I always have a hard time transitioning from summer to fall. It’s not that I don’t love fall (and Halloween), because I do! I just have trouble letting go of summer and also, in today’s global warming-affected world, it’s generally hot (Hot! Hot! Hotter Than Hell!) in September and sometimes into October. And that fall/Halloween feeling I chase every year is as tied to the crisp weather as it is pumpkins and Night of the Demons. So…I’m kicking off Bloody Popcorn’s Halloween event with a movie that reminds me of summer but takes place (technically) on Halloween: Scooby-Doo! & KISS: Rock N’ Roll Mystery. This animated feature came out in July of last year, smack in the middle of a serious KISS obsession for my oldest son (who was 3 at the time) and we saw it a bazillion times during August 2015…so it reminds me of summer. But! The movie takes places on Halloween.
The movie opens with a pair of workers (played by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes) trying to repair a roller coaster at the best sounding theme park ever: KISSWORLD. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, a witch shows up to throw a wrench in things. And now the KISS concert that is scheduled for that night—Halloween night!—might have to be cancelled! The Scooby Gang shows up in full KISS makeup (except Fred, he’s more of an Ascot Five guy himself), to solve some shit. Though, it turns out, no one actually called the gang; Daphne, a diehard KISS fan, as we learn, lied to everyone and told them they got a call to come out and solve a mystery. However, the park did call some other mystery solvers. The Greatest Mystery Solvers In The World! KISS! So now KISS and the Scooby Gang have to team up to stop the Crimson Witch so that the park can open and KISS can rock the hell out of the place on All Hallow’s.
Now what about the part where it takes place at Halloween? Well, the one downside is that we only know it’s Halloween because a character says it’s Halloween. That is a huge pet peeve of mine. Here we have the perfect opportunity to really put a seasonal feel to the flick, but there is nary a jack o’ lantern in sight. One day I’ll make a list of the movies that do this, set it at Halloween by merely mentioning it’s Halloween with no follow through—because it really, really bugs me!
Despite that, the movie is fun as hell, from a KISS perspective. We learn that the band solves mysteries on a cosmic level, as they are protectors of an ancient people from Kissteria, and they guard the Rock of Kissteria, AKA the Black Diamond. The galactic landscape on the journey to Kissteria leads to some really excellent Kirby-esque animated space sequences. The movie is full of KISS references, from character names (Shandi Strutter, for starters) to little Easter Eggs involving former members. And of course, KISS tunes, albeit the same KISS songs everyone has heard a million times. But, hey, it got my kid singing “Modern Day Delilah”, so that’s cool. Although, despite the movies in-jokes about KISS’ excessive merchandising, there’s no accompanying soundtrack! I’d have loved to grab a nice LP of the soundtrack with a cool animated cover. Missed opportunity, Gene!
So watch this movie and rock and roll night. Just don’t expect any overt Halloween stuff. As for shaking off the summer and getting into the spirit of the season? We’ll be back tomorrow with something a little crisper, a little cooler, a little more October.