Top 10 Scooby-Doo Settings
There are so many incredible settings within Scooby-Doo! We've been doing a lot of settings polls on here recently, and I recently was thinking that it might be cool to come up with a list of my favorite settings of the entire franchise. I had never really thought deeply about what my favorite settings within Scooby-Doo are, so this was a really fun project to decide on my favoirtes. I've been doing a lot of favorite/least favorite lists lately, but for the settings, I'm not going to do a least favorite post. The reason for that being I don't really feel that I dislike any episodes based on setting alone (there's even that one Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! episode that takes place in a garbage dump that's pretty good lol). Usually, if I dislike an episode, it's because there are other elements that also were not so good, like the tone, the villain, the characterization, etc.
Honorable Mention: The Secret of Shark Island
This is one of the best hotel settings of the entire franchise, although we actually will have another hotel episode appear later on this list. The tone of the episode and the vibe of the hotel is super spooky, and it makes it even more foreboding that the gang is quite literally trapped on this isolated island due to flooding.
10. Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders
Something about the setting of Roswell, New Mexico is just so peaceful to me. The gang exploring the small town feels very atmospheric and homely. The animation of this film is absolutely gorgeous and really brings you into the setting. I also love the scenes exploring Scorpion Ridge as Crystal and Amber are trying to take pictures. The fact that much of this movie takes place out in nature makes the film feel very Earthy and peaceful.
9. A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle
Like I mentioned in my favorite episodes post, I absolutely love how it feels like this episode is built around the setting by slowly taking us through the castle. This is easily my favorite castle setting in Scooby-Doo, which is a high bar because I tend to love nearly all the episodes with castle settings in general. The basement with the hidden passages and rooms that could cave in at any moment add an extra layer of creepiness to an already amazing castle.
8. The Spooky Case of the Grand Prix Race
I don't usually particularly love racing settings, but this episode does the best job out of any episode making a very normal setting seem creepy. The race happening on a dark, foggy night creates a very unsettling tone, and the fact that the fog serves to allow the Phantom Racer to capture people without anyone seeing him makes it even more terrifying. Season 2 of The Scooby-Doo Show certainly had some dark episodes, and this is one of the two darkest settings of that season.
7. The Loch Ness Mess
This feels like such a classic Scooby-Doo haunted house to me. Everything about this setting screams "Scooby-Doo." Uncle Nat's old house is super creepy, and while the lake isn't as creepy, I do feel that those scenes are quite atmospheric. As I believe I've mentioned before, the scene where the ghost with the lantern disappears into the night is one of the most memorable scenes of the franchise for me. While this is far from the darkest or most atmospheric episode out there, the reason this ranks so high to me is because the setting feels like it captures the essence of Scooby so well. It won't quite make this list, but shout out to "Wedding Bell Boos" for also capturing this New England atmosphere really well.
6. Night Terrors
I was just talking about this with a few people in the comments for our poll this week, but I feel like "Night Terrors" is one of the best haunted house settings in the entire franchise. This episode transcends the traditional haunted house setting in the sense it's kind of framed as both a library and an old creepy house on a hill. However, I feel the plot helps create a super creepy setting that make this one just as much of a classic as some of the other haunted house settings. Horrifying things randomly happening throughout the episode make this setting feel absolutely nightmarish. In addition, the fact that even the gang has no idea what's going on until the last few minutes of the episode really helps build one of the most suspenseful and surreal atmospheres in the entire franchise.
5. Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats
We have arrived at the other hotel episode and the other Scooby-Doo Show season 2 episode I mentioned earlier! This is one of the darkest episodes in the entire franchise in my opinion. The animators did an incredible job making the hotel backgrounds have a super spooky, dark feel to them. The whole plot of the gang wandering the halls of a dark hotel at night with a vampire on the loose is super creepy. Some of the scenes in particular, like the Lisa turning into a vampire scene, and the scene where the vampire calls Lisa from a dark room in the middle of the night, do a great job of constructing the creepy aesthetic in this episode. Speaking of dark episodes, shout out to "The Harum Scarum Sanitarium," which didn't quite make the cut for this list, but is another amazingly dark episode that really pulls you in with how foreboding the tone is.
4. Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers
This is another one of those settings that just feels so authentically Scooby-ish. Uncle Beauregard's mansion has such a creepy atmosphere around it, and even the outside of the house when they're walking in the caves or woods feels super creepy. The old creaky floorboards and the fact that it's run down, as well as all the secret passages, really enhance the setting to me. This feels like one of the most classic Scooby-Doo haunted house settings out there, and that's a big feat given there are so many of them.
3. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
What else do I need to say? It's Zombie freaking Island lol. In seriousness though, the background animation in this film is easily better than any other film or movie out there, in my opinion. Mook Animation makes everything look very realistic and mature. The creepy setting of the island has a very unsettling feel to it, and of course, the setting is greatly enhanced by how dark the film is.
2. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
Although you could argue it's slow to start, I love how the audience is gradually introduced to the setting during the slower exposition at the beginning of the film. I absolutely love the peaceful, relaxing feel that the setting of Oakhaven has, and it feels like that extra time was very well spent creating an atmosphere and letting the audience really become immersed in exploring the setting with the gang.
1. Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner?
