone and Lena made a pact with their cat-god to get revenge on Morgan Moonscar and his pirates, but were cursed to become werecats that had to feed on other living beings to stay alive. Jacques made the same deal to become immortal.
- Death Equals Redemption: Morgan Moonscar and his fellow pirates come back as zombies and successfully manage to hold off the villains long enough for the spell to be broken.
- The Dragon: Lena is Simone's top lackey.
- Dolled-Up Installment: The movie was adapted from the story of an unmade episode of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, "Succubus!" (a.k.a. "The Curse of Kataluna"); the original story was supposed to have a Succubus.
- Eat the Evidence: While searching for contraband food in airport luggage, Shaggy and Scooby manage to eat it. This results in their dismissal from their job.
- Emerging from the Shadows: Lena is introduced coming out of the shadows. Simone later does this when the gang finds her in the voodoo chamber and her and Lena's true colors are revealed.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Morgan Moonscar and his pirates were brutal killers in life, 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.
- Evil All Along: Simone, Lena and Jacques act as kind and hospitable people to lure their victims to their island, so they can drain their life force and attain immortality.
- Exact Words: Lena wasn't kidding when she said the peppers on Moonscar Island were the hottest ones in Louisiana, much to Shaggy and Scooby's detriment when they tried the peppers. The latter two use this to their advantage when they use one of the peppers to blind Jacques in the eyes.
- Extremely Short Timespan: Not counting the prologue, the movie is set over a timeframe of 2 1/2 days.
- Eye Scream: Scooby uses one of the island's peppers to blind Jacques towards the end of the film.
- FaceHeel Turn: Simone and Lena were originally only trying to get even with the Pirates that wronged them, but once they were cursed, they remorselessly murdered countless people who did nothing to wrong them.
- Family-Unfriendly Death:
- 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.
- Simone, Lena and Jacques after they miss their deadline for feeding on souls. They disintegrate horrifically - you can actually see the skin being stripped from their bones as they screech in abject terror.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: One zombie has his head ripped off, and two others get cut in half by a tree branch.
- Faux Affably Evil: Simone and Lena's tragic backstory can elicit some sympathy for them both. However, it doesn't change the fact that they have been draining innocents of their life force for centuries in order to maintain their immortality, and intend to do the same to Scooby and the gang.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Scooby and Shaggy exhale flames after eating the Moonscar Island peppers.
- Zombie Island has several hints linking to the nature of the zombies: they generally don't try to physically harm the gang, and one of them even helps Shaggy save Scooby in the chase sequence.
- Early in the film after they are dismissed from their jobs as airport customs officers, Shaggy and Scooby fear going hungry and turning to "skin and bones". This is more or less exactly the fate that they nearly suffer when Simone and Lena come very close to draining their lives.
- The cats in Simone and Lena's house, coupled with the numerous shots and references to the Moon all across the movie, foreshadow that the two women are actually werecats.
- The message that Morgan Moonscar carves into the kitchen wall early on in the film ("Get out" and "Beware") is interpreted as a threat by the main characters. As the film progresses, it becomes very clear that it was actually a warning, and the pirate was really trying to warn the gang that Simone and Lena were not to be trusted.
- Simone mentions that the zombies get more restless once night falls. During the daytime, only Morgan Moonscar shows up, while a confederate colonel and an entire horde of zombies spring to life at nightfall. It's a hint that the cat-creatures' ritual only happens at night, as that's when the living need the zombies' protection from being sacrificed.
- While being chased by zombies, Scooby and Shaggy discover wax dolls of Fred, Daphne, and Velma. They play with them for a while, then Shaggy wonders who could have made them. The climax reveals it was Lena and Simone.
- Simone and Lena's true nature was vaguely hinted when Lena opens the curtains in Shaggy and Scooby's room to give them a view of the harvest moon. As she turns to walk away, her entire front side is darkly shadowed.
- Probably more of a Rewatch Bonus, but Lena is noticeably absent when Velma randomly begins levitating in kitchen. This foreshadows not only the existence of the voodoo dolls but also the fact that her and Simone are the ones who made them.
- Forgotten Birthday: Apparently, Daphne forgot her own birthday during production of her show, and she's excited when Shaggy, Scooby and Velma surprise her with a late one during the gang's reunion.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Lena and Simone were colonists of Louisiana who lost everything due to Morgan Moonscar. Their revenge turned them into life draining cat monsters.
