Tag Archives: Ghostbusters

I Feel I Should Come Out

I’ve been writing this blog for a while now. Sharing my love of films along with my views and opinions. I really appreciate anyone who reads and follows what I do. I feel comfortable with my readers and I think I can be honest and frank with you all. So This article is my ‘coming out’ article.

So, here it goes…

Its been a little over a year now and I think the time is right to share with you all. I liked the new Ghostbusters movie. There, I’ve said it (well typed it) – its finally out in the open and I feel much better for it too.

Ghostbusters 2016

Now before I get all the “You’re not a true Ghostbusters fan!” bullshit thrown at me, I did a blowout Ghostbusters celebration last year – where I lauded the original film and it took me weeks to research and write (link right here). I took a look at the making of the original, did an overview of the film, the Ghostbusters games and so much more. It was a multi-part Ghostbusters festivity. I am a Ghostbusters fan – a HUGE one.

Now I’m not going to review the film, as I already did that. The short version? I was entertained by it. This serves more as an introduction to the point of this article. I’m going to admit to liking certain films that a lot of people really seem to hate.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.jpg

Oh yeah, I’m going there.

I’m a massive Indy fan – I’ve not done a huge Indiana Jones movie celebration… yet. But believe me, I’m a fan. I grew up watching Indy, he was one of my first childhood cinematic heroes. I’m such a big fan that I can even see the good in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom… and that’s not easy.

I was so looking forward to seeing this when it originally came out and I was there at the cinema a few days after it was released ready to watch it. I also made the terrible mistake of reading up on reviews of the film before I went to watch it (something I no longer do). The hype and excitement for this flick were high – the return of one of cinema’s great icons after a 19 year wait. But the reviews were terrible and downright depressing. It seemed that no one liked this one and were all lining up to tear it apart. So my expectations were low.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 2

But how could it not be good? Pretty much all the original cast and crew returned, they even got Marion Ravenwood back and she’s the best Indy girl by far. Ford looked amazing for his age and comfortably stepped back into the role with ease.

I left that cinema with a huge smile on my face and just did not see the same film all the bad reviews were talking about. I watched a rip-roaring action/adventure flick with a great B-movie style… which is all the Indy films have ever been. But the fallout for the film was stunning with people nit-picking even the most mundane aspects.

Now don’t get me wrong – the picture has its problems (quick newsflash for you, all films do) and I admit to it being hard to argue against some of them. Yes Shia LaBeouf as
Mutt Williams (Indy’s son) was terrible and yes the whole tree swinging/’greaser monkey’ thing was cringe-worthy. It annoyed me that they decided to retcon Indy’s history to force in a son, as he had a daughter originally (told you I was a fan). And yes, those prairie dogs were fucking stupid. But still, some of the complains felt childish…

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull explostion

Lets take the bull by the horns. ‘Nuking the fridge’. I could not believe that this moment in the film kicked up such a fuss – so much so that there was a movement to have it replace the phrase ‘jumping the shark’. The hatred for this scene seemed to stem from just how ridiculous it was – and you know what? I agree, its ridiculous… but is it worthy of all the hate it got? Its an OOT scene… but just look at that image above and tell me that is not iconic, not awesome to look at. Seeing Indiana Jones standing in front of that mushroom cloud looks stunning, that is an iconic cinematic image.

But about the scene itself. People got all upset saying that it was not ‘realistic’  and would comment on how ‘impossible’ it was or how Indy escaped with no injures. Yeah cos that is not welcome in an Indiana Jones film right…

Temple of Doom raft

Climbing into a lead lined fridge and surviving a nuclear blast is ‘unrealistic’… but jumping out of a crashing plane with 2 other people in an inflatable raft. Then falling a few dozen feet at speed and hitting a mountain, to then go on sliding down said mountain and managing to avoid every tree/rock before plunging off a waterfall and landing in a river… with no one hurt and the only complaint is being wet… that’s okay is it?

These are what the Indy films are known for, the ridiculous. As I mentioned before, they are B-moives, high budget and slickly produced but still B-movies none the less. That is where their inspiration comes from. They are supposed to be OTT and outrageous. The Indy films have never… NEVER strived for ‘realism’. They pay homage to classic 50s action/adventure serials and they have never shied away from that either.

Yes the fridge scene was stupid, but so are several other scenes in the films too. I liked the fridge scene because it was stupid – it reminded me of ‘classic’ Indy. You know what? I liked the red ant scene too – now I’m not going to get into a diatribe as to why as there are other films I want to cover. But before I leave Indy 4 behind – there is one element I need to address…

Indy 4 Alien

Oh yeah, the aliens… sorry ‘interdimensional beings’. They’re aliens okay? This is an argument that I see both sides of. There are those that cry that “aliens don’t belong in an Indiana Jones movie!”. But why not? So you can have other (non proven) forces like God but not aliens? No one kicked up a fuss when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. I have no problem with aliens being a part of the Indiana Jones universe and it makes sense given what these film’s inspirations are. But it is with Raiders where I also need to go for my argument against the aliens in this film. You see, Raiders had an element of the unknown with the Ark of the Covenant. When Indy is first asked to look for it and gets out that book with the illustration. You know the one depicting the Ark killing people via some kind of force…

Raiders book

Yeah – that’s the one. Anyway, when Indy is asked what it is – he replies with “Lightning. Fire. Power of God or something.” Key word there is ‘something’ as no one knows what it actually is, its just ‘something’. Maybe it is the power of God, maybe its not. Point is that its left ambiguous as to what kills all those Nazis at the end. The major failing with the aliens in this film is that they showed it. Its not open to interpretation, you can not come up with your own theory as to what these things are… they’re aliens. Showing the alien and having it kill the bad guys at the end is (other than a lazy re-hash of Raiders) like actually having God turn up at the end of Raiders and smiting the Nazis. This film would have been so much better if the aliens were left ambiguous. I don’t mind aliens being part of the Indy lore… I just don’t like how it was handled.

Anyway, I liked Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull it entertained me and I had a smile on my face when I left the cinema and that is what I want from movies… to be entertained. Its not my favourite Indy film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.

For my next film, actually – lets says ‘films’ as I’m going to do a horror remake double bill. Oh yes, the horror remake!

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010.jpg

Are you ready for Freddy?

You have no idea how much I adore the original A Nightmare on Elm Street. It is this film that turned me into a self-confessed Wes Craven nut and I miss that mad-genius of horror so damn much. The world is a much lesser place without the great Wes Craven in it.

When the remake was announced, my eyebrow raised a little. I knew this had to be something special for it to be accepted… what bullshit, no matter how great this film turned out – it would never be accepted because of the anti-remake crowd. I knew there would be changes and updates and I could not wait to see them for myself. Of course Robert Englund would have to be replaced as the iconic Freddy and of course other characters would be changed too – its inevitable. Now I have to admit to not really liking too many of the main characters in this remake, they seems so ‘typical’ so sub-standard. But what of the big guy himself?

Freddy K

Stepping into the shoes of one of horror cinema’s most (in)famous creations must be a daunting task. I mean, its not like they were remaking Dr. Giggles and saying “Larry Drake – you’re out. We need a new actor.”. This is Freddy ‘fuckin’ Krueger and without Robert Englund playing him. So Jackie Earle Haley had to step into the grimy, brown hat and dirty red & green sweater. And you know what, I liked him… I really, really liked him. It was an all new Freddy and if I’m honest I grew to dislike old Freddy more and more in the (terrible) sequels after the first film. I wanted to see a new Freddy and I got exactly that. I personally thought Haley was awesome in the role and for me, he lifted this otherwise cookie-cutter horror remake to another level. As an overall film, I felt it was a little predicable (well it is a remake) and the majority of the characters were forgotten about as soon as the credits rolled… except for Freddy.

Freddy K 2

There was a moment in the story where I thought they were going to do something really interesting. You see, in the original – Freddy was definitely guilty. But in the remake, there’s a whiff of suggestion in the first third that Freddy could be innocent and the parents killed him erroneously. This would have been a great twist and added a much needed extra level to the plot – but sadly they didn’t do that an instead made human Freddy a sadistic child killing/molesting bastard. Just try to imagine having a Freddy Krueger you could have sympathy for.

I can’t say that the A Nightmare on Elm Street remake is an outstanding flick… but its also not as horrendous as people make it out to be either. Sadly it offers no real surprises and is bland in many aspects. But it does have a great sense of dread whenever Freddy is onscreen and there a handful of good horror moments too. But Jackie Earle Haley’s version of Freddy was amazing and worth watching just for that.

So from one remade horror icon to another…

Halloween

Halloween 2007

Evil. Remade.

When to comes to great horror writer/directors, I hold John Carpenter in the same regard as Wes Craven… but I have to admit to finding the original Halloween one of his lesser pictures. So it does not hold as much of a place in my heart as A Nightmare on Elm Street.

I was not sure what to expect from this remake other than a lazy retread. But I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised when I did watch it. When you look at the film on the whole, the original Halloween is a very bare-bones flick. The story is almost non-existent and the characters became clichéd before the cliché was even created…. like totally. One of my favourite aspects of the film is the exact thing I hate about what they did in the original sequels.

Michael Myers

We follow a young Myers and see his disruptive family life, we get to see his relationship with Dr. Loomis. They gave Micheal Myers a backstory, a history and a reason for his murderous intentions which is something that I enjoyed about the remake and dislike about the original films, you know when they explain Myers via all that Thorn cult crap. I tend to lose interest when they try to give reason to a horror icon. I don’t mind the odd hints here and there, but when they attempt to give an explanation to a killer’s killing motives, that’s when I lose interest (see Freddy, Pinhead, Leatherface, etc). However, that was something about the Halloween remake that I really enjoyed. I wanted to know this Michael Myers, I wanted to learn of his history as it added much needed depth to an otherwise empty story and it is when you re-watch the original after seeing the remake when you realise just how little plot/story there is in it.

Michael Myers 2

Okay, so the hick-family members of the remake are stereotypical and very one note but that is what I like about them. The film isn’t trying to be high-art, its trying to be a horror film with just a touch of heart, a modicum depth and I think what it does, it does well enough. I genuinely felt for young Myers and his relationship with Loomis felt honest. In the original – there’s none of this. Its just a film about a guy killing babysitters while an eccentric doctor tries to stop him. The remake has that but adds more meat on the bones too.

