Production: Warner Bros., 2001
Running Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
When Shaggy applies for a job teaching at a school for girls, he doesn't realize all the students are ghouls! With Scooby and Scrappy, he arrives to teach gym at Miss Grimwood's School for Girls, but is horrified to discover that the students are the daughters of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and other famous monsters. Still, when Shaggy coaches the girls to volleyball victory over nearby Callaway Military Academy, the dogs become popular with the parents.
But the evil witch Revolta wants to add the talented girls to her monster squad. She brainwashes Shaggy into taking them on a field trip to Barren Bog, where the girls fall victim to Revolta's spells. Then she replaces Shaggy with an evil double. Scooby-Doo must rely on his wits, a friendly dragon, and the honor code of the boys from Callaway to save the day.
Best For Ages:
2-5 - A bit frightening for preschool kids, though it's less scary than most Scooby-Doo cartoons.
6-8 - The perfect age group. Primary school kids won't be afraid, yet won't think the ghouls are too silly.
9-12 - Scooby fans may enjoy the ghostly antics, but pre-teens in general will find the story juvenile.
Educational Value: Out to recess. Monsters borrowed from classic horror films.
Entertainment Value: One of the later Scooby-Doo releases, GHOUL SCHOOL features actual ghosts rather than wicked human impersonators. The visuals are better than early Hanna-Barbara cartoons, but the humor isn't as sharp.
Frightening Situations: Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, mummies, and monsters are central characters. Sharks and monsters lurk in moats and wells. Shaggy gets brainwashed, then replaced by an evil double. Boys get caught in quicksand. A nasty witch with a one-eyed sidekick kidnaps the girls.
Questionable Behavior: Characters eat mold, toadstools, and spiderwebs. Kids cheat at sports.
Violence: Cartoon stuff, including spider-bats that kidnap a student, giant plant roots that tie people up, and some rough volleyball.
There are two kinds of Scooby-Doo fans: those who find late addition Scrappy adorable, and those who wish Scooby's nephew would get stuck in quicksand. Scrappy tends to be popular among very young viewers; a four-year-old who found SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS scary loved SCOOBY-DOO AND THE GHOUL SCHOOL. However, most pre-teens can't stand the uppity pup, and long-time Scooby-Doo viewers will miss Velma, Freddy, and Daphne.
Viewers also divide between those who like supernatural stories and those who prefer earlier installments in which Velma explains away the "ghosts" as the inventions of greedy people. This story loses steam in the middle when the monster jokes start to get silly; it's more entertaining to watch Shaggy try to escape from phantoms that aren't real. The action picks up when the witch kidnaps the students and Shaggy must display unusual heroism.
Though GHOUL SCHOOL's main characters all come from horror movies most young viewers haven't seen, the girls are amusing characters in their own right. They hold their own against both the old-fashioned Callaway boys and the nasty witch Revolta, who has four arms and lots of warts. Four and seven year old viewers particularly liked the zany volleyball game and a swimming session in a shark-infested moat.
The plot is more complex than that of SCOOBY-DOO AND THE WITCH'S GHOST, though none of the girls are as memorable as the characters in that 1999 release. Scrappy fans may also appreciate SCOOBY-DOO MEETS THE BOO BROTHERS, but long-time fans of the series will prefer collections like SCOOBY-DOO'S CREEPIEST CAPERS.