Warner Bros. Animation (September 14, 2010), Warner Home Video (September 14, 2010), single disc, 75 mins plus supplements, 1.79:1 aspect ratio, Dolby Digital 5.1, Not Rated, Retail: $19.98


Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery, Inc. gang go to Camp Little Moose to relive Freddy’s old camp stories and end up in the middle of a mystery involving the legendary Woodsman.

The Sweatbox Review:

Summer camp has been an American rite of passage for generations. When a kid is old enough to go to camp, it signifies the beginning of their slow journey to independence. For many kids, myself included, camp was about something new, exciting, and really a kind of vacation from the doldrums of Summer vacation. It was a time to play with other kids, learn new crafts, sit around a campfire, and tell ghost stories. Ghost stories, of course, were the one thing that was never missing. If you were not telling or listening to ghost stories around a campfire, there was always bedtime when everything was dark and one of your friends would begin telling a “true story” of something incredible that happened one time at camp. Someone must have seen a ghost, or heard about someone who had seen one. It didn’t matter. Camp was always shrouded in a sort of mystery where anything, even the supernatural, seemed possible.

Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare is all about that nostalgia of summer camp. In it, Freddy convinces the rest of the Mystery, Inc. gang to come out to his old stomping grounds of Camp Little Moose. However, before he even arrives, the ghost of The Woodsman is already stalking the grounds, and scaring away the children. When they finally arrive, they find the camp deserted and are notified that the camp is closing for the remainder of the summer. Fred, in disbelief, refuses to go home and when a group of unsuspecting kids show up to camp not knowing that it has been canceled, he seizes the opportunity to become a camp counselor for one last time. He wants to pass down the traditions of Camp Little Moose to the new kids, even as the threat of monsters grows imminent. It soon becomes clear that someone, or something, does not want the camp to stay open and all the campers may be in danger.

The campers are terrified of The Woodsmen when he shows up in the middle of the night to drive them out of Camp Little Moose. The mystery further develops when during an outing to Big Moose Lake, the gang is attacked by another local legend – the Fish-man. During the attack, Scooby-Doo discovers a submerged town below the surface of the lake. After a second attack by The Woodsman on Camp Little Moose, the campers decide it is too dangerous and begin to say at snazzy rival Camp Big Moose. There, they discover that an RV has been stolen. This is when the gang splits up with one group investigating the missing RV while another decides to investigate the submerged town at the bottom of the lake. As their search leads them closer to uncovering the mystery, they gang is attacked once again, this time also by another local ghost – the Specter of Shadow Canyon.

Camp Scare is a fun Scooby-Doo adventure. The mystery is simple and easy to follow as one clue leads to another. As with most Scooby-Doo mysteries, part of the fun is deciphering who is behind the mask and what they are after. In this mystery, I was not disappointed and while I had a hunch of who was the culprit, I was never sure until the end. I have to say that one thing that I found disappointing in the story was how it was nearly impossible to know for certain who was behind the monsters with the clues that were given. The mystery of the submerged town and the missing RV only led you to what the monster was trying to hide, but not to the actual identity of the person behind the mask. Also, I felt that little was done with Shaggy’s character who seemed to be more interested in eating than helping his friends most of the time. Despite this, the story was fun, moved at an appropriate pace, and the characters were fun to follow.

Is This Thing Loaded?

The DVD opens with trailers for Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes movie and for Scooby-Doo! And The Spooky Swamp game. There is also a commercial for Zoinks Points. Inside the special features section of the DVD are also trailers for Lego Universe, Scooby-Doo: Abracadabra Doo, and Batman: Brave and the Bold.

Aside from trailers, there are two main special features included in this DVD set. The first is Scooby-Doo! Spooky Camp Stories (9:10), which is a collection of scary stories told by a host. First up is “The Viking’s Ghost”, followed by “The Beastly Bunny”, and concluding with “The Shark From Outer Space”. Each tale is about two minutes long but runs as one continuous segment. The stories are not told through animated sequences, but instead use pictures, old archival-looking footage, live action reenactments, and sound effects to enhance the mood. Between tales, we get funny clips of Scooby and Shaggy to lighten the mood.

The second main bonus feature is the pilot episode for Scooby-Doo! Mystery, Inc called “Beware the Beast From Below”. In this episode, we are introduced once again to the gang in their hometown of Crystal Cove, the home of creepy, haunted ghosts and monsters. Here, they are modern teenagers with an obsession with solving mysteries and unmasking monsters. I have been enjoying Mystery, Inc. very much since it premiered this Fall. The show has done a great job at bringing the kids even further into the modern age than What’s New Scooby-Doo? and they’re actually exploring the relationships between the main characters more which is very interesting to watch unfold. A season-long mystery has also added to the allure. Of course, as always the main focus is on the mysteries involving monsters and ghosts which do not disappoint in these stories.

Case Study:

This DVD is being released in a standard black DVD keep case. The cover features Scooby-Doo telling a scary story around a camp fire surrounded by Velma, Shaggy, Freddy, and Daphne who are scared of the Woodsman who is creeping up behind Scooby. The back cover features Scooby, Freddy, and Shaggy on a canoe while the Fish-Man lurks beneath the water. Inside the case is a flier for Zoinks Points and for Scooby-Doo Edible Arrangements. The disc art features Scooby-Doo dressed up like a chef. The whole case is covered by a cardboard slipcase.

Ink And Paint:

The character designs used in this film are similar to the ones found in most recent Scooby-Doo films – Abracadabra Doo and Samurai Sword. While the Mystery, Inc. cartoony designs are great, it was nice of the animators to keep the consistency with past releases. The animation overall for the movie is beautiful and looks great with colorful backgrounds and a perfect eerie lighting on some of the scary night scenes. I have to give props to the animation department as the movie looks like it could even be on the big screen. After all, is there a reason we don’t see Scooby-Doo animated films on the big screen? Must it be live-action? The movie is presented in a matted widescreen presentation at approximately 1.79:1 aspect ratio.

Scratch Tracks:

This DVD has been released with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The tracks are great with the music and eerie sound effects really enhancing the mood in the more scary episodes. Overall, the sound is very good and completely suited to this release. English, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles are also available. Additional Spanish and Portuguese subtitles are also available for the Spooky Camp Stories bonus feature.

Final Cut:

With Camp Scare, Warner Brothers continues to make 2010 a landmark year for the Scooby-Doo franchise. This is the second movie released this year (along with Abracadabra-Doo) and Scooby-Doo’s latest animated series, Mystery, Inc. has been exploring new layers in the relationships between these beloved characters. This is another entertaining addition to the now large Scooby-Doo movie library. Fans of the franchise will enjoy seeing these characters in a new setting. With Scooby-Doo it has always been about setting-appropriate monsters and the three featured in this story are all great and fit right in the story. They are reminiscent of all the scary ghosts and monsters we heard about many-a-time around a campfire. By keeping the story in a more familiar territory (as opposed to exotic locations), this mystery hits much closer to home than other more recent adventures.

Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?