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Only you can return the demons to the Chest... because you let them out!
"This is a warning to all living mortals, that whosoever opens this Chest of Demons will release 13 of the most terrifying ghosts upon the face of the Earth!"
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The 1985 incarnation of the Scooby-Doo franchise and final incarnation of the original Scooby-Doo franchise. The first also to introduce a story arc, though it was never finished due to its cancellation.

It begins when Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne and Scrappy end up in Tibet by plane crash, and Scooby and Shaggy are tricked into opening the Chest of Demons, a chest containing 13 powerful, terrifying ghosts each bent on world domination. Fated to return the malevolent spirits to the chest, the team is guided by mysterious mystic Vincent Van Ghoul, played by Vincent Price, who exasperatingly helps our heroes catch them all before it's too late.

This show uses the globetrotting Scooby-Shaggy-Daphne-Scrappy format of the late 1970s/early 1980s shows, though it is the last show to do so, also adding a new member of the gang in the form of Flim-Flam, a child con artist who runs into the gang and joins up with them. It was also one of the first shows to substantially feature real ghosts, as opposed to guys in masks, and the self-referential parody, pop-culture references, and fourth wall breaking that would go on to characterize A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (this is the result of Tom Ruegger, who produced the latter, being associate producer on this one).

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A 2019 direct-to-video movie follow-up, Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, features the whole gang helping Van Ghoul take on the last of the ghosts.


This series provides examples of:

  • All There in the Script: While his name in the show is never mentioned, the mirror demon's name is Reflector Specter. Which is hilariously used to identify him on the DVD subtitles. Somebody did their homework there.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Chest of Demons, which holds thirteen of the most terrifying ghosts on Earth.
  • Bad Future: The episode "It's a Wonderful Scoob." Without Scooby around, the world falls to the ghosts, Daphne is a broken slave to the Time-Slime ghost, Scrappy and Flim-Flam have become his loyal servants, and Shaggy is a lone rebel that has gone crazy, adamantly believing that Scooby will return and save them.
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  • Beware the Silly Ones / Not-So-Harmless Villain: Bogel and Weerd are usually seen as incompetent ghosts who constantly mess up the schemes of the 13 ghosts, but in the pilot, they did successfully trick Shaggy and Scooby to release them in the first place. Even Vincent Van Ghoul seemed to view them as a formidable threat.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Bogel and Weerd so desperately want to join the 13 ghosts.
  • Big "NO!": In "Reflections in a Ghoulish Eye", Reflector Specter screams "No" when Flim Flam uses the Vacuu-Spook on him.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: "Ship of Ghouls" has the ghosts of the passengers of the Queen Myrtle planning to open the Chest of Demons after sailing into the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Break the Cutie: The Bad Future above has Daphne being Driven to Madness and doing a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Nekara's kiss does this to Victor Voudini
  • Cast as a Mask: In the episode "Ship of Ghouls", the ghost impersonating a travel agent and a ship captain is voiced by Ricard Erdman, with Robert Ridgely voicing his disguise as Captain Ferguson.
  • Charm Person: Nekara
  • Chekhov's Gun: Flim-Flam was selling a concoction known as "Lots of Luck Joy Juice" when we first see him. One of the ingredients was Wolfsbane, and a splash of it was enough to cure the werewolf villagers that put the gang into a corner.
    • In "Reflections in a Ghoulish Eye", a vendor hands Daphne a magic amulet written in gibberish. It turns out that when Daphne gets sucked into the mirror world, she learns that it's a magic spell. Moreover, the vendor was actually Vincent Van Ghoul in disguise!
  • Circus of Fear: "The Ghouliest Show on Earth" has this, complete with Mind Control.
  • Cool Old Guy: Vincent Van Ghoul. You'd have to be an awesome old guy if you're a sorcerer who owns a chest used to imprison ghosts.
  • The Comically Serious: Vincent Van Ghoul, as played by Vincent Price, who loved these kinds of roles (when he wasn't playing a villain, of course).
  • Cousin Oliver: Flim-Flam was added as a result of focus testing. Tom Ruegger, the associate producer who would later handle A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, admitted that he hated Flim-Flam in an interview in which he stated that he'd even learned to love Scrappy.
