This is one of the rarer Scooby-Doo items I have in my collection, and stumbled upon it while cleaning the other day. This Scooby-Doo Plug and Play Game was made by Jakk's Pacific and released in 2005. It includes five games (each of which are five levels), The Race to Fontecastello, River of Frights, Searching the Castle, The Mysterious Doors, and The Dungeons of Fontecastello. Each of these games technically put together a story, but they can also be played individually.
For this review, I'm going to review each game individually.
The Race to Fontecastello
The first game involves you controlling the Mystery Machine and attempting to get to the castle while picking up Shaggy, Scooby and Velma along the way. The first level is pretty simple, you just have to dodge that are coming at you from both sides of the road, and others that are crashed. In the second level, however, it gets a bit more difficult. You have to avoid the Black Knight who is in a car behind you. You can get rid of him by throwing banana peels at his car, though you have to find them along the way, and can only pick up one at a time. If you do not have any banana peels, you are out of luck and have to deal with the Knight ramming The Mystery Machine until you find another banana peel. This is one part I don't like about the game, because there isn't much strategy to it and just is circumstantial. The cars are gone from this level, but you also have to dodge skeletons and rocks. The next level is exactly the same, with the exception of introducing ramps.
The fourth level gets significantly more challenging. You have to avoid both ghosts and cars coming at you, as well as a ghost which is behind you. The only way you can get rid of the ghost is by finding a rocket, which allows you to drive the Mystery Machine at hyper speed. (You can also collect rockets in all other levels of this game) This speed boost is both a curse and a blessing, because it makes the Mystery Machine go so fast that it is very difficult to dodge obstacles. The fifth and final level is the most challenging, because it includes both the Knight's car and the ghost, but never at the same time from as far as I've seen. Ghosts don't come at you, but things that appear to be crawling coffins attempt to attack you from in front. You also must dodge rocks and other obstacles.
One other piece I forgot to mention until now is that you can collect Scooby Snacks along the way. If you collect 25 snacks, you will gain an extra life. You begin with a total of 3 lives, but can increase that number with Scooby Snacks. There is no limit to how many lives you can have.
Overall, this particular game is just okay. While it's very challenging, I feel that the game was a bit poorly made because much of the challenge is due to random circumstance rather than strategy or being good at the game. It's possible to die from the Knight's car ramming you too many times, simply because there were no banana peels to throw at his car.
River of Frights
This is a pretty fun game, and solves the "circumstantial" issue I had with the last game. In this game, you play as Shaggy, and have to jump from log to log on a river to avoid the knight who is right behind you. You also have to avoid alligators and frogs along the way. Amusingly, Scooby throws storks from the shoreline, which you can collect to distract the frogs so they won't lick you and cause you to lose health. You can jump on alligators as logs, but if they snap at you (which can happen at any time, but sometimes you get lucky), you lose 1/3 of your health. There's not really any variation to the levels with this one.
Searching the Castle
While I love the music and setting of this one, this game is incredibly difficult to play due to the poor design of it. Searching the Castle has you play as Shaggy and Scooby, and you have to navigate your way through the castle (somewhat aimlessly, as you don't find anything) while avoiding monsters.
The first level features some sort of skeleton pirate as the villain. To dodge these villains, you have to hide behind objects in the castle until the villain passes you. There's also bats which you have to duck from pushing the joystick forward, and rats you have to pull the joystick backwards to jump into Shaggy's arms. The problem with this is that the joystick is hypersensitive, and even bumping it ever so slightly on accident will cause Scooby to jump into Shaggy's arms. While sometimes this can just be a minor annoyance, it will often happen at horrible times like when you're trying to hide from a villain, which will likely have you shouting at your TV because the joystick isn't responsive haha. There's no strategy whatsoever to this game, and the villains populate throughout the level randomly. I've had levels where there are no villains at all except bats, and others where there are like 10 in one level. Sometimes the villains will even populate on top of each other because of this glitch, so you'll get two ghosts coming at you at once. The second level is the same, but introduces ladders into regular gameplay that you have to climb up. The third level introduces ghosts, but takes away the skeleton pirates and rats. The fourth level reintroduces the skeleton pirates, has ghosts and rats, and also introduces bugs and a giant spider, which always appears at the end of the level. The fifth and final level includes everything and introduces more than one giant spider.
