This is a spoiler warning. We will be discussing the plot of Scooby Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery in full so if you don't wish to have the details spoiled then either track the DVD down or skip the Story section of this post in its entirety. Also, I'm going to go ahead and put a length warning on this because we have a lot to say about this film.
Ghost here! Thanks for joining me today for yet another
Music. Music is such an integral part of the human experience, yet when it comes to movies and television, your average viewer can often forget the impact that music has upon their experience. Unless the film or series has a profound theme song, or features songs in which the characters sing and dance, many people won't notice the subtle background themes aiding you in the experience. Music helps to increase tension, show sadness or worry, or give off a sensation of grandeur just from its very existence. I fully admit to my own negligence when it comes to a full appreciation of music in film from time to time. However, today I hope to change that somewhat and bring music to the forefront for today's blog post.
There are many topics of which I could draw inspiration. Should I find some of the best scores from films? Should I do a top ten list of best children's cartoon theme songs? Should I do a review of Rocky Horror Picture Show since this year is the 40th anniversary of that film's release? What to choose, what to choose.
What the... You're the last person I ever thought would interrupt one of my blogs. That's usually left to KoD in my video game posts. Well since you're here I might as well humor you by asking what you would suggest we cover that involves music.
It's Scooby Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery!
Woah Woah Woah! You mean there's actually a crossover movie with the Scooby Gang and KISS?
You "Beth" your bottom dollar there is!
Well that's just lovely, because if there's one thing everybody hates...
It's a crossover
Believe it or not there is actually an animated movie, released in June 2015, involving Scooby Doo and all the current members of KISS. In the off-chance that you've been oblivious to either of these juggernauts of entertainment, let's take a moment to discuss their history briefly.
KISS (typed in all caps because I'm a real fan) started out as a theatrical hard rock band from New York City. Through the 70's, the band not only became a household name, but also began aggressively marketing themselves, putting their likeness on countless pieces of merchandise. As the band fell into the popular eye at the dawn of the 80's, original members Peter Criss (The Catman) and Ace Frehley (The Spaceman) left the band, leaving Gene Simmons (The Demon) and Paul Stanley (The Starchild) to soldier on. The pair replaced their band-mates, eventually taking off the makeup and somehow managing to look even more ridiculous.
However, the original members managed to patch things up enough to reunite in 1996 for another wave of KISSteria, and even more merchandise, including but not limited to a "KISS Kasket" for the ultimate fan to rest in peace. Eventually, old wounds began to resurface. This caused Criss and Frehley to leave once again to be replaced by the new Catman and Spaceman, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer respectively. The band continues to this day with these two new members. Apparently one day they decided to get caught up in some wacky cartoon hijinks with the good ol' Mystery Inc. gang despite any previous opinions.
Now that our preliminary information is complete, let's take a look at Scooby Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery and see what, if anything, it has to offer your average Scooby Doo or KISS fan.
GENE SHOWS UP AND HE'S LIKE RAGHHHHHRRR AND HE'S GOT THE TONGUE AND THE BOOTS THAT LOOK LIKE DRAGONS AND HE FREAKS OUT SHAGGY AND SCOOBY WITH HIS AWESOMENESS AND THEN THE REST OF THE BAND SHOWS UP LIKE WHAM THEN THE MOST EPIC INTRO SEQUENCE OF ALL TIME STARTS ROLLING WHERE THERE IS ALBUM COVERS AND...
*Ahem* As I was saying, Gene Simm... I mean "The Demon" shows up and within his first minute of screen time, the God of Thunder (and rock 'n roll) gets blasted in the face from Scooby's squirt gun. This enrages the Demon and he begins to chase Scooby and Shaggy around the park. As this happens, the rest of the band members appear and the opening credits role to the classic "Rock and Roll All Nite."
