Apparently, some Christian groups were angered by The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo due to the demonic tone of the show.
Wow, I can't believe it's already been 30 years!!
So, the thought hit me that it was 30 years since 13 Ghosts first aired on the 7th last Monday, and I was trying to think of something fun I could do or post on here for the 30th anniversary. I thought it might be better if I did something more personal, a retrospective-y type thing where I gave my own review of the show.
I tried to watch all the 13 episodes this week, but didn't get a chance to watch them all because of my busy schedule, but I did watch 6 of them! It refreshed my memory of all the awesome stuff in this show and helped me better write this review.
So I'm going to review each individual episode here, not the series as a whole. Try to stick with me here, I tried to stay as straightforward as possible with these reviews, but I end up geeking out a bit here :) .
OK, well let's start with the premiere ep, the one that aired 30 years ago today (September 7, 1985).
TO ALL THE GHOULS I'VE LOVED BEFORE starts us off with the mysterious Vincent Van Ghoul walking through his eccentric spooky castle in the Himalayas. First off, I must say that Vincent is perfect for this series! I think he adds the perfect amount of darkness to the series to take away some of the comedic effect. Don't get me wrong here, I do love the lightheartedness of this show, but trying to imagine the show without Vincent, it wouldn't have the dark spooky-ish feeling that most of us (especially me!) love.
So, then there's the plotline of the gang's vacation to Hawaii in the Mystery Plane. I thought the Mystery Plane was a great addition to this show, it added a certain whimsicalness to the show (along with the rubber ducky jokes, Vaccu-Spook, etc.) that the show needed. I wouldn't mind the show being all dark, but I think it's great as Scooby is a comedic show and the darkness would get a little too dark after a while.
I really liked the Weerd and Bogel part of this episode, where they're trying to get Scoob and Shag to open the Chest of Demons. It's just so...different....from anything else we've seen in Scooby, and I think that's why I really like this series.
Flim Flam was a cool character too, more of the "comedy" guy to lighten up the series. Along with the ducky and Vaccu-Spook jokes I mentioned before, this element of the show really is crucial to the formula. I don't have anything against Flim Flam, I like him as a character and all, but to me, he isn't a really stand-out character.
When they meet Flim Flam in the tavern and everyone turns into werewolves...love it love it love it! As I've said before, this series really took us in a new "spookier" direction that we didn't know or dream Scooby could go in.
My favorite part of the episode is the werewolf part, but I thought the game show ending was pretty cool though. Although I don't get why Weerd and Bogel say "only a mortal can open the chest" at the beginning of the series, then Time Slime and Zimbulu can open the chest at the end of the series
The release of the demons is cool...but I never got how the 13 demons getting released suddenly makes a mega-demon?
Well, as much as I'd love to keep talking about how many kinds of awesome this episode is, I've already spent 30 minutes geeking out here, and I'm only done with 1/13th of the article lol.
So let's move on to episode 2. SCOOBRA KADOOBRA is my dream episode. I've always been the kind of person who likes the haunted castle stuff, and the villain and storyline only multiplied my love for this episode by 10.
So, you've got the gang in a haunted forest near a haunted castle trying to find Maldor the Malevolent (such a cool name!). The gang attempts to look for Maldor, but he ends up using magic to make trees and plants come alive, and make an interesting dragon-rabbit hybrid creature.
The Scooby-Doo News Editorial in this episode was hilarious!! Loved the scene with the dragon crying because he's out of work.
The Ratfinks/Rat Guards were kind of a weird addition to the story, but they were still quite cool looking. Loved Maldor's awesome horns (that even go through his head!)
The Sleep of the Centuries spell was such a great addition to the story! So sad when Scrappy's trying to wake Daphne up :'( !
Overall, a fantastic episode!!! One of my favorites of the whole Scooby-Doo franchise.
Despite the kiddie title and songs, ME AND MY SHADOW DEMON is quite the terrific episode. Another castle one so score for me :) !
I'm not sure why the Shadow Demon is always credited as the demon for this episode. The villain is actually Queen Morbidia (pictured below), for those unfamiliar.
Queen Morbidia is a very cool villain, but I thought the Shadow Demon was much creepier!
The plot starts out with Scooby and the gang trying to sneak into Befuddle Manor, where Queen Morbidia and her monsters await the gang.
This is actually the first 13 Ghosts episode I had ever seen, which I think is why I like it so much. It's a great episode, but it is a lot less dark than the last two and more kiddie (let's not forget Goodnight Ghoulies, possibly the kiddiest song in the history of the franchise). I remember when I first watched this ep I nearly fast-forwarded through that song just cause it was so over-the-top kiddie. This is one of those weird episodes where the plot is fluctuating between dark and kiddie. At the beginning, it's kiddie, right after the second commercial break, it gets dark, then right when Goodnight Ghoulies starts it becomes super kiddie again.
