Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost: Potential Interpretations of the Uninterpretable
*Disclaimer: This post includes spoilers for the Curse of the 13th Ghost film.*
From what was originally advertised as an implied closing to the The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series, those of us who watched the film learned that WB decided to use this opportunity to leave the ending completely up to fan interpretation.
To recap, the 13th ghost, Asmodeus, was revealed to be a man in a mask. The real Asmodeus, if there was one, was Vincent Van Ghoul's ancestor Asamod Van Ghoul. Velma reads out of the Tome of the Chest of Demons that Asmodeus did not want revenge, but rather redemption for his misdeeds. At the end of the film, we see what appears to be the shadowy, human-like form of the ghost of Asamod Van Ghoul, before he disappears into the abyss. Afterwards, Velma reveals that she just made up some of the story she read. However, we don't know which aspects she made up, leaving different several interpretations of what could have happened.
It seems WB wanted to end this film giving the audience the mentality of "Oh well, who could ever know?" In this post, I'm going to give my interpretation of what I believe happened. However, it's worth noting that there are numerous different interpretations that one could have from watching the film, which I will also lay out some of.
1. It was all fake.
This is the obvious interpretation, if the viewer were to side with Velma. None of the ghosts were real, and it was all just an illusion from the high altitude of the Himalayas. Of course, for this interpretation, it's worth noting that the gang was not actually in the Himalayas for any of the episodes except the first one.
2. Asmodeus is still out there, but the shadowy figure we saw wasn't him.
One potential interpretation is that that puff of smoke, or whatever it was, was not actually Asmodeus. Velma's explanation of the high altitudes causing hallucinations caused them to imagine they saw Asamod Van Ghoul.
3. Asmodeus is still out there, but Velma was wrong. He's still evil and disappeared before the gang could attempt to put him in the demon chest.
The uncertain variable here is how much of the story Velma made up. Maybe Velma was wrong about the 13 ghosts being fake, but she completely made up the story about "revenge" being also translatable as "redemption." He stopped his imposter, but fled the scene before the gang could capture him. This would mean the real Asmodeus is still out there somewhere.
4. Velma was correct; Asmodeus was redeemed and thus showed up one last time for a "thank you" before disappearing.
This is my interpretation of what happened. I think Velma read directly from the Tome of the Chest of Demons, but she believed it was false. Thus, she said she "made it up." Or, she read from the Tome, but didn't want to believe what she read could have been true, so she lied and said she made it up. It was a very unclear line, so there are numerous ways that Velma claiming she "made it up" could be interpreted. I think Asmodeus is redeemed, though I'm not sure how and I wish the film would have been clearer on this part. In general terms, I do believe that bad people can become good after a long time of self-reflection and thought of how their evil actions hurt others. The part I'm a bit conflicted on is that if Asmodeus is supposedly one of the 13 most evil ghosts on Earth, is it possible he could have redeemed himself? I guess we'll never really know all the details, but this is my interpretation of the ending of the film.
Now that I've shared my interpretation, I'd love to hear all of your thoughts on what your interpretations might be, whether they're the same as one of the options I listed or completely different. Let me know in the comments! :)
2/22/2019 01:28:58 pm
I believe that it was trying to show that Vincent’s ancestor had redeemed himself and moved on. This could have been a cool twist if, say, in the middle of the movie we find out that Asmodeus is a costume and then they go after the real one only to discover at the end that he is on a quest for redemption. Wouldn’t have been perfect, but better built up to. Asmodeus being redeemed makes no sense, as he never really protected Vincent over all these years, he’s more or less just been there doing nothing. And even then, he was redeemed when a ghost car exploded? Like, what a random time to be “redeemed” and move on. And this is my biggest problem with the film: it doesn’t work as its own individual film. I know some people say it would have been better if they didn’t love the original series so much, but i disagree. The ending and some other scenes still would not have worked.
2/22/2019 04:20:40 pm
Yes, I agree the aforementioned twist would have been a million times better than what we got. His sudden "redemption" doesn't make any sense to me either, especially, if we're to believe the theme of this series that this is one of the 13 evilest ghosts on the face of the Earth. How would he just be suddenly redeemed, if he's not even protecting Vincent? "he was redeemed when a ghost car exploded" Yes, that makes perfect sense lol. I agree that certain parts of the movie were very weak and couldn't have worked on their own either, whether or not it was connected to the 13 Ghosts series or not. What I personally had meant when I said it would be better if not connected to the original series, was that there are so many continuity errors from the original series that it doesn't even make sense for them to be in the same canon as each other. But I agree there were some issues that even removing the continuity aspect couldn't fix.
2/22/2019 02:13:53 pm
I find myself quite conflicted. I could easily buy into "the whole thing was a hallucination" as I loathe the original series. Then on the other hand, if I was to believe anything in the original series actually happened, I'd buy into the whole Asmodeus was redeemed. I mean some of the ghosts in the chest were a bit pathetic. Hardly what I'd call 13 of the most terrifying ghosts ever to exist. I mean literally every villain from Mystery Inc was more terrifying. So I could definitely believe one could reflect on their actions and turn out to be "good" again in the end. That's just my thoughts. As I've said before, I don't like the original 13 Ghosts series, so the movie was harmless fun to me.