  • Credits Gag: In the episode “That’s Monstertainment”, Zomba's movie has a custom Hanna-Barbara logo which resembles the MGM logo with Scooby-Doo in it. Scooby-Doo creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera had started out as animators at MGM Studios.
    • The logo is also customized: it reads "Ranna-Rarrera" (Hanna-Barbera in Scooby's dialect) and has the logo read "limitus animatus" (which is Latin for "limited animation", which Hanna-Barbera was famous for).
  • Cutaway Gag: In the second episode, "Scoobra Kadoobra," just as a fire-breathing dragon is bearing down on our heroes, the scene cuts to Shaggy as a news anchorman, who introduces Scrappy-Doo interviewing a Moral Guardian named Loretta Cutitout, who disapproves of the use of fire on a children's show. Scrappy manages to accuse her of being anti-dragon and reduce her to tears before the show cuts back to the story.
  • Cut Short: Scooby-Doo and his friends never did catch all 13 ghosts. Only 11 of them were shown being caught at all - and no ghosts were captured in the pilot.
  • Cynical Mentor: Vincent Van Ghoul
  • Damsel in Distress / Dude In Distress: Scooby, Daphne, Flim-Flam and even Vincent Van Ghoul ended up in this role a few times.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The shadow that the gang pursue in "Me and My Shadow Demon" is actually harmless.
  • Darker and Edgier: Played straight and mercilessly averted in the same show. Several of the villains in this show are among the most threatening enemies Scooby has ever been pitted against. Among them a dark sorcerer who can put people to sleep for centuries, a soul stealing circus master and a Saturday Morning version of a succubus. At the same time because the show doesn't take itself seriously the show is goofier than a usual Scooby Doo show. This is played for laughs that many of the ghosts are often annoyed by the other characters' humor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vincent Van Ghoul.
  • Denser and Wackier: The creators balanced out the real and genuinely menacing demons by making this the silliest Scooby-Doo series up to that point. So the second episode features a completely serious and frightening Evil Sorcerer who turns an entire forest against the gang and puts Daphne into a coma... but it also features a Follow the Bouncing Ball singalong, lots of goofy disguises and Bavarian Fire Drill routines, and a sudden Cutaway Gag to Scrappy interviewing a Moral Guardian who disapproves of the episode's scary content.
  • Depending on the Writer: The first piece on this trope is obviously on the use of the terms "ghosts" and "demons" for the antagonists. They are practically used interchangeable even though some of which don't even seem to properly fit either.
    • There is also the question of can other demons free the other ones who had been retrapped. In "Ship of Ghouls" the chest being in the Bermuda Triangle will automatically force it open. In "That's Monstertainment" Zomba claims she will free her fellow spirits but never gets the chance. In "It's A Wonderful Scoob", Time Slime says he can do it in his Lair of Lost Time and according to the Bad Future he succeeds. However in "Horror-Scope Scoob" Zimbulu claims to do it as well also during the time of the Winter Solstice where allegedly "all the power in the universe will be his". When he does only three minor ghosts presumed captured before the episode get out. Even then he is defeated fairly easily for someone who thought he had all the power in the universe. It's not clear if the Chest of Demons really has any kind of specific power or if being in places with a Timey-Wimey Ball like the Bermuda Triangle or The Lair of Lost Time seem to change the rules.
  • Evil Laugh: Vincent Van Ghoul has a pretty impressive one, despite being an ally to Scooby-Doo's gang, due to being played by Vincent Price.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The episode "Ship of Ghouls" has the ghost captain of the Queen Myrtle plan to open the Chest of Demons after crossing the Bermuda Triangle. The released gestalt form of the ghosts Scooby and Shaggy recaptured at that point turns on him and consumes him when he tries to get the merged being to join his side.
  • Expy:
    • Vincent Van Ghoul's costume looks reminiscent of Doctor Strange, and in the second episode, he exclaims "By the vapors of Vahishnu!" a take-off on one of Strange's catchphrases.
    • The three inept witches the Brewski Sisters in "When You Witch Upon a Star" are expies of The Three Stooges.
  • Fat and Skinny: The ghostly duo of Bogel (fat) and Weerd (skinny).
  • Five-Man Band: The gang, for the first time in a while, though they share roles occasionally.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: Done in two different episodes, with the first one displaying the lyrics in Scooby-speak.