Of course if there is one thing the original is famous for then its the lack of any blood and gore. There’s a few shots with very little blood but other then that – the flick is relatively bloodless. The remake goes the other direction and turns up the dial. There’s more than enough blood and gore in this version and to be honest… I’ve still not made up my mind whether I like it or not. I’m no prude, I’ve seen far bloodier and gory films over the years – I just can’t work out if I like it in this film or not.

Given the choice. I’d rather watch this remake than the original Halloween. As for Rob Zombie’s Halloween II? Fuck that movie.

Of course, Halloween is still not dead as another new film is on the way due to be released next year. This one is said to be a sequel to the original Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to play Laurie Strode.

Halloween 2018

But that is a different article all together and this one has gone on long enough…

Anyway, there you go, that is my ‘coming out’ with films I liked others do not. I really enjoyed writing this one and my return with more ‘coming out’ movies in the future.

 

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Ghostbusters (2016)

Well I finally got around to watching perhaps the most controversial film of this year. That controversy does not come from the content of the film itself, but more from the idiotic nature of internet people who have defamed this film for no good reason.

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I actually never had any intention of watching this at the cinema because I just didn’t think it looked cinema worthy. I already covered this in my Ghostbusters celebration from a few weeks back but I’ll quickly cover it here too. I don’t like Paul Feig as a director and I don’t find Melissa McCarthy even slightly funny.

After watching this film, I still don’t rate Paul Feig as a director and I still don’t find Melissa McCarthy funny at all. But before I get into my feelings on the film, first the plot… SPOILERS!!!

cast

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a physics professor at Columbia University. She is approached by Ed Mulgrave (Ed Begley Jr.) who asks Gilbert to investigate a possible haunting after he read a book she co-wrote years ago on ghosts. Gilbert is angry as she never knew the book had been published and she seeks out her old friend and co-writer of the book, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Yates has been trying to make the theory in their book a reality with the help of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). Gilbert feels the resurfacing of the book could reflect badly on her new career at Columbia University and asks for the book to be pulled. Yates agrees to pull the book but only if Gilbert agrees to introduce herself and Holtzmann to Mulgrave so they can investigate this supposed haunting.

Gilbert, Yates and Holtzmann all turn up at the house and start to search for ghosts… and they find one. The trio film the ghost and the video is posted online. The Dean of Columbia University sees the video, believes it is fake and is insulted that one of their professors could be involved in such a scam. So he fires Gilbert and she decides to join Yates and Holtzmann in their project of ghost hunting instead. But the director of the institute they work at fires all three as he thought that department had already been closed down years ago. They decide to continue their research on their own and open a business called “The Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination” which they start above a Chinese restaurant. Then then hire dim-witted Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as a receptionist. They begin to design and create their own equipment for catching ghosts.

We are then introduced to subway line worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) finds a ghost in the subway and contacts The Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination for help. They investigate the ghost and even attempt to catch it with an early prototype proton containment laser created by Holtzmann. They almost catch the ghost, but their equipment is too heavy, bulky and under powered as the ghost escapes. But they did manage to film the incident for proof, yet their proof is called out as being fake by a respected sceptic Martin Heiss (Bill Murray). The team still continue their research and even make the equipment more manageable. Eventually Tolan joins the team.

Four

Meanwhile, Rowan North (Neil Casey) has been planting home created devices that summon ghosts in very specific spots around the city. North is an occultist who wants to bring about an apocalypse of ghosts which he wants to control. He plants one of his devices at a rock concert and the team are called into capture the a ghost. Which they do in front of hundreds of witnesses. So they finally have their proof that ghosts are real. Back at their HQ, Heiss turns up and is as sceptical as ever and demands to see the ghost. Eventually Gilbert caves and releases the ghost which kills Heiss as it escapes. Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia) demands to see these Ghostbusters as they have now become known and he reveals that the government are fully aware of the existence of ghosts but he can not have these Ghostbusters running around the city making the government look foolish. So they make a deal where the Mayor will support the team, but only if they agree to be exposed as frauds, even though they are not.

The Ghostbusters eventually work out North’s plan, track him down and confront him to the basement of the Mercado Hotel where they discover that North has built a portal to the ghost dimension. They try to stop him, but North electrocutes himself rather than be turned over to the police and Holtzmann deactivates the portal. This is when they learn that North had been reading Gilbert and Yates’ book and this is where he also learned to create the equipment he had. Gilbert discovers that North intended to die all along so he could return as a ghost which he does and ends up possessing Kevin and opens the portal and releases hundreds of ghosts into New York and this sets the scene for the big finale.

ghosts

First my views on the cast.
I didn’t really like any of them to be honest. I just found all the main four utterly devoid of character… okay, possibly with the exception of Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) who plays the eccentric one of the group.

1

I admit to getting a few laughs out of her and her antics, plus she probably has the best lines in the film too. But the other three are bland characters with nothing redeeming about them.

People have been praising Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) as the dumb secretary. I found the character cringe worthy. I just do not like the dumb secretary at all, its an overdone cliché. It doesn’t matter if its a female or male in the role, its a tired outdated stereotype that just isn’t funny. He is written so stupid it becomes offensive. I mean, there is a scene where Kevin strikes a gong which (obviously) makes a loud noise and he covers his eyes and then comments on how loud the noise was… he covers he EYES to drown out a loud SOUND. Even Homer Simpson was never this dumb. I thought the character was terrible and just do not understand the praise. The only time I liked Kevin as a character was when he gets possessed, because he stopped being such an annoying idiot.

Kevin

There was something else that really bothered me about the film. When you do have a remake of a film, you are bound to find the odd cameo/reference to the original and you can get away with 2-3 tops before they become annoying. This film has too many of them and shoehorns in a cameo from the original film or makes some really unsubtle reference. Yeah its cute at first but when you realise you have seen 4 of these and are only 30 minutes into the film, its just too many. Seriously there is a cameo/reference every 10 minutes or so and they becomes too distracting. All that was needed was to have Paul Feig pop into frame every time and just say “remember this from the original?” to the audience. The film tries too hard to remind people of the original and this is its biggest failing. This just would have felt a much better film if it toned down the references and concentrated on being its own film.
The plot is very different to the original though similar and it does seem to want to be its own film… but then it keeps making nods to the original as if it wants to constantly remind you that there is another Ghostbusters film. They even do the “chose your own destructor” thing at the end. I’d have much preferred it if this film just did its own thing from start to finish without all the references to the original.

All the main original cast return for a cameo, Bill Murray plays the sceptic, Dan Aykroyd is a cab driver with a couple of lines, Ernie Hudson plays the uncle of Leslie Jones’ character, Sigourney Weaver pops up during the credits as a mentor to Kate McKinnon, Ivan Reitman has a quick extra walking past appearance, Annie Potts (fittingly) plays a receptionist and even Harold Ramis makes an appearance. Most of them are utterly pointless. I suppose that at least Bill Murray’s character plays a part in the plot (even its its pretty obvious he didn’t want to be there), but the rest are mostly just there because they are…
Other cameos I really didn’t see the point of. Ozzy Osbourne is in this… why?

There were only two cameos I enjoyed. The first was the Harold Ramis one which I felt was a nice little bit of respect and tribute to one of the originators of Ghostbusters. And the second one?

Slimer

Slimer makes an appearance and its easily the best of the cameo/references. He ends up stealing Ecto-1 and takes it on a joyride around New York, he even manages to pick up a girlfriend along the way as he turns the car into a party bus. The whole Slimer bit put a big ole’ smile on my face as Slimer was based on the personality of John Belushi and quite honestly I really could imagine Belushi doing something like that knowing the antics he got up to on film sets.

The film has some great moments. We actually get to see the Ghostbusters build and test their equipment. In the original, they just have all this advanced technology because they are scientists. In this one, you get to see an early and bulky proton pack before it becomes the more recognisable backpack concept we know. You also get to see other weapons beside the proton packs being developed and tested. This whole idea made me believe these people actually create their own equipment. The way the team become the Ghostbusters also seems more “organic” in this one and that for me added a lot to the storytelling.

The whole film has a more “cartoon” feel to it. There are a few stand out scenes that scream cartoon like when Melissa McCarthy tests the new proton pack in a back alley and goes flying all over the place, or when they get squashed under a huge parade balloon of the Stay Pufft marshmallow man. It really does feel like a live action cartoon at times… and I’m perfectly fine with that. I loved the old animated Ghostbusters cartoon and this does feel like a live action version of that.

I enjoyed the action more in this one than the original, yeah I know the original was not really an action film but it did have action in it and it all just amounted to four guys pointing sticks at ghosts. The action in this is more dynamic and interesting to watch and the addition of new equipment adds a lot to this.
The build up to the final fight was really good with some great action along the way… but the battle against the main villain was a bit dull if I’m honest and the whole last 5 minutes or so of the final fight was a let down.

ghost.jpg

Speaking of the main villain, I just didn’t really enjoy Rowan here. He is just your average guy with a crap job who has had enough of being bullied, so he decides to release hundreds of ghosts into New York. The whole motive just felt flat and Rowan is just not an interesting character, especially for the main villain.

It also has a really creepy atmosphere at times. The opening with a tour of a supposed haunted house really does feel very Ghostbusters. The design of the ghosts themselves looked great and there are some genuine scares here too. There is a scene near the end where a group of parade balloons get possessed by ghosts, one of the ghost balloons just pops its head around a corner and stares at the Ghostbusters, it just looked so creepy but great at the same time.

The film has its problems, but overall I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was an amazing film or anything but I left the cinema feeling fully entertained. Some of the jokes really do work and some of them just fall flat. But one thing I do want to say. You remember how the first trailer was labelled as “most disliked trailer ever”? Well we now live in a time where most trailers ruin a film completely, especially with comedy films as the trailer tends to have all the best jokes in it. The trailers for this film didn’t do that. Most if not all of the best scenes and jokes are not shown in the trailers and left for the film instead and that is something I will praise this film for.

Sony have this idea for a Ghostbusters universe, they have already set up a production company called; Ghost Corps.

GC

The idea is to create more films all within this universe, which is more inline with Dan Aykroyd’s original idea for Ghostbusters. After seeing this film, I’d definitely like to see more. Maybe not more of these particular four Ghostbusters but other films within the same universe could be interesting. I do think this film is a good start, not great but good enough. Though I’m not sure if we will get to see anymore films in this universe as unfortunately, this film is hardly breaking records at the box office. It has only just about made its production cost back and is struggling to turn a profit right now.

