Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: May 29, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf (Blu-ray Review)


Ray Patterson

Release Date(s)

1988 (February 20, 2024)


Hanna-Barbera (Warner Archive Collection)
  • Film/Program Grade: See Below
  • Video Grade: See Below
  • Audio Grade: See Below
  • Extras Grade: C

Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf (Blu-ray)



During the 1980s, Hanna-Barbera was in full swing with any number of TV shows, including their previous hits which were in constant rotation in re-runs. However, a return to the classic characters of old in some new adventures was definitely needed, and from 1987 to 1988, they produced ten syndicated made-for-TV feature films starring many of their most popular stars, including Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Huckleberry Hound, Top Cat, and many others. This series eventually became known collectively as Hanna-Barbera’s Superstars 10, and 36 years later, the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have released all of the films on Blu-ray for the first time.

Premiering on November 13, 1988, Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf again sees Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and Scrappy-Doo off on another supernatural adventure. This time around, Shaggy finds himself the kidnapped victim of Count Dracula. In Transylvania, Dracula, along with a cadre of monsters, hope to hold their annual “Monster Road Ralley” drag race, and since their Wolfman is on vacation, they turn Shaggy into a wolfman and try to make him appear in the race instead. However, Shaggy and his devoted girlfriend Googie, along with Scooby and Scrappy, want no part of it. Falsely promising to Shaggy that he’ll turn him back to normal and send him home if he takes part in the race, Dracula, along with his troublesome minions, do everything they can to keep him from winning, so that Dracula can have control over him forever.

In all fairness, this wasn’t the first time that Shaggy had ever transformed into a werewolf as it had occurred in the Moonight Madness episode of the Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo show years earlier. (One might also argue that he was a bit more menacing-looking in that incarnation, but that’s neither here nor there.) As it turns out, this Reluctant Werewolf is much less satisfying than the other Superstars 10 features that came before it. It’s yet another tale in which Scooby and the gang don’t solve any mysteries, but it’s also crammed wall-to-wall with both diagetic and nondiagetic music, and to a distracting and unnecessary degree. The art style is off-putting (more on that in a minute), there are little to no real stakes, the jokes are tiresome, and there’s no momentum to the plot. That’s not to say that previous incarnations of Scooby-Doo have been known for meticulously-crafted storytelling, but this feels lazy, and it’s clear that the series is coming to an end. It can be mildly enjoyable in small doses, but even at 92 minutes, Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf just doesn’t hold up as well as its predecessors.

According to the text that opens Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray release, “Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf was one of two of the Superstars 10 telefilms Hanna-Barbera produced using an early form of digital ink and paint, and was output to a final 1” videotape master, with no film protection of any kind. This presentation has been up-converted from its original analog standard definition master to digital High-Definition, with every effort made to improve the visual quality of the program.”

Presented on BD-50 disc and maintaining its original television aspect ratio, it’s given its best possible chance, but it’s a much rougher presentation in comparison to what’s come before. It has that early Cartoon Network look to it where the more traditional-looking backgrounds are much brighter than the actual animation, which makes it stick out that much more. The overall presentation is inherently soft with faint traces of video lines along the edge of the screen, yet with bitrates between 30 and 40Mbps, as well as excellent color and contrast. Because of its source, it’s never going to look all that great to begin with, but what’s presented here is much-improved over previous home video presentations.

The audio is presented in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. As the soundtrack is so aggressively music-driven, it unfortunately doesn’t balance well with dialogue and sound effects, the former of which is a tad too low at times. From 37:14 to 37:57, there are noticeably about eight clicking sounds in the audio. It’s unclear whether this was something inherent in the original master or not, but either way, it could easily have been cleaned up after the fact. At any rate, it’s a subpar soundtrack overall, probably the least of the lot so far.


This release also carries a single, but important, extra:

  • Scooby Goes Hollywood (HD – 49:37)

Airing on December 23, 1979, Scooby Goes Hollywood (released on DVD as Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood) takes a meta approach with Shaggy and Scooby-Doo walking off of their regular TV show and trying to convince the head of the network, as well as everyone else in Hollywood, that Scooby can do more than just make funny. It features appearances from the original Scooby-Doo gang, musical numbers, parodies of various popular movies and TV shows of the era, and a montage of moments from Scooby’s previous TV shows (not to mention a surprising rendition of the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? theme song). It was meant to celebrate Scooby’s then 10th anniversary, even if it feels more like a leftover of sorts from The Scooby-Doo Show (which ended the previous year), but it’s a nice little addition to support the main feature on this release.

Thankfully, Scooby Goes Hollywood is treated with the same great care in terms of quality. It was animated and finished on 35 mm film at the aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and Warner Archive maintains that again here. It’s given a lovely, organic grain structure, bitrates that sit between 30 and 40Mbps, solid linework and cel dirt, and excellent color and contrast with deep blacks.

Audio is presented in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. Like the video portion, there are no issues as it’s a clean, well-balanced track with good support for dialogue, score, and sound effects.


For people of a certain age who saw these films when they originally aired on TV, or rented them on VHS through Worldvision Enterprises, seeing them in such high quality is a real treat. Thankfully, Warner Archive realized that not everybody may like every film in this series, and they’ve given them the opportunity to purchase them individually, or pick them all up in the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 Blu-ray boxed set; which, if you’re planning on getting all of them, is the better bargain. Regardless, it’s great to see Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf (as well as Scooby Goes Hollywood) finally make it past the DVD format.

- Tim Salmons

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