- Game Face: Lena and Simone reveal their cat-creature faces when they're preparing to sacrifice Velma, Daphne, Fred and Beau. Possibly just to mess with their heads, and their victims are already helpless.
- Genre Shift: From a straight Scooby-Doo story, to a supernatural horror mystery film.
- Get Out!: The ghost of Moonscar carves this phrase into the wall as a threat to Mystery Inc. It later turns out to actually be a warning, so that the gang avoid the same fate Moonscar and his crew faced.
- God of Evil: Simone and Lena's cat god that gave them the power to murder the pirates and then drain the life of innocent souls.
- Gone Horribly Right: Daphne laments that her search for real, dangerous monsters has succeeded all too well. Additionally, Simone and Lena pray to their cat god so that they can get revenge on the pirates that murdered their friends and family. They succeed, only to become cat monsters that suck the life out of others.
- Greater-Scope Villain:
- Morgan Moonscar attacked Lena and Simone's village, causing the villagers to be eaten by crocodiles. This drove them to become cat monsters. However, he is now trying to save the gang from his fate.
- The seemingly malevolent cat god is an actual deity who gave Simone and Lena their powers to drain innocent people, but otherwise isn't directly involved in the plot.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: After Fred inadvertently drops the camera into quicksand and the zombies disappear along with Lena, Simone and Jacques, the gang laments that no one will believe their adventure occurred. They realize Simone's only surviving servant Beau can act as a witness, but even he doubts anyone will believe them.
- HeelFace Turn: It happened to 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).
- High-Pressure Emotion: At one point when Scooby and Shaggy eat the peppers, their entire bodies turn red and red smoke bursts out of their ears and noses.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Scooby uses one of Moonscar Island's own chili peppers to blind Jacques and Velma and Daphne turn Simone and Lena's love of dolls against them by using their own dolls with their likenesses.
- Hollywood Voodoo: A textbook example among children's media, with the villains making voodoo dolls of most of the heroes to immobilize them.
- Hope Spot: Shaggy and Scooby are out among swarming zombies, as the others get captured. The duo think they're safe when they see Jacques's boat dock, but then Jacques turns into a cat person.
- Human Sacrifice: In a Hold the Line moment, the zombies keep the real villains at bay so Scooby's gang can get permanently rid of them.
- Hypocritical Humor: Early in the film after they've been fired from their airport security job, Shaggy and Scooby worry about the prospect of going hungry and turning to skin and bones. This is after they've become obese from eating tons of contraband food.
- Hypocrite: Despite being a werecat, Simone at one point refers to Scooby as a beast.
- Incongruously Dressed Zombie: A rare justified case of zombies having wardrobe that makes them stand out. The zombies are an eclectic bunch of victims taken at various points throughout history, so they range from 18th century pirates all the way up to modern tourists.
- Irony: In the past Scooby-Doo media, people in costumes try to cover their crimes by dressing up as a monster and scare off whoever tries to investigate the area. Zombies on the other hand do this intentionally so there there would not be any more victims and resurrect as a decades-old zombie.
- Karmic Death: Simone, Lena, and Jacques are killed by the very curse they possess when they are unable to drain the lives of Mystery Inc. in time to survive the harvest moon.
- Kick the Dog: There was no reason whatsoever for Morgan Moonscar to butcher the island settlers. This petty act of cruelty costs him, and hundreds of others for years afterward, very dearly indeed.
- Knight of Cerebus: Lena, Simone and Jacques are not your usual Scooby Doo villains, given that their scheme is killing a bunch of people to remain immortal, and the fact that the are bonafide supernatural beings as opposed to crooks wearing masks.
- Last Minute Hookup: Velma and Beau show signs of becoming a couple once Beau is revealed to be an undercover agent investigating the disappearances.
- Mighty Glacier: In spite of their slowness, the zombies are apparently physically strong enough to give the werecats a run for their money - at one point, two zombies each manage to tackle and momentarily stun a werecat. Though, this could also be justified by the zombies in question being Civil War soldiers.
- Monochrome Past: Simone's tragic backstory is depicted with old-fashioned sepia tone.
- Mood Whiplash: This film goes back and forth from the usual Hanna-Barbera cartoonish hijinks (mostly surrounding around Shaggy and Scooby) that would make children laugh to the dead serious and scary situations that would give children nightmares.
