Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island, released in 1998, was my favorite Scooby-Doo movie to watch growing up as a child. While my sister and I were big fans of Scooby-Doo in general, the fact that the monsters were REAL this time was what hooked us and millions of other kids.
The story revolves around Scooby and the gang reuniting after a hiatus to try and solve one more mystery. Daphne is bored that the monsters were never real. They meet Simone, a beautiful cook in her early twenties whom Fred develops a crush on. She tells them that her employer Simone’s house on Moonscar island is haunted by the ghost of Morgan Moonscar. The gang excitedly agree to investigate this case, certain that it’s just another phony like their previous hauntings.
However, after a few misadventures at the manor (including Lena and Simone being horrified to discover Scooby is a dog and Scooby chasing Simone’s cats, Morgan Moonscar’s ghost warning the gang to leave, and spicy peppers,) it turns out that the monsters really ARE real this time. Fred pulls a zombie’s face off and a chase begins (in one of the coolest music action sequences ever) until Scooby and the gang finally reunite with a frightened Lena who claims her employer has been kidnapped.
But then this is when things take a(nother) twist. Through a surprising series of events, it is revealed that Simone & Lena are the true villains of this tale. A long time ago, they were members of a peaceful settler who worshiped a cat god. The vicious pirate Morgan Moonscar & his crew attacked the colony and murdered everyone within except Lena & Simone, who managed to escape. Lena & Simone made a pact with their cat to give them powers to kill the pirates and avenge their people. This power gave them immortality but with a cost: their powers and youth would fade if they did not kill a person by each full moon. They’ve lured many innocent tourists to the island to kill, and now it’s the gang’s turn.
Thankfully, with some help from the zombies and Scooby and Shaggy, the ladies are foiled and they turn to dust. Now we come to the main question of this article.
Would Simone and Lena still be considered villains by Scooby and the gang if they had only killed the pirates and no one else? Daphne tells Simone and Lena that the zombies were just poor souls trying to warn the gang. While many of them were (the tourists), many of them were also bloodthirsty pirates who had killed innocent people. But the gang does not draw any distinction in the film between pirate zombies and tourist zombies. Velma smiles at the zombies at the end and says “Now they can rest in peace.” There is no condemnation of Morgan Moonscar from the gang, only gratitude.
It’s hard to tell exactly what opinion the director and scriptwriters had on the morality or immorality of Lena and Simone killing just the pirates. Was it justified self-defense/vengeance, or is revenge always wrong in the eyes of Scooby and the gang? This is an interesting question that I fear we may never know the answer to. We have reached out to some of the people involved in Scooby-Doo and will update if we get responses. A recent sequel, Return To Zombie Island, references the story of Zombie Island but does not give an opinion on the gang’s opinion on killing the pirates.
This moral question remains Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island’s biggest mystery.
As for me, I stand on the side of the two women defending themselves and avenging their people against evil pirates. It is problematic and deeply immoral to condemn them for striking back. Let’s hope the gang understand that what made Simone and Lena evil was their killing of innocent tourists, not their killing of pirates.