Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and released in August 2014. This film premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con in July of 2014.It is the twenty-second film in the Scooby-Doo! film series. The movie is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus. It was directed by Paul McEvoy and written by James Krieg.
Velma Dinkley receives news about a cursed inheritance left to her by her ancestor, Dr. Baron Von Dinklestein. When the team decide to find out the mystery behind Velma's cursed inheritance, the mystery machine is blown up, so the team takes a train to Transylvania, Pennsylvania. The ghost of the Baron appears and attempts to wreck the train. Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, Velma, Daphne, and Fred work together to rescue themselves and the other passengers on the train. Upon reaching Transylvania, the group learn they are not welcome.
Iago appears and offers to take the gang to the Von Dinklestein castle. Velma vows to prove the monster isn't real, but the house keeper turns on a machine to hypnotize Velma that turns her into a mad scientist. At the festival, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy win an eating contest and receive new outfits to fit into the Amish-like community. Daphne gets a new dress that makes her fat and ruins her hair. Suddenly, Iago appears and asks them all to save Velma.
Velma brings the Frankencreep to life! Immediately, the villagers want to destroy it with fire, but the monster chases after the villagers. Shaggy and Scooby go after the monster, while Daphne and Fred attempt to solve the mystery. Daphne and Fred find the mine tunnels under the castle where natural gas has escaped. Back at the castle, Velma decides to replace the monster's brain with Shaggy and Scooby's brains. Their clothes are ripped off and they become themselves again. Velma gets re-hypnotized and returns to herself.
The gang solves the mystery by tricking the villagers who are working together in a conspiracy to rid the gang of what they loved most. The FBI arrests the conspirators and the gang realizes that what they love most is each other. They know the curse isn't real, and it turns out the conspirators were past crooks they had arrested before.
Major Themes Edit
Throughout the Scooby-Doo! series, the "meddling kids" always set out to solve mysteries and prove the supernatural is not real. Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy follows the same plotline as Velma says she will be "...proving monsters do not exist!" After, she ends up recreating the creature, Shaggy says to Velma, "Your whole life is about rejecting the supernatural and magic and weirdness." The supernatural continues to appear as the ghost of the Baron keeps attempting to sabotage the gang by fulfilling the curse of Velma's inheritance.
The supernatural was even used against the crooks. For example, to solve the mystery of the curse, the gang use apparitions of Velma's head, clothes from Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo, and the mystery van to trick and scare the conspirators onto a train with the hopes of extracting a confession from them. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, the "meddling kids" solve the mystery and prove that the supernatural was fake all along by explaining how the crooks used masks and an elaborate plan. Finally, the monster was just an exoskeleton suit for the FBI thus debunking the idea that monsters could exist too.
The final message for the audience is that the supernatural particularly monsters, curses, and ghosts are not real. "Children's Literature, Monsters in" states, "The animated Scooby-Doo's not-really-monsters generated a way of creating and diffusing menace..." (Ashgate Encyclopedia). The article is suggesting that the fake supernatural monsters and events is a way for children to understand and vanquish danger. By the gang solving the mystery, the crooks are arrested by the FBI, and the danger to the group is removed. Cantor and Hoffner state that, "Until a child understands this distinction [fantasy-reality distinction], he or she should be unable to appreciate that something that is not real cannot pose a threat." (Children's Fear and Televised Film, pg 473).This means that some children who do not know that something isn’t real may still feel scared when watching it on television. Therefore, it is really important that the producers decided to focus on the supernatural and the monsters as fake in the end.
Beauty and the Grotesque Edit
In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus, the monster's grotesque appearance scares villagers and ostracizes the monster from the community. The same is true for the Frankencreep monster in Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy (2014) as Shaggy remarks, "Just as well he can't see himself in the mirror, because he is pretty hideous too." Immediately following, the creature sees its reflection and becomes distraught by its ugly grotesque appearance. Velma tries to reason with the monster by yelling, "You're beautiful!" but the damage had already been done.
