You may remember the first part of my Boo Brothers post which I wrote back in January. Boo Brothers is an incredibly complex film which could have so many different explanations for the very same scene! My original post discussed some arguments for and against some of the ghosts being real or fake apparitions.
Unfortunately, I believe I wrote that post fully off of memory and I didn't actually go back to watch the film before writing the post. Last night, I continued my normal Halloween tradition of watching Boo Brothers every year around October 31 (it's never too early to start watching Halloween specials, haha). Having watched the film again, I have some new, more detailed arguments to add on which of the ghosts were real and which were fake.
I've often joked with my Scooby fan friends that I'm so passionate about this film, I could write an entire essay on it. So that's exactly what I'm going to do...again!
As I said in part 1, the Headless Horseman is pretty much undeniably fake. The sheriff dressed up as the Headless Horseman when Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy arrived, and they discovered later the costume in the barn when the sheriff oddly yelled "push the button!", alerting the three that he knew how to operate it from previous experience. I'm sure you could, however, come up with a really creative theory about how the Headless Horseman could be a real spirit. For example, you could argue that the sheriff planned to dress up as the Headless Horseman, but he wasn't able to because a real Headless Horseman knocked him out in the barn, then went out to chase the gang.
The Headless Horseman does, however, provide further evidence that the ghost of Uncle Beauregard was indeed real at several points throughout the movie. Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy saw Beauregard's ghost almost simultaneous with when they saw the Headless Horseman. There would be no possible way for the sheriff to have been dressed up as two ghosts in a matter of seconds.
The Glowing-Eyed Wolf is another tough villain to argue in favor of being a supernatural creature. Most wolves don't have glowing yellow eyes like that one did, so just for fun, let's say it could be a ghost wolf. You could really argue either way though, it could just be a random wolf that ran out, or maybe it's a supernatural being that's taken on the form of a wolf to further scare the gang.
Now we get to the fun ghosts whose existences are more controversial! Most people are pretty certain that the Skull Ghost was a fake, perpetuated by the sheriff to scare Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy off so he could get the treasure. However, in part 1 of this post, I argued that the Skull Ghost was real some of the time.
Listening closely to the film last night, I realized I messed up in the last post. One of my arguments in the first part was that in some appearances, you could hear the Skull Ghost's bones clanking together. Unfortunately, in that final appearance before the unmasking by the fireplace, the Skull Ghost's bones clank together when he is about to pull the lever. So, the sheriff must have had something in the suit (maybe a tape recorder or something) to make the noise of bones clanking together. On a brief side note, one of my biggest questions about this film is how can the sheriff possibly exist inside that Skull Ghost costume? The sheriff is a pretty large man, while his Skull Ghost suit is practically supermodel-level skinny. The only possible explanation for this is that he was wearing an extra large corset the entire time! lol
Anyways, back on topic. Last time, I sort of just gave a vague "he could have been real any of the times" explanation. This time around, I'm going to examine every appearance of the Skull Ghost in the film and make individual arguments for if the ghost was real in that particular appearance. So, without further ado, it's explanation time!
The first appearance of the Skull Ghost is when he appears in the chimney, cackling maniacally as he is about to push Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy off the roof. For this appearance, I argue that the Skull Ghost was definitely real! Ever since I first watched this film, I've always thought the Skull Ghost looks a lot different in that appearance than in some of the later ones. In the later appearances, you can clearly see that it's a man in a bone suit with a black background, aka the sheriff, who may or may not be wearing a corset under his extra-small size skeleton suit. The skeleton's eyes also light up bright red, which is not something that ever happens after the first two appearances.
The second appearance of the Skull Ghost is in the piano room with the secret passage. I also argue that the ghost is real in this appearance. He has bright red eyes once again, right as he tells Scrappy to let go of him. This is the final appearance that he has the red eyes, which oddly never appear again for the rest of the film.
Shortly after, the Skull Ghost's bony finger presses the piano key to lock the gang in the secret passage room. Later on in the film, the skeleton's fingers were not bony at all, and appeared to be just a man's fingers in a cheap skeleton suit with a black background. This is the final appearance that I believe the Skull Ghost was a real apparition. Just for fun though, I'll go through all the other appearances to give my explanations as to why.
The next appearance was in the cemetery. The Skull Ghost pops out from under a headstone several times, scaring Scooby. Presumably, this is the town cemetery, since there were so many graves. If the Skull Ghost was just haunting the Beauregard Mansion, what need would he have to follow them if he were a real ghost? Certainly none that I can see. This appearance was most certainly the sheriff, following them in attempt to scare them out of the treasure.
Almost immediately after this, the ghost (whose voice notably sounds a bit different from the original appearance in the chimney) appears again, and pulls a lever causing Shaggy and Scooby to fall down a trap door. The "glowing" aspect of the ghost is certainly a cool touch, and I admit I was tempted to argue it was a real ghost in this instance, just because he never glowed at any other point in the film. However, what gave it away for me is the fact that he was scared of the Ghost Ape. If he were a real ghost, why would he be scared of another ghost (especially that adorable ape lol)? Because of that, he couldn't have been a real ghost in this case.
A brief appearance of the Skull Ghost happens when Billy Bob pops out from under a bush to shoot Shaggy, but ends up seeing the Skull Ghost instead. Just by the fact that it looks like a man in a bone suit with a black background, I'd say the ghost is not real in this case.
Another appearance, which I assume was the Skull Ghost, was his eyes peeking out from under a trap door in the mansion. At the exact same time, you can see the outline of Beauregard's ghost in the window, which logically is not possible. One of the ghosts would have to be real, as the sheriff cannot be in two places at once. By process of elimination, I believe the Skull Ghost is the sheriff in this case. Why? He was hiding in the house, where he could overhear Shaggy reading the clue. He wanted to find the treasure, and thus spied on Shaggy and Scooby. Beauregard's ghost, however, is outside the window and could not hear what Shaggy was saying. There would be no point in the sheriff hiding outside the closed window, as he couldn't have overheard anything. I'll get to Beauregard's motivations for being outside the window in his respective section, but I argue that the Skull Ghost was not real in this appearance.
I'm already kicking myself a bit here, as I should have just written this post last night when it was still completely fresh in my mind! I hope I'm not missing an appearance here, but I think the next appearance was when the Skull Ghost ran into the Ghost Ape outside. Again, the sheriff was scared of the Ghost Ape, so scared in fact that the sheriff lost his pants when he was in the patrol car at one point. Both the Skull Ghost and the Ghost Ape were frightened of each other, which again, if it were a real ghost, the Skull Ghost wouldn't have been afraid of another ghost.
The ghost appears at Bear Cave using a remote control device to operate Shaggy's truck. A ghost wouldn't need or want a remote control device, and the intent clearly wasn't to scare Shaggy in this case. The Skull Ghost clearly wanted to get Shaggy out of the cave so he wouldn't find the treasure, which if it were a real ghost, presumably it could just do it by jumping out or chasing the gang away.
The second-to-last appearance would be when he appears behind the curtain in the mansion, along with Beauregard's ghost simultaneously. Obviously, the same person cannot be in two places at once. The skeleton is wearing his same black background suit with bones painted on, and thus, I argue Beauregard is the real ghost whilst the Skull Ghost is the fake in this case.
The final appearance is at the boathouse, which obviously was the sheriff in disguise. There would be no reason for the real ghost to leave the house or trap the gang in a net so they wouldn't get the treasure.
And the final final appearance was near the fireplace, and you better believe the ghost was a fake in that scene. If not, you clearly haven't watched the movie close enough, as that's the unmasking scene lol. But a final note on this, if you compare this last appearance to the very first one in the chimney, you can seriously tell the difference in the ghost's voice. The Skull Ghost in the chimney has a booming, creepy voice whereas the last appearance just sounds like some dude with a Southern accent in a suit.
The Ghost in the Attic is the final remaining controversial ghost in the bunch. There's really no evidence either way as to whether the ghost is real or not, since we never see who did it. There is the argument that I made in the last post, that the ghost literally drops 20 feet and no human could survive that. However, clearly there's some cartoon physics occurring in this film, as the sheriff literally has a fully-grown tree fall on him at one point and somehow doesn't die haha. I do sort of stand by my previous argument that Farquard's nasally voice sounds nothing like the Southern gentleman-like voice that the Ghost in the Attic has. I suppose you could argue that some people have a knack for doing accents, for example how I can do a really good British accent :).
Farquard does have the same necklace the ghost stole, however, which doesn't make a lot of sense (the ghost isn't exactly going to give it to Farquard, after all) if it were a real ghost. So, in this case, I will actually change my original answer and say that this ghost was probably Farquard in a costume.
Before we get to the ghost everyone's probably waiting for, can we talk about how cute the Ghost Ape is? He doesn't even seem remotely scary and just seems like he wants some love! (there's where you all say "aww!")