All the hate and vitriol aimed at the film over the last few months and none of it was worth it at all. Its a good film and I can see this introducing a whole new generation to Ghostbusters just as I was introduced to the original in 1984. If you have kids, take them to go see this one as they will have a blast… you might just enjoy it more then you thought you would yourself too.

Its a shame the film is not doing as well as it deserves, mainly because of certain groups imbecilic nature… “haters gotta hate” I guess.
Let me put it this way, this was a much better Ghostbusters film than Ghostbusters II was… yeah I said it.

Erin

Erin Gilbert:Books can’t fly and neither can babies!

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Ghostbusters

GB poster 2

Little Bit of History: Released in 1984 by Columbia Pictures. Written by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman. Originally conceived as a film for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, but Belushi’s untimely death led to the film being taken in a new direction. The amazing theme tune was even nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song but lost out to The Woman in Red.

Little Bit of Plot/Story: A trio of parapsychologists are called to the New York Public Library to investigate reports of a ghost. They see this an an opportunity to set up a new business of a paranormal investigation and extermination service called the Ghostbusters. Developing their own equipment, they create the proton packs and traps that enable them to capture ghosts. Eventually they hire a fourth member of the team. Meanwhile, Environmental Protection Agent; Walter Peck has the Ghostbusters arrested and their ghost containment unit turned off. This unleashes a horde of ghosts into New York as Gozer the Gozerian grasps control and swears to bring an end to the world.

Little Bit of Character: Ghostbusters is full of amazing and lovable characters from the main four Ghostbusters of; Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond “Ray” Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) Also along for the ride is the Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), Peter’s love interest Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and her neighbour Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) with Walter Peck (William Atherton) as the antagonist trying to prove the Ghostbusters are frauds.

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Little Bit of Influence: Ghostbusters went on to become a very successful franchise. Any and everything bore the Ghostbusters logo in the 80s and 90s. The film spawned its own sequel, a popular animated TV show… which itself had its own sequel. Board games, video games, toys, clothing, comics, etc. Think of any product and there is a good chance there was a Ghostbusters version of it. The fan base of Ghostbusters is very strong an loyal (just look at the hate train for the remake as proof) and there have even been fan made films.

Little Bit of Memories: I remember first seeing the film on VHS around 86/87, by which time the Ghostbusters hype was at fever pitch. If I recall correctly, me and my brothers first watched it when staying at my aunt’s house overnight. My uncle had to pre-book the film to rent weeks in advance as it was so popular.

Little Bit of Watchability: One of THE definitive films of the 80s. A great ensemble cast, great jokes, amazing effects work and brilliantly directed. This is one of those ‘feel good’ movies that just puts a smile on your face every time you see it. I could (and have) watch(ed) this film over and over and yet never get tired of it. Dan and Harold’s script is snappy and entertaining. And that damn theme tune will remain in your head for the rest of you life. Most definitely well worth watching and aside for that slight cheesy 80s feel, the film is timeless.

Luoishorse

Louis Tully:I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia. Are you the Gatekeeper?”

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Ghostbusters in gaming

Still going with my Birthday/Ghostbusters celebration as I now take a look at the many and various Ghostbusters games over the years. From the simpler times of the Atari 2600 and ZX Spectrum to modern day with the PS4 and Xbox One.

8 bit

There have been quite a few Ghostbusters games, more than I first realised in fact. Some I have fond memories of and some I wish I could forget.

Let’s get stuck in with the first ever Ghostbusters game and the first one I remember.

GB c64 cover

Ghostbusters: Designed by David Crane and produced by Activision, released in 1984. Originally made for the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 but later ported to various computers and consoles including the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Atari 2600, Sega Master System and NES.

Based on the events of the first movie. This one was somewhat popular at the time and was ported to pretty much every popular computer and console at the time. I still remember the first time I played back in the 80s. It was on a friend’s ZX Spectrum before we got a copy for our Commodore 64 later.

You start by selecting your equipment from ghost traps to a vacuum… yes a vacuum. In some versions of the game, you could even select different cars. But why would you want to play a Ghostbusters game with a car that wasn’t Ecto 1? Once you have your vehicle and equipment, its time to bust some ghosts. You then find yourself on a overhead map like screen that looks kind of like Pac-Man with you controlling the Ghostbusters logo. Unless you know what you are supposed to be doing, this was very confusing at the time.

Basically you have to wait until a place need help from ghosts and move the Ghostbusters logo to the building. This is where the game changes to a more ghost busting action scene. You control two of the team and have to angle your proton streams to force that ghosts toward your trap. Once you are satisfied you think you can trap the ghosts, you would trigger the trap and capture the ghosts. The more ghosts you trap, the more money you make and the more money you have, the better equipment you can buy. It’s pretty simple stuff. Rinse and repeat until you have the best possible equipment. As the game progresses, eventually the main Zuul building will flash and this is your main goal of the game. When at the Zuul building, you have your guide two out of three of your Ghostbusters in between the Stay-Puft marshmallow man’s legs to enter. This is the end of the game in the original versions but it would give you a password in the form of ‘an account number’ which would allow you to start the game again but with the cash you earned from your previous play through. It was an early example of what we would not call a game+ mode.

GB c64 screen

There was also a driving stage mini game as you travelled from place to place. And this is where that vacuum came in handy as it would suck up any ghosts that got near your car and you’d earn some extra cash.

The game was pretty good for the time… again, depending on which version you played. The original Commodore 64 version is often regarded as the best of the lot. The later console ports like the NES and Master System added some new and interesting elements to the game play. Though the NES version is infamous for being terrible with one of the worst end game screens ever…

NES end

By today’s standard the game is very limited. But back then it was quite revolutionary and a good use of the license. It has many fans and has even been remade with updated graphics for you to play on your PC. Well wroth checking out.

Next we have the first game based on the popular cartoon.

TRGB cover

The Real Ghostbusters: Released by Data East in 1987 for the Arcades. Then ported to the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum later. Based on the popular animated TV show of the same name.

With this one, up to three people could play with each player controlling one of the main Ghostbusters characters from the cartoon. Opting for a top down view, you had to explore fully scrolling levels and shoot and then try to trap and suck up ghosts. Various power-ups could be found including; shot and beam boosters a protective Aura. Even that little green bastard, Slimer makes an appearance who would work as a shield that would orbit around your character.

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A total of 10 levels in the game full of a variety of numerous ghosts to bust. Clear the level of ghosts and move onto the next level. This one was pretty simple arcade fare, I suppose it was a little similar to the classic Gauntlet. No real depth to the game and it was basically a ‘shoot anything that moves’ kind of game, but it was fun… especially with a friend or two.

Its the turn of the film’s sequel and this game had different versions for the computer and console market.

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Ghostbusters II: The first computer version was released by Activision in 1989 for the PC for DOS. After a lengthy text scroll that recaps the story of the first film and gets you up to speed with the opening events of the sequel up to the court room, the game finally begins.

The gameplay starts in the courtroom with you tasked to getting rid of the Scoleri Brothers ghosts where you just blast them until their energy is low enough to trap them. Once the ghosts have been trapped you move onto Ghostbusters HQ and you have to gather red slime to test, so you next find yourself under the city in the sewers gathering red slime wile avoiding ghostly hands trying to grab you. You’ll also receive phone calls while at Ghostbusters HQ that allow you to take on ghostbusting jobs to earn some spare cash, these jobs are similar to the opening courtroom scene but with different graphics based on various locales around New York like Central Park and the Dock where the Titanic has arrived. The more damage you do to the scenery, the less money you earn from the job.

You keep gathering and testing red slime, receiving calls for jobs to earn cash until have enough cash to build a slime blower and enough red slime to animate the Statue of Liberty. The game then changes to a scene with you controlling Lady Liberty (complete with a NES controller) with you looking down trying not to crush and kill civilians in their cars via her mighty feet as you make your way to the museum. Once at the museum and when midnight comes around, you then have to blast the painting of Vigo while trying to avoid projectiles. Once Vigo has been defeated, its game over and you are rewarded with a pretty entertaining end game sequence.

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The game also featured a fun mini game where, if you failed any slime gathering or busting ghosts scene. You would have one of the Ghostbusters committed to an asylum and the remaining crew would have to try and break their friend out. It also featured some nice (for the time) digitised images and soundbites from the movie. A pretty decent game for the time though short and quite limiting.

But there was a different Ghostbusters II game relased for other computers.

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Ghostbusters II: This other version was also from Activision but relased the following year in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum. This version differed from the PC/DOS version in several ways. The game begins with a pretty damn good remixed rendition of the famous Ghostbusters theme (on the Amiga) and is accompanied with various digitised stills from the movie and some quick text to get you up to speed on the story.

GB II amiga screen

You eventually take control as to have to abseil into the sewers trying to avoid and blast various ghosts on the way down. Once at the bottom of the sewer, you gather the slime and its onto the next scene. This scene cuts straight to the Statue of Liberty section and things take on a side scrolling shooter style as you fight your way to the museum blasting ghosts along the way in this overtly lengthy section. When you finally get to the museum, the game switches to an isometric view as you have to help all four Ghostbusters abseil into the museum from the roof. This then take on an almost strategy slant as you have to position the Ghostbusters the right place to defeat Vigo. At which point, Ray gets possessed and you have to then defeat him before you get the end game sequence which is very short and not as much fun as the PC/DOS version. This game was notoriously hard and only had three levels. It was just not as much fun as the other version.

Finally, the NES had a Ghostbusters II game too.

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Ghostbusters II: Again from Activision and released in 1990. This version is massively different from its computer counterparts. After a quick intro featuring Vigo you are thrown directly into the action.

This one is more of a side scrolling shooting all the way through. The first level is set in the sewers where you blast and avoid ghosts as you make your way to the end of the level. Next up you take control of Ecto-1 again blasting ghosts and avoiding obstacles. The next level is set in the courtroom and is the same as the first, next up is another Ecto-1 level… and that is how the game continues, same basic gameplay with the level graphics just changing between scenes.