The fact that humanity is so vain in deciding whether someone or something belongs to our society solely based on the way they look, is the subject under critique. The creature's behavior is not under scrutiny, but his "hideous" appearance is. As in Shelley's novel, the treatment of humanity against his deformity is what turns the monster to violence against the villagers. The true grotesque is the cruelty of humans.
The theme of beauty and the grotesque is further amplified when Daphne's appearance is drastically altered when she is dressed in an inflatable dress, her face swells from a shellfish allergy, and her hair is messed up from moisture. Velma says to her, "You look terrifying!" Daphne is put in a size 8 dress and it makes her look fat. The comical change in Daphne's appearance from slim and gorgeous to fat and sloppy critiques the American cultural stigmas of beauty today. Fred tells Daphne, "You always look great to me," displaying acceptance and love for her character not her body.
Finally, Velma turns into a classic Femme Fatale archetype after her hypnosis. Her sexual beauty is juxtaposed with her monstrous and dangerous ambition to recreate her ancestor's monster. Her conservative turtle neck and cute bob is traded in for a sexy, leather revealing dress and hardcore spiked hair.
Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy is a family and kids movie. Common Sense Media suggests that children seven and older watch the movie due to cartoon violence. Eighty percent of Rotten Tomatoes users liked the movie and gave it 4.2 out of 5 stars. International Movie Database rated the film a 6.9 out of 10 star rating. The movie went straight to VHS and DVD without playing in theaters. It was also nominated at the Behind the Voice Actors Award in 2015 for Best Male Vocal Performance in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Theatrical Short (IMDb.com).
Significance of Adaptation Edit
In the larger realm of Frankenstein adaptations this film was directly influenced by the Universal Frankenstein (1931) film when the villagers come after the monster with torches. The creature is built from parts of deceased animals from a zoo cemetery which falls back to Tim Burton's Frankenweenie (2012) production with its pet cemetery. In addition, many aspects from Young Frankenstein (1974) appear in this film too. For example, the house maid, Mrs. Vanders, and the helpful servant, Iago, look and act just like the respective characters in Young Frankenstein even though their names differ.
The creator of this Frankenstein monster is a teenager herself. Velma is a smart and hardworking teenager. Her character serves as a pathway for the teenage audience to imagine themselves as the creator in her place. The underlying message to teens suggests that they can make anything they set their own minds too. In addition, the children and adolescent format introduces the Frankenstein novel through Velma's back story. She points out to Shaggy that the name Frankenstein actually relates to the doctor and not the monster, which corrects a lot of the viewers too. She also tells everyone that the novel Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus was written by Mary Shelley in 1818. All of this is after she recollects her ancestor's story of piecing together a creature from dead body parts and bringing it to life through electricity complete with the villagers' anger. This is essentially the Frankenstein story, at least a very short plot line, however a lot is missing. Nonetheless, the young audience may become intrigued and look into the novel after watching this adaptation, and Velma makes this possible by dropping those key bits of information into her narrative.
Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy displays self-reflexivity throughout the film as it constantly points to its connection to the Scooby-Doo! film series. The beginning of the movie reminds the viewers of past episode bad guys and mysteries solved through Daphne's online web series. By having the perpetrators in this film be the group of ex-crooks, the film is promoting a "reunion" and celebrating how far it has come.
References/Further Reading Edit
"Children's Literature, Monsters in." The Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2014. Credo Reference. Web 4 April, 2015.
Cantor, Joanne, and Cynthia Hoffner. "Children's Fear Reactions to a Televised Film as a Function of Perceived Immediacy of Depicted Threat."Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 34.4 (1990): 421-42. Web.
Common Sense Media. Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy Movie Review. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/scooby-doo-frankencreepy Web.
International Movie Database. Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3919322/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 Web.
Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/scooby_doo_frankencreepy/ Web.
Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy. Dir. Paul McEvoy. Perf. Frank Welker, Mind Cohn, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Jeff Bennett. Warner Bros. Animation, 2014. DVD.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus. Ed. Susan J. Wolfson. New York: Longman, 2007. Print.
Author: Megan Rozzana