Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is a 1999 direct-to-video animated supernatural horror-comedy film, and the second of the direct-to-video films based upon Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo Saturday morning cartoons. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. The film was released on VHS and DVD on October 5, 1999.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byJim Stenstrum
Produced byCos Anzilotti
Written by
Based onScooby-Doo
by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Starring
Music byLouis Febre
Edited byRob DeSales
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Home Video
Release date
  • October 5, 1999 (1999-10-05) (VHS and DVD)
  • May 15, 2020 (2020-05-15) (VOD)
Running time
66 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[2]
LanguageEnglish

The plot involves Mystery Inc. travelling to a New England town called Oakhaven after being invited by horror writer Ben Ravencroft. Like a number of direct-to-video Scooby-Doo animated films released in the late-1990s and early-2000s, The Witch's Ghost features real supernatural elements instead of the traditionally fabricated ones the franchise is associated with, giving the film a darker tone. The film has been adapted into a book.[3]

It is the second of the first four Scooby Doo direct-to-video film to be animated overseas by Japanese animation studio Mook Animation. The film marks the first time voice actor and radio-personality Scott Innes voiced Shaggy, as Billy West (who voiced Shaggy in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island) needed time for his voice work on Futurama.

PlotEdit

After Ben Ravencroft, a famous horror writer of whom Velma Dinkley is a huge fan, assists her and Mystery Inc. in solving a case at a museum, he invites them to his hometown, Oakhaven, Massachusetts. When they arrive, they find the town converted into a tourist attraction by Mayor Corey, complete with 17th-century replicas and attractions based on the alleged ghost of Sarah Ravencroft, an ancestor of Ben's who was persecuted as a witch and executed by the Puritan townspeople in 1657. Ben disputes this, claiming that Sarah was a Wiccan who used herbal remedies to heal the less fortunate, and reveals that he has spent years searching for Sarah's medical journal to prove her innocence.

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy Rogers are chased by a witch and run into Ben and the gang. They find broken tree branches at the scene and are drawn to an all-female gothic rock band, The Hex Girls, led by Sally "Thorn" McKnight. The gang then decides to split up; Fred and Daphne stay to watch the Hex Girls, Velma and Ben go explore an old barn, and Shaggy and Scooby follow the Mayor. Fred and Daphne see Thorn performing some sort of ritual and are convinced the Hex Girls are witches. Velma and Ben find a cherry picker truck in the barn. Scooby and Shaggy follow Corey, until they encounter the witch and flee to the gang.

The gang, the Hex Girls and Ben meet in the woods. The witch appears and gives chase, but is captured by Velma. The witch is revealed to be Mr. McKnight, Thorn's father and Oakhaven's pharmacist. Velma locates the truck and explains that the truck's arm made the witch appear to fly, with the townspeople jointly involved. Ben scolds everyone involved for exploiting Sarah's good name. Back at Ben's house, Fred and Daphne apologize to the Hex Girls, after which Thorn explains the "ritual" they witnessed was a herbal remedy made for soothing her vocal cords and that she is actually descended from Wiccans. Corey and Mr. McKnight arrive to apologize to Ben for using his ancestor in their publicity stunt, explaining the witch was created to boost the town's failing tourist economy and that they found inspiration from digging up the head marker for Sarah's grave; they kept their discovery a secret from Ben to avoid upsetting him. It is then revealed that a shoe buckle Scooby found earlier was actually the lock from Sarah's journal.

Scooby guides the group to where the lock was originally found, where he digs up and finds a box containing the buried journal, which turns out to actually be a spellbook. Ben reveals that Sarah was indeed a witch, who wielded her witchcraft against the townspeople before the Wiccans used their nature-based powers to imprison her within her own spellbook; his ancestry, therefore, makes him a warlock. He explains that he engineered the mystery at the museum just so he could meet with Mystery Inc., knowing they could lead him to the book. After taking it from Ben, the gang attempts to flee in the Mystery Machine, but Ben renders it useless by damaging its tires with his new powers. Ben takes the book back and finally summons Sarah. However, he soon discovers that she has no loyalty to him and her ambitions are to destroy the world as revenge for her imprisonment, rather than rule it alongside him.