As a side note, I need to point out that the members of KISS are never referred to by their actual names, but rather by the names of their KISS Personas. Gene Simmons is always "Demon." Paul Stanley is always "Starchild." Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer are always "Catman" and "The Spaceman" as well. This has actually been the case with much of KISS marketing of the past few years, particularly since the addition of Thayer and Singer. A widely held belief is that Gene and Paul plan on replacing themselves with a new Demon and Starchild in a few years and relaunching a "KISS 2.0." Personally I find it kind of silly, but it does make sense from a marketing standpoint. Anyway, back to the plot!
Scooby and Shaggy wake up in a recovery room thanks to a churro that Fred had grabbed from the concession stand, and inform the group of the fight they witnessed between the Crimson Witch and KISS; the other three don't believe them. Suddenly the fortune teller of the park, Chikara, bursts in to tell KISS that the Scooby Gang must go because she can foresee they will help the Witch. Eager to investigate further, Velma goes with The Spaceman to speak with Chikara. Daphne, The Starchild, and Fred go to investigate the ride where the Witch was last seen. The Demon, however, leaves Scooby and Shaggy to hang out with The Catman.
Velma and The Spaceman speak with Chikara who tells the legend behind the Crimson Witch. The witch is in search of the Rock of Kissteria, which is some sort of key that holds an ancient evil at bay. Apparently in another world known as Kissteria, the Crimson Witch created a being known as The Destroyer to spread havoc, but the warriors of Kissteria used the music which came from a set of crystals to seal The Destroyer away inside of a volcano and created a black diamond known as the Rock of Kissteria as the key to the volcano. KISS is now the guardians of the rock, which turns out to be the Detroit rock which they received from Detroit as a cover story.
After Fred discovers some residue left by the Crimson Witch, Daphne discovers a trap door which leads the three of them into the "catacombs" that run underneath the park for the workers. Starchild, Fred, and Daphne run across Shandi Strutter and the special effects team trying out some new ideas for the concert. Fred asks Shandi to analyze the residue they found earlier. Eventually when the whole gang regroups they begin to theorize on the suspects and, as usual for the Scooby Gang, they set a trap for the witch with Scooby and Shaggy as the bait. The pair takes the Detroit rock and starts to walk around the park hoping to lure the witch out. The Crimson Witch chases the pair briefly but is snagged by a rope trap. Velma unmasks the Witch to see a grotesque witch's face. The gang obviously freak out a little bit as they expected a normal person.
The gang prepare to take on the witch once more as she sends some Valkyrie-type creatures to fight them. Starchild attempts to take on the Crimson Witch solo but is defeated. The Crimson Witch uses the Detroit Rock to unleash The Destroyer from his volcanic prison. Since the story of the Detroit Rock was that musical stones created it, KISS returns to the theme park to play their concert leaving the Scooby Gang to delay the Destroyer. The final battle commences as the Destroyer is chasing Mystery Inc while KISS performs "Detroit Rock City." Again, through the power of rock, KISS are able to manifest their superpowers through their music ultimately defeating the Destroyer allowing the Scooby and the rest to get safely back through the portal.
KISS thanks the gang for helping to keep the park open. Fred, Daphne, and Velma begin to leave with Velma feeling confident that her theory of rational explanations remained intact throughout this strange adventure. Scooby and Shaggy say goodbye to KISS as the band flies into the sky to return the rock to Kissteria. Shaggy asks Scooby if they should tell Velma what they just saw, but he simply responds "why rock her world?"
What's Good About It?
The animation is superb in this film. Despite having two completely different groups to appease, it accurately portrays the classic look of the Scooby Gang while giving KISS their own look and feel within that universe which does justice to the band. Even the portions of animation that are clearly pulling their influence from anime do not feel out of place here due to the framing or situation at hand when it is being utilized. The artists obviously had clear direction and a deep love for Scooby Doo and KISS as it shows through their work.
There are so many KISS references hidden throughout this movie that It's actually a hard task tracking them all down. As a KISS fan, it was really fun to see or hear each and every one! Character names such as Shandi Strutter and Delilah Domino are actually a combination of different songs by the band, specifically "Shandi", "Strutter", "Modern Day Delilah", and "Domino." The fortune teller Chikara's name comes from a KISS album. The Dynasty Star Portal which opens when the band plays "I Was Made for Lovin' You" is also a neat reference as that particular song was off their Dynasty album. Also, the "Shout It Out Loud" chase sequence takes place in the Rockin Flume which is sort of like the Tunnel of Love. This may or may not be a reference to Gene's solo album "Tunnel of Love."
