It’s Halloween night, and our modified Scooby gang is out shopping for tricks, treats and costumes! Scrappy Doo can’t wait to get into a creepy costume; maybe he’ll be a werewolf, or a vampire, or an alien from outer space! And Shaggy can’t wait to get into his Halloween goodies. (And these goodies include candy corn, btw, so haters of candy corn — me AND Shaggy are disowning you right now. ;P)
I say “modified” Scooby gang because today’s Creepy Cartoon feature is the spook-tacular “A Halloween Hassle at Dracula’s Castle”. It’s S2E8 of “The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries”, a series that for the most part features a four-some gang of Shaggy, Scooby, Daphne and Scrappy. This episode first aired 35 years ago today, on October 27, 1984.
Typically this series didn’t have Velma or Fred, except as “special guests” in a few episodes — including “A Halloween Hassle At Dracula’s Castle”. All of the gang is voiced by their original voice actors except for Velma, who features the voice of Marla Frumkin instead of Nicole Jaffe.
While the “new” gang is browsing for costumes at the “Tiny Shop of Terror”, Fred and Velma arrive in full alien get-up and scare the living daylights out of poor Shaggy and Scooby. Happily they’ve come to celebrate Halloween with their friends!
The shop keeper is a dead-ringer for Dracula (for a good reason!), who overhears that the gang are ghost hunters. When Scooby decides a white table cloth and flower pot will make a good ghost costume, confetti drops, the music plays… he’s the shop’s one millionth customer! What’s he won? An invitation to the best Halloween party in town! There will be music and dancing, and even a magic show featuring Chandra, The Unbelievably Remarkable… and Quite Interesting Too. (I’m not even making this up.)
Shaggy is hesitant to attend, but when he learns of the all-you-can-eat buffet… well, he’ll be there with bibs, er, bells on.
The gang arrives for the party in full Halloween regalia: Velma as a witch, Daphne as Catwoman, Fred as a superhero, Shaggy’s the werewolf, Scooby a ghost, and poor Scrappy, well… he’s wearing the only costume that would fit him: A cute widdle bunny rabbit.
While they’re mingling with the unusual guests, Chandra the magician is captivated by Daphne’s necklace. She says it looks just like the Moonstone Medallion*, an evil magic stone that she’s been searching for for centuries. (And that’s another clue that something isn’t quite right.)
*Quick side note, this isn’t the first time we’ve had a Moonstone Medallion on Scooby Doo. Three years earlier, in a S2 episode of “Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo”, there’s a different Moonstone Medallion. In “Moonlight Madness”, Shaggy is literally transformed into a werewolf when he’s wearing the medallion and the moon is full.
There’s something mighty spooky going on here, and very soon the gang learns the truth: Their hosts are actually Count Dracula and his wife, the other guest are real monsters, and they’re currently standing in Dracula’s Castle which is being haunted by the ghost of Doctor Van Helsing!!!
The monsters have given up their scaring days, and moved lock, stock and barrel from Transylvania. Since then, they’ve been haunted by the relentless ghost who says he wants to rid the world of all monsters. Dracula and the others beg Scooby and his friends to help them.
While looking for clues to the ghost’s whereabouts, people start disappearing: Chandra, Velma, the Invisible Man, and then Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy get zapped into the dungeon, where the walls begin closing in on them. But Scooby finds a loose stone in the wall, and behind it… is the REAL Moonstone Medallion, which grants Scooby’s wish to be out of this pressing predicament.
Scooby’s second wish is also granted by the Medallion after they find Velma, the Invisible Man and the Mummy tied up, and Scooby wishes to be back with Daphne and the others. But where is Chandra?
It turns out that Dracula himself hid the Medallion in the dungeon so that it’s evil power not fall into the wrong hands — and Van Helsing’s ghost is after it!
The evil Chandra reappears, admitting to conjuring the ghost in order to scare the others away so that she might search for the medallion and take over the castle.
It’s up to Scooby and the gang to encourage the monsters to take a stand against Chandra and do what comes naturally: Act monstrous! My, what a ghoulish idea!
One by one, the monsters take a run at Chandra, but Mr. and Mrs. Dracula get turned into baseball bats, and she transforms the Wolf Man into the cutest little puppy imaginable. Frankie appears to be their last hope, but he too falls victim to Chandra’s Moonstone Medallion magic wand.
But when she tries to zap Scooby into a toad, the tables are turned and instead of zapping Scooby, the magic wand gets zapped and explodes — transforming Chandra herself into a lipsticked frog! In the melee, Scooby clobbers the ghost of Van Helsing, who’s none other than …. Igor, Castle Dracula’s caretaker!
Poor Igor was sick and tired of being ordered around constantly by the Count. “Igor, sweep up. Igor, rebandage the mummy. Igor, run down to the all-night blood bank and pick me up a six-pack.”
But the real shock comes when the monsters react favourably to Igor’s treachery.
Dracula: “That was an awful thing you did, Igor. I wish I had thought of it.”
Wolf Man: “Cheer up, Igor. We’re all basically awful and disloyal.
Frankie: “Those are very admirable traits.”
Count Dracula then nominates Igor for the dishonourable position of Full-fledged Monster In Bad Standing. Igor is so unhappy, it’s wonderful!
The Countess then proposes that since they’ve all had such a grand, scary time, they should go back to their old jobs — being MONSTERS! :-o
Oh, no, Scooby, here we go again!!!
So Halloween night at Dracula’s Castle really did turn out to be a hassle. And a hustle, as the gang blew that pop stand as quickly as possible once the monsters reverted back to their scary ways. But the episode is a lot of fun, and visually very appealing, what with so many monsters in tow.
This series of Scooby is a little hit or miss, and not just because most people don’t enjoy the inclusion of Scrappy Doo as a main character. The stories aren’t the strongest, but the show is unmistakably ’80s, and with nearly all of the original voice actors still doing the characters we love, I’m not sure it’s possible to DISlike the series.
And as I said last time, there’s nothing better than holiday episodes of classic cartoons. “A Halloween Hassle At Dracula’s Castle” is no different. Scooby and the gang scare up some real monsters, so what else can you ask for? Happy Halloween!
Until next time, unpleasant dreams . . .