GB II NES US screen

Eventually you do get to the Statue of Liberty and its more of the same blasting ghosts in some side scrolling action in a stupidly long section that seems to never end. Yet, eventually you make it to the museum and its more of the same as the first level but with different background graphics, only this time you have to repeat the same level four times to get all of the Ghostbusters to the Vigo painting and then you are greeted with a VERY short end game scene. Some call this game tough, personally I just found it dull. Same bland gameplay level after level and it all becomes tiresome.

That’s it for Ghostbusters II… or is it?

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New Ghostbusters II: This was yet another Ghostbusters II game relased for the NES, only this one was from HAL Laboratory and only released in Europe and Japan in 1990. Very different from the other NES game and far superior too.

This game allowed you to play one or two player and chose from five Ghostbusters… yes five. The original four of Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston. But you could also choose to play as Louis Tully. The gameplay was simple, but fun. Presented with a top down view, you explore the levels inspired by scenes from the film (the first level is set in the courtroom). All you have to do is blast and trap every ghost in a level before you can move onto the next one. Once a screen is clear, a big arrow points you toward the next screen. When every screen is clear of ghosts, you move onto the end of level boss, defeat the boss and you move onto the next level.

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If you chose a one player game then the second Ghostbuster would be controlled by the AI. Two player allowed one person to blast ghosts with the proton pack while the other was in control of the trap. While the basic gameplay remained the same from start to finish, each level was graphically and geographically varied and well designed offering plenty of variety. The final boss is Vigo and once he was defeated, you are rewarded with a fun end credits sequence shown in a cinema where various characters from the game take part in amusing scenes. Much better Ghostbusters II game for the NES than that other one and well worth checking out.

Next up is Ghostbusters… again?

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Ghostbusters: This one was a Mega Drive only release joint developed by Compile and SEGA. Published by SEGA in 1990. Inspired by the original film but with some ‘creative licence’ that brings with it a new story. This one allows you to play as one of the three Ghostbusters, choose from Peter, Ray or Egon (no Winston… racist?). Each of the three characters have slightly different speed and stamina stats. The game opens with a nice cut scene setting up the story.

You are then greeted by a simple map screen that has various locales you can select including the Ghostbusters HQ, an item shop, a weapon shop and the main levels the action takes place in like a haunted house, an apartment and a castle, plus others. Each level is quite large and offers some exploration as you jump from platform to platform busting ghosts to earn cash. You can also play any level in any order you wish, though later levels are tough without the right equipment. The cash you earn can be spent on upgrading your weapons and buying new items to help you in later levels. Each level is guarded by and end of level boss and once you bust them, the level is complete.

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The graphics are cartoon-like and the Ghostbusters themselves have an amusing big-head aesthetic. The weapon/item shops add some level of strategy as you have pick and choose the right tools for each level. When you complete each of the main levels on the map an all new and final level opens up and of you manage to defeat the boss at the end of this one you are rewarded a simple credits scroll and cheering crowd. This game is good fun and well worth finding a copy of if you enjoy Ghostbusters and platforming/shooting action.

The Real Ghostbusters return for another attempt in gaming next.

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The Real Ghostbusters: Developed by Kemco and released in 1993. This puzzle/platforming game is actually a graphical/license swap of a pre-existing game. In Europe this game was Garfield Labyrinth and in Japan it was known as Mickey Mouse IV: Mahō no Labyrinth, part of Kemco’s Crazy Castle franchise.

You play as Peter Venkman who falls into an underground labyrinth and you have to find your way back out (Ghostbusters?). To clear each level you must find stars on each stage and once all the stars have been found then the door to the next level opens up. Peter is equipped with a proton pack which can be used to destroy certain blocks that can be removed to get to hidden stars or even alternate ways through the level.

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Each level contains various enemy ghosts which cant be harmed by your proton pack but with bombs (Ghostbusters?). You have a health bar and time limit and if either of these deplete to zero before you can finish a level, you lose a life.

There really is not much to say about this one. Its not a terrible game but it is just very average, its just not Ghostbusters and quite clear the licence was attached just to try and appeal to Ghostbusters fans. Play the original Micky Mouse or Garfield versions instead, same game and you are not missing anything.

The sequel series to The Real Ghostbusters show got a few games too.

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Extreme Ghostbusters: Released in 2001 for the Gameboy Color only in Europe. This game was from Light and Shadow Productions. You can play as the various members of the Extreme Ghostbusters including; Eduardo Rivera, Roland Jackson, Garrett Miller, and Kylie Griffin. Each character has their own stats and abilities.

EGB GBC screen

Set over more than 20 levels, you make your way through these side scrolling/platform levels busting any ghosts you come across. You will find various items to help you in your Ghostbusting task such as; Proton Canisters, a P.K.E. Meter, Ghost Traps and even Slimer. Clear each level of ghosts and move onto the next.

This game is notorious for being bad. Stiff controls, bland gameplay and terrible level design. Definitely one to avoid. Lets move on…

The second in the trilogy of Extreme Ghostbusters games next.

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Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1: Again from Light and Shadow Productions, this time for the Game Boy Advance in 2002. This game is a mix of shooter, platforming and even a little driving action too. The driving sections are a top down viewpoint, but the main action is a side scrolling/platforming style.

You only get to play as either Eduardo or Kylie in this game as the big bad of this one, a half-human/half-demon Count Mercharior has kidnapped Roland and Garrett and that is the basic story. You have to blast your way though the various levels in an attempt to rescue your kidnapped teammates. You can switch between either Eduardo or Kylie on the fly and the two characters have different abilities and weapons so switching between the two is essential to progress through each level.

EGB Ecto screen

Make your way though each level, take down ghosts and defeat the end of level boss, move onto the next level. Pretty basic stuff, but this one is a huge improvement over the previous game with better controls and even improved gameplay. Things tend to get a bit repetitive and redundant as there is very little variety here, but its a decent action/platformer.

The final game in the ‘Extreme’ trilogy.

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Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion: Yet again from Light and Shadow Productions only this game was for the PlayStation and released in 2004 only in Europe. Remember those light gun games that were popular in the 90s like Time Crisis, Virtua Cop, etc? Well this game used the same concept, in particular Time Crisis with its cover system.

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You can play as any of the four main Extreme Ghostbusters team who are selectable at the beginning, though each of the four characters play the same anyway. As you make your way though each level in an on the rails style that these light gun games were known for. Shoot ghosts and hide behind cover, shoot ghosts and hide behind cover… it goes on and on. As the game was on the PlayStation, it utilised the CD technology and came with animated cut scenes taken right from the TV series.

Not a terrible game, not a great game. Just okay but by the time it was released, the light gun game was all but dead so people really didn’t care about this much back then.

Well that was the Extreme Ghostbusters trilogy of games. But we finally get to what is considered the best Ghostbusters game ever.

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Ghostbusters: The Video Game: Developed by Terminal Reality for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Other ports were developed by other studios. Published by Atari and relased in 2009. This game has the added bonus of the story being written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as well as getting pretty much the entire original cast back. The game is a third person shooter.

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Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson all allowed their likeness and even voiced their respective characters. Also returning from the movies are William Atherton and Annie Potts. Hell, they even got Max von Sydow to reprise his role as Vigo from Ghostbusters II in a cameo. The game even used the film’s locations and props as models for the 3D modelling in the game.

Set in 1991 about 2 years after the events of Ghostbusters II. You play as an unnamed new recruit to the Ghostbusters team. New York is hit by a large PKE shock-wave and ghosts are running riot all over the city, including the return of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. You are only known as “Rookie” as the team don’t want to get to attached to you in case something should happen, are expected to test out any new equipment and upgrades the team make. The Ghostbusters go around New York busting ghosts and slowly learn that certain buildings around the city are being used as nodes to connect the real world to the ghost world in an attempt to bring forth another great destructor similar to Gozer from the first film.

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The team have to destroy the nodes and capture the guardians from around the city from various familiar locales like; The Sedgewick Hotel, the New York Public Library and the Museum of Natural History… which just so happens to be hosting a Gozer exhibit. If you haven’t played the game yet, I’ll leave the plot summary there as to not get into spoilers.

Some interesting behind the scenes titbits of the game…

The game originally started out being developed by ZootFly, who began work on a Ghostbusters game despite not having the license from Sony Pictures. ZootFly showed early footage of the game via You Tube sometime in 2006. They were ultimately not able to secure the Ghostbusters licence and so they altered the game and changed it title to TimeO.

Then in 2007, Sierra Entertainment and developer Terminal Reality met with Sony Pictures to discuss the possibility of developing their own Ghostbusters video game. Terminal Reality even used the early videos of ZootFly’s You Tube videos to show how a Ghostbusters came could look. The pitch worked and Sony Pictures allowed the use of the Ghostbusters licence. Terminal Reality began work on their official Ghostbusters game.

The game was put into limbo when Vivendi merged with Activision to form Activision Blizzard and then Activision Blizzard (the publisher of Vivendi’s and Sierra’s titles) stated that several games they were working on would not be released. The Ghostbusters game was one of the titles said to be cancelled. This announcement sparked outrage from fans and by the end of 2008, it was revealed that Atari would publish the game to be released in 2009.

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It was also announced that the game would be a PS3 timed exclusive in Europe meaning the Xbox 360 version would not be relased until several months later… however, the Xbox 360 version was not region locked and meant people could import the American version and play that ahead of the European release.

Sigourney Weaver was asked to return as Dana Barrett, but it was reported that she never felt comfortable working on a video game. It was only when Weaver learned the other cast members were attached to the game that she decided to return, but the game was already too far into development by then and too late to include her character. Weaver seemingly learned from this and did return as Ripley in the Alien: Isolation game.

The game’s plot uses some ideas left out of the original movies as well as a few concepts from Dan Aykroyd’s early draft for his Ghostbusters II: Hellbent script. Dan has even said that the game is basically Ghostbusters III.

The game was very well received and often cited as the best Ghostbusters game ever and I have to agree… but I think the game is flawed in many ways. I found the game a bit repetitive, the levels are too linear and lack any real depth. The story mode is very short and can be completed in around 5 hours. Yet it is very authentic and you really do feel like a Ghostbuster. The voice cast and likenesses of the actors definitely helps and the story being written by Dan and Harold is a massive plus too. Yeah, it really is a great Ghostbusters game, but I can’t call it a great game in itself. Still, it is well worth checking out for any Ghostbusters fan. Its a shame we never got a sequel…

Well we did kind of get a sequel… kind of.