It will likely come as a surprise to people that this is above Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost lol. When coming up with my list, one of the first questions I asked myself to determine my all-time favorite setting was "which setting best captures the essence of Scooby-Doo?" While the settings Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost are immaculately done and arguably have the best animation of anything in the franchise, I feel like Captain Moody's house best captures the episode of a Scooby episode. Ever since seeing this episode for the first time when I was a kid, this feels like the most classic Scooby-Doo haunted house setting I can think of. It does the same thing as "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle" and Witch's Ghost where the episode's structure slowly leads you through the setting, which allows the audience to become more immersed in the setting. I love how creepy and dark the first quarter of the episode is, with the gang being lost and stumbling upon Captain Moody's house, then becoming trapped in the basement. The second quarter of the episode focuses mainly on the main floor, where we're introduced to Homer Pipsqueak and all his disguises, and the third quarter focuses on the top floor of the house where the bedrooms are. This episode is a perfect example of how to use a 43-minute runtime well, because it uses that runtime to gradually lead the audience through the house and slowly introduces you to the atmosphere. Some of my favorite episodes and films are the ones that give the plot space to build atmosphere, and this episode does it best in my opinion.
In making this list, I found that episodes that slowly but steadily build atmosphere were among my favorites. Moreover, I also tended to gravitate towards episodes that completely immerse you in the setting, and this was an especially prevalent feeling for me when being immersed in the setting led to the episode/film feeling darker. Lastly, episodes that can only be described as feeling "authentically Scooby-ish" also tended to make this list quite a bit. I feel like "Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner?" is the best example of this because it perfectly represents all three of these phenomena.
2/7/2023 09:04:02 am
Nice list. I really think "Which Witch is Which" should be on here. The swamp and the boat are such great settings.
2/7/2023 02:42:30 pm
I agree they are amazing settings! They were close to making my list, but they didn't quite make it.
2/7/2023 10:10:23 am
To be honest most of Where are you could make a top 10 on its own! Have we had a, which episode of Scooby Doo Where are You has the best setting? poll, honestly can't remember.
2/7/2023 02:49:33 pm
No, we haven't done a setting poll for Where Are You yet. Actually, it could be a cool idea to do a poll for all the different settings by series!
2/9/2023 05:02:56 am
That would actually be really cool. Maybe divide into series and split those as well, so where are you season 1, where are you season 2 etc. and then do a winners poll.
2/9/2023 02:07:10 pm
I really like that idea!
2/7/2023 10:38:54 am
I am going to exclude Where Are You because it would easily get every spot in my top 5, top 10, or top 15 for that matter concerning setting.
2/7/2023 02:44:28 pm
Glad to see Boo Brothers on your list :) And yeah, that's how I handled Where Are You too. The settings in those episodes were absolutely amazing!
2/7/2023 10:55:38 am
High Rise Hair Raiser and Harum Scarum Sanitarium are way up there for me.
2/7/2023 02:45:07 pm
Harum Scarum Sanitarium was close for me too, but it didn't quite make my list. It was difficult to come up with a list, because the franchise has had so many amazing settings over the years!
2/7/2023 11:57:36 am
Honorable mention shoutout to Scooby Doo Project for having live action backgrounds.
2/7/2023 02:45:38 pm
I wouldn't say that episode is among my favorites, but the live-action backgrounds were definitely neat!
2/7/2023 03:10:04 pm
Honestly I'd want to live at Uncle Nathaniel's house like the daytime setting is just beautiful
2/7/2023 05:32:39 pm
Me too! The backgrounds in that episode are immaculate.
2/7/2023 08:40:18 pm
Ok… I think I managed to narrow a list of ten episodes down myself… very difficult as I could go on and on. I literally cannot do episodes and movies together, though I guess I will do them separately
2/7/2023 08:42:12 pm
Ah I have one more comment that got cut off:
2/8/2023 12:21:10 pm
You’ve got a really solid list there, and you have quite a few similarities to mine! Here’s the rest of my top 5 list for movies and a top 10 for episodes too:
2/9/2023 01:45:00 pm
Theater of Doom is an interesting shoutout, I kinda get it though
2/9/2023 02:06:26 pm
That would be a cool list! I'll have to think of what settings I'd put for that, but I like that idea!
2/9/2023 11:15:51 am
Velma looks to be getting a second season because the entertainment registry list season 2 as in production and will consist of 11 episodes
2/9/2023 02:05:54 pm
I noticed that too, I'll be interested to see if we get a second season or not. It's kind of hard to imagine because of all the backlash it's gotten, but I'm not really sure.
2/21/2023 08:19:16 am
Saw the other post, didn’t see this one. But the other one didn’t feel appropriate to post my top 10 favorites compared to this one.
2/21/2023 02:10:04 pm
That's cool you live on a beach! I couldn't agree more with your #1-3. Captain Clemens was such a creepy villain and I completely agree that his home on the cliff feels like a haunted house. It definitely has a terrifying feel to it since it's isolated from everything else. I love that showboat and the witch's house in "Which Witch Is Which?" too, and that boardwalk setting from "Into the Mouth of Madcap" is so sinister feeling, especially during those scenes where Madcap is watching from the shadows.
2/21/2023 04:22:02 pm
Haha, yes I meant house for Creepy Heap. I’m not sure why I said lighthouse, I was watching Fright House of a Lighthouse when writing this.
Leave a Reply.
~ WildwindVampire ~