    "Row, row, row your roat, rently down the ream..."
  • Ghost Ship: The Queen Myrtle from episode "Ship of Ghouls", a cruise ship destroyed by the Bermuda Triangle (along with everyone on board) 50 years ago is disguised as its luxurious self until the ghost captain and passengers attack the gang, after which it reverts to its current form, a floating wreck.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Unfortunately, the heroes never did get all 13. At least, not until 2019.
  • Heroic BSoD: In "It's a Wonderful Scoob", after a mishap with Time Slime's scepter shows him all the horrors he's faced in his life, Scooby becomes so traumatized that he goes into a 10-Minute Retirement. Vincent shows him a Bad Future to help snap him out of it, though.
  • Holding the Floor: One of the ghosts is weak to sunlight, so the gang needs to delay the ghost until daybreak, which Van Ghoul calls a filibuster.
  • Human Disguise: "Ship of Ghouls" has a ghost who disguises himself as a human travel agent by making his body more opaque and as a human ship captain by wearing a mask.
  • I Have Many Names: A rare example of a building. In "Me and My Shadow Demon" the place they go to investigate it at different times called "Befuddled Manor" or "Befuddled Castle" or "Befuddled Hall". Given that its gimmick is it is a maze that gets people confused, it becomes a Lampshade Hanging that people even get confused about the name.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Vincent Van Ghoul was voiced by and modeled after Vincent Price.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Platypus Duck, who makes his first and last Hanna-Barbera appearance in "Scooby in Kwackyland," was originally created by Tom Ruegger for a student film called "The Premiere of Platypus Duck."
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Even before they met Scooby and the gang, Flim Flam and Vincent Van Ghoul were on good terms with each other.
  • Interspecies Romance: Two of the inhabitants of Dooville seen in "The Ghouliest Show on Earth" are a married couple named Eggbert and Constance, who are respectively a human and a cow.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The main focus of "It's a Wonderful Scoob." After a mishap with Time Slime's scepter shows him all the horrors he's endured in his life, Scooby is badly traumatized and quits the gang, refusing to come back. When the rest of the gang is captured by Time Slime, Vincent takes Scooby to the future to show him the Bad Future that will ensue if Time Slime wins.
  • The Jinx: Marsella seems to be this. First she's trapped in the chest of demons, then she gets trapped inside a zone, and in order to be freed, what kind of help does she get? Expy witch version of The Three Stooges.
  • Knight of Cerebus: A majority of the 13 ghosts, if not all of them, are portrayed more seriously than the other characters, and don't play any games either. Not too many of them seem to partake in the fourth wall humor the show has to offer either.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In "Coast-to-Ghost", Rankor goes back to the Chest of Demons willingly when Scrappy and Flim-Flam tell him it's the only way he can avoid the sunlight destroying him.
  • Latex Perfection: The leader of the Queen Myrtle ghosts in "Ship of Ghouls" wears a lifelike mask when disguised as the human Captain Ferguson.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Two of the ghosts from the Chest of Demons had names alluding to their species.
    • "That's Monstertainment" had a zombie witch named Zomba.
    • "Scooby in Kwackyland" had a demon named Demondo.
  • Loophole Abuse: The sleep of the century curse can apparently only be broken by the kiss of a "great Danish prince". Turns out a Great Dane dog is close enough to work.
  • MacGuffin: The eponymous 13 Ghosts.
  • Magic Kiss: This is Nekara's power. On Friday the 13th she can put any warlock into a trance of love, but whomever she kisses she steals all his power, and by the looks of Victor Voudini, it's permanent.
  • Monster Protection Racket: The gang enter Befuddled Hall as exterminators, when Scrappy asks Flim Flam how does he know they have pests there Flim Flim brings out a container letting several rats right into the building.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The series starts with Scooby and Shaggy tricked into opening the Chest of Demons, and therefore releasing the demons. As Vincent Van Ghoul states in the opening narration as to why they have to be the ones to return the ghosts to the Chest: "Because you let them out!!!"