This game is my least favorite even though the setting and music is great. Because of the circumstance and poor programming of the joystick, it makes the game difficult and unenjoyable to play.
The Mysterious Doors
This game is pretty fun! As Scooby, you have to navigate your way through several mysterious doors to find the right door that brings you to the end of the level. You also have to avoid mummies and ghost dogs (which are basically just a dog with a sheet over its head). The mummies can also go through doors, though the ghost dogs cannot. You can collect locks (one at a time) to lock a specific door for a short time so mummies cannot go through them. You can also collect a crystal ball to see where a particular door will lead you. There's a map on the bottom left corner which shows you the different types of doors, to make it easier to see how many doors are on a particular level. There's not much variation to the game from level to level.
The Dungeons of Fontecastello
This is easily my favorite of the games included here. The Dungeons of Fontecastello has you playing as Shaggy, trying to find keys to open the lock to get to the next level. Along the way, you have to avoid ghosts and other villains and traps.
In level 1, all you have to do is find the copper key and avoid ghosts. In level 2, it gets a bit more difficult, and you have to find both a copper and silver key, while avoiding ghosts and moving statues. Level 3 gets even more challenging, because you have to once again find a copper and silver key, while avoiding ghosts and now trap doors. You can control the trap doors, however, by turning the switches next to them on and off. My absolute favorite part of the game is the fact that though it's completely unnecessary for gameplay, you can control the trap doors by turning the switch to "off," then as the ghost is about to come over the trap door to grab you, you can turn the switch on and have them fall down the trap door. The best part about this is that the ghosts make an amusing noise as they're about to fall, it's a very shocked yelp like they were just touched in an unwanted way or something lol. It amuses me so much that the game programmers chose to program in this little aspect that was completely unnecessary to getting through the game, and even made the ghosts have feelings when it happens haha. I'm sure it's much funnier when you hear it in the game rather than my explanation of it.
The fourth level is the most difficult (odd considering there are five levels), because it includes the ghosts, moving statues, and trap doors as well as three keys, copper, silver and gold. The final level includes no keys, and only ghosts and moving statues. The Black Knight is also included, and the whole point of the level is to trap him by turning on the four switches right when he's around the magnet. I've found it's easiest to turn three on, wait until the Knight is right on top of the magnet (sometimes you have to act as bait and lure him there), then turn on the final switch so there's no chance of not catching him.
The last aspect I forgot to mention is that the game does include the option of playing the "easy" or "hard" version, but honestly, I've tried both and it seems all up to circumstance of how many villains you face, and like there's nothing different. This is with the exception of the last game, The Dungeons of Fontecastello, which also includes snakes (completely absent from the easy version) beginning with level 2.
This last one is my favorite, because it seems there's actually some strategy involved with it, and admittedly I just loved that the programmers included that unnecessary aspect. The ghosts in this level look super cool too!
Overall, this is a pretty fun game with the exception of the Race and Castle games, which are completely up to chance and there's really no strategy involved.
If anyone else has this game or remembers it, I'd love to know your thoughts!
Cartoon Feud Review
At long last, here's my review of "Cartoon Feud," the recent Teen Titans and Scooby-Doo crossover.
I really enjoyed this one far more than I thought! It was super clever of them to be satirical of how Cartoon Network plays Teen Titans Go! all the time, while not playing any classic cartoons. I liked how they joked about Frank Welker, and Scooby and Fred saying that someone named Frank would never voice them lol. The top answer being "Robin's baby hands" was quite amusing.
Some of the other jokes were quite out there, like Fred wearing an ascot to hide Baron Von Billfold. The random cutaway gags were also a bit odd.
I also found it fascinating that they called Control Freak a "futon critic," because The Futon Critic is a popular TV guide site that provides network's press releases for upcoming episodes of TV shows. I wonder if it was an intentional reference or just pure coincidence.
They did a really good job using Scooby's formula as well, with the hallway gags and the unmasking at the end. Overall, I thought this was a great crossover and very clever at points.
The 2018 live action film Daphne & Velma is going to become a young adult novel! On March 3, 2020, a short novel by Josephine Ruby entitled "Daphne & Velma: The Vanishing Girl" will be released in stores. The book will be published by Scholastic, and is 272 pages. Here's the sypnosis of the novel:
"Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren't enemies either, but they don't have any reason to speak to each other, and that's how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together - they'd been best friends since pre-K - but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.