- Mythology Gag:
- Near-Villain Victory: The werecats grab a hold of Shaggy and Scooby in the climax and nearly succeed in draining their life force as they age rapidly, until they get controlled by voodoo dolls of their own that force them away from Shaggy and Scooby, both of whose youths are miraculously restored.
- Never Say "Die": Simone points out during her tragic backstory that she and Lena "destroyed" the pirates upon granting their curse from the cat god. Although in this case, regular old death would have been preferable.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Morgan Moonscar and his men drove the other settlers from Simone and Lena's village into the swamp, where alligators surrounded and presumably ate them.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: After subduing the others with Hollywood Voodoo, the villains say they didn't bother creating such dolls for Shaggy and Scooby, as they considered them hapless idiots not worth the effort. Those two running around in a blind panic instead of being restrained is a big reason why everything gets derailed for the villains. Shaggy and Scooby even slam into Simone and Lena before the others can be drained, knocking the dolls to the ground and giving Velma a chance to get free. By the time the villains manage to grab Shaggy and Scooby for the ritual, the others have managed to perform a little voodoo trick of their own.
- Nightmare Face: Simone gives a terrifying face to the camera when she partially undergoes her werecat transformation and again with Lena when they fully transform.
- No Immortal Inertia: When they miss their deadline for feeding, the three villains all dissolve horrifically into puddles of decayed bio-matter within a few seconds.
- No Ontological Inertia: When Simone and Lena are draining Shaggy and Scooby's life forces, they rapidly age upon contact, but once they are yanked away thanks to Daphne and Velma making voodoo dolls of them, Shaggy and Scooby immediately return to normal seconds later.Shaggy: Like, I was beginning to feel like a raisin!
- Not a Mask: Fred tries to remove a mask from a zombie. Instead he tears the zombie's head off.
- Not a Zombie:
- A rare case of not noticing the zombies are real undead being completely justified given the characters involved. All characters except Shaggy and Scooby are skeptical that the island is inhabited by real monsters, so when the gang manages to knock out a zombie, Fred pulls on the creature's head to "unmask" it, but tears it from the body instead.
- Averted when one of the mysteries the gang is solving involves a zombie ship captain (which happens to be a woman in the costume).
- Not Evil, Just Misunderstood:
- Beau, the gardener, seems like a shady guy and always gets annoyed when his flowerbeds are ruined. However, he's really an undercover police officer investigating the disappearances of missing tourists who ultimately learns the truth.
- 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.
- Oh, Crap!: Several characters have horrified reactions to realizing they're screwed 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 ...Or not. The zombies are actually trying to scare them away, so the real villains won't sacrifice them to their cat god.
- Older Than They Look: Although Simone and Lena look like regular young adults, they're really over two hundred years old, due to the cat god's curse rendering them immortal as long as they drain a visitor's life force every harvest moon. The same goes for Jacques, who looks old but is given immortality by them.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Specifically, this story gives us werecats. The curse was brought on by invoking the power of some vaguely described cat god that was worshiped by the island's original inhabitants. The werecats transform entirely at will, but usually remain in their human forms. It isn't clear if, or how, others can be turned into werecats in the typical werebeast fashion (bites, scratches, etc) - the two original werecats have only ever turned one person, but it isn't explained how they did this. The curse also grants immortality, provided the werecats steal the life forces of others every harvest moon.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Very different. Not the flesh eating kind or the brain eating kind. Or the evil kind. They're the completely sentient victims of the soul stealing magical cat people, so they want only to try and scare humans away, so they don't join their ranks. Also, they only seem to be active for a short time before the cat people's "feeding time," and initially manifest as ghosts; it's only when the chosen night descends that they can physically manifest as zombies.
- Outdated Outfit: 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.
- Pet the Dog:
- When Scooby gets trapped in quicksand, a Confederate zombie passes Shaggy a vine to help pull him out. Then it turns out that they're not actually evil.
- Lena expresses genuine concern for Jacques when she hears him being attacked.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Many would even contest that this is the best Scooby-Doo story ever. Hands down. And, as stated, it started out as an episode of a completely different series which had the darkness as standard fare.
- Punk: While The Ghost is Here is of the Pop Punk variety, as was popular at the time, It's Terror Time dives head first into straight-up Horror Punk...and it's as spectacularly awesome and fitting as you'd expect for one of the best, and genuinely horrifying, Scooby-Doo films ever.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Velma says "Looks like your nine lives are up!" when midnight has passed and the cat creatures have failed to drain the gang's life forces before then, ending the curse and causing them to be destroyed.
- Putting the Band Back Together: The story opens up after the gang have been separated for a number of years. Given how a few minor appearances aside this was the first new Scooby media in seven years, there's a bit of Reality Subtext to it. The film's success is most likely why the first live action movie used this to set up the plot of that film.
- Quicksand Sucks: Quicksand is a major hazard on the island.
- Rapid Aging: This happens to Shaggy and Scooby when Simone and Lena are draining their life forces, only to return to normal after they lose physical contact with them. Eventually it occurs with Simone, Lena and Jacques, since they missed their Celestial Deadline and turn to dust instantly.
- Reality Ensues:
- The gang splits up because they got fed up with all the idea of fighting people in masks. Turns out no matter how good you are with people, when it comes to doing the same thing over and over again, the group will split because someone wants something different. Given that Daphne was the one who split first, even if it isn't stated exactly on screen, it quickly led the other gang members to part ways, albeit reluctantly.
- Simone and Lena were able to kill large amounts of people from several centuries in large part due to the fact the area was remote, the time period usually had people die from disease, ships sinking, and war, and if it wasn't that, they were usually fugitives who no one would mind. Once it becomes obvious more modern tourist people start disappearing on the island, it doesn't take long for the cops to launch an investigation, and given Beau was The Mole for them working as a gardener, it quickly becomes obvious they were considered prime suspects.
- Why are most of the zombies in the area of the swamp or near them? Simone, Lena, and Jacques realized very quickly that while pirates and colonists, along with soldiers could be washed away, large amounts of people from the modern era could not, so they threw the bodies in the swamp for several reasons. Number one, the alligators are a massive deterrent. The quicksand, while the zombies seem to be smart enough to move around it, force lengthily detours that are long enough to delay from getting to the chamber. But thirdly, in the event the cops suspected them of murder or launched an investigation, they threw them into the swamp to ensure that it wouldn't be an area close enough to the house to portray them as potential murderers.
- The bayou alone is shown to be much more dangerous than the zombies, with Shaggy almost being eaten by a crocodile and Scooby almost getting stuck in quicksand.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Casey Kasem refused to return to voice Shaggy unless the character became vegetarian like him. As Shaggy eats crawfish in the film, he is now voiced by Billy West.
- Red Herring: This movie started a trend of an entire gallery of herrings.
- Beau seems pretty suspicious and is pretty hostile to the gang. He turns out to be an undercover cop investigating the disappearances on Moonscar Island and becomes the Sixth Ranger to the group.
- Snakebite Scruggs is quickly shrugged off as a suspect since while he's a nasty guy, he still saved Shaggy and Scooby from alligators.
- Morgan Moonscar is built up as the main antagonist, especially after his ghost carves a warning into Simone's kitchen wall. Only he's the Greater-Scope Villain who's pulled a HeelFace Turn in death, and was the first victim of Simone, the true Big Bad.
- Reduced to Dust: At the end of the film, the werecats and zombies turn into dust when the curse expires.
- Rewatch Bonus: Those who've already seen the movie will know not to trust Simone and Lena, as they're hiding something rather vicious.
- Romantic False Lead: Daphne and Fred develop crushes on Beau and Lena, respectively, invoking each other's jealousy.
- Running Gag:
- Scooby and Shaggy sampling some of Simone's spiciest peppers. They use it to fend off Jacques in the climax.
- The gang unintentionally interfering with Snakebite's attempts to catch a catfish named Big Mona.
- Dog? Where?
- Scooby Doo has a tendency to chase Simone's cats.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: 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.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: 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?
- Shown Their Work: When Beau is revealed as an undercover cop and a police inside man, given he was nearly killed by the cat creatures, it is stunning that the police, knowing people have a tendency to vanish on the island, would put an inside man in such jeopardy, especially given there was no proof of foul play. However, this is usually how the cops investigate remote area crimes such as disappearances with no firm proof of criminal involvement. If there is a person, try to get them employed and have them investigate it. Either way, they have a suspect or some idea of what happened. If Beau found some hints of what happened, he could tell his superiors, if he died, well then they have two or three suspects.
- Sickly Green Glow: While the werecats are draining a victim's life force, as shown when Simone and Lena attempt to do this to Shaggy and Scooby, they and their victims glow an unhealthy green as the victims rapidly age.
