Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
1988, Warner Bros. Television/Hanna-Barbera Productions
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It’s odd that this made-for-television animated movie premiered in January 1988 rather than the previous fall. Maybe it was a production/scheduling issue. Granted, Scooby-Doo and the gang battled “monsters” all year ’round, but Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School features actual monsters so it would’ve been perfect to air on ABC, CBS or NBC in October as a Halloween special of sorts.
Instead, this movie under aired as part of Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 (which aired September 1987 to September 1988) which was a part of the larger syndicated Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera package (itself airing from 1985 to 1993).
Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School has a definite Saturday morning cartoon vibe to it. It’s a light-hearted effort that lacks the spooky atmosphere the many episodes of the original Scooby-Doo cartoons presented. With a cast of only Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy Doo, this animated movie is more a continuation of 1983’s The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and 1985’s The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo rather than something going for a classic Mystery Inc. vibe. I personally don’t mind Scrappy, but apparently everyone hates him now (he even turned out to be the villain in the very first Scooby-Doo live-action movie).
The movie’s plot has Shaggy inexplicably accepting the job of gym teacher at an all-girl school. Of course, Scooby and Scrappy tag a long and it turns out the school is actually a school for young female monsters . We even get to see their fathers: Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolfman all show up to give Shaggy their stamp of approval. Of course, these are tributes to the Universal Monsters of the 1930s/1940s.
As I said, this movie features actual monsters and not people pretending to be monsters. The film’s main villain is Revolta, a witch who wishes to kidnap and hypnotize the girls to make them her evil slaves. She is assisted by a plant creature called the Grim Creeper and the Mirror Monster, who can assume the appearance of anyone who looks into the mirror that he inhabits.
While Scooby-Doo cartoons are often built upon the mystery of “whodunnit and why?”, none of that is ever questioned here. Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School is a straight-forward adventure suitable for kids to watch on a Saturday morning and for grown men who want to revisit their childhood. It’s a decent viewing for those that like ’80s cartoons and are fans of classic monsters.