To me, this one has always been obviously a real ghost. The ghost looks exactly like Beebo, the name of the ape that the colonel shot and stuffed in his house. It's doubtful that another ape would look exactly like that. I don't really need to go through the ghost ape's appearances, since I argue he's real every time for that same reason. But, what I'm going to do instead is go through every appearance and talk about how freaking adorable he is! (with maybe a few arguments about why he is a real ghost in between)
In the first appearance, Farquard tells the gang and the sheriff about Beebo and how the colonel had him stuffed. A second later, the ape peeks out from behind the statue and bats his eyelashes at Scooby!
The next appearance is when the Boo Brothers are trying to catch the Demonstrator Ghost (which, as an aside, I just realized last night that the Boo Brothers never actually catch him!) The Demonstrator Ghost turns on a record and begins dancing, and a few moments later, the ape appears, grabbing Scooby's hand and says "let's boogie!" Seriously, how cute is that? A ghost that just wants to dance and have a good time is a really fun concept lol.
The Ghost Ape also appears by the stairs where Scooby is currently hiding under a blanket. The Ape, not feeling any urge to scare anyone at all, comes up to Scooby and begins stroking his head. It's so adorable!
The Ape appears later when the gang is outside, a bit angry, probably because no one is loving him like he wants! :)
The next appearance, I believe, was when Shreako opens the door while they're trying to get away from Beauregard's ghost. He's pretty perturbed in this piece too, but most likely it's because they disturbed him. Even nice people need their time alone, so maybe he was taking a nap in the closet and instinctually roared in surprise. He probably felt bad about it later!
Later on in the film, Billy Bob and the ape run into each other, and the ape gets angry when Billy Bob accidentally shoots him right in his adorable little fluffy butt. I don't even need to defend the ape in this case, no one would like being shot in the ass lol.
In the next scene, Scrappy calls the ape a "big overgrown jungle jerk," which the ape reacts poorly to. I absolutely love this scene though, it's so cute about the ape answering Scrappy's questions so honestly.
Scrappy: He's probably frightened with all these spooky happenings around here!
In the second-to-last appearance, the ape is shot again by Billy Bob accidentally through the log. Every time I see that scene, I'm seriously rooting for Beebo...good for him for snapping the gun in half and facing up to his fears!
In the final scene, the ape throws a temper tantrum, to which Scrappy gives him the mechanical horse to ride. All I'll say about this scene is that the smug look the ape has on his face while riding the horse is awesome, he just looks so pleased with himself lol!
Thank you all for making it through my fawning over the ape haha. He's such an awesome character and I think it's super cute how timid the big guy is! :)
Let's get to the final ghost, my favorite of the bunch and the one you've all been waiting for.
At the end of the film, it's hinted that the ghost is definitely real, since he shows up again on the road after the sheriff has been arrested. But what about all the appearances in between? Was it the sheriff every time, or was it the real ghost some of the time? Let's find out!
The very first appearance is one I've already briefly discussed. Beauregard's ghost appears almost right after the Headless Horseman does, holding his hands up and telling them to "go back" and "leave this place!" With the given explanation of the sheriff dressing up as the Headless Horseman, there is no way that he could be in two places in a matter of seconds. That means that it would have been the real ghost in that first appearance. The one question that this poses is, why would he want them to leave the mansion that he personally willed to Shaggy? Well, I argue that he probably didn't know that the sheriff was planning to steal the treasure. Clearly, the sheriff was willing to do anything, even murder a human and two dogs for this treasure. Uncle Beauregard would naturally be concerned about his nephew going into a dangerous situation like that one, so he most likely wanted Shaggy to "leave this place" to get out of danger. Maybe Uncle Beauregard was going to personally scare the sheriff away, but wanted his nephew and dogs away while he took care of the situation.
I know what you're probably thinking. My explanation above makes it way too broad, and it could have been the real ghost or the sheriff any of the subsequent times. The answer to that hypothetical question would be no, there are possible explanations for every appearance Beauregard's ghost makes!
The next appearance is in the bedroom. The ghost goes through a solid wall on his bike, warning his nephew to leave. There is no way any human could do that, so the ghost is definitely real in this case. Additionally, on a brief side note, if I ever become a ghost, I want to have those super creepy glowing yellow eyes that Beauregard has! You literally can't even see any pupils in his eyes, which is really disturbing!
The ghost also shows up right outside of the door when Shaggy is running from Billy Bob ("hey boys, we got another Beauregard!"). When Shaggy runs a few feet away from the door, he immediately runs back to the door when he sees Billy Bob shooting at him. In that couple of seconds, the ghost disappears and Shaggy is able to go back in the door the ghost was just standing at. Surely, the ghost would not have been able to go in the house that quickly without Shaggy noticing, especially since he barely ran at all before making a beeline back to the front door. I argue that the ghost must have disappeared before Shaggy ran back to the door.