Let me just show some Shadow Demon love here before I wrap this episode review up. The Shadow Demon (pictured below) is one of the coolest Scooby-Doo villains around in my opinion. Creepy and interesting and inventive design. They kinda ruin it though when it's just the old guy's shadow though :P.
REFLECTIONS IN A GHOULISH EYE is another fun episode. We've got the mirror demon, the introduction of the Vaccu-Spook and some cool scenes in the mirror world.
Now let's get a little more in depth here.
The Mirror Demon was a really cool design, and the backwards mirror world that the gang ends up getting trapped in is so cool!!! When I first saw this ep, I wished that the whole episode was located in the mirror world, just because it was so darn awesome!! I thought it would've been more interesting than the gang just wandering around the desert.
It was kinda weird that the camel fell in love with Scooby.
And now for the highly-debated name discussion...
So, the demon was only called the Mirror Demon in the episode, but pretty much every site you go to (except mine, when I build the episode guide xD) lists him as the Reflector Specter. After doing some searching around, it appears the Reflector Specter name was just made up by fans, and not actually the demon's official name. Same goes with "Carlotta" the gypsy, the name was made up by fans and never confirmed (until "The Creeping Creatures"). So, I'm going to keep calling him the Mirror Demon even though his name is supposedly "The Reflector Specter."
THAT'S MONSTERTAINMENT! was the awesomest of the awesome. The whole concept of the gang being trapped in the classic Frankenstein movie and even the Frankenscoob Monster was so cool! This is the episode that leaves you with the edge-of-your-seat, what's gonna happen next kind of feeling.
I loved the Popeye reference with the Scooby Snacks!
"Zomba sees and knows!" - such a cool line! Love it! So Zomba is by far (for me) one of the creepiest villains in the Scooby-Doo franchise! She had some really creepy stances and poses in the ep (I didn't have time to take them, but this is one shot of Zomba).
SHIP OF GHOULS was another fun episode where the gang attempts to take a vacation but are sidetracked by a ghost captain and the infamous Weerd and Bogel.
So it was never decided whether the Ghost Captain counted as a ghost or not. Basically, the captain tries to release his fellow "13 Ghosts," which makes you think that he isn't one of them, but then later he says "fellow demons," which I think trips people up.
Overall, quite the good episode. I like the part where Weerd and Bogel attempt to scare Scooby - some nice comedic fun without getting too far away from the darkness of the series.
Not too much more to say about this one - it was one of those hit-or-miss episodes where either you like it or you don't. Although it does bring me back to the concept of how the 4 released demons makes a mega-demon?
One last thing about this episode, I loved the reveal where the whole ship is actually ghosts trying to release the 4 captured demons, it gives the episode an awesome element of surprise. When I first watched this episode, I wondered if Maldor would come out of the chest as a frog or not. And what about Morbidia, she was disintegrated by the sunlight, so would she still come out of the demon chest in her normal form or was she completely destoyed by the sunlight? Things only a Scooby nerd would think about lol.
So, let's move on to episode 7, where Vincent Van Ghoul is pursued by a demon enchantress, trying to put him under her love spell. A SPOOKY LITTLE GHOUL LIKE YOU is one of the best episodes of this series in my opinion. First, let me just say Nicara's love power where the hearts come out of her eyes is cool!
The whole storyline of Vincent being "incapacitated" with love was a fun storyline with lots of great twists and turns.
Love the whole wedding thing, although I have to say my favorite part of the episode was when the gang was pretending to be Vincent's children.
Overall, a great ep with some fun plot twists and some cool villains. Let's not forget about the cemetery ghouls!
WHEN YOU WITCH UPON A STAR was my least favorite episode of this series. By least favorite though, I don't mean "despise," least favorite for me in this case just means it wasn't as strong as the other episodes.
The episode starts off quite good, the gang has to go find some witches in the woods and investigate a demon mist. I didn't feel that they did enough with that though, they could have done so much more with the storyline, but it just kinda slows down after the first few minutes.
When I first saw this episode on Boomerang, I didn't see the teaser (part before the intro), because Boomerang cuts the teaser out of all their airings of this episode for extra commercials.
But back to the episode, the plot was too thin and they were trying to do too much at once, so this one felt rushed to me. Probably my favorite part of this episode is the witches' dance. I never did understand why people liked these witches but not the Boo Brothers, they're basically nearly the same personalities (based off of the Three Stooges).
