Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc.: “The Shrieking Madness” (No, Really.)

The first thing you need to know about this episode of the new Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. series: it is about “H. P. Hatecraft” (you can figure that one out on your own) and Harlan Ellison and tentacular horrors.

I am not joking.

I’ve been watching this show because it’s ridiculously, hilariously self-aware and has so much under-the-surface commentary on its source material. Frankly, I’m not sure what the target age group is, because it certainly seems like it was made for people between the ages of 20-45ish who grew up watching the original Scooby Doo. Some of the episodes also have weirdly cool lighting and animation techniques. Oh, and the Sheriff is voiced by Patrick Warburton (a.k.a., Brock Sampson of The Venture Brothers), though he’s not in this episode.

I laughed consistently for the entire thirty minute airing of this episode. Sometimes so hard that it hurt. This script is just made for speculative fiction geeks. It’s basically a giant commentary on fans, writing, and the business of Being a Writer.

You know it’s going to go well when six minutes into the episode we jump to the end of a Harlan Ellison lecture which Velma is attending and his line is “And that’s why there hasn’t been anything good written since the 1970s!” followed by applause from the college-age audience. I burst into giggles, which only continued when Scooby Doo!Ellison rips apart an audience member asking him questions and ridicules the kid’s love of “Hatecraft’s” books.

There is no possible way this episode is intended for anyone in the 7-11 age group. There is no way. “Holy Bradbury” is used as an exclamation. Aside from the incessant literary puns that are scattered through the episode and the commentary on literature/science fiction/horror that underlies most of the characters’ dialogues, the crazy music and the tentacled monster-(god) are entertaining enough on their own. Drums! Darkness! Shadows and terror! Pounding chanting music! (Though I’m pretty sure Cthulhu did not have sonic burst waves.)

The only thing better than meeting Harlan Ellison is meeting Lovecraft—er, “Hatecraft.” Ahem. And then them meeting each other.

Just—trust me. I’m not going to spoil the best parts (Howard E. Roberts, that’s all I have to say), but I might actually have had tears in my eyes I was cackling so hard. When can you get that kind of goofy pleasure from the television, really? An episode catered to nerd-dom and filled to the brim with in-jokes and grammatical puns (and tentacular horrors)?

You want to go watch this. You really, really do. I promise.

Lee Mandelo is a multi-fandom geek with a special love for comics and queer literature. She can be found on Twitter and Livejournal.


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