Disillusioned, Ben attempts to reimprison Sarah, but she tells him that only a Wiccan can defeat her, and traps Ben in a magical sphere. The gang launches an attempt to get the book while Sarah turns pumpkins and trees into monsters and enlarges a turkey in order to stop them. Daphne and Velma free the Hex Girls and the latter convinces Thorn to use her inherited Wiccan power to read the spell to reimprison Sarah. The plan works, sucking her back into the book and turning the monsters she created, except for the turkey, back to normal. Refusing to return to her imprisonment alone, Sarah drags Ben into the book with her; a burning branch falls onto the book and incinerates it, ensuring that the Ravencrofts can never return. The gang and townsfolk celebrate their deliverance with a concert from the Hex Girls with the gang and the still giant turkey joining in on the performance.

Voice castEdit

ProductionEdit

After the success of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, which received better sales than Warner Bros. had expected, the team were tasked with creating a second Scooby-Doo direct-to-video film. Its predecessor was considered a one-off experiment and, as such, the crew producing it worked with little oversight from executives. For Witch's Ghost, this creative freedom was scaled back considerably. Warner Bros. suggested screenwriters Rick Copp and David A. Goodman, which insulted the team that had produced the first film in total autonomy. In addition, the studio requested the filmmakers "tone down" their content, as they feared Zombie Island had proved too scary for its intended audience.[4]

Copp and Goodman's script concluded with the revelation that the townspeople were using the witch as a publicity stunt. The original team found this unsatisfactory and Glenn Leopold re-wrote the last third of the film, introducing the concept that the ghost is real.[4]

SoundtrackEdit

On September 14, 1999, the soundtrack was released on CD and Audio Cassette, featuring songs by The Hex Girls, and Billy Ray Cyrus performing "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!".[1]

Track listing
No.TitleRecording artist(s)Length
1."Scooby-Doo Where Are You?"Billy Ray Cyrus1:02
2."Hex Girl"The Hex Girls1:43
3."Earth, Wind, Fire and Air"The Hex Girls1:55
4."The Witch's Ghost"The Hex Girls3:10
5."It's a Mystery"The Hex Girls3:08
6."Scooby Snacks"The Hex Girls3:19
7."Zoinks!"The Hex Girls3:10
8."Those Meddlin' Kids"The Hex Girls3:17
9."Ghost Story"Louis Febre3:13
10."The Ghost Is Here"Joe Pizzulo, Gary Falcone2:21
11."Terror Time"Joe Pizzulo, Gary Falcone2:55
12."Scooby-Doo Where Are You?" (Instrumental Mix)David Mook, Ben Raleigh2:43

Release and receptionEdit

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost was released on VHS and DVD on October 5, 1999.

In spite of a lack of critical consensus, the film earned a 50% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as mixed to negative reviews from critics.[5] Conversely, though, the film was well received by audiences.[5] David Parkinson of Radio Times, gave the film a two out of five stars, saying, "This full-length cartoon featuring the ghost-hunting teenage detectives is something of a mixed bag."[6]

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Result Ref.
2000 Annie Awards Outstanding Animated Home Video Production Nominated [7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost". Amazon.com. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999)". Allmovie. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
  3. ^ Herman, Gail; Copp, Rick; Goodman, David (9 June 1999). Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. Scholastic – via Internet Archive.
  4. ^ a b Jozic, Mike (interviewer); Falk, Lance (interviewee) (February 7, 2017). APNSD! Episode 03: Interview With Lance Falk (Podcast). Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  6. ^ https://www.radiotimes.com/film/szrx/scooby-doo-and-the-witchs-ghost/
  7. ^ "28th Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners (2000)". AnnieAwards.org. ASIFA-Hollywood. Retrieved 2013-01-19.

External linksEdit