- Skeptic No Longer: Fred's denial of the supernatural vanishes very quickly.
- Spanner in the Works: Lena and Simone's decision not to make wax dolls out of Shaggy and Scooby ends up being one of the deciding factors of them missing their deadline in the climax.
- Stab the Scorpion: 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.
- Start of Darkness: As told via Flashback by Lena and Simone — they originally gained dark powers to get vengeance on the pirates that destroyed their home, but the price of the power turned them to evil.
- Status Quo Is God:
- Mystery Inc. has broken up? Not for long.
- Averted with the events of Zombie Island, which saw the series introducing more real monsters for the gang in many of their future adventures to come.
- The Stinger: At the end of the film, Scooby Breaks The Fourth Wall by cutting open the black screen. After Scooby gives milk to Simone's cats as an act of reconciliation, he lets out his "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" Catchphrase.
- Stock Audio Clip:
- There's a particular audio clip of Shaggy struggling that's used about four or five times throughout the movie. Once you notice, it's very distracting.
- Theres another clip of Scooby saying "Yeah" thats used three times in succession and throughout the rest of the movie.
- Theme Tune Cameo: Fred whistles the theme song to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? at one part.
- Time Skip: 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.
- Took a Level in Badass: Sure, she would lose them in the next few movies, but Daphne.
- Too Dumb to Live: Even if Simone and Lena were smart enough to make wax dolls of Shaggy and Scooby, they are shown to be fully aware that the zombies do get up a few hours before their celestial deadline to scare people off. First of all, they don't try to bar people from leaving the house, but more glaringly, they fail to put up some sort of doorway to the other entrance of their chamber, despite being aware that at least some of the zombies know exactly where their ceremonies occur. Needless to say, they wind up disintegrating because of this.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- One of the alternate posters for the film features Jacques in his were-cat form.
- In addition, the trailers promise "this time, the monsters are real", and at least one used the tagline during the scene of the vampire bat monster chasing Scooby and Shaggy... but just a few moments before, it showed the monster being unmasked as a fake.
- Transformation Sequence: Simone and Lena have one as they transform into werecats and prepare to drain the gang's life forces.
- Undercover Cop Reveal: Beau, although not in a way that matters to the plot.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Simone and Lena invert wearing a monster costume like previous Scooby-Doo villains by being monstrous werecats underneath their human disguises.
- Voodoo Doll: Used by Simone and Lena at one point.
- Walk Into Camera Obstruction: With Lena as she is showing Fred to his room.
- Wham Line:
- Before, that moment, Velma made an interesting observation that foreshadow what Lena and Simone are planning.Velma: Her story about Simone getting dragged away by zombies wasn't true. I saw the footprints of Simone's heels. She wasn't dragged, she walked down that tunnel!
- Before, that moment, Velma made an interesting observation that foreshadow what Lena and Simone are planning.
- Wham Shot: Fred encounters a zombie, and attempts to remove its mask:Fred: It's the gardener.
Fred: It's the fisherman.
Fred: It's the ferryman.
[Pulls the zombie's head off]
Fred: Maybe it's... Real?
- Lena worriedly informs the group that Simone was kidnapped by the zombies and escorts them to where they had allegedly taken her. Velma has trouble believing Lena's story, and when she turns to interrogate her, Lena's expression has changed to a smug look, revealing that it was indeed a lie and that they had been lured into a trap.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A Running Gag 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. 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.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: From Simone and Lena's flashback, they appeared to originally be perfectly normal individuals, albeit ones who worshiped some pagan cat deity, and they only prayed to be transformed into werecats to get revenge on the pirates for slaughtering their village. However it appears that the process drove them mad with power, and they continued to drain the life-force of innocents for centuries even after their vengeance was complete.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Simone and Lena were peaceful settlers until pirates ransacked their home and killed the other settlers in horrific fashion. They asked their god for a way to avenge them, and they got it.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Fred. All his theories and guesses about who could be faking the ghost and zombie appearances on Moonscar Island, and why they'd be doing it would probably be right, if it wasn't for the fact that this film is a Deconstruction and Reconstruction of the Scooby-Doo formula by showing what happens when the usual "Scooby-Doo" Hoax gets averted.
- You Meddling Kids:
- Your Costume Needs Work: When the gang captures a lone zombie, they initially believe it to be an obvious fake, an unusual case of savvy for this franchise. Unfortunately for them, in this case they're Wrong Genre Savvy.