Crazy notion, I know but hear me out before getting the pitchforks and torches.
SCOOBY-DOO has been a fixture of American pop culture with its expansive media exposure since 1969. That's 46 years and counting. Wow. In that time it has had 12 animated cartoon series and 4 live-action films, making it one of the most beloved and enduring franchises in history. Few properties can claim to have grandparents, parents, and grandchildren as fans. From baby boomers to GenZ. Amazing considering the origins of Scooby-Doo.
In 1968, under the intense scrutiny of parental watchdog groups like ACTION FOR CHILDREN'S TELEVISION (ACT), who protested what they perceived as excessive violence in Saturday morning cartoons, HANNA-BARBERA began developing a kid-friendly program based off of THE ARCHIE SHOW. Damn you ACT for getting JONNY QUEST, HERCULOIDS, SPACE GHOST canceled. Love those shows.
What was born from the back and forth development process, which started out as a teen rock band with a bongo playing dog, that investigated mysterious occurrences between gigs, would become known as the tv series SCOOBY DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! Can't you just hear the theme song in your head. You'll be humming it to yourself for a week now. Sorry.
With characters modeled off of THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Shaggy Rogers, and a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo would become animated superstars, with a catchphrase every fan can quote from memory,
...if it weren't for you meddling kids...
Over the years, Scooby, the gang and the Mystery Machine, have had many iterations, culminating in live-action adaptations of recent years. MATTHEW LILLARD will always be the perfect flesh and blood Shaggy. Just saying.
The two constants throughout all the iterations has been the reliance on sophomoric and kid-friendly humor, and the "unmasking" of the horror being investigated, which was always man-made for some monetary gain. So after nearly 50 years, could it be time for change? Oh boy. Here we go. Ready the pitchforks and torches now.
HOW SCOOBY-DOO CAN SAVE HORROR
For many of us, Scooby-Doo was the first introduction to horror and horror elements (monsters, ghosts, witches, etc.). But upon further investigation Scooby-Doo predates and MAY actually be the origin of horror tropes we have grown to love/hate. I know you're thinking what the what am I talking about.
As pointed out in recent films like A CABIN IN THE WOODS, SCREAM, some horror films have certain tropes or cliches that repeat from movie to movie. The most common being the SLUT-JOCK-NERD-FOOL-VIRGIN dynamic. And surprisingly, the Scooby-Doo gang align almost perfectly with them:
- Fred - Jock
- Daphne - Slut
- Velma - Nerd
- Shaggy - Fool
leaving only the VIRGIN, which could be a dual role for Velma or Scooby-Doo as an animal can be viewed as a pure and innocent creature.Crazy, I know right?! And now the coup de gras.
So, seeing as Scooby-Doo established the horror, why not push the boundaries in new and exciting ways by rebooting the franchise as a full on horror property?YES I WENT THERE!
Taking inspiration from popular paranormal tv shows like GHOSTHUNTERS, and The Warrens, and Specs, Tucker and Elise from THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS films respectively, I can envision a remake as a full on horror film with the Mystery Incorporated gang as paranormal researchers with Freddie as the lead investigator, Daphne as the medium, Velma as the theologist/demonologist, Shaggy as the tech guru, and Scooby-Doo as their trained canine entity detector. Ok ok ok. Calm down. Stop laughing. I know it's crazy but...
Imagine if you will something similar to: SCOOBY-DOO INVESTIGATES: THE BLAIR WITCH. Or, MYSTERY INCORPORATED: CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE.
Real horror. Real scares. Tone the goofy, slapstick humor way down, and play it as a real world frightening scenario. Let the Scooby gang really unmask just what it is that haunts the world and makes your blood run cold when you hear that bump in the night.
So, yes, I know it's out there, BUT an approach like this could provide a refreshing breath of fresh air into a steadily growing stale genre. It could reinvigorate the franchise, and take it in a daring direction. Crazy I know.