Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School
Written by Glenn Leopold
Directed by Charles A. Nichols and Ray Patterson (supervising)
I know what you are thinking. What does Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School have to do with Godzilla? Well, stick with me, dear reader, and you shall see that this is a fitting member of March of Godzilla 2019! Before we get to that, we got to get to just what the heck Scooby-Doo mystery we’ve gotten TarsTarkas.NET caught up in! Back in the day (the 1980s), Hannah-Barbera made a series of 10 animated films packaged for syndication starring some of their strongest brands, it was called the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series. Scooby-Doo And The Ghoul School is the eighth film in the series and the second of three Scooby-Doo features. All of them feature actual supernatural creatures instead of guys in masks scaring away people from abandoned theme parks to cover their crimes, which paint them closer to the then-current 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series. Further cementing the connection, Shaggy is depicted here in a red shirt like he was in that series, and the entire group is just Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy-Doo.
Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, and Scrappy-Doo are driving on a dark and stormy night. Wait a second…
It was a dark and stormy night. Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, and Scrappy-Doo we driving to their new job as gym teachers at a Girl’s school. Normally I’d guess they don’t do background checks and just hire anyone, but as the school turns out to be full of monsters they must have hired the only applicant.
Miss Grimwood’s Finishing School for Girls, but the “Girls” is perpetually replaced by spray-painted “Ghouls”. Miss Grimwood is a typical fussy boarding school headmistress except for the fact she is a witch and thus does witch stuff. She’s assisted mainly by a floating hand and her small pet dragon Matches. There is also an octopus butler who I don’t think is ever named. Most importantly, there is a two headed shark that lives in the moat outside the school! Scooby-Doo beat The Asylum to the punch by decades! A running gag in the film is all the food at the Ghoul School is gross and spooky (thus Shaggy and Scooby can’t pig out at all in this movie!), and much of it is cooked by Miss Grimwood. We got a whole garden of rotten fruit, fungus fudge, toadstool tea, poison ivy punch, caterpillar cookies, and swamp brownies (made from swamp water and mosquitoes!)
The girls are all daughters of famous monsters, just slightly off enough Universal can’t throw a bunch of lawyers at them. Also all these girls predate Monster High, so this series has that going for it, which is good! We got the vampire Sibella, Count Dracula’s daughter, she has purple hair, constantly turns into a bat, and has an accent that makes her roll her R’s a lot. She also repeatedly says “Fang-tastic” which just reminded me of True Blood. I’ll let the audience decide if that is good or bad. Elsa Frankenteen is the daughter of Frankenteen(‘s Monster), whose name is just different enough he might not have the (‘s Monster), but people are gonna complaining if I don’t add it. She’s got the same hair as Bride of Frankenstein and is good with electronics due to electrical powers. Winnie is the Wolfman’s daughter and she is another werewolf, her hair is constantly frizzy and she is one of the bigger talkers. Phantasma is the daughter of a phantom, which in this case means a ghost, but he’s drawn to look like Lon Chaney in Phantom of the Opera but talks like Peter Lorre, so we got a mixture of influences. They use a bit of Phantasma’s ability to float through walls but honestly, I think they could have done more gags with it. Phantasma is musical and plays a song during the film. The youngest student is Tanis, the Mummy’s daughter. She calls her father her Mummy Daddy, and is the nicest of the girls.
The school has a friendly rivalry with Colonel Calloway’s Military School, which is right next door. That also means we get a bunch of other characters to talk about. Luckily they are just a bunch of boys made ethnically and physically diverse to tell them apart easily. Tug is the blonde leader who is not above cheating to win. Miguel is the inventor, Jamal is the athlete, Grunt is the overweight but megastrong one, and Baxter is the smallest but the one who doesn’t get into trouble. They are lead by Colonel Calloway, who is generally fair but also enjoys winning and threatens the kids that they better win the friendly annual volleyball game they have with Miss Grimwood’s school. This of course leads to Tug trying to cheat to win, but thanks to Shaggy’s training and Scooby accidentally eating the remote that was controlling the volleyball’s movement, the Grimwood Girls get their first win ever.
The first half of the film is largely a series of vignettes but there is a larger plot happening as the villain emerges. She is Revolta, the Witch of the Web. I guess the internet needs a witch of its own, congrats to Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School for being ahead of the curve! What, “spider webs”? No, I’ll just continue to think this movie predicted the future, thanks. Revolta has for arms and does evil spells, her goal is to cast a spell on the daughters of the monsters that will make them 100% evil permanently, which I’ll admit is a pretty evil thing to do. She’s mainly assisted by a guy called the Grim Creeper, who is a spooky vegetable with vine arms and legs. He’s a bit of a screw up so Revolta is constantly yelling at him. There are also spider bats and mirror monsters on her side. Revolta manages to hypnotize Shaggy into bringing the girls somewhere that she can capture them and begin work on her evil spell. Now Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy have 24 hours to reverse the spell before the girls are perma-evil, which means they go into Revolta’s haunted castle and we get some Scooby-Doo style chase sequences. They are helped by the military boys, who are paying back the ghoul girls for helping them when they were stuck in quicksand. You see, being friends is the best military strategy of all. Or something.
Things get resolved because we can’t have evil win even in a direct to syndication movie, and everyone is back at the Ghoul School celebrating. There is even several new students arriving with their dad’s dropping them off, having heard about all the adventures that happened thanks to Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy saving the day. There is what looks like an alien and daughter, the Creature from the Black Lagoon and daughter, and GODZILLA AND HIS DAUGHTER!!! That’s right, Godzilla is in Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, and so is his daughter, which means Godzilla has another kid!! She doesn’t have a name (unless she does in concept art) or even have more than one frame of animation because she keeps completely still, but she exists, so she has value. So put her alongside Minya, Godzilla Junior, and Godzooky, because Godzilla has a daughter! Thank you, Scooby-Doo. Our heroes see the new monsters and decide enough is enough and flee the scene.
As an aside, there is one more Scooby-Doo feature in the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series, Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf. And while It does not have Godzilla in it, it does have other classic monsters (including different versions of some of the monster dads seen here!) There is even a giant ape, which goes by a different name than the most famous giant ape, Genghis Kong. But we all know what’s going on here, even if they made the way the big ape looks pretty racist to fit in with its pun name.
The monster girls were popular enough that someone remember them and brought them back for and episode of the series OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes called “Monster Party”, including the surviving voice actresses Russi Taylor (Phantasma), Susan Blu (Sibella) and Pat Musick (Elsa Frankenteen), as Marilyn Schreffler (Winnie) had passed on, and Patty Maloney (Tanis) had retired. They even reference their adventure here.
Overall this is pretty fun for a cheap Scooby-Doo flick, but it is missing many of the core characters so it does feel lacking. The monster girls are pretty neat and each one has distinct personalities, they definitely shouldn’t have waited thirty years to use them again, but I’m glad they did. The military academy kids seem like a last minute addition to try to keep boys from feeling left out of this movie so they aren’t as fleshed out as they could be. While this would have been fine for younger me to watch, older me wants the full crew so there is the full range of Scooby-Doo drama. With all the new characters, it is less of a traditional Scooby-Doo flick and more of something else that just happens to have a few Scooby-Doo characters running around in it. It feels like a backdoor tv pilot, and while that isn’t a bad thing, I can understand why it isn’t a thing everyone wants.
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