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Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime: Released in 2001 and developed by Behaviour Santiago, published by Atari. This did start out as a full sequel to Ghostbusters: The Video Game, but financial problems at the time at Atari meant a sequel was put into limbo and they decided to release this stripped down/arcade game instead. Environmental assets, such as the cemetery level and even character assets such as the ghosts were reused from Ghostbusters: The Video Game for this title.

You play as any of the four main new members of the Ghostbusters, as the last game ended with the suggestion of setting up a Ghostbusters franchise with all new members. The original team do appear in the game, but as non playable characters in the story sections of the game. The game allows you to play up to four players simultaneously, if you don’t have three friends to play with then the AI plays as the other characters. The game is a simple shooter with semi explore-able levels and secret collectable to find.

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Its an okay game at best, but a big disappointment after Ghostbusters: The Video Game and a shame this is what we got instead of a full sequel.

That is pretty much it for the Ghostbusters games. I didn’t cover EVERY game, there are a few mobile games like; Ghostbusters: Paranormal Blast, Ghostbusters: Beeline and a Ghostbusters mobile game from 2006. There were a couple of pinball machines and a few others too.

But there are more Ghostbusters I want to quickly mention.

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Ghostbusters: Inspired by the new remake. Developed by FireForge Games and published by Activision. Said to be set after the events of the new film where you play up to four players and none of the characters from the film are included.

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Its basically an updated version of Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime just inspired by the 2016 film.

Ghostbusters: Slime City: Another mobile game to be released this year. Which sounds like a typical ‘free to play’ cash grab, pay to win mobile game that are everywhere now.

I think that is every (main) Ghostbusters game covered and as I said before, there were more than I originally remembered. The Ghostbusters have had quite a mix bag of a life in gaming. There have been some good games, some decent games and some just plain terrible games. Highlights for me are the original Commodore 64 one, the Mega Drive Ghostbusters and of course the Ghostbusters: The Video Game.

Oh I almost forgot about Ghostbusters making their LEGO debut in LEGO Dimensions…

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There is still more to my Birthday/Ghostbusters celebration. If you haven’t already, please check out my behind the scenes look at the making the Ghostbusters movie, a look at the failed attempts to make a Ghostbusters III as well as my overviews of the Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II movies.

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Ghostbusters III… so what happened?

So Ghostbusters was an amazing success that spawned a very much loved franchise. From video games and toys to cartoons and cooking aprons. T-shirts and hats to Slimer based drinks and even Stay-Puft marshmallows.

The Ghostbusters logo was put onto pretty much everything in the mid 80s to early/mid 90s and we loved it. Us fans even tolerated the distinctly average sequel film, Ghostbusters II. We just could never get enough Ghostbusters. The Ghostbusters franchise started to wane though the mid and late 90s and everyone believed that as far as movie go, the franchise was all done and dusted. But there was something every die hard Ghostbusters fan wanted…

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We didn’t care how old the guys were getting, we just wanted to see them back on the big screen one more time. And do you know something… it almost happened several times. A Ghostbusters III was being worked on many times over the years but for one reason or another, it was just never meant to be. So here, I’m going to take a look a the many failed attempts at getting a Ghostbusters III off the ground before everything went wrong and the decision was made to remake/reboot the franchise instead. Lets start at the very beginning, I hear that’s a very good place to start.

Ray

It was the early-mid 90s when the rumours began with Dan in interviews like this one from Playboy in August 1993:

Playboy: “Will you continue to make sequels, whether based on the Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Coneheads or others?

Dan Aykroyd:As long as there is something new to do with them and it’s enjoyable. It’s kind of nice to have built-in franchises. The one I don’t think we’ll necessarily further exploit is Ghostbusters. It looks like that’s about had its run.

Playboy:Because Ghostbusters II did poorly?

Dan Aykroyd: “Yeah. It opened and Batman opened the next weekend and wiped us out that summer. Although we made a good movie, it just wasn’t as commercially successful as everybody thought it would be. If I could get that team together, it would be a real dream, because I think there’s a great story to be told. But it won’t be for a while.

Hmmmmm. While Dan says here he didn’t want to ‘further exploit’ Ghostbusters. On the same subject, he does also say it would be great to get that team back together and there is a great story to be told. So he must have been thinking about a possible return even back in 1993. Well we did get a Blues Brothers sequel, but what about that Ghostbusters III?

What about this interview from WWOR Channel 9 news sometime in February 1994:

Pat Collins:Raise your hands if you want another Ghostbusters movie. Dan says it could happen.

Dan Aykroyd:Ah, it might happen. I’ve got a story in mind that I’m thinking about. So, we’ll see, we’ll see. It’s certainly something I always wanted to do. It’s just getting the other players together.

So Dan had a story idea for another film and this got the fans riled up with excitement. Ghostbusters III looked like it was going to happen after all. Then, adding even more fuel to the fire was a little cameo Dan made in Casper (1995).

Showing up in full Ghostbusters regalia and even with the (Ray) Stantz name-tag and all. Dan only appeared in a very quick, few seconds cameo. So quick was the cameo that he didn’t even bother to shave his moustache. But there was no mistaking it, he was most definitely playing Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters.

It seems it was this few seconds coupled with the afore mentioned interviews that got most fans hoping that perhaps soon, we would see an official Ghostbusters III. By that time, it had been 6 years since Ghostbusters II was released and it seemed about the right time to bring them back despite the lack of love for the sequel. We wanted a worthy Ghostbusters sequel, but little did we know just how much Dan wanted one too.

Back then, Dan had already been working on a Ghostbusters III script in the mid 90s. In fact, he wrote multiple scripts and revisions for the movie between the mid 90s up to the 2010s. Very little is known about all his various scripts but some information was relased by Dan himself regarding at least one version; Ghostbusters III: Hellbent. The basic synopsis for this film had the original Ghostbusters working with a recruit where they would end up travelling to hell. This version of hell was said to be a parallel universe kind of thing taking place in ‘Manhellton’, a hellish version of New York’s Manhattan.

The interviews kept coming over the years too.

Hollywood Online, 10th February, 1998:

Dan Aykroyd:Harold [Ramis] and I have a treatment that we really like. It’s just a matter of writing it now. We’re going to try to do it this summer. The concept is still strong and I think that Harold and I can pull it off, if we have the time.

The concept is that there’s a positive image of life and there’s a negative image of life. Hell is not some distant place, far away from this dimension or realm. Hell is right next door. It’s like those old tin-type photos where you turn them one way and they look positive, then you just flick them slightly and they look negative. That’s our concept. Given the right technology you could flip the switch and all of a sudden the positive that we see in this room suddenly becomes negative. It’s kind of neat.

We’re going to set it in New York and do a Hades version of New York, very close to life in the city as we perceive it now. You look down at the river and there’s a ferry of Wall Street commuters, except they’re being shoved off with pitchforks into the river which is now boiling blood. Flick it back and it’s just the Brooklyn Bridge and just a normal traffic jam. Carrying that through, I think we can have a lot of fun.

That sounds like Dan talking about the previously mentioned Ghostbusters III: Hellbent doesn’t it? So things were very much getting under way on Ghostbusters III by 1998. Yet is was also around this time when things started to fall apart. Though Dan Aykroyd wanted to make another film, others didn’t.
In early 1999, Harold Ramis started chipping in on all the Ghostbusters III rumours. By 1999, Ramis had built himself quite a respectable career as a writer and director with films like Groundhog Day (1993), Multiplicity (1996) and Analyze This (1999). He was just too busy with his own career to take on another project and often suggested that a Ghostbusters III would never happen with the original cast and that it was more of a hobby for Aykroyd than anything else. Plus there was the fact that Bill Murray was reluctant in coming back and so was director Ivan Reitman. In fact, it was reported that Bill Murry said of Dan’s idea that it was: “too crazy to comprehend.”

Egon

Entertainment Weekly Online interviewed Ramis on 19th February, 1999:

Harold Ramis:Dan and I talk about it on a regular basis, and he’s done some writing. The studio would love to make a deal, but they’re not sure who to make the deal with, since Bill is very elusive, and Ivan Reitman is kind of standing on the side. The dream plan is that Danny and I would produce it, I would direct it, and we would recruit some newer, younger, popular Ghostbusters to star.

More of the interview right here.

This sounds like a different idea to the previously mentioned Ghostbusters III: Hellbent and possibly one of Dan’s other ideas for the film instead. But while it seemed the original cast would not be back, or at least some of them wouldn’t, a Ghostbusters III seemed to be going ahead. In the summer of 1999 the website domain of http://www.ghostbusters3.com had been secured. Go to it now and it no longer exists, but at the time it would take you to Sony Pictures main website. An indication that back then Sony were possibly interested in making the film?

All through the rumours and speculation. Bill Murray was very much against making another Ghostbusters movie even insulting his friends Dan and Harold along the way. This all lead to tension and the idea to make a new film without Murray started to emerge.

The subject of Ghostbusters III was brought up again when Dan Aykroyd appeared on the television show: Access Hollywood on the 12th November, 1999:

Dan Aykroyd:Doesn’t look good right now, I’m sorry to say that.

Nancy O’Dell:How could they not possibly want to do it?

Dan Aykroyd:Because they’re trying to get bargains, they’re trying to get the next Blair Witch. But, you know, sometimes you have to seed for the big harvest to come in. You’re talking about billion dollar releases. Spend 120, make 500. They don’t see it that way.

Dan is referring to Sony Pictures just not wanting to spend millions and millions of dollars on an old franchise. At the time The Blair With Project was the big thing in Hollywood then with it’s ultra low budget of around $60.000, but bringing in $29 million in its opening weekend alone. Low budget films making big profits was what studios wanted and you couldn’t make a Ghostbusters III on $60.000. So it seemed that a Ghostbusters III was never going to happen… except it kind of eventually did and with pretty much all the main cast returning too.

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The whole Ghostbusters III thing died down for a few years, we had been teased with it since 1993 and it was now almost the year 2000 and still nothing. Ghostbusters III was dead, we were sure of it. It was all swept under the rug and everyone moved on. Then sometime early 2007, Dan Aykroyd brought up the subject of Ghostbusters III once more. Suggesting the film is finally going ahead based on his original Ghostbusters III: Hellbent idea. After all the years and all the waiting, everything seemed to be heading back to the early 90s again… haven’t we been here once before already? What was interesting about this news though was the fact Dan said it would be a fully animated CGI movie as opposed to live action. The idea behind it was that everyone was too old to play the roles convincingly any more, but they could provide the voices for the characters instead and the Ghostbusters could still be as young as they need to be. Even Bill Murray was interested as he hinted at Fantastic Fest 2008:

Bill Murray: “The wounds from Ghostbusters II are healed.”

Murray also revealed that writer/producers Gene Stupnitsky & Lee Eisenberg (The Office) were said to have written a new script under the supervision of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Things were looking great for another Ghostbusters movie… finally. Live action or animated, we didn’t care, we were going to see the original cast back in an official sequel.

We never did get that CGI Ghostbusters movie, we go something else from that concept instead…

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In 2009, we got a fully licensed, fully voice acted Ghostbusters video game. The game was co-written by both Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis and it borrowed from Dan’s original Ghostbusters III: Hellbent concept as well as a few of his other early ideas like having a new member join the team. I’ll cover this game in more detail in my Ghostbusters in gaming later. But it is often said by Dan that this game is the true Ghostbusters III. You can even watch all the cut-scenes from the game as it’s own movie…

So that’s it then right, Ghostbusters III all sorted and everyone is happy? Well no, not quite.

Even after the release of the game, the rumours started once more that a movie sequel was still in the works. Bill Murray even got in on the fun and appeared in a cameo for the movie Zombieland (2009) where he plays himself and Ghostbusters is referenced several times. Murray also turned up in full Ghostbusters costume at the 2010 Scream Awards…

Bill

Everyone saw this as Bill hinting he had decided to be in a new Ghostbusters movie after all the negativity previously and a new hope was born after the success of the game that we may finally see a real Ghostbusters III movie with all the original cast.

It was around 2013 when the intention of making another movie began to circulate once more as the game had been so successful and proven there was still interest in the franchise. This time around writer Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Men In Black 3) was hired to pen the screenplay with the help of Dan and Harold. The idea was that the film would be a ‘passing the torch’ kind of movie where the original Ghostbusters hand over their legacy to an all new and younger team. Ben Stiller was even rumoured to be playing one of the lead roles. Everyone seemed happy with this idea… except Bill Murray who once again began his anti-Ghostbusters III campaign. It got to a point where Dan outright stated that the film is starting production in 2014 without Bill’s involvement. Things started looking up for Ghostbusters III again and were seemingly really moving forward. This is the closest we have ever got to an actual, live action Ghostbusters III. There was even a production date.

Dan Aykroyd:We’ve got a brilliant new writer on it and we’ll be passing the torch on to a new generation. We’re working on it to make it just right to satisfy our fans. I’m confident we’ll be in production in the next year.

There you go, Dan himself saying they will start production on Ghostbusters III in 2014. Unfortunately 2014 didn’t bring a new Ghostbusters movie, it brought tragedy. Sadly, Harold Ramis died and all excitement and expectations for the sequel died along with him. Nobody wanted to make a Ghostbusters III any more and the idea to reboot the franchise came about instead…

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That was the end. No more Ghostbusters III talk and only time will tell if this reboot/remake will reignite the franchise once more. Sadly we will never see the original four Ghostbusters in action again… but some of the cast from the original films do have cameos in this new film, including the elusive Bill Murray! Nobody expected that.

Thanks for reading and there is more Ghostbusting action in my behind the scenes look at the making of the first two films, quick overviews of both Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II as well as my look at Ghostbusters in gaming over the years.

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Who ya gonna call? Behind the busting

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A new Ghostbusters movie is released today (in America)… and it also just so happens to be my birthday too.
So I thought I’d do a big Ghostbusters blow-out of a celebration.

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I’m going to do an overview of both the Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters 2 films. Take a look at the failed attempts at making an official Ghostbusters 3. I’m also going to take a look at Ghostbusters in games over the years as well as a behind the scenes look at the making of the films right here (this is going to be a big celebration). There is a lot to cover, so I’d better crack on.

First, lets get the elephant in to room out of the way…

2016

This new movie, it has such a huge “hate train” forming over the internet and this hate has been going since the film was first announced, even before the film had begun shooting.

This is asinine and pathetic. People boycotting a film they have not seen so really can not offer a fair opinion. Me? I also have not seen the film, I have no desire to see the film on the big screen either. But I think it looks like an enjoyable film non the less.
I’ll post my views on the picture when I get around to watching it… and this is what separates me from others. I will actually watch the film before I pass judgement on it.

Why am I in no rush to see the film, all female cast? Nope.
Well, I just don’t like Paul Feig films. I have tried watching several of his films and they are just not funny or well made. He makes cheap trash unfunny comedies. If you like his films, then good for you… but they are just not for me.
Melissa McCarthy is not funny nor can she act. In fact, none of the main four are funny or halfway decent actors, regardless of gender.

And that is about it for my negatives on the film. I have no problem with there being an all female line up, I just wished they hired four funnier and better females instead… and a better director. I’m not going to be blinded by nostalgia or my love for the original either. When I do get around to watching the remake, I’ll judge the film on the film that it is and not the film the original was.

The film was released here in the UK on the 11th (no I still have not seen it yet) and it has been getting pretty decent reviews. Not amazing, “best film ever” reviews. But its not getting a slating like a certain superhero team up got earlier this year.
It is possible that this new Ghostbusters is not the horrendous train wreck many people wanted and expected it to be?

So why would I want to see it?
I actually think the trailers didn’t look that bad. There is the whole “most hated trailer ever” thing going on with this film. All I can say to that is if people really think this film has the worst trailer ever… then you’ve not seen many trailers. Yes I am a genuine Ghostbusters fan, I wouldn’t be doing this whole multi article celebration if I wasn’t would I?
As I am a Ghostbusters fan, this is why I want to see the film. I’ll not judge a 2 hour film on a 2 minute sample of out of context clips. I just wont pay to go and see it at the cinema. It doesn’t look THAT good, it just doesn’t look that bad either. Plus as I previously pointed out, the film is getting decent reviews.

Just as an add on. Yes I have heard the new Ghostbusters theme tune and yes… its fucking terrible.

Now that is out of the way. Lets get into the main event, the making of Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2.

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Originally written by Dan Aykroyd as a vehicle for him and John Belushi after the success of The Blues Brothers. Dan’s original script was very different to the final film. He first came up with the idea for the story while at his family farmhouse in Ontario. Dan is a big believer in ghosts and this comes from his family. His great-grandfather was a renowned spiritualist, his grandfather investigated the possibility of contacting the dead via radio technology and his father wrote a well respected history of ghosts book.

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It was while at the family farmhouse sometime in 1982, Dan read an article in a parapsychology journal about the idea of trapping ghosts.

Dan Aykroyd:I thought, I’ll devise a system to trap ghosts and marry it to the old ghost films of the 1930s. Virtually every comedy team did a ghost movie, Abbott & Costello, Bob Hope. I was a big fan of those.

So he started to write a screenplay about a comedy ghost hunting duo inspired by his heroes with himself and John Belushi in mind for the lead roles. It was while Dan was writing the screenplay in 1982 that he received some devastating news.

Dan Aykroyd:It was originally written for John [Belushi] and I. I was writing a line for John, and Bernie Brillstein (eventual Ghostbusters executive producer) called and said they just found him, It was a Kennedy moment, we loved each other as brothers.

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It was a big blow for Dan to lose his best friend and he put the screenplay on hold for a while. After some time, Dan decided to return to his comedy ghost movie idea once more. Armed with only a half completed draft of the idea, he took it to Bill Murray. It has been said that Bill loved the idea, even at this unfinished stage, he agreed to be part of the project there and then and play the part originally written for John Belushi. This pushed Dan to complete the screenplay and get it to a filmable script. So he cracked on with the writing once more and was already thinking of the perfect director for the job, Ivan Reitman. With the success of films like; Animal House, Stripes, and Meatballs. Reitman was becoming the go-to guy for comedy films of the early 80s.

Ivan

Ivan Reitman:I was in the right place at the right time. I got to work with the people who’d eventually become the new comedic voices of English language comedy.

Eventually, Dan finally had a rough first draft for his Ghostbusters movie. But it was way too big and would have been impossible to film in the early 80s as Reitman recalls. It was also a much darker film than the finished project with the film being set in a dystopia like future and also taking place on different dimensional planes with the idea that the Ghostbusters would be a franchise with many branches all over the world. The script was just not filmable at all, but it did contain many great ideas that Reitman loved including the now infamous Ghostbusters logo and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. It was while at a lunch to discuss the movie that Ivan told Dan the script just will not work as a film, but he did suggest a few ideas that would form what Ghostbusters would eventually become and came up with the idea of having the film in a more contemporary setting and even using the film to set up the Ghostbusters instead of having them already established.

Ivan Reitman: “I basically pitched what is now the movie that the Ghostbusters should go into business, this was beginning of the 1980s and everyone was going into business. I called it my domino theory of reality. If we could just play this thing realistically from the beginning, we’d believe that the Marshmallow Man could exist by the end of the film.”

Reitman had another idea too, he suggested that Dan should try to bring in Harold Ramis to help out with the writing to get the script streamlined. Ramis was already known for his work on Caddyshack and National Lampoon’s Vacation as well as being Bill Murray’s co-star in the movie; Stripes. Apparently, after the lunch meeting, both Ivan and Dan walked into Harold’s office on the Burbank Studios lot with the unfinished first draft and he quickly read through it and listened to Ivan and Dan’s ideas. Ramis liked what he read/heard and agreed to help out and get the script into a more manageable project. After working on the screenplay with Dan for a while, Harold decided he’d also like to play a part in the film and the project started to gain momentum as three of the Ghostbusters were now in place.

Harold

The script was still not finished but the backbone of the film was sturdy enough to pitch the idea to a movie studio and ask for funding. Reitman went to Columbia Pictures in 1983 armed with the unfinished script, three main actors and himself as director. When asked how much money he would need to make the film, he just blurted out “$25 million all in”, by his own admission, Reitman just came up the figure up out of thin air. Surprisingly he got what he asked for, but this amount of money did catch the attention of the big wigs at Columbia Pictures.

Frank Price (Columbia Pictures chairman):It was a horrendous amount of money for a comedy. It was too expensive, too risky. CEO, Francis Vincent said. I explained, I’ve got Bill Murray. I was going to go ahead with it. They made it clear that it was all my responsibility. I was out on the limb.