However the mother of all KISS references came when Chikara was talking about the Destroyer's backstory. As we see the various pages of her book, a particular set of pages contain nods to not only all of the past members, but a couple of studio musicians who worked with the band as well.
What's Bad/Weak About It?
Some of the jokes in this film are below sub-par. Humor is always a key point with Scooby Doo and though I realize they have to have some jokes for the younger kid, I'm fairly certain even my 5 year old self would moan at a couple of these pitiful attempts. Two specific examples spring to mind. The first of which is between the workers at the very beginning of the film.
Worker 2: Look, somebody's gotta fix this camera. How else are those scaredy cat kids gonna get a picture of themselves screaming their heads off?
Worker 1: Ha-ha! Scaredy cats. Funny.
No, it's not funny... at all. Movie, you were able to get Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith for half a page of dialogue and you managed to make them entirely unfunny? I'm calling a foul play here! The second failed comedy attempt comes when the Scooby Gang first interacts with KISS
Spaceman: That's funny. So are we.
Velma: Wait. You're the ones they called for help?
Demon: Yeah. They wanted the best, they got the best!
Shaggy: But, like, you're a rock band.
Catman: Every band needs a hobby.
Fred: The Ascot Five would welcome our help!
Demon: Well, I guess we're no Ascot Five, so scram!
(All of KISS start laughing)
(All of KISS start laughing)
The rest of the jokes are spot-on or adequate enough for me to pass by, but these two are just baffling at how they thought these lines were funny. Blah Blah nitpick I know.
I want to start this off by saying that I love KISS. I am a proud member of the KISS army, but nobody in the band is exactly Laurence Olivier when it comes to acting. I appreciate that the band decided to voice their own characters but there is a reason these men are rock stars and not voice actors. Sometimes their line delivery can be very cheesy or choppy. It's better than their acting in KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (no seriously go look that up) but it's still not the greatest. I also have to mention "The Elder." I mean no disrespect to Penny Marshall but she is severely miscast in this role and it really sounds like she's just barely phoning it in. I mean, you get to see this dimension of Kissteria and meet the Elder of their people and she sounds like a disinterested Jersey mother? No thank you!
Additional Spoiler warning - If you don't want the ending spoiled, skip the next two paragraphs
Also Velma says they did some research on the government contractor she used to work on and it was discovered that they worked on lasers which used black diamonds. Now that's all good and well but this was done ENTIRELY off screen and only mentioned after Delilah was unmasked. Now this provides a double edged problem. Without mentioning that fact you end up at the culprit's reveal without all of the information thus leaving the viewer confused as to how they knew anything. However, revealing that information would have practically solved the mystery because that would have made Delilah suspect #1 from the very beginning. I understand why they chose to do this film the way they did in order to keep the mystery but it just seems out of left field when you leave a vital clue out of the movie till after the culprit is caught. Perhaps a re-write of her motives would have been more effective.
There are a few scenes and scenarios in this movie that just left us scratching our heads. With this movie being a crossover of Scooby Doo and KISS we should have expected weirdness; we just didn't expect this level of weirdness.
During the "Shout It Out Loud" chase sequence between Scooby, Shaggy, and the Crimson Witch, they leave the KISS ride and land in a container full of cute stuffed rabbits in KISS makeup. The Witch then uses her powers to turn the rabbits alive and the following scenes happen.
When this film was first announced, it was advertised as containing a brand new KISS song. I was desperately wanting it to be a cover the classic "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" theme song so that I could just throw out all my other music and listen to that on repeat for the rest of my life. However what we were treated to was the band portraying Fred's favorite group, the Ascot Five singing "Don't Touch My Ascot." The track itself is pretty bizarre with each member of the band singing a verse in a pseudo-barbershop quartet style. Just...just listen.
Once the gang gets to Kissteria, the Witch releases The Destroyer. Now this creature has been talked up through a decent portion of the movie as being this terribly powerful being to strike fear into the hearts of all. He's sealed in a volcano for goodness sake so this thing has to be pretty epic. The witch releases him and we finally get our first proper look at him... and well... It's MODOK in space.
That's not even the strangest part about him. The strangest part is that he's voiced by Darius Rucker. That's right ladies and gentlemen, Hootie is playing a large evil head in a Scooby Doo movie. He does a good job with the modifications they've done to his voice so please don't misunderstand as he's not bad. It's just such a strange choice to begin with. If I wanted to add a voice actor to my roster to voice a large world destroying creature, he's certainly not the one I would have thought of first. In the words of my good friend "I think I've been saying this a lot in the last few years, but why Darius Rucker?" This of course leads to the obvious joke...
This is quite possibly the strangest part of the entire film. There is a sequence where KISS transforms from their modern day costumes into the costumes they wore during the Destroyer and Rock and Roll Over Tours. This shouldn't be that strange in and of itself, but it became strange by the manner of which they executed the costume change. The whole movie stops as the band change into their costumes in a Sailor Moon inspired transformation scene complete with Japanese kanji, lasers, and an instrumental version of KISS' "Love Gun." Starchild's segment is basically an exact replica of Sailor Moon's. Take a look for yourself complete with Sailor Moon comparison
Seriously though, why would four grown men want to do something that emulates Sailor Moon?
Hey Wes er sorry... Ghost, I've got a first draft of that other commission you asked for. I just used a Cookout bag since it's only a preliminary attempt. Wanna see it?
NO Jojo! Not now! Please for the love of all things don't show that now!
What sort of commission?
You wanna see? Here you go!
You wanna see? Here you go!
Isn't it beautiful?
HAH! That's comedy gold, man!
Someone please just shoot me now.
You were seriously questioning the Sailor Moon transformation when there's a drawing of you looking like that?
As if I'm the only one here who has photographic evidence of them looking ridiculous.
Oh-ho what's this?
I... I don't know what you're talking about man.
Well here, allow me to "Shout It Out Loud" for you then.
Well now that we've all thoroughly embarrassed ourselves.. Let's wrap this bad boy up.
This film is an exercise in weirdness and surrealism. I came in to this movie with only the slightest understanding of KISS as a whole; I experienced this as a Scooby Doo fan. If you are a fellow Scooby Doo fan then this will prove to be fairly entertaining. It's always good to see the gang out solving mysteries and dealing with strange things. It's nothing incredibly groundbreaking for Scooby Doo as they have covered so many types of mysteries and situations in the past, but at the end of the day it's still a Scooby movie and follows most of the norms for their format and personalities. If you enjoy Scooby Doo then you will probably find this confusing but pleasant. However, I have a feeling that KISS fans will get a LOT more out of this movie than your average Scooby Doo fan. Am I correct in this assumption, Looney?
Yeah, I'd have to say that a good chunk of the audience for this will be KISS fans looking for every little reference to the band. I've heard of people on the KISS forums (YES, those exist) that say their kids have gotten into the band through this movie. I can imagine Paul and most certainly Gene had the goal of reaching a new generation with this movie. I've seen some fans totally irate at the idea of KISS doing this, but it's not like they haven't been doing stuff like this since the mid-70's. At the end of the day, the movie is really just a nice little piece of cheesy, campy fun.
Well that just about covers it. Thanks for accompanying me down the rabbit hole with this excellent suggestion for a crossover, my friend.
Thanks, I really enjoyed this too! Sorry if I got fanboy all over the place.
So from Wes (Ghost), Dylan, and JoJo.
Scooby Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery is Not Rated and is available on DVD from Warner Brothers.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -If you want to see my other Movie and Television reviews/recommendations then simply click here!
If you are a fan of music and want to read more from Dylan, you can check out his blogs at.. a website to be determined. (Don't ask)
If you like Jojo's artwork you can... not check it out online cause she doesn't have anything like that. Go bug her to upload her stuff to Deviantart or something!