A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this animated adventure features the typical components of a Scooby-Doo mystery: frightening creatures that are actually people in disguise, mild flirting, creepy characters, and violent scenes. Families who don't like paranormal themes should know that the movie centers around vampires. There's a somewhat disturbing subplot involving Daphne being kidnapped and offered up to a vampire as his eternal bride, and there's a lot of flirting, dancing, and touching in one sequence. The violence -- including stakes being thrown and a scary, screaming vampire -- will likely frighten younger kids.
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What's the story?
The Scooby gang decides to take a vacation after solving a mystery, so they head south to the Louisiana Bayou for a "Vampire Fest" that Velma (voiced by Mindy Cohn) wants to attend. Mr. Van Helsing (Jeff Bennett), a famous vampire scholar, shows the friends his impressive collection of paranormal goods, including an encased vampire, Lord Valdronya. When a group of actors playing vampires says a ritual curse during a performance, the vampire comes to life and starts terrorizing the town. The vampire-obsessed actors kidnap Daphne (Grey DeLisle) to present her to Valdronya as his vampire bride in exchange for immortality, unless Scooby (Frank Welker) and the gang can stop them and solve the mystery.
Is it any good?
If you can look past the iffy themes, this is a decent mystery with the usual twists and turns that only the gang (and savvy viewers) can figure out. Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire is a mix of musical numbers and loads of vampire references. It's difficult to imagine who the intended audience is, since most children will be too young to pick up the allusions to Twilight, and teens are too old to care about Scooby. That said, parents who aren't bothered by the paranormal (and the movie's weird vampire bride subplot), may occasionally laugh at the various vampire jokes and campy song-and-dance interludes.
Scooby-Doo is the kind of franchise that most people either love or hate. Since the population of Scooby fans tends to be little kids, it's a shame that there's almost always too many creepy elements to these straight-to-DVD movies. No one dies, of course, but the villainous vampire and his acolytes are freaky and frightening and (on the surface) trying to sell a girl's soul for the sake of their own chance at eternal life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire combines two popular trends: musicals and vampires. Are you familiar with the other stories this movie referenced? What's the appeal of vampires? Musicals?
Scooby-Doo has been around for decades. What's the enduring appeal of this series? What are some other movies about kids who solve mysteries?
Some readers have criticized other Scooby movies for their paranormal themes. Do you think vampires, monsters, and ghosts belong in an animated movie geared toward young kids?
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