These days, Daphne's deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma's an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.
But then Daphne's best friend, Marcy - who happens to be Velma's cousin - goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back . . . and up to no good.
Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy-if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger-and scarier-than either girl can imagine . . ."
I thought it was really interesting that they included Velma's cousin Marcy from A Scooby-Doo Halloween. She was such a minor character in that episode that I honestly didn't think she'd ever appear again in a piece of Scooby-Doo media.
You can also pre-order this book already on Amazon here.
Fangtastic Fact of the Week #266
Pat Musick, who voiced Elsa Frankenteen, also provided the voice of Vanna Pira from Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. Clearly she has a great vocal range, given the two sound nothing alike!
Also, since I can never keep these "Fangtastic Facts" to just one, Hot Topic has also begun making Sybella t-shirts! I have a bit of an issue with Fred, Daphne and Velma appearing at the bottom of the shirt since they weren't in the film, but nonetheless they're still amazing! I honestly may have to buy one for myself now haha! There's also one with the entire Ghoul School gang.
Also, happy Halloween everyone! Hope everyone's week is fangtastic! :)
Scooby-Doo! Team Up #50 Review
I'll admit I haven't kept up with the Scooby comics recently, mainly due to lack of interest with the overuse of stock art, but when Lance was kind enough to send me a copy of Team Up #50, I decided to read it and review it given the popularity of that particular issue.
I know a few people have asked me via email when I'm reviewing the recent Teen Titans / Scooby-Doo crossover that aired earlier this month, so I'll answer this here too in case anyone else may be wondering. I'm waiting for it to be posted on WCOStream (the new rebranded name for WatchCartoonOnline), who has unfortunately been incredibly slow in posting it. I am aware it's on other streaming sites such as KimCartoon and others, but I don't want to risk it, as recently their plethora of pop-up ads has been making my antivirus go crazy. That makes me a bit nervous, as I have heard horror stories of people getting viruses on their computers from pop-ups, and paying hundreds of dollars to repair the computer and get the virus removed. So for now I'm waiting for it to be posted on WCO, and I'm checking regularly so hopefully they post it soon so I can review it. But anyways, back to our main topic now!
I really enjoyed this issue. I'll admit, I'm not used to reading comics (please don't take my nerd license away, haha) so this was a bit different for me. From this point on, there are spoilers, so don't read this review unless you've read it, or for some odd reason want it to be ruined for you even though you haven't read it yet.
Villain-wise, even though it was good to see Scrappy again, I was bothered that they fell back on the old "haha Scrappy sucks!" trope. I feel that's been so overused now and can't understand why the writers still think that's funny 17 years after the live-action film where it began. I did, however, like seeing some of the old Scooby recurring characters like Vincent Van Ghoul, the Hex Girls and Flim Flam. Honestly, I never thought I'd see Robi again in a Scooby-related production, so that was a huge surprise!
It was fun seeing all the versions of the gang interact with each other, but I wish they would have expanded on the dialogue a little more. Other than young Fred from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, and a few of the versions of Daphne, none of the character versions really said anything that differentiated themselves from the other versions. I must admit, I am getting sick of the quick nostalgia grabs so this could have clouded my opinion a bit, but I think this is the best "classic throwback" we've had in the 50th anniversary so far. Still, I didn't think it was super special. I felt they could have done so much more with the character interactions, but it felt rushed. There was a little bit of contrast between the versions in the final panel, when all the individual character versions group up by their character, but I would have liked to see more plot development there. Something like Cyber Chase maybe?
As for Batman, he seemed pretty unnecessary and underutilized in this team up. Bat-Mite seemed to take center stage, so it's odd that Batman was the main credited one since he was barely used. I liked Mr. Camera, and thought he looked similar to the Night Ghoul from "The Night Ghoul of Wonderworld" from the 1979 Scrappy series. The joke about him just wanting to go to jail was amusing.
Despite my criticisms of the issue, I didn't hate it and it was definitely fun. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel like too many of these "throwbacks" for the 50th anniversary are choosing to just scratch the surface of the franchise rather than giving us an actual, fleshed-out return to classic aspects of the franchise that haven't been utilized in a while.
What did you all think of the 50th and final issue of Team-Up?
