11th Oct2015

‘Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Frank Welker, Mindy Cohn, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer, Tommy Thayer, Pauley Perrette, Jennifer Carpenter, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Doc McGhee | Written by Kevin Shinick, James Krieg | Directed by Spike Brandt, Tony Cervone

scooby-and-kiss-dvd

There was a time in the late 70s, at the height of the musicals comeback, when Hollywood went knocking on many a musicians door in an attempt to find the next big thing in the genre. Of course being one of the biggest bands on the planet in the 70s, that meant producers tapped KISS for movie stardom. After all, Kiss were already known for extraordinary over-the-top stage shows and had their own Marvel Comic where they were not just rock gods but superheroes!

And so cult-classic KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park was born… Directed by Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again, Murders in the Rue Morgue) and produced by Hanna-Barbera, the film debuted on US television in 1978 as a NBC Movie of the Week, telling the story of KISS and their efforts to thwart a diabolical plan by mad scientist Abner Devereaux, who has found a way to clone humans into robots in his laboratory at an amusement park and plans to unleash them during a KISS concert.

Jump forward 37 years and Hanna-Barbera reunite with Kiss once again for another story set in an amusement park. Only this latest adventure sees the band – comprised of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer – who lend their voices to their animated selves, team up wth another iconic Hanna-Barbera property, Scooby Doo!

Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery is the latest feature-length animated movie to feature the Mystery, Inc. gang of Shaggy, Velma, Fred, Daphne and Scooby-Doo, who are joined by the band to investigate a ghoul terrorising the Kiss World amusement park.

They discover that the evil Crimson Witch has been wreaking havoc at the park and is planning to summon a monster, the Destroyer, from another dimension to destroy the park, and the planet. The gang must use their mystery-solving skills to try to save the Earth, coming head to head with the legendary rock group, KISS, who claim they’re also there to solve the mystery. Now the two groups must learn to work together as the clues lead them on a cosmic journey to save the world in time for Kiss to put on their rock show.

If KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park can be considered something of a cult oddity, then so can Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery. A semi-”sequel” to the ’78 movie, this animated film is less a Scooby Doo adventure and more of a celebration of all things Kiss. There are nods to Kiss history: their old albums, the out of this world concepts the band have conjured up over the years, previous band members, even the old Marvel comic; and of course the film is packed with the bands iconic songs… Kiss even have fun with their own image, with the bands manager Doc McGhee constantly popping in and out of the film plugging Kiss-branded products – mocking the gross commerciality the band are now known for. Even one of McGhee’s other acts, Darius Rucker, lead singer of the band Hootie and the Blowfish, makes a cameo in the film as the voice of the world-eating The Destroyer.

Like other feature-length, direct to DVD, Scooby Doo movies, there’s no real connection to the TV show beyond the characters. And much like other entries in the movie series, such as Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery, this film is not only for kids. There are plenty of in-jokes for the adults watching – even moreso for those dedicated Kiss fans who will not doubt buy¬†Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery to see their musical heroes in action.

Easily one of the best Scooby Doo movies to hit DVD in recent years, Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery harkens back to the classic era of the cartoon when celebrity cameos were all the rage (Scooby Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters anyone?) and at the same time offers plenty of fun for ALL the family – kids will love the antics of the Scooby gang and Kiss’ superhuman powers, whilst the grown ups will enjoy the oddball humour and celebrity cameos, which include director Garry Marshall and Jay & Silent Bob themselves, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith respectively!

Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery is released on DVD on October 12th.

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