It was decided the film would have to be completed for a major summer 1984 release, only giving them just over a year to finish the script, film it, and edit one of the biggest budget, effects laden films that any of them had ever made at that point. Aykroyd, Ramis, and Reitman locked themselves away to get the script finalised, working seven days a week. First order of business was to define the three major characters. Dan was pretty happy about having his original ideas and characters completely broken down and rebuilt.

Dan Aykroyd: “I’m a better originator than executor of a finished screenplay. I’m a kitchen-sink writer, I throw everything in there. I’ve always relied on a collaborator to bring it into reality.”

The main characters in Dan’s original script were fairly undifferentiated and they needed to be refined and reworked to be believable. Aykroyd claims that the they drew on a particular Hollywood classic for inspiration. The three main characters of Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, and Egon Spengler were inspired by the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. The script was coming together fast as the trio hammered out a more detailed and filmable screenplay as the story and jokes grew and grew. Eventually, the script was finished and now ready to begin shooting, but there was a major problem. It was estimated the the film would require around 200 special effect shots and the major and most reliable special effects companies were all busy on other films being made at that time like; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Return of the Jedi. They had a major effects film ready to shoot and yet, no effects team to shoot it. This was when Reitman suggested they start up their own effects company. Around the same time, Oscar-winning effects man Richard Edlund (Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Poltergeist) decided he wanted to set up his own special effects studio.

Richard Edlund:I had to put a whole company together—and lawyers ate up a lot of time. By the time the contract was made out, we had more like 10 months to rebuild the studio, shoot all the scenes, and composite everything. We had to build elaborate equipment. It was an incredibly ambitious amount of work.

Almost everything was in place to begin shooting… almost. There were still a few major characters not yet cast. Sigourney Weaver heard on the grapevine of the film and wanted a part. She was sent a script and asked to audition for the role of Dana Barrett. Dr. Venkman love interest and pivotal character that turns into a “Terror Dog” for the climax for the movie…

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Sigourney Weaver: “I had to audition for Ivan. I remember starting to growl and bark and gnaw on the cushions and jump around. Ivan cut the tape and said, ‘Don’t ever do that again.'”

Still, Ivan must have enjoyed the audition as afterwards he immediately got on the phone to Dan and Harold and told them that he had found Dana. Reitman remembers he thought Weaver had an amazing sense of humour and the right amount of gravitas for the part. The character of Dana was originally written to be a famous model in the script, but it was Sigourney’s idea that she should be a musician instead as she felt this would give the character a softer soul which would make it easier to be possessed.

The next character to be cast was Louis Tully, Dana’s affectionate neighbour who also becomes the second Terror Dog in the film. The role was first offered to long time friend of Harold Ramis and Bill Murray; John Candy. They had worked together previously on other projects and even used to tour together in a comedy troupe back in the 70s.

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It was perfect casting as in early storyboards for Louis Tully he was depicted as a more rotund character and Candy was happy to accept the role… except for the fact Candy insisted on playing the part with a thick German accent and being accompanied by two huge dogs whenever he was on screen. Reitman tried to talk Candy into playing the role with his normal accent and without the two huge dogs as there was already enough dog symbolism in the film anyway. But Candy just refused and eventually the role was offered to somebody else instead. Enter Rick Moranis who was already interested in the part before it was offered to John Candy. So Reitman gladly hired Moranis and a memorable character was born.

RM

The shooting script had changed so much from Dan’s original idea that the Ghostbusters grew from only two members to four, yet with Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, they only had three in place for filming. Winston Zeddemore was supposed to be the more grounded character and the one the audience would relate to as he was the outsider of the main group and would be the voice of reason among all the craziness that was going on in the story. Dan Aykroyd has said in the past that the first person up the the role was Eddie Murphy, however, Ivan Reitman has stated that Murphy was never in consideration. But none of that is really important as eventually it was Ernie Hudson who was untimely chosen to play Winston.

EH

Ivan Reitman:Zeddemore needed to be a stand-in for the audience, a character who could have things explained to him. Ernie Hudson had this wonderful, likeable, kind of naive quality, and I just cast him.

The four main characters were now in place as well as most of the supporting cast and the film was now ready to begin shooting. It was October 1983 and the crew began filming in New York. This was quite a ballsy move as New York back then was not considered a “movie city” at all. In the 1970s and early 80s, New York was known as a city of crime, corruption and it was in the midst of a fiscal crisis. New York in the 1970 even almost went bankrupt. Nobody wanted to film anything in New York back then, never mind a multi-million dollar summer blockbuster. Due to the amazing success Ghostbusters would eventually have (spoiler?), the film is credited with helping turn New York around in the early 80s to the tourist attraction and movie friendly city it is now known as.

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The film was mainly shot guerilla-style as they didn’t bother with filming permits or permission for the most part. One scene that is part of a montage at Rockefeller Center, which is privately owned and the crew didn’t know. Has the Ghostbusters being chased away by a security guard. That was a genuine security guard in the background chasing Aykroyd, Murray and Ramis as they were not allowed to film there and it was all immortalised on film. The whole shoot was a jovial and fun time with many of the cast and crew making lifelong friends. Sigourney Weaver recalls her first day on set and her first time meeting Bill Murray outside the New York Public Library.

Sigourney Weaver: “I went over and I introduced myself and he said, ‘Hello, Susan.’ He picked me up and put me over his shoulder and walked down the block with me. It was a great metaphor for what happened to me in the movie, I was just turned upside down and I think I became a much better actress for it.”

Behind 2

It was about midway through the shoot when a legal issue arouse that jeopardised the production. It was discovered that there was a 70s TV show called; The Ghost Busters and this created a legal barrier preventing the use of the name Ghostbusters. As they were already well into the shoot with many scenes where the Ghostbusters name was prevalent, they couldn’t just re-shoot everything as that would be too costly both financially and time wise. For a stop gap, during the rest of the shoot, the crew made up various alternate names including; Ghoststoppers and Ghostbreakers. There were even replacement props and signs made up with the new names on them in case they would be needed. It was during a huge crowd scene being filmed at Central Park West where a few hundred strong crowd of extras were chanting the name “Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!” over and over as loud as they could when Associate producer Joe Medjuck recalls that he got on a nearby payphone can called the Burbank Studios where the films main production office was and demanded they clear the name Ghostbusters for them to use at any cost. Just think, if it hadn’t been for the overtly enthusiastic extras that day… we could have been watching a film called; Ghoststoppers!

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The rest of the shoot was problem free as the cast and crew remained harmonious until the very end. The film finally wrapped up in February 1984 leaving the crew only four months to edit and finish over 200 effect shots and in the early 80s, that was a hell of a task. During these effect shoots, there was a problem with the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. You see, how they did most of those effects was with a stuntman in a suit being shot against a miniature background. You know the scenes where he is set on fire by the Ghostbusters proton packs? Well for that, they really set the suit on fire, with the stuntman inside. Several of the suits just exploded into flames and were ruined which resulted in the stuntman inside being left unable to breath properly. No major harm was done to the stuntman, but the suits were totally destroyed.

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The effects were finally finished and cut into the film literally days before the film was set to be seen for the first time. Ghostbusters was first shown to industry insiders and the producers of the film… and its response was not good at all with many of the studio’s producers disliking the film and commenting on how much of a waste of money it all was. $25 million for a comedy film? Still, what do producers know eh?

Rick Moranis:The film crossed over to so many markets and audiences and was celebrated for so long. It went through three seasons. The entire summer, every kid was dressed as a Ghostbuster for Halloween, and it dominated the Christmas gift season.

Ghostbusters proved those industry types very wrong as the film broke Columbia Pictures best opening weekend record as well as its best opening week record. It went on to gross $238 million domestically and then went on to make $291 million worldwide. Ghostbusters became a worldwide phenomenon creating a whole new franchise with video games, TV shows, toys, merchandise and even a sequel film (more on these to follow).

As I mentioned at the start of this. The film was originally going to be for Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi to star in. Alas, the untimely death of Belushi changed that idea. Yet Belushi is still in the film to a certain degree. Did you know that the infamous Slimer ghost was written by Dan as an homage to his friend John Belushi? Dan has said that the Slimer ghost is the “ghost of John Belushi” and that the ghost carries a lot of John’s personality traits.

Slimer

Also on the same subject, did you also know that the Slimer ghost’s name was not originally Slimer at all? In the script, the ghost never had a name but the crew lovingly named him The Onionhead Ghost. Though the ghost is never given an official name in the first film, fans just called him Slimer because he slimed people. Then it was when the animated TV show was made that he was first officially named Slimer and he has been called so in every official subsequent Ghostbusters property since. effectively, the fans gave Slimer his name.

Winston

Winston Zeddemore:I’m Winston Zeddemore, Your Honor. I’ve only been with the company for a couple of weeks, but these things are real. Since I joined these men, I’ve seen shit that’ll turn you white.

That is yer making of Ghostbusters. This article is already a fairly long read, but I just want to quickly (and it will be quick) cover Ghostbusters II here too…

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After the success of Ghostbusters at the box office and its many sprouting branches like the toy line, merchandise and even a animated TV show spin off. The cast and crew thought it would be a great idea to team up and do something together again… yet it was not going to be a sequel to Ghostbusters at all. The general idea was the reunite the all the main cast, but in an all new movie playing all new characters. But Dan struggled to come up with a workable script that could bring everyone back together and that was when the idea for a Ghostbusters sequel came about instead.

Released in 1989, Ghostbusters II saw all the main cast return and the film grossed more than $215 million which was respectable, but less then the first film. Many fans feel the sequel was a huge let down (me included), don’t get me wrong, its not a bad film… its just not a great film and lacks so much of the character the original had.

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As you can tell, I don’t have much to say on this one, but don’t blame me. I tried, I really did. See, when I do these behind the scenes things, I always watch making of documentaries, watch the movies with the commentary on, look up interviews on the interwebs, etc. I do a hell of a lot of research when I do these things. The sad truth about Ghostbuster II is that not many people seem to want to talk about it. I found a few behind the scenes featurettes but not much, I couldn’t find any interviews with anything interesting and my DVD doesn’t even have a commentary track. I don’t know if its just me, but finding behind the scenes stories on Ghostbusters II is almost impossible. Sorry.