The ghost does not appear again in the film until the scene where he comes through the secret passage. That alone is pretty self-explanatory. The ghost rode his bike through a solid wall earlier on in the film, so why would he need to use a secret passage to get through the wall? That's another odd inconsistency which makes me believe that there were two different versions of Beauregard's ghost, one real and one fake.
Beauregard's next appearance is in the cemetery. This time, however, it was likely the fake ghost who frightened Shaggy and the dogs. The ghost immediately grabs the clue and begins reading it, which would make no sense for the real ghost to do, seeing as Beauregard was the one who wrote the clue.
As I explained earlier, the ghost of Beauregard and the Skull Ghost both stalk Shaggy while he is reading the clue, the Skull Ghost being the one inside hiding under a trap door. The shadow of Beauregard's ghost is also eavesdropping, however, as I argued above, the sheriff cannot be in two places at once, so one of them must have been the real ghost. I also identified that Beauregard was the real ghost, as he could not overhear what Shaggy was saying from outside the closed window. Thus, there would be no purpose for him to be there, if it was the sheriff trying to listen in on what the clue was. What was Beauregard's ghost doing out there then? Well, I argue that he was trying to watch over Shaggy, as he likely knew that the sheriff would be watching over his every move and wanted to protect his nephew.
In the next appearance (including a brief flash to the ghost of Beauregard riding his bike in the cemetery), Shaggy opens the trap door on the ghost's feet, to which he yells "ouch!" (which for the record is a very unghostly thing to say, lol). Obviously, the headstone should have gone through the ghost's feet if he were actually a ghost, given the fact he was able to float through walls in another scene.
The second-to-last scene is where the ghost chases after Shaggy's truck on his bike and tries to kill his nephew and dogs. That's a bit of a no brainer, seeing as that's classic uncle behavior right there. Haha I'm obviously kidding, given the fact that his uncle was just trying to warn his nephew away, it wouldn't make sense to literally throw him and his dogs off a bridge. Thus, the ghost is fake in this appearance.
The sort-of final appearance was when Beauregard's ghost was hiding behind the curtain. Arguably, the ghost is real at this point. The same "the sheriff can't be in two places at once" argument applies here. The Skull Ghost also appears behind a curtain, as I mentioned above, and thus Beauregard must be the real ghost, as the skeleton is wearing his same black-backgrounded suit.
There's also the very ominous scene before the last commercial break spot, where Shaggy comments "I bet there are no real ghosts here at all!" Immediately afterwards, a mysterious creepy voice replies "Oh no?" This is proof that at least one of the ghosts was real. I mean, it's not like some random guy off the street suddenly broke into the mansion and just happened to yell that at the exact time Shaggy made his comment. Obviously, a real ghost heard Shaggy's comment and decided to reply to frighten him.
The final final final appearance of Beauregard's ghost is at the end of the film, when he appears on the road after the sheriff has been taken into custody by his brother. The ghost does not try to harm him or tell him to leave. Rather, he sits there and intently watches them, almost if he's paying his last respects.
Well, that covers all the ghosts! I hope part 2 was even better than part 1 (I certainly think so!), and also that you were at least somewhat entertained by my theories and silliness. The only other "paranormal" happenings in that film that weren't explained was Beauregard throwing his sword off-screen, which I argue was something Farquard rigged up in advance to scare them. There was also the cannon scene, which was probably Beauregard. Given the bridge theory, Beauregard obviously isn't going to want to kill his own nephew, so it was probably the sheriff dressed up once again. There's also the mysterious hand which scratches Scooby out of the wall in the bedroom, which there's not really conclusive proof for either way given the appearance was so brief. Given Beauregard appears a second later, and I argued that he was real in that instance, I would say that the hand was maybe another ghost (possibly aiding the ghost of Beauregard) trying to scare Shaggy off so he wouldn't be put in danger by the sheriff's plan.
I do realize that these could all be animation or plot mistakes on behalf of lazy writers at Hanna-Barbera. However, it seems like a bit too many coincidences in my opinion. It may be far-fetched, but I really love the concept of Hanna-Barbera making this super detailed, intricate mystery for the hardcore adult fans to be entertained as well as kids. There are so many ways you could interpret the mystery in this film, and I hope you've enjoyed reading my interpretation of it.
Oh, and I know the question you've all been on the edge of your seats waiting for me to answer: were Shaggy's ghostly dancing pants real?
Why yes, yes they were.