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Most of the visible "ghosts" take this to a whole new. It's not entirely clear if we are meant to take ghost literally or just a catchall. This is complicated even more that the chest that contained them is called the "Chest of Demons" instead of chest of ghosts. In fact the only genuine, classical ghosts in there were the sunken ship ghosts. The others all have a mix match of attributes on top of possibly being ghosts. Some like Maldor the Malevolent and Nekara are the Evil Sorceror or Enchantress up to eleven. Marsella is a witch of general sorts. As for the more direct explanations:
    • Zomba, perhaps the most striking example, is the ghost of a zombie (or… something like that), although not mindless at all, who also has hypnotizing powers and the ability to trap people inside TV shows. (As an aside note, exactly how and when she learned she could do that is unknown, since she was sealed in the Chest long before movies were created.)
    • Queen Morbidia is a sort of Elvira-like vampire who rules over monsters. Like Zomba, how being the ghost of a vampire works is left to our imaginaton.
    • Time Slime by looks appears to be the ghost of some kind of skeleton-like demon who is also something of a mechanical genius and time traveler (his end goal is described by Van Ghoul as turning the world into a "mechanical wasteland").
    • Demondo is the ghost of a big sort of normal bulky demon who has "cosmic ink" that apparently can bring whatever is printed/drawn with it to life. Much like Zomba, he was no doubt was very happy to have discovered comic strips when he escaped…
    • Rankor is at the crossing of a ghost, a Big Red Devil and a vampire. He can, additionally, possess various physical objects.
    • Professor Phantazmo is the ghost of a Repulsive Ringmaster who has various supernatural beings as minions. He uses bewitched calliope music to disguise his appearance into that of a living man, but his true form is that of probably what he would look like if he were still alive but looked his real age.
    • Reflector Specter is the ghost of an Eldritch Abomination from beyond the mirror.
    • Zimbulu described himself as the ghost of a "lion demon", though he only looks very broadly lion-like. Scrappy calling him out as a "lying demon" is actually more accurate since by the looks of it his powers are shapeshifting, teleporting and ordering other people to do work for him.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Ghoulio, who sings "To All the Ghouls I've Loved Before" in the premiere episode of the same name, is based on singer Julio Iglesias.
    • "Horror-Scope Scooby" features a television host named Boris Kreepoff, who resembles and sounds like horror icon Boris Karloff.
  • No Ending: There are 13 ghosts and 13 episodes. But the first episode was just Scooby and Shaggy accidentally letting them loose, and another episode didn't end with an explicitly captured ghost (Fans had speculated the ship's captain to be one or not in the years since). So the show ended with either one or two ghosts left with no conclusion. Until "Curse of the 13th Ghost" which was sold as a Fully Absorbed Finale to this series. In the process it did give credence to the series having caught 12 of the 13 ghosts. However in a move most did not see coming the film chose to end with a wholly new No Ending debate. Where it is not clear if the 13th ghost has actually repented and is no longer a threat or if this is going to come back to haunt Scooby AGAIN.
  • The Only One: Vincent Van Ghoul makes it clear from the beginning that Scooby and Shaggy are the only ones who can recapture the 13 Ghosts because they were the ones who set them free in the first place.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Down to the last ghost. While they are all referred to as ghosts, most of them are not the ghosts of something that was human in the first place (we have ghost witches, ghost vampires, ghost demons, a ghost Eldritch Abomination, and — however that works — the ghost of a zombie), and in those cases they retain the abilities they had in life (or unlife or whatever).
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The first episode has a town of werewolves who hide their true selves from outsiders, only to attack and transform them at night, acting more like a secret cult than the general idea of a werewolf.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: "Scooby in Kwackyland" had Bogel and Weerd attempt to deceive Vincent Van Ghoul by disguising themselves as Daphne and Shaggy respectively. Vincent buys it even though he notices "Daphne" putting on weight and "Shaggy" sounding different.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Coast-to-Ghost", when Scrappy and Flim-Flam offer to prevent Rankor from being destroyed by sunlight by having him returned to the Chest of Demons, the vampire ghost returns to the Chest of Demons willingly and even shows his gratitude by referring to Scrappy and Flim-Flam as "real pals".
  • Please Wake Up: Maldor can use his magic to put people into a sleep for centuries, which he does to both the Princess Esmerelda and Daphne. When the others find Daphne, they try their best to wake her up, and nothing works until they discover a Loophole Abuse.
  • Power-Up Food: A couple of episodes show that Scooby Snacks have this effect on Scooby. One of them even has the Popeye theme song playing on the soundtrack while he eats them.