Fun Fact of the Week #265
A Scooby-Doo Halloween decoration produced by WB this year, LED Shadow lights, features a one-off villain from one of the first Scooby-Doo Internet games ever to be released on the Cartoon Network website. The shadow lights feature the Vampire Pumpkinhead, from the game Attack of the Vampire Pumpkinheads which has since been removed from the Cartoon Network website.
Credit goes to ScoobyAddict for the picture.
Funko Releases Scooby-Doo Cereal
This week, Funko just released a brand new limited edition Scooby-Doo themed cereal. Scooby-Doo is animated like how he appears on his Funko figure on the front of the box. With every box, a free Scooby-Doo (holding a hot dog) Funko PocketPop figure is included. The cereal is mass-produced by Funko and BoxLunch. The cereal is shaped similarly to Cheerios, and is multigrain. You can buy your box today at Funko.com for $5, or purchase it in your local grovery store.
An Interview with Jordan Farrell
Today, we are lucky to have Jordan Farrell with us for an interview, the writer, director, and animator of his own fan film, Scooby-Doo! The Backstage Rage (you can see more about the film and my review of it here). If you're missing the fan spotlights that I did in September for the 50th anniversary, this interview is sort of in that same format (with some of the same questions). My questions appear in bold, while Jordan's answers are in regular font.
1. How did you originally get into Scooby-Doo?
When I spent a good majority of my childhood in the UK, which I find funny because that's one of two countries to my knowledge, where Scooby-Doo happens to be VERY popular, my family didn't go to the movies a lot, so we had a lot of VHS tapes of old movies, mostly from the 80s and 90s, and I remember one tape being something Scooby-Doo, “Where are You?” to be exact, so much like mostly everyone, my first exposure to the franchise was the show that started it all, after that i got hooked and still am to this day.
2. How did you get into animation and script writing?
Well, for my whole life, I've been obsessed with movies and shows, and I remember watching films like “Gremlins”, “The Dark Crystal”, and “Forrest Gump”, and I realized that I wanted to make movies or write stories. When it comes to animation, I'm very fond of 2D animation, anime, and stop-motion animation. The one animated film that got me wanting to make animation my career was “Castle in the Sky” by Studio Ghibli and the master himself, Hayao Miyazaki. That also helped me form my own personal values of storytelling and animation.
3. Do you have a favorite episode and film of Scooby? Why are those your favorites?
It solely depends on the era, obviously my #1 favorite Scooby film is “Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island”, it’s dark, memorable, the characters are expanded upon very well, great villains, amazing and memorable soundtrack, the animation by Mook is breathtaking and I am surprised that film never got a theatrical release at its time. I also have other favorites such as “Witch’s Ghost”, “Alien Invaders”, “Moon Monster Madness”, “Samurai Sword”, “Abracadabra-Doo”, and “Camp Scare”, and I have the same reasons for those like I have with “Zombie Island”, another thing is that those films done something bold, new, unique, refreshing and game-changing for the franchise in my opinion, those are the type of Scooby films that always attract me the most.
As for a favorite episode, for “Where are You?” it’s “Scooby-Doo and A Mummy Too”, that episode scared me the most, especially the white dots on the mummy’s eyes and the way the mummy ran, I was also in a phase where I was into “The Mummy” trilogy starring Brenden Frasher, I would also love the do a modern adaptation of that episode one day. Other favorites from other shows, “What’s New”, “Toy Scary Boo”, I enjoy the whole size doesn't matter element and evil dolls/toys have always been a particular aspect of horror that I enjoy and I will say that episode kinda influenced my film in some shape or form.
4. What was the process behind writing this film?
It was around the time when I finished my 2nd live action short, that I wanted to make another film and after many failed attempts, I had gotten my Adobe programs at the time, and a tablet and one day, I put on Scooby-Doo for some kids I was babysitting and then the idea hit. I immediately started writing the film back in early March 2018 and finished the script in May 2018. During that period, I had already cast my Scooby gang and announced the film on Facebook in April 2018 and launched a page that same day. I sketched, inked, colored, and animated and did the mouth movement all by myself all on Adobe Photoshop. My friends, Johnathon Romero, Sandra Sands, and Thomas Byrd who voiced Fred, Velma, and Mr. Pietro were also producers on the film as well. When it came to casting my very special cameos, I just simply messaged ToonGrin, Dr. Wolfula, and That Long-Haired Creepy Guy if they wanted to provide a cameo for the film and they said yes. When it came to voice acting, it started around July 2018, two months after animation production had begun. We started with the voice of Scooby, Jacob Gomez and he was a lot of fun to work with, Harrison Garcia was my first choice as Shaggy and immediately got the part and he was excellent to work with. The rest took around a few months to a year to get voice work done. I worked on this whole movie on a laptop on a kitchen table. Otherwise, it was a fun and unique learning experience.
5. Do you have a favorite character to write for? Why?
Well, for main characters/established characters, Shaggy has always been my favorite character in the entire franchise, so when it came to approaching this film as a Shaggy-centered film, I did not hesitate to flesh him out as much as I could, I wanted to make this somewhat of a character study for Shaggy and also exploring a lot of his past and exploring what caused his major anxiety, and that’s where I made the choice to give the villain a more deeper connection to Shaggy’s past. As for minor characters to write for, I quite enjoyed writing Fred and The Ghost Girl, one was giving something new for Fred and found it refreshing to make him the comedic relief this time around, The Ghost Girl was a new original character I created for this film and I loved the way I approached it which I think helps give this film a more deeper and artistic experience.
6. If you could work on any show or movie in the world, what would it be?
That could apply to any show/movie I'm into at the moment, but I would love to show run my own official line-up of Scooby films and a show also. Anything from Cartoon Network also. I would love to make a movie on Gremlins, The Mummy, or Karate Kid.
7. Do you have a favorite villain and why?
The Black Samurai from “Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword”, he’s got an excellent detailed backstory for a Scooby villain, the fact that this guy used to be a noble and heroic person is what stood out to me the most, and that his very own apprentice betrayed him and caused something into the sword he created and transformed him into a dark and sinister force of evil, and his design is so cool and unique and the way the film ends his character was both satisfying and bold at the same time for me, I also love the film’s unique mythology at the same time.
8. In your opinion, what is the best series (or era) of Scooby-Doo?
Well, I could easily say the original “Where are You?” series, but personally I would say “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated”, it has a cool ongoing storyline, excellent character development, a much darker tone, and the animation is amazing and great music as well, it feels as if everything the franchise has built up to, and the series helped reinvigorate the franchise more and more of my casual friends who weren't into Scooby-Doo tell me that they love the show, and my film does borrow heavily from that aspect.
9. What was your favorite part of the movie to write?
Besides Shaggy’s character arc, I think I liked that I was retelling an old Scooby story and doing my own reboot continuity at the same time, the fact that I call my Scooby gang, “The Mystery Five”, which is a reference to what the show was originally going to be called, and the fact that I have it take place at a time where they have only been solving mysteries for half a year at this point. I liked putting my own vibe and tone for it and giving the characters new aspects of their personality. My favorite aspect of writing the film was combining all the 50 years of the franchise and meshing it into a new timeline that I created. I like the call it either the “Grim” timeline or the “Mystery Five” timeline, or the “New Coolsville” timeline.
10. What was the most difficult part of making the movie?
Mainly the time/scheduling issues when trying to get actors to come over/send their lines in, it took us around 8 months to get all of Daphne’s lines, also, I went through 2 laptops, one I had to get rid of, and the 2nd I currently have. Also, there was a lot of figuring out certain aspects of the film that worked and wind up not working. But other than that, it was a long but rewarding process.
11. At the beginning of the film, it says that the film is inspired by the works of John Carpenter. For those not familiar with him, how was this film inspired by his work?
Well, John Carpenter is a well known filmmaker in the horror community and film buffs alike, he’s known as the creator of the Halloween franchise, The Thing, Escape from New York, The Fog, etc. We mainly used elements from the first Halloween film and The Fog, mostly in tone and atmosphere, in the nightmare sequence with Shaggy, he looks out his window to see The Puppet Phantom hiding in between sheets hung outside, staring and Shaggy, he then turns back to the window only to see him gone. The shot is a direct nod to the scene where Jamie Lee-Curtis does the same thing and looks out the window to see Michael Myers. Another shot is where a fog grows near the end of the film and every time something sinister happens in the film, the colors everywhere would change to a very trippy aspect, that is a nod to the sinister scenes in The Fog. Another reference to Halloween is that the villain’s presence is there but you don't fully see what he looks like until the 2nd half of the film.
12. Though it was a very horror-focused film, your movie had a lot of comedy as well. What was your favorite joke in the film?
I liked writing jokes for Shaggy’s dad, I think it helps flesh out Shaggy’s life outside of mystery solving, and I also liked writing for Fred, it was nice to portray him as the bumbling egotistical leader, especially my first trash can joke as well, I also took inspiration from Stifler and his mom from the film American Pie too basically portray Shaggy’s mom as the major laidback and bubbly woman who Fred had the hots for and loves to rub it into Shaggy's face. I especially enjoyed writing Shaggy’s dynamic with Fred as well, as I've always assumed that they have a longer history before they met Daphne and Velma.
13. Besides John Carpenter, were there other specific inspirations that made this film have such a horror movie-like tone?
I looked at a lot of horror movies, mainly ones that took place in the 80s, “Dead Silence” for how the puppets were designed, “Dolls”, and “Puppet Master” for how the puppets behaved, “A Nightmare on Elm St” and “It” for our version of The Puppet Phantom, we looked at more Stephen King works, can't remember which, anything with a kids on bikes approach to it and a small town. The goal was to make this feel like a horror film from the 80s. We also looked at a lot of anime for the more comedic and dramatic moments for characters such as “Clannad” and “Another”.
14. What was your inspiration behind making the Hex Girls such prominent characters in the film?
Well, they are one of my favorite characters from the franchise, and I always remember getting excited whenever they were announced to appear in new Scooby material and the fact that they haven't appeared in anything Scooby-Doo related since “Mystery Incorporated”, and last time I recalled, they were supposed to appear in an episode of “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo”, but don't know what happened. Also the fact that I was turning a 22 minute classic episode into a full length feature film, so that gave me the opportunity to add more characters, and when it came to The Hex Girls, I always liked that they were chill with Shaggy and Scooby a lot, and so when I decided to make them childhood friends, I knew I had something. I looked at a lot of anime and the one cliche that anime has is the childhood friends trope. Thorn I wanted to explore the most especially since she’s the leader and I do have plans in case we get to make a special that focuses on Dusk and Luna. And since I added them in my film, I wanted them to have as much screen time as possible to make it count.
15. What made you redesign Thorn's outfit?
Well, since “Mystery Incorporated” took some creative liberties with The Hex Girls' outfits, I figured why not do that with my versions, I always like redesigning characters in my style while also never abandoning their core aspect. This version of Thorn also has a much different personality than the original does, a goth girl with a cutesy voice, and I wanted the design to reflect that, so I looked at a lot of punk rock and pop music singers from the 80s and borrowed a bit of Madonna’s hairstyle and boosted it up in an over the top anime look, the two hair strings that come out of her head is influenced by the character Nagisa from the series “Clannad”.
16. Why did you decide to make Shaggy and Thorn a couple in the film? Did you previously ship the pairing, or was there some creative thinking behind the inclusion of this pairing?
Well, in my idea for the show, I made the whole Thorn crushing on Shaggy a running gag and I like to imagine this film taking place after the supposed first season, as for them as a couple, they never are officially a couple in my film even by the end, there’s hints of that, but I chose to leave it open for interpretation until we make more Shaggy-centered stories, we do have plans to add Googie, Crystal, and Madelyn in the future in OVA specials to play off an Archie-esque vibe with Shaggy’s arc in my timeline. So, at the moment, they are back as close friends and we’ll see where it goes from there, I never shipped them before, but when it came to creating this new version of Thorn, i thought it was interesting to explore for my universe, I mean the OG Thorn from “Witch’s Ghost”, “Legend of the Vampire”, “Mystery Incorporated”, would never date Shaggy, they are so completely opposite, but this film’s version of Thorn, probably depending on where we go with this saga. There was a lot of creative thinking of making these new versions of the characters as far back as 2015 when I first came up with the idea of doing my own reboot of Scooby-Doo.
17. In one particular scene of the film, a police officer stares at Flim Flam for selling his Lotsa Luck Joy Juice. Is this an implication that Flim Flam's product is some sort of illegal substance?
Nah, we all know that Flim Flam is a con artist and I would say that this version of the character likes to buy/steal a 7-up soda, take the labels off and re-sells them as his own, he’s the troublemaking kid who doesn't get arrested but the cops calls his parents on him, so I like to think that he has a recurring history with them like “here’s that brat that’s selling stuff he doesn't own the rights to”.
18. What made you choose "The Backstage Rage" as your inspiration for making this film?
When it came to picking something to do a remake of, because I've never seen Scooby-Doo retell a story from the past into modern day, so I decided to make my film an adaptation of it, so I had a hard time deciding on what to adapt and then the episode popped on the tv when I had Scooby-Doo on and then the idea hit, the villain and tone was still creepy to this day, there was also this untouched potential it had for a film and I had so many ideas popping in my head, and I knew I had my source of inspiration.
19. What was your creative process behind diving deeper into the Puppet Phantom's backstory? In other words, what made you decide to expand upon the original character?
Well, since this was a feature film that expands on the story of a 20 minute episode, I noticed that The Puppet Phantom didn't have a backstory, like, at all, so I took the opportunity to give him a deep and detailed backstory and especially when I made the choice to [SPOILER ALERT] make the monsters real, and I mean REAL where people do die, I took inspiration from the anime Berserk and Devilman on the friendship that Mr. Pietro had with The Phantom before he transformed. I also looked into a lot of other horror icons like Freddy Krueger and Pennywise for the personality of him and I wanted to make his design to resemble a rusty creepy rotten looking puppet and heavily emphasized his yellow eyes and dark hat and cloak, since those are the stand out aspects of his original design. I wanted this villain to be an extreme disgusting nightmare for the gang, a villain that showed no limits and goes as far as to killing people. I wanted to make this villain even more freaking scary, I wanted him to be HORRIFYING.
20. What do you think has made the franchise so popular that it’s still going strong after 50 years?
The fact that the characters have fun distinct personalities, it appeals to everybody of any age, it always experiments with itself to something bold and new, and it's a group of kids solving mysteries and spooky monsters. I also say the camaraderie with the gang is also what stands out.
21. What direction would you like to see the franchise go in the future?
I would like them to go back to the real monsters approach again, experiment more new aspects of the franchise, take new risks, maybe see an adaptation of the “Scooby Apocalypse” comics, but most certainly I would love to see maybe a remake of an episode or two of some classic Scooby stories into movies like what I did.
22. Do you have any advice for anyone who is looking to go into the world of writing or animating?
Well, all I have to say is the creative process is a very long road and task, but what will help you is that you need to have a passion for it, you don't just create a 2 and a half hour animation all for nothing, you do it because you LOVE the craft of storytelling and animation, you HAVE TO love these aspects, it’s helped me get through and it will most certainly help you as well, also, read and watch a lot of stuff, even stuff that you may not like, analyze what you watch and read, what makes it good, what makes it bad, what makes it special and form it together and write something, also draw a lot, as much as you can. And most of all, have fun doing it.
23. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Absolutely, we already announced a 2nd film titled “Scooby-Doo! Waters of Atlantis” and that will have a more fantasy adventure vibe with Daphne as the main character, and you can watch the teaser trailer here. You can also follow our Facebook page for future updates and such, and because of my work on my film and gotten me special offers and gigs for other video content. I had the opportunity to voice some characters in an episode of my friend’s webseries “LEGO Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated”, which you can watch the whole series on YouTube to catch up to the season 1 finale special “The Vasquez Mystery” which I not only guest-star as myself, but I also designed the logo for the episode and drew a poster for the special. I’m also a producer on the fan film “Saga of the Swamp Thing”, which is made by my friend who helped out on my film. I also got some original films of my own coming that aren't fan films coming soon as well, and I got an original romance slice of life webcomic series coming soon also. Thank you for your time and for having me here today and be sure to rewatch my film again in the meantime while all of this is coming soon.
Thanks so much to Jordan for taking the time to answer all my questions, and be sure to check out his new fan film, Scooby-Doo! The Backstage Rage here.
A while ago, I mentioned on the blog that Jordan Farrell was in the process of making a Scooby-Doo fan film entitled "Scooby-Doo! The Backstage Rage." That film has now been released, and can be watched here! The film is sort of like a Scooby fanfiction story, which is based on the original "The Backstage Rage" episode from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (with many scenes paralleling the original episode), except in stop-motion animation form. The stop-motion animation element of this film reminds me a lot of those old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, for those that remember them. The rest of this post is an essentially spoiler-free review of this fan film.
Firstly, it should be said that the film does a great job with the horror aspect! The film is rated PG-13, and definitely earns that rating by having almost a sinister vibe at times. The Puppet Master is truly an evil villain who has the intent of turning his victims into puppets. The music that's played whenever he comes out of the shadows is super creepy, and I'll admit surprised me a couple of times when it was played after a dead silence! The Puppet Master has a very larger than life presence throughout the entire film, which really made it feel like a horror film.
The comedy was also really good! The film's humor was definitely more quirky in places, and I really liked that! The random sound effects at points particularly made me laugh, such as the "KO!" sound effect played when Shaggy knocks Fred out with the trash can, and my favorite, the part where Velma gets hit by the sandbag and a voice saying "That was intense bruh!" is played lol. And speaking of "bruh," I quite enjoyed Officer John saying "man" and "bruh" all the time, just as it's so uncharacteristic of a police officer.
I think my favorite piece of comedy though was with Shaggy's dad at getting caught by the cops at his weed booth at the Peace and Love Convention, and saying "Zoinks, it's the fuzz!" and getting thrown in jail. I would have liked to see more of that storyline, that was really funny! Though Flim Flam giving Shaggy a Customer Suspension Card ("for being a complete douche") was a close second haha. Also, one question the film posed was is Lotsa Luck Joy Juice supposed to be some kind of drug? There's one scene where the cops stare Flim Flam down at his booth, and he just stares nervously which made me wonder.
Oh, and I have to mention my one other favorite joke, the culprit (I won't ruin it by saying the name) exclaiming "I'm free!" and then the cop saying "And now you're under arrest!" Perfect irony there lol.
Character-wise, I thought all the characters were really good! In particular, Shaggy's voice actor really did an amazing job in the role. One criticism I had with the characters though is the dialogue. At times, the dialogue seemed a bit stilted. One example that happens a couple times is that a character will speak, and then there will be a delay before the next character says something, which makes it seem off. Also, I felt a few of the lines were delivered a bit awkwardly sometimes, which makes them a bit comedic where I don't think they were supposed to be. Three of my favorite examples (with all respect to Jordan and the creators, I just found the awkwardness a bit amusing): "You've gotta be crappin' me, man!", "So...how's our date going for you tonight? We've been together two years now after all." and "Oh, by the way, do you want to marry me?
I liked the addition of the Hex Girls quite a bit, and it was fun to have Thorn be a main part of the storyline (in multiple ways). I really liked her voice actor! Thorn and Shaggy being a couple was cute, I definitely ship it! Thorn hitting on Shaggy sort of reminded me of Sally and Linus from Peanuts. Speaking of which, I thought the characters' faces being colored red with embarrassment looked pretty similar to how it is in the Peanuts specials, which is cool! The characters' faces when angry also reminded me of Peanuts a bit. The cougar sound effect whenever someone got angry was very quirky, but cool! I really dug it haha.
I also thought the animation was really good considering it was all hand-drawn (I'm presuming). I know a common argument against the series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! is that the designs are bad, and I unfortunately could see people saying that about this film too. However, if you let yourself get past the fact that it doesn't look anything like normal animation, I think you'll find it's a pretty fun watch. And also, kudos to whoever did the drawing for this film, as nearly 3 hours is a lot of animating to do!
Lastly, what I thought the film did a really good job of is references to old Scooby material. There are references galore in this film, so many in fact that a couple of the characters mentioned in the credits were ones I didn't even notice. You can definitely tell the effort put in to make some cool references. And speaking of references, I thought the writing of the film plot-wise was really brilliant in how it used aspects of the original "The Backstage Rage" episode to shape this plot. The doorman being a puppet being turned into the Puppet Master turning people into puppets was a really cool reimagining of this.
Overall, I think this was a really fun watch and would definitely recommend giving it a try. Don't be turned off by the stop motion animation being different than what you're used to, because there is a lot of cool content here and a really good plot. Kudos to Jordan Farrell and everyone involved in making this film! And thanks so much to him for putting the site's name in the credits, twice! That was super sweet and I really appreciate it.
Fun Fact of the Week #264
Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers is currently the only Scooby-Doo film not to feature Frank Welker voicing at least one character.
~ WildwindVampire ~