Zoiks! It’s a Scooby-Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery Review

Available on Amazon USA

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Gene Simmons is definitely one shrewd businessman. He knows how to market KISS and keep the band’s brand alive for more than 40 years. In that time, he’s made attempts into getting into acting (more so for himself) and for the group, comic books and various paraphernalia. Eventually that will lead into crossovers with popular characters for a particular era. Very few will remember their appearance in Marvel ComicsHoward the Duck. They made their own series with Image Comics and in some ways, they’ve returned to this realm of crossovers in their own animated special Scooby-Doo! & KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery.

This direct to DVD product is more about the band of musicians than the mystery solving gang. The in-jokes with supporting characters and objects that reference their songs are everywhere. The product placements to even fictional items are downright ridiculous. It’s hardly hilarious, but at least this one-off film does to KISS what the original 2012-13 Mystery Incorporated did to create an encompassing mythology that explains who this group is. They’re from a realm called Kissteria and they guard a mysterious Black Diamond that they carry with them on their tours. Although it doesn’t grant them powers, it is a key to a prison that must never be unlocked. The Scooby gang get involved in a mystery of a frantic Crimson Witch who looks like she should belong in a Power Rangers product. She’s looking for the gemstone so an evil Destroyer can be awakened. When Shaggy and Scooby meet her, the usual antics take place, and eventually the team will find answers to why she must have it.

This latest film doesn’t compare to early efforts that paired the Scooby gang with musicians. They’ve met Josie and the Pussycats, Davy Jones and the Hex Girls (to name a few). The adventures they shared is more fun than a psycho circus mashup. While one universe tries to be cohesive, this latest entry fails to acknowledge the two have met in the past. Their first encounter was in What’s New, Scooby-Doo? episode, “A Scooby-Doo Halloween” and that was perhaps when Daphne became a fan. Although not all the various series are meant to tie-in to each other, nor did KISS’ past albums fully figure into the narrative either. The only realistic throwback is in how the opening montage plays with a few album covers from the 70’s, especially Rock and Roll Over. Other albums to note is how The Elder is briefly mentioned, suggesting a possible connection with the album of the same name. Psycho Circus is too recent to really work, as that’s a different art style altogether. The album and comic book are neither meant to be a unit, and the hope here is that KISS would allow for their stage personas to have a unified origin story. Unlike what’s created in comic book land, just what Psycho Circus means from Image Comics is entirely different.


To see KISS look like heroes ala Sailor Moon is out-of-character. To see them as sailor stars is cringe worthy and perhaps why the band allowed for this depiction is because they discovered J-pop music. They might have thought the works of idol group Momoiro Clover Z were good enough to imitate and not everyone will like it. When West met with the East, these groups made “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saitemina” (夢の浮世に咲いてみな?). Paul Stanley liked the idea, but Gene Simmons must have been banging his head on the wall. While the music video is fine with him looking very monstrous, his animated version in Scooby-Doo comes close to making him look like a dorky baboon. The Demon character needs that banality to make him work. The Starchild is at least bang on. When Daphne is fawning over him much to Fred’s chagrin, he’s loving it! The Spaceman doesn’t get enough screen time and The Cat gets the least likable role of providing comic relief.

Even though KISS allowed for a parody of themselves, not everyone is going to approve. They are supposed to be the best … and to deliver that requires the artists and animators to respect who they are than to parody them up.

3 Stars out of 5

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: