Sunday, August 9, 2015

'Scooby-Doo! and KISS Rock and Roll Mystery' review

"Do you always wear makeup when you solve crimes?" — Delilah Domino
"I sure hope so." — Daphne

"You're the only demon I'll ever like." — Shaggy to Gene Simmons' Demon

Who knew Daphne is a member of the KISS Army? And who knew the cutest redhead in the Hanna-Barbera world has a thing for Paul Stanley's Starchild?

The Daphne- Starchild flirtation is one of the ongoing schticks in the delightful, kid-friendly "Scooby Doo! and KISS Rock and Roll Mystery" animated movie. An equally funny schtick is KISS manager Chip McGhoo who gripes every time he cleans up the debris from the confetti bombs when the rock group makes a dramatic entrance or exit.

"C'mon guys, these special effects cost money," he says.

McGhoo is a hilarious send-up of real-life KISS manager Doc McGhee (who voices his own satirical character, just as KISS handles the voice work for their super-powered, animated counterparts). McGhoo shows up throughout the movie to push random KISS merchandise with such laugh-out-loud taglines as "Don't KISS this deal goodbye" — done in the iconic KISS logo, of course!

The Mystery Inc. gang comes to the amusement park KISS World on a hunch Daphne has that they can solve the mystery of the Crimson Witch haunting and terrorizing parkers just before KISS is about to perform a Halloween concert.


Velma isn't happy that Fred "accidentally" hit a pothole when she was
touching up her Starchild makeup on the way to KISS World.
Upon arriving at KISS World, Scooby-Doo and the gang learn the park hasn't hired Mystery Inc., but Daphne figures they could solve the Crimson Witch mystery and get to see the band perform. (And meet the dreamy Starchild natch!) That means in the first six minutes, nearly the entire Mystery Inc. gang is rockin' KISS makeup: Daphne as the Starchild, Velma the Spaceman, Scooby-Doo ironically is the Catman and Shaggy the Demon.

Fred — whom Stachild consistently calls "Frank" — is having nothing to do with the gang's fascination with KISS. (Velma actually sees their "sideshow act as juvenile," but says she's trying to be supportive of her friends' interests.) He's a big fan of Ascot Five, a corny, straight-laced doo-whop group that happens to wears the same white sweater-blue shirt-and-neckerchief combo that Fred has mad infamous. It doesn't help that Fred is extremely jealous of the attraction between Daphne and Starchild.

("Don't Touch My Ascot," which Fred plays momentarily on the Mystery Machine CD player much to the disgust of his buddies, is performed in its entirety during the closing credits. It's the so-called "new" KISS song rumored to be in the movie.)

Not surprisingly, "Rock and Roll Mystery" is a full of KISS references.

"Rock-n-Roll All Nite" plays over the opening montage after the first scene and features shots and/or homages to such iconic KISS albums as CREATURES OF THE NIGHT, ALIVE!, DYNASTY and LOVE GUN.

The characters are based on KISS songs: security guard Delilah Domino (voiced by "NCIS" hottie Pauley Perette), Beth, Christine and my favorite name of the bunch besides Chip McGhoo, Shandi Strutter.

The voice cast is a who's who of Hollywood royalty: Penny Marshall, of "Laverne and Shirley" fame plays The Elder, her brother Garry Marshall is the park manager plus there's a cameo at the beginning by Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, better known as Jay and Silent Bob. Hooty and the Blowfish lead singer-turned country singer Darius Rucker gets in on the act too, voicing The Destroyer, who bears more than a passing resemblance to the late, great Jack Kirby's Darkseid villain from DC Comics. Besides KISS, rounding out the all-star cast is Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in two "Scooby-Doo" live-action movies.

A chase sequence involving the Scooby gang, KISS, the Crimson Witch and Destroyer takes place in a trippy interdimensional space, which also is Kirby-esque. I have to wonder if that's not some sort of nod to Gene Simmons' love of comic books.

Collage courtesy of anythingkiss.tumblr.com
The first time Scooby and Shaggy encounter the Crimson Witch is one of several sequences which feature KISS tunes. Shaggy sees a sign that reads "your tongue must be this long to ride this ride." The Crimson Witch soon chases the goofy duo through the Rockin' Flume to "Shout It Out Loud."

"Rock and Roll Mystery" also features plenty of Mystery Inc. schtick and goofiness. Velma still wants a rational explanation for everything that happens. And of course, Scooby and Shaggy are obsessed with feeding their never-empty bellies — which brings them face-to-face for the first time with a member of KISS, Gene Simmons' Demon, who is the grumpy and cynical member of the band.

And best of all, is the Crimson Witch's last line: "My plan was perfect and I would have gotten away with too if it weren't for those meddling KISS … uh, kids." Grade: A




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