Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! DVD Review: A Love Letter to the Original Series

Trick Or Treat Scooby Doo Poster Image

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided the writer with a free copy of the DVD reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions shared are his own.

The gang of Mystery Inc. is back for their 34th direct-to-video release. It’s the first since last year’s Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog. The film is out on DVD and available on Cartoon Network and HBO Max as part of this year’s Scoobtober celebration. The once-a-year, Halloween-season release shows where this franchise is at in the eyes of Warner Bros.

The movie starts with Mystery Inc. solving the case of the Cat Man of Nepal. The clues from the Cat Man’s costume lead them to discover that all of the bad guy costumes are made by the same company. That leads them to fashion designer, Coco Diablo. Once she’s put away, Coolsville becomes a boring place without costumed criminals. The gang ends up solving mysteries like a missing sock, cats stuck up in trees, and cars lost in the parking lot.

The return of classic villains a year later forces Mystery Inc. to get Coco out of jail to have her work with them to solve the mystery. The rest of the case centers around a group of ghosts after the gang, Velma crushing hard on Coco, Scooby and Shaggy worried about trick or treating, and a spooky Victorian version of Mystery Inc. called Misery Inc.

The movie is a love letter to the original Scooby-Doo Where Are You! and the New Scooby-Doo Movies. The monsters are either directly from or alternative takes of creations from the original series. The character design and animation style is from the recent Scooby-Doo and the Guess Who? The music is fun. The opening credits montage showing how boring life has gotten for Mystery Inc. is called “Scooby-Doo, I’m So Blue” to the tune of the original theme song. The first chase scene is done to The Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.” And the fixing up the the Mystery Inc. van to look like it came directly from The Groovy Ghoulies is done to a Bauhaus-sounding tune called “Change” by Joseph Holiday.

The voice talents that have become identifiable as the characters are all present. Frank Welker continues double duty as Scooby-Doo and Fred Jones. Matthew Lillard is still Shaggy and starting to sound a bit older. Grey DeLisle holds down the Daphne Blake character. Kate Micucci is once again the voice of Velma Dinkley.

So much of the press leading up to this has strictly been about Velma “coming out” as a lesbian. The good thing is that it wasn’t treated as anything special by the characters in the show. The bad thing is that it kept calling attention to itself for about a third of the film. Not that her having a crush on Coco was an issue as much as relationship humor feels out of place for the series in general and not germane to the plot. I doubt that anyone drawn in solely by the articles in the mainstream press about Velma were excited as I was to hear Fred say, “What a night for a knight.” in reference to a Season One episode.

The DVD has three bonus episodes.

  • Be Cool, Scooby-Doo – “El Bandito” (S.1 E.23) (2017): “You lied to us, Fred.” – Shaggy / “In Spanish” – Scooby. Fun mystery but the animation style is distracting after watching the new film.
  • Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! – “To Switch A Witch” (S.3 E.4) (1978): A Salem witch story with classic animation style that fits in nicely on a Halloween disc.
  • Scooby-Doo!/Dynomutt Hour – “The Headless Horseman of Halloween” (S.1 E.5) (1976): This take on the Sleepy Hollow legend is the best of the Halloween-themed episodes included here.

This franchise still has entertainment value and plenty of room for new stories. This direct-to-video shows that the stories can be reflective of the rich past and look forward to being more inclusive and still tell fun and clever stories.

Shawn Bourdo

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