One thing I never got with this episode is if Marcella (the demon of the week) was intended to be a witch too?
IT'S A WONDERFUL SCOOB is actually not a parody of It's a Wonderful Life but the episode itself is quite wonderful! I always have hated clip shows, since they only give a few minutes of new content, but this felt like a clip show of sorts without the repeat scenes.
So we've got Time Slime turning time back, and when the gang attempts to stop him, Time Slime sends Scooby back in time, where he relives his confrontations with Marcella and Zomba. I never got why Zomba had a different voice here, why couldn't they have just used some of the archive recordings of her voice?
Well anyways, Scooby is frightened reliving these memories and decides he is too scared to catch the rest of the 6 demons, and quits the gang. So, the gang has to find a replacement, who turns out to be Bernie Gumpshure. Bernie is one of my personal faves of the characters in the show, for some reason his silly antics really cracked me up.
What I thought was weird is that we're supposed to believe the whole-demon catching thing was just for a TV show, and then at the end we're supposed to believe it's real again?
When Vincent Van Ghoul takes Scooby into the future, Scooby realizes that Time Slime takes over the Earth, and the gang has all broken up. Daphne is Time Slime's housemaid, Flim Flam and Scrappy are part of a biker gang...."time slime slime slime time slime slime slime...slime slime slimeity slime slime"....I don't know why but I love that ridiculous song..... anyways, and Shaggy has now gone bananas. "Bananas! Bananas by the bushel!...."
Anyways, Scooby uses Time Slime's scepter to go back to the moment before he opened the demon chest and stops him from taking over the world.
This is just another nerdy thought I had, but why couldn't Scooby have gone back before Weerd and Bogel tricked him into opening the demon chest? It would have saved him catching the other 6 demons.
Scooby stuck in a comic strip, a race to find an ink pen and Vincent Van Ghoul becoming bossy is all part of the silliness which is SCOOBY IN KWACKYLAND.
This is another hit-or-miss episode, you either like it or you don't. I personally like this one, but I didn't like how silly this one got. Part of what makes this series so great for me is that it's so dark, but this one seemed more goofy to me. Which is OK, but it made this episode a little less likeable for me.
There are parts I did like, including Astrid 9000, the Wacky Wizard comic, and the Platypus Duck jingle.
And how does Daphne know Demondo is one of the 13 ghosts when she's never met him?
I loved COAST TO GHOST as Rankor is quite the cool villain, but I don't understand why he's obedient to SAPS. He's one of the most powerful demons in the world, why does he have to take orders?
This one involves a race to save Vincent when Rankor hexes him with a ruby that will make him turn to stone within 24 hours. The gang also must do what they never thought they'd have to...trust Weerd and Bogel...who later decieve them to help Vincent.
One last thing about this episode, Rankor has to be the stupidest demon of all.
Scrappy:"Come in here, it's nice and dark!" **opens demon chest**
Rankor: "Thanks, you guys are real pals!!"
I mean, really? You don't know what the Demon Chest looks like that you were trapped in for thousands of years? I think I smell a case of lazy writers who didn't know how to properly end the episode. When I first watched this ep, I was so dumbfounded by how stupid the ending was that I even thought up other ways the episode could have ended. The sunlight could have disintegrated Rankor like with Morbidia, they could have used the Vaccu-Spook, I could go on for hours listing ways the episode could have ended better. But did they really have to make Rankor willingly go back in the chest?
THE GHOULIEST SHOW ON EARTH was another one of those fabulous episodes where Professor Phantasmo tries to make Scrappy stay in his circus of horrors with him forever.
Not much to say about this one, except I loved every part of it and Scooby's parents were a great addition.
Last stop on the Mystery Plane is HORROR-SCOPE SCOOB. The episode starts with Boris Kreepoff (an obvious parody of Boris Karloff) having the gang on his show, and the demon chest is stolen on stage by Boris, who is jealous of Vincent Van Ghoul. The gang goes to a lighthouse, which is an awesome scene, where they are ambushed by Weerd and Bogel, who are lackeys for Zimbulu, the lion demon.
Does anyone know what the demon's actual name is though? I've watched this ep at least 10 times, and can't understand if they're saying Zimbulu or Simbulu. (Let me know in the comments if you do)
So to wrap up a great series, we get a...terrible ending. Two of the demons are left unaccounted for, and are never caught. I was really upset with that when I first saw this episode, as I hate when series end on a cliffhanger.
But overall, this was a fantastic series that I would recommend to any Scooby fan!
Thank you to those of you who got this far, I realize that this was a very long post!