  • Put on a Bus: Fred Jones and Velma Dinkley are both absent for the run of this series and won't appear again until A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Some of the ghosts from the Chest of Demons have red eyes.
    • While Maldor the Malevolent starts out with yellow sclera in "Scoobra Kadoobra", his sclera turns red when he glares at Daphne at one point and later remain red for the remainder of the episode.
    • The Reflector Specter in "Reflections in a Ghoulish Eye" is a hideous red-eyed demon who hides in mirrors.
    • Marcella, who is recaptured in "When You Witch Upon a Star", has red eyes that lack pupils.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shaggy most of all in the Bad Future, as Vincent Van Ghoul said, "I'm afraid he's gone bananas," upon which Shaggy pulls out actual bananas from his shirt.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: In "That's Monstertainment", Flim-Flam claims to have seen The Son of The Bride of The Ghost of Frankenstein 100 times.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Scooby-Doo opens up a box and unleashes 13 malicious ghosts onto the world, and must get them all back.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The 13 ghosts were sealed within the Chest of Demons until Scooby and Shaggy were duped into releasing them. The whole show revolves upon getting them back into the can.
  • Self-Referential Humor: One of the first times the franchise started using it. Though, of course, the next show after kicked it up a notch.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Zomba from "That's Monstertainment" suffers comedic injuries during her initial attempts to get the Chest of Demons.
  • Something Completely Different: The Scooby gang only battles genuine supernatural creatures rather than people in costumes this time around.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": There is debate on the name of the 12th ghost from "Horror-scope Scoob". The DVD of the series named him Simbooloo. (We know the dvd was accurate on Reflector Specter's name as it was no where in the actual episode). The followup movie and the recent Scooby Doo encyclopedia have gone with Zimbulu.
  • Story Arc: The first Scooby-Doo show to have an overarching plot, and the last one until Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
  • Take a Third Option: Bogel and Weerd use a villainous version of this in the pilot. They stage a game show for Shaggy and Scooby where they have to choose between their stolen plane, a doggy dream house and a box. Shaggy wants the plane, Scooby wants the house, they settle for the box... which turns out to be the Chest of Demons.
  • Taken for Granite: In the episode "Coast-to-Ghost", the gang have to save Vincent Van Ghoul when Rankor uses the Eye of Eternity to cause him to gradually turn into stone in 24 hours.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Bogel and Weerd, a pair of bumbling ghost minions who bounce their services from demon to demon, but consistently mess up.
  • To the Tune of...: In the episode where the gang is sucked into the Sunday funnies, Platypus Duck's theme song uses the theme from The Great Grape Ape.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The town of werewolves in the first episode; Their ancestors were the ones who trapped the 13 Ghosts into the Chest of Demons, so the ghosts cursed the townspeople with lycanthropy.
  • Trapped in TV Land: "That's Monstertainment" has Zomba trap our heroes inside a horror film playing on television called The Son of The Bride of The Ghost of Frankenstein.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • In "Reflections in a Ghoulish Eye", the character Sandy has a tendency to end his sentences with "I must say".
    • Boris Kreepoff from "Horror-Scope Scooby" has a habit of ending his sentences with "or else".
  • Weakened by the Light:
    • Queen Morbidia from "Me and My Shadow Demon" is defeated when sunlight turns her into ash. Her ashes are then swept up and put into the Chest of Demons.
    • Rankor from "Coast-to-Ghost", being a vampire ghost, naturally has a vulnerability to sunlight. Right when he's about to be destroyed by it, however, Scrappy and Flim-Flam offer to protect him from the sunlight by returning him to the Chest of Demons, resulting in Rankor being the only ghost in the series to go back into the Chest of Demons willingly.
  • We Will Meet Again: At the end of "A Spooky Little Ghoul Like You", Nekara promises to get even with Vincent Van Ghoul right before she's sucked back into the Chest of Demons.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: In the pilot, Vincent Van Ghoul explains to Daphne and Scrappy that the evil spirits keep trying to trick mortals into opening the Chest of Demons, but fortunately, only a complete fool would fall for such a trick.
    Daphne: Which reminds me, where are Shaggy and Scooby?
    Scrappy: Uh-oh...

Alternative Title(s): The Thirteen Ghosts Of Scooby Doo

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