In 1998, a brand new Scooby-Doo movie was released that really changed the game as it advertised that this time the monsters were real. That film of course being…
Zombie Island balanced the horror aspect that comes with a zombie movie while also keeping the classic tone of Scooby-Doo!. One year, a follow-up film that was released that switched from zombies to witches. Now Scooby has encountered witches before plenty of times but in most cases, those are people in a mask. Not to say that they haven’t encountered real witches before but this film places a greater emphasis on the witches as we have a small little town in Massachusetts much like Salem.
I tried to look up if the town featured Oakhaven was a real place in MA but it turns out the most I could find was a campground titled Oak Haven. in Wales Massachusetts. So yeah, it doesn’t seem like that place actually exists. Still an interesting idea. And the town does invoke feelings of Salem.
This movie much the one before it and the one after it take advantage of the state that the story is set in to give it a feel that is appropriate to it. The Louisana setting of Zombie Island helped with the tension and fear that would come with a zombie story. Whereas the Massachusetts setting of this movie gives it an autumn atmosphere that feels right for the season of the witch.
Ooh but not exactly that. Side question how have the Scooby Gang and the Archie Gang never had a crossover? Ah well, moving past that, let’s get into the plot.
The film opens with the gang solving the latest mystery when they meet horror author, Ben Ravencroft. Velma is a big fan of his work. This is something that I like about these movies is that while this is a Scooby-Doo movie, it allows the rest of Mystery Inc. to shine in the first being Daphne and here, it’s Velma. Ravencroft invites the gang to come with him to his hometown. Though it’s a bit of an icy reception.
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 Sarah to be a Wiccan who used herbs to heal people and reveals for years he has been searching for Sarah’s medical journal to prove her innocence.
Yeah, just so you know Ravencroft is voiced by Tim Curry. So you can decide whether or not he’s trustworthy with what he’s saying. So yeah, there’s that. After some time, Scoob and Shaggy are chased by a witch that the town had been using to promote and practically everyone in the town is in on.
This is also where they meet The Hex Girls who have become icons in the Scooby franchise and have appeared in every incarnation of Scooby going forward.
And it’s not hard to see why as these three are just great. Apparently, the town found inspiration in digging up Sarah’s grave. Okay, that seems rather disrespectful to her memory along with how the town used her but whatever. Scooby finds a buckle and it is a clue into how this movie is about to take a turn. Taking the buckle to the location of where it was found, they find a spellbook, and yeah this is where it’s found that Sarah was indeed a witch and Sarah Ravencroft held her power over the town. You know I’m of two minds on this in an odd way.
This twist does work for the movie and does help to set up the supernatural element that so many of the best Scooby movies have. Yet at the same time, the people that were accused of being witches were most of the time innocent. That is something that this movie plays with as Ben while lying tells that Sarah was innocent and was judged unfairly. Though with the reveal, we learn that no she wasn’t innocent and was truly evil. This reminds me of a line from an episode of the 90s Sabrina sitcom that has stuck with me.
The Salem witch trials had nothing to do with real witches
That line works me in one major way by having that line spoken by a witch character, it allows the audience to separate what happened to women accused of being witches in history while at the same time making it okay with evil witches. And there are plenty of those to go around. I do think that is where this film fumbles a bit even with how much I like it because so much of Sarah’s story is built so much on the audience believing that she was wrongly accused.
So yeah, Ben decides to release Sarah and that goes as well as you might think.
Ben decides to use his newfound powers to raise chaos as the gang tries to escape in the Mystery Machine but the girl can’t make it as Ben uses his powers to render the tires useless. Oh and after a while, Ben comes to find out that Sarah has no loyalty and turns on him the first chance that she gets. And Ben tries to stop her but well…
Disillusioned, Ben attempts to reimprison Sarah, but she tells him that only a Wiccan can defeat her, and imprisons Ben in a magical sphere. The gang launches an attempt to get the book while Sarah turns pumpkins and trees into monsters and alters the size of a turkey in order to stop them. Daphne and Velma free the Hex Girls and the latter convince Thorn to use her inherited Wiccan power to read the spell to reimprison Sarah.
This works and Sarah is defeated and Ben is imprisoned in the book and a branch that had caught fire falls on it and burns the book. So, the day is saved. I really enjoy this movie and think it’s one of the best Scooby movies.
Not gonna over all the characters we’d be here all day if I did that. Instead, let’s look at the important ones.
I do apologize for not bringing Velma up more after saying that she was the main character. I stand by that statement as it really felt as though at certain points, the movie was being shown from her perspective. Especially in how she felt towards Ben Ravencroft, it felt a bit like a crush and as though Ben liked her back. And that is seen how his betrayal hurt her the most. While Velma is the logical one of the group, good Scooby movies still remember that she’s a human and not a robot that doesn’t feel anything.
Scooby and Shaggy voiced by Scott Innes
Scooby and Shaggy are Scooby and Shaggy. In that, they are there for comedic relief and not much else. They aren’t bad characters and they are my favorites of Mystery Inc because I’d be the same as them but I believe that having them be comedic relief does truly work to contrast with the scarier moments.
Fred and Daphne voiced by Frank Welker & Mary Kay Bergman
These two are just cute together and always have been. I enjoy their interactions in the movie as they have some rather sweet moments and continues the trend with Zombie Island of subtly hinting at a relationship.
The Hex Girls voiced by Jennifer Hale, Jane Weidlin, and Kimberly Brooks
Fans have glommed onto Thorn, Luna, and Dusk. They just embody coolness and it comes through with their songs. They are just great and have that feeling of yeah, that’s what cool is while also appearing to be approachable at the same time. As I said, there’s a reason they’ve been used so much in other Scooby shows and movies. They are a winning formula of awesomeness.
Ben Ravencroft voiced by Tim Curry
It’s Tim Curry as a villain. That should tell you what to expect and boy does it work. He really sells this role and puts a lot of gravitas into keeping the facade of actually wanting to clear Sarah’s name but no he’s just interested in power. Hey, you do you.
Sarah Ravencroft voiced by Tres MacNeille
Sarah is also rather creepy with how powerful she is and that she is also very sadistic and seems to take pleasure in other’s discomfort. Knowing all of this, it’s no surprise that she turned on her descendant as it seemed like something she would’ve done to anyone.
My Final Thoughts
This film is great and is one of the best Scooby movies out there. It’s my favorite Scooby movie and not just because of the aspect of the witches but also because of how it uses their stories to tell a fascinating story. Even if I did point out some discomfort that I had with the latest viewing but that’s minor in the grand scheme of things. This is easily one of my favorite Scooby movies because it’s fun and I appreciate the story being told as, like its predecessor, it can go beyond silly hijinks and a guy in a mask and tell something of a bigger story.