The best I could find was this…

Ivan Reitman:It didn’t all come together. We just sort of got off on the wrong foot story-wise on that film.

See, nobody has anything good to say about Ghostbusters II… not even the director.

Peter

Peter Venkman:Have you been outside lately? Do you know how weird it is out there? We’ve taken our own head count. There seem to be six million completely miserable ass-holes living in the tri-state area.

With the Ghostbusters II thing being a bit of a wash out (still sorry about that). I want to make it up to you by just taking a little glance at the much respected animated TV show and just point out how clever and more like a real sequel than the official live action sequel was… well, the first 2-3 seasons anyway.

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The Real Ghostbusters aired between 1986-1991 and was very successful. The pilot show actually picks up right where the original film left off, with the destruction of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

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Notice how in the live action film that the characters all wear the same colour uniforms but in the animated show they are different? This is actually explained in the show itself and its little attention to details like this that made this show such a hit with Ghostbuster fans. This all showed that the producers and writers of the show were themselves fans of the original film and loved it as much as we did. There are a tonne of amazing little references and details to spot through the series.

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The show even got a little meta at times as there is one episode (Take Two) where the characters from the cartoon are invited to watch and be consultants on the original live action film at the film studio, claiming that the events in the live action film version are a fictional take based on the “real” events from the cartoon. With some funny jokes along the way, like Peter Venkman (cartoon) sating that Bill Murray looks nothing like him (tit-bit: the original drawing for Peter looked just like Bill Murray but it was changed to avoid legal issues). Or Winston claiming that Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis sounds like a law firm.

The Real Ghostbusters was a genuinely great TV show that did very little wrong and didn’t try to insult the intelligence of its viewer base. The characters all felt “real”, the show had some great episodes and stories. It wasn’t just about busting ghosts as there were some great character moments within the show too.
I said the show didn’t insult the intelligence of the viewer and it didn’t… not until season 4 anyway. The first three seasons of this show are truly great, yeah a few hit an miss episode sure, but overall its a loving and respectful “sequel” to the original film. In fact at times, it feels much more like a real sequel than the real sequel.

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And then season 4 happened and ruined everything. Producers decided that if it ain’t broken, they had better ruin it anyway. Season 4 is where they started to force Slimer down our throats, in fact the show itself was renamed; Slimer! And The Real Ghostbusters. They even gave the little green bastard his own spin off show and it was just too much of something that nobody asked for. The quality of the writing went downhill too, voice actors were changed and characters themselves were altered dramatically as well as dynamics of their personalities. They changed outspoken Janine from a head strong female character to a typical “mother” type. They removed Winston from any of the main action and just made him the driver and for those in the know, yes Winston was the ONLY black character in the show… and he’s now just the driver, make of that what you will. They even removed Peter and Slimer’s bitterness toward each other and made them best friends… and if you know anything about the TV show, then you’d know how sacrilegious that is. I could sit here all day and point out the many, many instances the producers ruined this show but I won’t.

Yeah, season 4 onward is just horrendous. But please, watch the first 3 seasons and be pleasantly surprised by just how good this show was/is. Its funny, well made, written, produced and acted.

Just want to finish up with some interesting trivia about the cartoon…

Bill Murray played the live action Peter Venkman, while Lorenzo Music played the animated Peter in the cartoon. Lorenzo Music was also famous for playing Garfield in the animated TV show, while Bill Murray voiced Garfield in two feature films.

Ernie Hudson who played Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters films has said he auditioned for the role of Winston in the cartoon, but he lost out to Arsenio Hall.

Struggling to come up with a believable voice for Egon, Maurice LaMarche decided to just mimic Harold Ramis instead. When Bill Murray heard the voices in the cartoon for the first time, it has been reported he said: “”Harold’s guy sounds like him, I sound like Garfield.”

When Lorenzo Music sadly died in 2001 he was replaced as the voice of Garfield by Frank Welker who voiced Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters.

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Peter Venkman:Okay. Once upon a time there were four Ghostbusters who were trying to catch the Bogeyman but they couldn’t because one of them wouldn’t shut up and go to sleep. The end.

I’m at about 5000 words now so I think that is enough Ghostbusting for the time being, but there is more to come in my Birthday/Ghostbusters celebration with a look at the failed attempts at getting a Ghostbusters III made, a look at Ghostbusters in gaming over the years and overviews of Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II.

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Great movie trailers

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There is a massive online backlash over the trailer for the upcoming Ghostbusters remake… and it is a remake. It has become known as the most disliked movie trailer… ever.

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I think the whole backlash is getting out of hand. I watched the trailer and thought it looked “okay” at best. There have most definitely been far worse movie trailers before. I admit that I have no desire to go and see the film though, but the trailer was not that bad.
But this got me thinking about trailers and how you can’t really judge a 2 hour film on a 2 minute clip. Let me look at another example: that last trailer for Batman v Superman made the film look amazing, when in fact the film was horrible. Trailers can be very misleading.

Then I got to thinking about movie trailers in general and some trailers I lovingly remembered sprang to mind.
So here, I’m going to take a look at some of my favourite movie trailers. Whether the film itself was any good or not isn’t important. I’m just going on the quality of the trailer and what is showed, how/why it was good. From simple teasers, full trailers to sheer master class examples on how to do an effective movie trailer.

Back To The Future: A great example on how to do an amazing teaser. Bearing in mind that when this was released, nobody knew anything about the film at all. It starts of with the household name of; Steven Spielberg and that alone is enough to get you hooked. Then its is this abstract collection of futuristic looking lights, wires, etc along with a few quick shots of the DeLorean itself. Before revealing the star of the film, Michael J Fox who seemingly disappears in flames while the rousing “Back in Time” from; Huey Lewis and the News plays in the background as the title of the film appears.

A great little trailer for a film that would go down in history as an all time classic.

Godzilla (1998): This one was released in 1997 when Jurassic Park fever was still quite high as it was the same year that The Lost World: Jurassic Park was released. In fact, many people believed this was a trailer for Jurassic Park 2 at the time. Its a clever, misleading teaser as The T-Rex was the big bad monster of movies then and hugely popular. The way the museum curator builds up and talks about the impressive stats of the T-Rex, only for it to be literally crushed by the foot of something even bigger. This teaser was a great way to have a little pop at Jurassic Park while promoting the up and coming new Godzilla flick. It showed us that the T-Rex may not be the king of movie monsters for much longer.

Brilliant little trailer, shame the film itself was not very good though.

Schindler’s List: What an stunning trailer. Pretty much silent, except for a few instances and some haunting music in the background. This one really hits home the horrors of the Holocaust without revealing too much of anything. A powerful and moving trailer for a film that was just as equally powerful and moving… nuff said.

This is how you do a trailer well.

The Shining: This one is very unnerving. You have big names like Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson and Stephen King appear on screen all while some strange but wondrous music builds in the background. Yet we are just looking at a hallway with a pair of elevator doors at the end… and nothing else. Nothing appears to be happening, there is no action, we do not see any of the stars of the film as the music just keeps building and building. Its memorising and pulls you in as you can’t take your eyes off the screen as you wait for something to happen… an finally it does.

Kubrick, Nicholson, King. Who wouldn’t want to watch this film? This trailer is hugely effective, suspenseful and yet it shows nothing.

Spider-Man: The first teaser of the big budget Spider-Man film from Sam Raimi. This one is fairly controversial as it was quickly removed following the events of 9/11. A nice little action scene that got to showcase the new Spider-Man and didn’t contain any main footage from the film itself. Its quite heart pumping and offers an adrenaline rush. This one got me really looking forward to a Spider-Man film from one of my favourite directors.

An effective trailer that leaves a lasting impression and really got people talking… before 9/11 that is.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut: A great sense of humour with this one. The narrator’s build up as he describes cutting edge technology, millions of dollars budget, best animators in the world, etc. Just for it to cut to the crappy animation South Park is famed for while Cartman does his infamous “German dance”. Its a funny little trailer that really got people looking forward to the film.

Quite surprising the film came about while the TV show was still in its infancy. But this trailer got us South Park fans hyped.

The Exorcist: Wow, what a trailer. This one just shows some disturbing images of the film that flash up and really shows nothing of the film itself. Some interesting titbits about this one. It features the original score for the film before it was ultimately rejected from the final cut and the trailer was even pulled from cinemas as it was deemed too scary at the time. Just try to imagine watching this in a darkened cinema on the big screen…

One of my favourite films and a really unsettling trailer. Though, if I’m honest. I feel it goes on a little too long. I think this trailer would have been better if it was slightly shorter.

The Birds: Hitchcock was a master of his craft and this trailer proves just as much. Its more like a mini movie in itself coming in at just over 5 minutes long. Hitchcock takes us though interesting lecture about how we humans mistreat birds. Killing them, eating them, caging them, using them for trophies, etc. This is a wonderful little talk as Hitchcock beautifully uses the English language to paint a picture of why birds are the subject of his latest film and the whole thing is very calm. Then as Hitchcock goes to pet a caged bird, things take a disturbing twist…

I love me some Hitchcock and this is one of my all time favourite trailers and all without showing a single frame of the film. Hitch’s trademark dry humour is rampant in this one and really makes for a great watch. But he made an even better trailer just a few years before this one…

Psycho: Yes, Hitchcock again. Best film trailer EVER! Just like his; The Birds trailer, this one is like its own mini movie. We join Hitch as he takes us on a tour of the infamous Bates Motel and house. Hitch describes very specific events from the film, but still manages to hold back on any major spoilers. His marvellous wording as he covers the murder on the stairs, “the twisting of the… well I won’t dwell on it.”, is sublime. The way Hitch talks to the audience and give subtle nods and references, cheeky little winks as if he is tormenting you. “This picture has great significance because… lets go to cabin number 1”, arrrghhhhhhhh the teasing is almost unbearable. All leading up to a surprise in the shower…

My favourite trailer for one of my favourite films and based on one of my favourite books. Nobody does movie trailers better than Hitchcock. This trailer works brilliantly as a prologue as it just hints at pretty much every major scene in the film without telling us all the details. Then watch it after the film as an epilogue and you can see just how well crafted the trailer is and all the clues Hitch was hinting at.
Utterly sublime.

Well there you go, a few of my favourite trailers. But I have many more trailers I really enjoy, though nothing tops Psycho. I may cover more at a later date…

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