2/22/2019 04:24:52 pm
"I mean literally every villain from Mystery Inc was more terrifying" Lol yeah that's actually pretty accurate. You make a very good point! For whatever reason, I have a soft spot for the 13 Ghosts series, but I agree that it was pretty cheesy and wasn't without flaws. Rankor was the worst offender, IMO, he literally goes into the chest WILLINGLY saying "Thanks, you guys are real pals!" lol. Doesn't get much more pathetic than that haha.
2/22/2019 06:10:46 pm
Despite not liking the series, even I can say that Rankor had the potential to be THE most scary ghost of 13 Ghosts. But they really messed up with him. That episode is quite the mess.
2/23/2019 06:43:09 pm
Rankor was the worst. Why would he need to beg SAPS to let him in? If he were truly one of the 13 most powerful ghosts, why couldn't he run SAPS or start his own monster army? Yet he pathetically begs the leader of SAPS to let him in. Also, that scene at the end is just horrifically unbelievable and completely trashes his reputation of even being slightly intimidating. He needs to escape from sunlight, and basically could have found a lot of places to hide in that museum that were dark enough to stop him from being destroyed by sunlight. When Scrappy offers him a place to hide in the demon chest, somehow he actually believes this and says "Thanks, you guys are real pals!" How would he possibly not know what the demon chest is? Just seemed like the writers were too lazy to come up with an actual ending. They could have at least made him say something slightly intimidating like "You've won this round, because I have to hide from the sunlight, but someday the demon chest will open again and I'll be more powerful than ever!" At least SOMETHING less idiotic than "Thanks, you guys are real pals!"
2/23/2019 09:05:46 am
Yeah it's definitely option 4 for me as well.
2/23/2019 06:48:25 pm
I do actually feel bad for being a bit close-minded on this, as usually I'm pretty open to whatever. I think, honestly, I just had my heart set on wrapping up the show lol. When that didn't happen, it just felt like we were being teased. But, I certainly see other people's perspectives of liking the unique approach the film provided, and I hope that upon rewatching it again someday that my opinion might change! :)
2/23/2019 07:42:35 pm
Oh you're absolutely entitled to feel strongly about the ending, good or bad! Lol. And you get all the respect and then some from me because of the incredibly respectful way you expressed your feelings about the whole thing. The only time I can't stand people having a negative opinion on something is when they either A. start personally attacking and trolling the people involved with the project (which is just an absolutely embarrassing level of pathetic), or B. when they laughably start acting as if they're negative opinion about the project is factually correct and anyone else who happened to like it is (somehow) factually wrong (which is equal parts laughable and pathetic).
2/24/2019 08:42:47 am
Aww, thank you! <3 I certainly try to be as respectful giving my opinion as I would want others' to be when I'm listening to theirs'. :)
2/25/2019 08:51:13 am
WildwindVampire i agree with you as well. They left it for us to tell what
2/25/2019 12:02:52 pm
"I mean come on even BCSD had scarier villians than this." If you're talking about the original series, I suppose, though I thought some of them were pretty scary (i.e. Zomba, Maldor, Nicara, Phantasmo, etc.).
2/25/2019 05:32:48 pm
I mean i can imagine the young me being scared by some BCSD villians. On the other hand i saw the 13 ghosts series a lot as a kid and i wasn't afraid at all. The most of them looked ridiculous to me. Sure Flim Flam and scrappy breaking the fourth wall and the other comedic elements helped me to stay brave lol.
2/26/2019 10:33:32 am
I can imagine myself being afraid of some of the BCSD villains as a child also. I agree that a lot of the 13 Ghosts villains did look quite silly, the ones coming to mind being the Brewski sisters, Demondo, Time Slime, etc. Haha yeah Flim Flam and Scrappy breaking the fourth wall probably helped me to remain brave as well. I remember being scared of Zomba as a kid. Just something about her bug-eyes and deformed looking body really creeped me out. There's also that one (presumably) misanimated scene where she's coming down the stairs but is missing aspects of her face...that was super creepy!
2/26/2019 08:01:46 pm
That would be fun.
2/28/2019 03:56:51 pm
How did you want to start working on it? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if it's easier to contact me that way.
2/28/2019 07:05:09 pm
I haven't thought about it yet. Maybe via email. We could send emails each other. It's the easier way. I wiil send you an email as soon as possible
3/1/2019 09:01:35 am
Sounds good! :)
5/15/2019 01:41:39 am
I know this is kind of late as the movie has been out for sometime now but I wanted to throw my two cents into the hat.
5/15/2019 11:30:08 am
I love this theory, Jazz! I also really enjoy movies that allow you to speculate, but I think my issue with this one is that we were primed for a conclusion from the solicitations and then we didn't get one. But I do respect and admire the writers' choice to make it open-ended, even if I wanted a different ending.
1/1/2023 03:30:07 pm
this response is a few years late but i just wanted to say something because i LOVE talking about this. i think about this a lot.
1/1/2023 09:49:27 pm
Oh wow, I completely forgot that I'd made this post haha.
1/1/2023 09:54:47 pm
yeah, it was kind of sweet.
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~ WildwindVampire ~