When it comes to creating a vast array of baddies for our heroes to come up against every episode, few TV shows have done as good a job as Scooby-Doo (1969). Spanning over 50 years, numerous TV and movie incarnations, and with more celebrity guest stars than the average cartoon dog encounters, Scooby-Doo is something special.
Acting as the perfect gateway to horror for many young fans, Scooby-Doo gave a lot of us an introduction to the creatures we would see recreated in numerous horror films as we grew older. Due to the Scooby Gang’s love of beach parties and Scooby’s amazing ability to scuba dive, the gang is never short of sea monster encounters and underwater scares. With that in mind, I’ve picked my top 10 favorite aquatic baddies from across the Scooby Gang’s various TV appearances.
10. Sea Beast of the Aztecs
Appearing in the “Twenty Thousand Screams Under the Sea” episode of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979), the gang come across the Sea Beast of the Aztecs while attending a cliff diving competition in Acapulco. When the first competitor, Tiger Morris, completes his dive, he encounters the creature and warns the others from entering the water.
However, things are never that simple, and the gang soon finds a cove that can only be accessed at low tide and happens to be full of treasure. Hoping to keep the treasure for himself, Tiger faked his disappearance and used the Sea Beast to keep others away from the area. As Scooby-Doo villains go, the Sea Beast of the Aztecs is one of the least imaginative, and the disguise could have been a lot more impressive.
9. Seaweed Monster
In “No Sharking Zone” from The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983), Daphne has been hired to report on a surfing competition in Scareruba, where there are legends of lost treasure and the Seaweed Monster who guards it. When the competition is called off due to a great white shark terrorizing the surfers, the Scooby Gang decides to investigate. The Seaweed Monster certainly keeps the gang on their toes, as he chases them on land and then uses his shark to keep an eye on them under the water. However, the gang quickly work out the Seaweed Monster is surfer Cowabunga Carlyle, who gave himself away when he couldn’t resist decorating his surfboard with the rare black pearls he discovered amongst the sunken treasure.
While the Seaweed Monster is quite similar to the Sea Beast of the Aztecs in terms of storyline, he gets extra cool points for disguising his mini-submarine as a great white shark to ensure both a double threat and a sweet mode of transport.
8. Sea Demon
Giving us major Creature of the Black Lagoon (1954) vibes, the Sea Demon comes from “Scoo-Be or Not Scoo-Be?” from The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984). When the Scooby Gang end up in Denmark, they think they’ve got enough troubles when they encounter the Ghost of Hamlet at their hotel. However, that’s the least of their worries when the Sea Demon also pops up.
The gang hears the nearby oil rig has been losing its oil, and locals are blaming the Sea Demon. Thanks to some help from the Ghost of Hamlet, who is another hotel guest in disguise, they discover the hotel owners have been using the Sea Demon costumes to cover their oil theft. The classic look of this monster teamed with the inclusion of a helpful ghost to bring the criminals to justice makes this an excellent episode.
7. Loch Ness Monster
A variation of the Loch Ness Monster appears in “The Loch Ness Mess” from The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972) as the Scooby Gang team up with the Harlem Globetrotters and visit Shaggy’s uncle. When they try to rent some boats, they soon encounter not only a fire-breathing sea serpent but also some ghosts who threaten them away from the area.
The ghosts turn out to be some locals with an inflatable sea serpent trying to scare everyone away from a sunken ship they believe is full of treasure. Unfortunately, the ship turns out to be a movie prop, so the whole scheme was pointless. While I love the Nessie-inspired sea serpent’s design, I’m sad that the episode was set in Boston rather than the creature’s native Loch Ness.
6. Kelp Monster and Octopus Monster
We get a double helping of sea creatures in “Scooby-Doo, Where’s the Crew” from The Scooby-Doo Show (1976) when the Kelp Monster and the Octopus Monster team up with the Ghost of Captain Pescado to steal some underwater treasure from a salvage mission.
It seems like a risky maneuver to create three distinct monsters and expect people to believe they all exist, so I have to applaud their effort and commitment. However, the Scooby Gang are quick to discover the scheme when they notice all the air tanks stored underwater, suggesting that the creatures may be human after all.
5. Man Crab
Coming a little more up-to-date, we have the Man Crab who features in “Revenge of the Man Crab” from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010). The Man Crab costume is incredibly impressive, as the villain scuttles about on his extra legs, giving off creepy spider vibes as he drags his victims under the sand.
Terrorizing the attendees of a volleyball competition, Man Crab is soon discovered to be Bud Shelton, a disgruntled bottled water mascot who had the idea stolen from him by the company’s owner. Perhaps my favorite bit of the episode is when Velma reveals that she realized Man Crab wasn’t a real crustacean due to the fact he didn’t trigger Daphne’s shellfish allergy.
4. Coral Creature
In “Reef Grief!” from What’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2002) the gang is attending a sandcastle building competition held on the same beach as a Smash Mouth concert in Australia when competitors start to get pulled under the sand. When the enormous Coral Creature starts making regular appearances, the gang believes that it’s responsible for the missing competitors. However, it turns out the competition itself was a cover by the organizer to brainwash the attendee into building an underwater highway for him.
In a refreshing change to the usual reveal, the Coral Creature turns out to be a real monster who wants to live peacefully in the sea and only started popping out of the water when his home began getting destroyed.
3. Shark Men
What’s scarier than a regular shark? How about a shark with legs that can chase you on dry land? Well, that’s what the gang plus Sonny and Cher come up against in “The Secret of Shark Island” from The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
The costumes for the Shark Men are brilliant, but the criminals lose points because their plan actually draws attention rather than deflecting it. The island they were hiding on was remote and cut off by the tide, and yet they decided to use a functioning hotel as a cover, which just invites people to meddle. Also melting gold down, painting it grey, and turning it into dustbin lids to conspicuously sneak it out of the area seems overly complicated.
2. Ghost of Captain Cutler
Perhaps one of the most classic Scooby-Doo villains, the Ghost of Captain Cutler appears in “A Clue for Scooby-Doo” from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969). Captain Cutler is said to have drowned after a sailing accident and is now back stealing boats in revenge.
His costume is an old-fashioned diving suit that gives off an eerie green glow thanks to the seaweed which grows where he is said to have drowned. While Captain Cutler’s widow is quick to admit that she brought him back from the dead, it turns out the whole thing is a cover for a boat hijacking scheme.
I appreciate how simple Captain Cutler’s costume and plan is compared to some others on the list, and he even goes to the trouble of faking his death to make the ghost story seem real. He can also run incredibly fast under the water, which makes him an impressive adversary.
1. Creepy Heap From the Deep
This creature appears in “The Creepy Heap from the Deep” from The Scooby-Doo Show and has possibly the best creature name on this list. The one-eyed fish/crab with legs and seaweed hair creature design means this criminal put a lot of effort into their disguise and even gave it an amazing backstory as a cursed sailor who now feeds on human souls.
Rather than your usual hidden treasure scheme, it turns out Captain Clements is using the creature costume to sneak criminals to a nearby boat, before giving them a makeover and new papers, and allowing them to escape to a new life. Captain Clements put in more effort into his scheme than most Scooby-Doo villains, and that’s why he’s the top of my list.
Who was your favorite sea monster baddie from in the Scooby-Doo franchise? Share your personal picks with us over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend!