R.I.P. Michael C. Gross

Producers sure take a lot of flack. It's easy to take a cynical attitude toward producers, when you go to a film that is of questionable quality and it has a good dozen people listed as "Executive Producer, Associate Producer, Producer in Charge of Production, Consulting Producer" and you wonder why nobody was able to steer the ship in the right direction. How many of them were producers in name only? How many of them contractually were given a producer credit? What exactly did they do to help the director and writer's vision come to life?

But then there are the producers who do so much that a mere "Associate Producer" credit is being modest. Producers that were so responsible for the look, the feel, and the end result of a film that their contribution(s) can be directly linked to the success of the film. A good producer is like a selfless samurai, they help the director with all their responsibilities, make sure the director has the tools that they need to succeed, and even identifies the weak spots in which the director is unable to execute things and jumps in to help.

Those are the producers like Michael C. Gross.

It became evident over the years, through countless interviews and comments that he made, that Michael C. Gross came in to help Ivan Reitman with areas where he wasn't experienced. While Reitman had a knack for directing great comedic actors, animation and design weren't exactly in his wheelhouse and he realized that. Gross helped usher along the visual effects department, while also worked with artists to hone in the now famous "No-Ghost" logo that adorned the entry to a firehall, to countless costumes both on-screen and worn by fans, to every imaginable product, to this website. While he wasn't responsible for the concept like Aykroyd, the improvisation like Murray, or grounding it to relatable real-life like Ramis, it was more than evident that the presence of Michael C. Gross was essential to the secret formula that made Ghostbusters the phenomenon that it was and still continues to be.

His work with National Lampoon is iconic. His sense of humor distinct. He loved living his life by the Southern California beach (and of course, bikini season as result). When he was diagnosed with brain cancer, his mood understandably greatly varied. When I reached out to him to see if he was interested in getting all of his thoughts onto record, he declined and told me he was "tired of hearing himself talk." In a rare audio interview for the 30th Anniversary, he told Chris Stewart that he felt like a "has been," a man who had glory days behind him, but wasn't leaving a legacy. Chris, very rightly argued the opposite. 

At age 70, he is gone far ahead of his time. A healthy Michael C. Gross would have produced incredible art, unforgettable humor, and countless surprises that we would have never expected. I for one was hoping that he would continue to defy the doctor's diagnoses and continue thriving through seeing another Ghostbusters film release and to enjoy the ride one last time.

From a fellow producer, from a fan, from someone who no doubt continues to benefit from his long stressful and sleepless nights in production and post, and from a kid who grew up coveting anything and everything in which the No-Ghost logo was adorned, thank you Michael. For being one of those unsung producers with a credit that didn't do justice to the impact that of which he was responsible.

For more on Michael, please visit the Telegraph for a recent and very comprehensive interview they conducted with him.

Getting to Know: Kate McKinnon

In the months leading up to the release of an all-new Ghostbusters film in July of 2016, GBHQ will be giving you a look into the highly talented cast and crew that are involved in the film in an effort to familiarize fans with their work and background leading up to the film's premiere.

Up first, Kate McKinnon who plays Jillian Holtzmann in the new film.

McKinnon was born the same year as the concept of Ghostbusters, 1984. She originally hails from New York, where she was trained and a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. Ghostbusters fans should take note that she's an actual graduate of Columbia University. Her knack for improvization and impersonation caught the eye of casting directors on the 2007 Big Gay Sketch Show, which debuted on Logo. While the show failed to make an impact, McKinnon's were given the chance to go public. McKinnon made the move to Los Angeles and as a featured member of the CBS Diversity Showcase, an annual performance in Los Angeles intended to showcase new and upcoming comedic talent for casting directors, directors, producers and showrunners looking for new talent to star in their fall television shows. But before she could be swept into sitcom stardom, she caught the eye of Lorne Michaels as a potential candidate for one of his Not Ready for Primetime Players on Saturday Night Live.

McKinnon joined SNL in 2012 as a featured player, then later as a member of the regular cast. Spot-on impressions of Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber led to recurring sketch characters like a poor Russian woman on Weekend Update, and the lonely and love-starved Sheila Sauvage who prowls a bar right before last call for her prey. Just recently, McKinnon took over duties of characterizing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton from Amy Poehler. It should be noted that portraying a president in office or presidential candidate is often considered one of the greatest honors for an SNL cast member. Upon her casting on SNL, McKinnon often drew comparisons to cast member Kristen Wiig (who was in the process of exiting the show for a career in films at the time), and was often faced with inquiries if she would be able to fill Wiig's shoes. The two are, of course, now co-stars in the upcoming Ghostbusters film.

In addition to her work on television, McKinnon has long been a voiceover artist, having provided voices for Simpsons, Family Guy, The Venture Bros., Toy Story of Terror, Moonbeam City and Robotomy. She is also multi-talented musically and plays guitar, piano, and the cello... much like a certain New York Symphony Orchestra performer who once turned into a dog.

McKinnon's character in the new Ghostbusters film looks to showcase the best of her talents. Her character, Jillian Holtzmann has a unique look and appears to have a unique and energy infused persona: an environment in which McKinnon excels. 

The Crossrip Chats "Get Real #4" and Beyond with Dan Schoening

Another jam-packed episode of the Interdimensional Crossrip podcast hit the airwaves this morning. First up, a brief tribute to a fallen friend Ryan Kemp by Chris, then the latest news, and an interview with Ryan Doell and IDW Comics artist Dan Schoening. With the New York Comic-Con 2015 all wrapped up, we fittingly have a double-stuffed show to talk quite a bit about IDW's Ghostbusters Get Real and its conclusion.

Also this week: brand new Ghostbusters shoes, Michael C. Gross Day and appreciation, that Rick Moranis interview that everyone is talking about, a new Paul Feig interview where he discusses casting Chris Hemsworth, LEGO Dimensions, Anovos is going to be selling Ghostbusters-related props, oh and there might be a Ghostbusters animated film in the hopper?

Listen to the episode here on the HQ, subscribe through iTunes, listen on Stitcher, or use your podcasting app of choice and subscribe to our RSS feed!

That's a Wrap on Ghostbusters (2016)

As of today, the 2016 revival of Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig is calling a principal photography wrap in Boston. A 60 to 70 day production schedule that began on June 18th has come to a close after what sounds like a hectic but entertaining shoot in Boston and New York City.

The past two weeks have seen a splinter 2nd Unit crew out in New York City shooting what appear to be driving sequences and chase sequences with follow cars (including a fantastic looking "Russian Arm" camera mounted to a Porsche as well as a three-wheel camera vehicle presumably used to slalom between cars while filming) while the main unit continued shooting at Stonehurst, a country estate in Massachusetts originally built in 1886.

Now begins the race to the finish process of editorial, visual effects, sound design and mixing, and scoring - perhaps with some pickup shooting and any additional visual effects shooting needed to complete certain shots. Curiously, a lead editor's name hasn't popped up on anyone's radar (at least, out in the public) - though knowing Feig's loyalty to working with his same crew seems to be holding true with Ghostbusters, my assumption is editor Brent White (Spy, The Heat, Anchorman 2, Step Brothers, 40-Year-Old Virgin, among others) has already been manning the AVID during production and working on an assembly while the crew has been filming. A film composer also hasn't officially been released to the public, but (for those of you who haven't been listening to the Interdimensional Crossrip podcast) Chris of Proton Charging has surmised that Henry Jackman (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Big Hero 6, Wreck-It Ralph) might have been hired for scoring duty on the film because of an ASCAP registration in his name for Ghostbusters.

With a July 15th release date, you'd have to assume preview screenings and test screenings should be right around the corner as well to give the production time to get feedback from general audiences and make any necessary changes before the big Summer release. And of course, thanks to a Paul Feig Tweet during his IMDb Q&A session, we know that we'll be seeing a teaser trailer for the film before 2015 comes to an end (and again, for those not listening to the Interdimensional Crossrip, we would assume the trailer would be attached to either of Sony's two remaining event tentpole films Goosebumps on October 16th or Spectre on November 5th). Here's hoping that teaser is more than just a logo reveal and shows off a little bit of Robert Yeoman's cinematography and a solid joke or two.

What's in store for us here on Ghostbusters HQ in terms of Ghostbusters (2016) now that the news cycle is going to slow, at least until the marketing and media blitz to come next Summer? We're hard at work on several articles profiling the cast and crew of the new Ghostbusters film so that you can familiarize yourself with their work and background going into the film. And of course, Mondays will see the release of the Interdimensional Crossrip podcast where fun things related to the film are in the works.

Let the countdown to release day begin!

Dissecting an Encounter with the EPA

In the process of doing a little clean-up on my computer, I recently came across an analysis I had done in school for the blocking/setup of Peter Venkman's first encounter with Walter Peck in the original 1984 film. It was an exercise in dissecting a scene from a film to determine how blocking, camera setup and composition, lighting, editorial, music and directorial choices impacted the overall effectiveness of the scene.

Going back and re-reading it, I'm actually still fascinated with the findings and thought I'd share them with the masses... so here you go, here's my original essay from December of 2002 (and the scene courtesy of Ghostbusters.net for reference). 

I chose to analyze this particular scene from “Ghostbusters” because it was one of the first things that I noticed after learning about analyzing the beats of a scene in class. It was an interesting realization to me because “Ghostbusters” has been a film that I have greatly admired and respected (and viewed countless times) and had never really noticed the structure to it like this before. It also adds so much to the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist that I had not really caught onto and makes their rivalry that heats to the climax so much more memorable.

There is one beat to the scene really, however since there are two separate levels to the scene it could be said that there are two separate beats. The first beat hits the moment that Venkman tells Peck that he may not see the storage facility. It turns the tables, suddenly Peck goes from running the show to having resistance to his request. On a sub-level to the scene, the beat hits when Peter realizes that he’s being accused of fraud (not to mention there’s a hint that he knows that he’s operating without the required permits). This beat comes the moment of Peck’s monologue that accuses Venkman and the Ghostbusters of polluting with noxious gasses etc.

The scene proves to be more of a serious note in an otherwise light and goofy comedy. While “Ghostbusters” isn’t exactly a National Lampoon film, it is a very light and genre pieced blockbuster comedy. It is lit very lightly and vibrantly. The actors quip funny lines frequently. This scene fits well into the film because it highlights the smart-ass remarks of Venkman adding some comic relief to the tension.

The pacing of the scene is very casual and slow at first. The shots are a bit longer and since they are wider shots, they seem to be orienting the viewer as to their surroundings and the characters before they get into the thick of things. There are brief pauses between the characters’ lines at first. Then it begins to pick up pace as the two realize that they both have other motives behind the meeting. The actors begin to read their lines quicker after the line “Why do you want to see the storage facility?” Peck realizes that he’s getting nowhere and will continue to go nowhere and begins attacking. It is a gradual process, however.

The scene begins with a wide shot as the two characters are introduced to each other. It quickly cuts to a tilt that reveals the “slime on the suit” gag. Then cuts back to an even wider shot to not only establish Peter Venkman’s office once again (it appears earlier in the film when Peter first meets Dana Barrett) but to establish the casual, and ordinary meeting of the two characters. The first close up is the first moment that a hostile line is spoken. When Peck asks, “What exactly are you a doctor of?” in a very sarcastic and inquisitive tone is the first moment we are drawn into a close up. A close, but high angle on Venkman as he answers the question shows that Venkman didn’t expect the attack at first.  As the questioning continues, Peck walks away to turn his close-up into a medium shot (which then cuts back to a new setup medium shot of Venkman in the exact same placement as Peck). Then it’s back to a close up as Peck asks “May I see the storage facility?” Venkman says no and immediately it cuts to a 2 shot where the actors are on the same level, the same plane, worthy opponents for each other. Back to even closer shots of both filling the frame intercut with 2 shots where they appear to be right in each others’ faces (as the tensions get high toward the end of the scene). Again, on the same level on the same plane. Venkman stands to take dominance in the scene (fills the frame with a tilt up to an Extreme Close Up) which is immediately matched in an identical shot by Peck (tilt up to Extreme Close Up mirrored to Venkman) to show that indeed, these two will be butting heads on the same level again.

The main character (Venkman) achieves his goal of pushing Peck away with the activation of his defense mechanism that is established the moment that the character is introduced. He knows that he is superior to everyone else and quips wisecracks at the expense of those below him. As Peck threatens with unlicensed waste handling, Venkman’s objective quickly goes from schmoozing with the government official to threatening law suit and trying to push his adversary away.

As far as acting methods go, the actors begin casual. As it becomes apparent to their characters that there are tensions between the two of them and that they will be facing off against each other, they begin limiting the space between them. Both are unwilling to budge. While Peck (William Atherton) was quick to walk away and present the conversation with a comfortable distance, as soon as Venkman (Bill Murray) resists, they are in each other’s faces fighting for dominance in the scene. The movement of Peck as he sits down to look Venkman eye to eye pits them on the same battlefield, then at the end of the argument, Venkman stands to become dominant and Peck quickly counters getting to eye level again. Again, neither of them are willing to back down.

In addition to the actual dialogue in the scene, actions that the actors take (for example, Venkman is slouching in his chair during the beginning of the conversation fidgeting with a paperweight) show their perspectives on the conversation. In addition, costume direction plays an important role. Venkman is sloppy, worn from working hard, slime covered. Peck is dressed in a nice suit with a power tie. Their hair is also the same polar opposite. Venkman’s is unkempt while Peck’s is neatly arranged. Without the dialogue, we immediately have a sense of the roles each character takes.

As far as shot composition and cinematography go, again the entire scene is lit very evenly and very brightly. The shots are setup to associate Venkman with chaos, clutter, and disorder (the desk in front of him is messy, behind him an empty potato chip bag and more of a mess). Peck is associated with straight lines and order (he is shot with the walls and the file cabinets behind him. Both are very heavy metaphors for their personality.

There is little foley to the scene and there is no music added.

Judging from the final edit, it appears that there were 12 setups. 3 of them included a pan and a tilt, 2 of them tilted up to follow the characters, 1 moving pan became a planned 2 shot of both characters. The editing seems to be a simple back and forth from character to character. Again, it seems to speed up and move to the tighter and closer shots as the tensions between the two characters grow. As both of them become familiar with each other, the audience becomes “closer” acquainted with the two of them. The pacing also mirrors this concept. It grows faster, with the lines being read quicker and the cuts getting more frequent toward the end of the scene. It builds the tension, deepening the argument between the two characters as they get further and further into it.         

The scene seems to be from Venkman’s point of view. Obviously, since it begins casual and friendly we are led to believe that this was what Venkman was expecting from the encounter. Had the scene been from Peck’s point of view, I’m sure that it would have been less friendly and more confrontational from the start. Peck was there to stir up trouble and it took a while for Venkman to catch onto that. Then again, when the EPA comes knocking at your door, it normally just isn’t a friendly chit chat is it?

The Game We Received, Not Necessarily the Game We Deserved

There's a line in Kids in the Hall's Brain Candy, where the pharmaceutical company is so desperate to find their next hit product after the massive success of the drug "Stummies," and a character begins a pitch by saying, "Well, it's a lot like Stummies..." 

I can only imagine that the pitch meeting for Ghostbusters: Puzzle Fighter started out very similarly. Someone in the room posited, "Well, it's a lot like Bejeweled," and the rest was history.

First, I should mention that the intention of Ghostbusters HQ is not to become a review site. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with differing opinions than mine who will enjoy things that I don't, so I don't want to get into the business of throwing up reviews and opinions that might sway someone away from something they like. I also hate bad reviews, which as I started playing, I knew this would come off as. But a representative of the Ghostbusters: Puzzle Fighter PR team reached out to me and offered me a review copy of the game and I figured, what the heck - I had zero interest in the game before but since they're sending it my way, I'll give it a chance.

After downloading from the App Store, you're greeted with an incredibly lengthy loading screen that looks a lot like this. Those of the old guard that once played David Crane's Ghostbusters will understand this but this load screen stays up a good ten times longer than the Commodore 64 took to load that game in the mid-1980s. It could have been a result of getting a preview of the game and the servers weren't ready for it, or there was a giant update to the game needed that wasn't in what was downloaded through the App Store, but I gave it a good five minutes before putting the phone to sleep and moving on.

I came back to the phone later in the work day to find that whatever the game had needed to download had completed, but was a little surprised at how simplistic the game was given the lengthy load time on the front-end. What about this game could have possibly taken that long to load? As mentioned, it's essentially a skinned version of Bejeweled with a "RPG" element placed on top of it without much motivation. There's also a story but the writing and voices of the characters are so out of tone that I ended up reading the first couple static screens and skipping past them from that point forward. Janine reads like a strange character from the Nicolas Cage Valley Girl, turning uncharacteristic phrases like, "Shake your tush, bozo." Venkman comes off like a frat boy creep, and everything just feels... off. Between the strange stilted writing and the odd character design (that initially faced a lot of criticism because of how crazy hyper-sexualized it was after the initial announcement of the game), it really reminds you how difficult the tone of this franchise is to perfectly capture.

Once I was finally into the gameplay, it's identical to the current trend of Candy Crush and Dots mobile games where you're swiping to match consecutive colors/jewels in order to eliminate them from the board. If you've played one of those puzzle games since 2001, you've played Ghostbusters: Puzzle Fighter. The only somewhat new mechanic is the battle aspect of it all. You take a turn, then the AI opponent takes a stab, and so on while you "fight" your opponent draining XP with every eliminated set of jewels.

The Ghostbusters aspect of the game is really just the skin as you amass player cards and characters from the Ghostbusters franchise to do battle with you and you choose your team going into it. This aspect has been sold as a "card game" akin to Magic: The Gathering but because of the gameplay mechanics, it falls flat. Even if I received a super-awesome character card and decide to play it in the next round, I'm still swiping to connect three or more identical tokens. Essentially it feels a lot like one of those puzzle games you got as a party favor at your best friends' birthday where you need to put the marbles into the divots in the playing field: the cardboard background has Ghostbusters on it, but the game pretty much has nothing to do with Ghostbusters at all. Maybe the card game aspect should have been the actual game mechanic and the antiquated 15-year old feeling Bejeweled clone could have been jettisoned, and it would have made it feel more compelling to me? I'm not entirely sure what could have kept me interested, to be completely honest.

All-in-all, I probably played three rounds of the game and felt finished with it. Total time playing the game maybe five or ten minutes. Which I believe is the purpose. It's a quick distraction while you're waiting in a lobby or sitting at the airport that you don't have to think that much about. The good news is that it's free, it most likely relies on in-game purchases for additional levels, characters, etc. but I never even got to that part of the game and probably won't. 

Hopefully this is just a place-holder for Capcom/Beeline to maintain the license until they unveil something more elaborate up their sleeves. A quick skin of an existing product to keep the brand awareness up while they work on a more complex and actually Ghostbusters-related title. I hate to be so down on it, I'm sure a lot of folks worked incredibly hard on it and worse had to scramble and redesign several aspects of the game at the last-minute. Just not really my cup of tea. I'm sure others will kick a kick out of it.

Listen to Rick Moranis on an All-New Interdimensional Crossrip

The all-new fourth edition of the Ghostbusters Interdimensional Crossrip podcast has hit the interwebs and we're headed to the Great White North to speak with "the hermit of the Ghostbusters," Mr. Rick Moranis!

In this edition Troy and Chris talk about the IDW Comics "Mass Hysteria" hardcover compilation, the character names being revealed for Ghostbusters (2016), and spend a half hour talking about Hollywood, creativity, and of course Ghostbusters with actor, musician and writer Rick Moranis.

You can listen online/download the podcast here on GBHQ, or better yet - be like the cool kids and subscribe via iTunes so that you get to hear each podcast the moment it's posted online.

Fritz Babbles About Ghostbusters Get Real #1

Long-time friend of Ghostbusters HQ, Fritz Baugh has been kind enough to chime in with his thoughts on the IDW Comics series from time to time. We turn the floor over to Fritz for his insight on the latest offering, Ghostbusters Get Real #1. Spoilers are abound in his thoughts, so if you haven't read the issue, you're warned to steer clear...

Hey folks. Long time, no see.  

As much as a loved the first Ghostbusters movie from the moment I saw it, it wasn't until 1986 that I became the kind of Ghostbusters superfan that would one day be christened "Ghosthead." I was fifteen in the fall of 1986; a lot of people my age were "outgrowing" cartoons, and considering most of the preachy, formulaic crap that inundated Saturday Morning I couldn't really blame them. I preferred to sleep in most of the time. Then came the morning of November 1st, 1986.

I was wandering in and my brothers were watching a show with... well, vaguely anime-esque looking guys wearing flight suits and proton packs. "It's the new Ghostbusters cartoon," they tell me. Holy cow, really? But none of them look like Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd! The flight suits are different colors! One of them sounds like Garfield! Good grief, Harold Ramis's character is blond! At least they remembered Ernie Hudson's character existed, they seemed to forget about him in a lot of the promo material. Ah well, it's Saturday Morning, this will probably be really watered down and stupid... I'll just sit down and pick apart the nonsense...

Except it wasn't watered down, stupid, or nonsense. As time would reveal, that episode-- "When Halloween Was Forever"-- was one of the best of the series. The show was called "The Real Ghostbusters" for reasons that could take up an article of its own, but a team of top-notch writers led by J. Michael Straczynski (later of Babylon 5) and a crew of voice actors that rivaled the comic chemistry of their movie counterparts (including, yes, the late Lorenzo "Garfield" Music) took the cinematic outline and created a full-blown world that didn't talk down to its audience the way practically every other cartoon of the day did. That would change, as many of you well know, but let's not dwell on that-- those early days were magic. I was hooked for life.

To this day, and I know I'm in a minority, I still see the Ghostbusters world through the filter of the animated series. You don't find too many pictures of Bill Murray on my web site, but you do see quite a few of that guy who sounded like Garfield in 1986.

So the last dozen years have been... mixed. Almost all of the "revival" products of 2003 and beyond have been aimed more toward the movie-only paradigm, albeit with a few, to use a phrase, "fun nods" to the cartoon here and there-- like the Containment Unit in both 88MPH and IDW's series, the "New Ghostbusters" wearing the RGB colors, IDW Janine's haircut and her dating a guy who looked exactly like Extreme Ghostbusters Egon, and the loads of visual in-jokes and callbacks that artist Dan Schoening packs into every story he does.

Well, as much as I loved the IDW ongoing series (thirty-six issues of awesome) and the crossover with those pizza-eating Turtles (I wonder if Donnie is now wishing he'd stayed on IDWGB Earth?) the announcement of a crossover between the IDW Ghostbusters and the animated Ghostbusters had me over the moon.  MY Ghostbusters were coming back to comics!  And now, I finally have Ghostbusters Get Real #1.

In a very specific tie-in to the RGB storylines, it takes place during a favorite episode of mine, "Janine Melnitz: Ghostbuster". It first aired in syndication in 1987; it's the 48th episode in the DVD set, and the thirty-fifth by air date. It features Janine in a strong performance, where she basically has to bail the Ghostbusters out of trouble all by herself when they run afoul of the Greek god Proteus. Ironically though, RGB Janine doesn't actually appear in this comic outside the profile picture on page 1.

We see the Ghostbusters running around town stopping the ghosts that Proteus' activities have stirred up. In Schoening's penchant for in-jokes, a woman who looks a lot like Dahlia from "Moaning Stones" (Claudia) is being menaced by a ghost that looks a lot like Madame LaFarge from "Drool, the Dog Faced Goblin" (Natasha). The Ghostbusters catch Natasha, and Claudia promises to help them one day.

That day turns out to be today-- as we see in the episode, right before the commercial break, the statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center comes to life and zaps the Ghostbusters away. We find them later in the episode imprisoned by Proteus. But as we find out, they had a much longer trip to get there than we ever knew. Claudia apparently knows some magic, and cast a protective charm that took the Ghostbusters out of Proteus' control. Proteus shows up at Claudia's place, and he's pissed. She didn't know where the Ghostbusters have gone, so he turns her into a bird, perhaps hoping that Claudia's cat Hollis delivers what Proteus no doubt considers a more amusingly ironic ending that him just blasting her to atoms. (I loved how Hollis is the long lost twin of Phineus Eventide's cat Tarantula. Dan hasn't done too many callbacks to the NOW Comics series, but Tarantula and Eventide were two of the more memorable characters.)

Artistically, unsurprisingly in light of the variant cover of V2 #8 (or as I prefer to call it, GB #24), Dan Schoening and Luis Delgado completely nail the look of the animated Ghostbusters. It's so on-model it could be mistaken for a "cine-story" made out of animation cells.

So what happened to the Ghostbusters?

They pop up back outside Ghostbusters Central, but things look... off to them. Janine's there, but she's messing with something in her desk and neither she nor the four Ghostbusters notice that each looks... different than each is used to. (Janine, you see, has changed her hair again--ironically, in the ongoing series she sported a haircut patterned off the RGB 1986 one, but I guess to make her more "different" IDW Janine has reverted to one closer to GB1).

The Ghostbusters go upstairs and everything's been moved around.  Slimer is in the observation tank; they let him loose and he goes nuts, and Egon points out that it may not be Slimer. Well, it's not the same Slimer-- this Slimer was never domesticated the way RGB Slimer was, and add in after-effects of the mandala (GBVG) and Idunas (GB#2) he's a lot more feral. They zap him, and to add to the confusion the real owners of the place get home-- four guys who look like the law firm that starred in their movie, but not close enough to get sued for violating likeness right restrictions.

Having just finished their crossover with the Ninja Turtles, the IDW Ghostbusters figure out pretty quick that they're having cross-dimensional visitors once more. The two teams of Ghostbusters look over the transdimensional gate, and RGB Ray immediately wants one. Good news, Ray: you eventually build one (See: "Egon's Ghost", "Egon On The Rampage", "The Copycat", and NOW's "The Father Thing Trilogy" in Real Ghostbusters Issues #9-11). But that's all in the future for you.  (Even though, according to production order, "Egon On The Rampage" has already happened, or in air date order "Egon's Ghost" was the very last episode. Oh shut up, Fritz.)

Just about then, Janine busts into the basement and gets a shock-- because of RGB Egon's resemblance to her ex-boyfriend Roger. (Well, a younger Roger. He looked like EGB Egon, remember?) I really hope this comes up in conversation between both Egons. It probably won't, because this is exactly what Egon hates talking about in any universe, but I can hope.

So eight Ghostbusters are going on a bust. But was we well know from the cut scenes, Proteus is looking for them.

It's gonna be a long commercial break.

New Episode of the Interdimensional Crossrip Podcast for July 13, 2015

The all-new second edition of the Ghostbusters Interdimensional Crossrip podcast has hit the interwebs and is ready for consumption by your ear holes!

In this edition (which unfortunately was recorded mere hours before the above group photo was released to the world), Troy and Chris discuss the new Ectomobile design, talk Ghostbusters (2016) casting, spend some time diving into IDW's Ghostbusters: Get Real #1, and compare notes on just how much money they each spent on the Cryptozoic Ghostbusters Board Game Kickstarter campaign.

You can listen online/download the podcast here on GBHQ, or better yet - be like the cool kids and subscribe via iTunes so that you get to hear each podcast the moment it's posted online.


A Collection of News Spores for July 9

The past two weeks have been a flurry of Ghostbusters-related activity between Ghostbusters (2016) production occurring on the east coast, and the San Diego Comic-Con happening on the west coast. GBHQ isn't a breaking news kind of place but there's so much going on we wanted to present a "collection of spores" all in one space to get you up to speed...


(Photo courtesy of the Ghostbusters of Southern California)

Preview Night at San Diego Comic-Con 2015 kicked off the week's festivities yesterday and many of the key Ghostbusters licensors had their goods already out on display. The Ghostbusters of Southern California were on the scene to snap some photos of the upcoming Diamond Select line-up of action figures as well as a mystery glass case at the Mattel booth that eventually contained one of the Ghostbusters (2016) proton pack props from production (and presumably, will also contain more goods following the licensing presentation on Friday).


Hollywood Collectables Group has been working on Ghostbusters-related merchandise behind the scenes for the better part of the year (or longer), some people speculated that a 1:1 prop or two might be in the works. But it was revealed that they are going to unveil their 1:4 scaled Peter Venkman statue at this week's San Diego Comic-Con. They took to Facebook to give us a little sneak peek of the figure and the crazy amount of detail that will be put into each and every statue. Can't wait to see the full reveal.


Now here's something you don't see every day. According to Boston news outlet WHIDH, there was an altercation between two local Bostonians near the Chinatown filming location of Ghostbusters (2016). An elderly woman was assaulted and the production crew aided the Boston Police in their investigation. On an unfortunate note, WHIDH says the 72-year old woman is not expected to survive.

The New Ectomobile

Mere hours after multiple announcements that Andy Garcia, Michael K. Williams, Matt Walsh and Neil Casey would be joining the main cast in Ghostbusters (2016), Paul Feig jumped on Twitter to give us our first look at the Ghostbusters (2016) incarnation of the Ectomobile. Still maintaining the Hearse lineage of the 1984 incarnation, I'm no car guy but the vehicle appears to be a circa-1980s Cadillac Hearse. A good portion of the roof rack appears to be inspired by the 1984 film but the lightbars have been replaced with a giant yellow strobe light. I especially love the replaced hood ornament of what looks to be a silver ghost.

The other good news for prop replica enthusiasts is that this era Hearse might be a more readily available automobile for purchase and conversion rather than the rare 1959 Miller Meteor Caddy made famous by the original movie. I've got a 1979 Cadillac DeVille in the garage that might be ready for conversion... what are the odds?

UPDATE: Feig also posted the rear (and presumably) the original unmodified version of the car to his Twitter shortly after the initial unveiling.

Announcing the Ghostbusters Interdimensional Crossrip Podcast

Step into our time-traveling DeLorean for a moment and go back to April of 2000 with us. It was a time when 56K modems were still trickling out, America Online was still a thing, and there wasn't a Google or a YouTube in our daily vernacular. It was about this time that I thought, "Hey! A video news show about Ghostbusters sure would be swell!" Clocking in at a little over 3 minutes and about 8mb in all of its 4x3 SD QuickTime glory, the "Interdimensional Crossrip" was born and quickly died. Fifteen years ago, a video program where you had to set up your computer to download overnight (and pray that nobody picked up the phone line and disconnected your internet link) was a little unwieldy and not entirely practical.

Fast-forward fifteen years when YouTube and Twitch streams are a part of our every day. Anyone with a connection can have a voice. Now that the HQ is back up and running, I started getting the itch to put together some sort of program. I saw the good folks at Ghostbusters News bested my attempt fifteen years ago with a new YouTube show but noticed that our stalwart Ghostheads and Cross the Streams podcasts were a little dormant.

So I got on the horn with Chris Stewart of Proton Charging and asked him if he wanted to help me give this a try again. To my delight, he said yes and we put together a little something. 

The all-new Ghostbusters Interdimensional Crossrip is an hour-long podcast that will bring you news, analysis and interviews on all things Ghostbusters. We're still finding our feet but we quietly released our first episode earlier in the week and are now ready to share it with the masses. You can listen and download the podcast here on the HQ, or you can subscribe on iTunes (and soon Stitcher and a few other outlets of your preference). All-new episodes are forthcoming as well, but we want to hear your feedback on what you'd like to hear. Drop us a comment or reach out on our Twitter/Facebook!

Dissecting the New Proton Pack Design

The hits just keep right on coming... if anyone was worried that the Ghostbusters (2016) props might take a bit of a sleek Jonny Ive Apple modernized look, Paul Feig once again took to Twitter today to reveal the (presumably unlicensed) nuclear accelerators that his characters will be wearing in the film.

Right off the bat, I love that it still looks like something cobbled together on a run to a hardware/tech junkyard in Burbank, CA would have yielded. It's analog with a few very rudimentary digital touches and still maintains some of the structural elements from the original proton pack design like the cyclotron, what looks like an n-filter buried underneath an automobile inspired roll-bar. There's also what appears to be a new carrying handle built into the bottom of the pack, my guess is to assist in pulling it out of a vehicle, or pulling it off a rack. The blue meter at top left has been replaced with a digital dot-matrix read-out which makes sense for more accurate power readings. The only thing that feels a little missing are some red circulating lights around the cyclotron, something to give the main body of the pack some life. But perhaps that's an element still to be seen.

Interesting to note that the nuclear symbol in the top left corner has a small heart on it, it feels like a bit of a WWII bomber touch to this particular pack, wondering if each of the packs will have a customized feel like the Colonial Marines' armor in James Cameron's Aliens

The new design element that I'm completely over the moon about is actually the particle thrower itself. It maintains a similar silhouette as its predecessor but feels a little more raw, metallic elements showing and cabling unshielded where some corrugated tubing would usually keep everything tucked in neatly. The end of the wand has almost a flame-thrower feel to it as opposed to the frosted glass in the original pack which makes it feel a little more dangerous and a whole lot more like a weapon. A very interesting stylistic choice.

With the uniforms glimpsed yesterday, and the packs revealed today, I'm wondering if a full costumed shot of the main cast isn't far behind? Stay tuned.

Ghostbusters Production: End of (A Short) Week One

Throw a stone across the internet and you've probably seen the spy photos (sorry, per our guidelines we won't be posting them here) but the first day of filming on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters (2016) started yesterday out in the open on location at the Old Everett High School, appropriately located in Everett, MA.

The school was heavily featured as a filming location in Adam Sandler's That's My Boy and Jake Kasdan's Sex Tape and apparently in Ghostbusters seems to be doubling as Higgins Science Institute in the Bronx, that in the film's universe also used to be a middle school. At the beginning of the day, Kristen Wiig was seen wearing a scholarly wardrobe walking toward the school while students duked it out in the parking lot (maybe a little angry mood slime effecting behavior?) Stars Kate McKinnon and Melissa McCarthy were seen hurriedly rushing around the school with techno-gak in tow, including what appeared to be a server hard drive and a mysterious bag with a nuclear warning label on it. Judging by the contents in their hands and the rate at which they were traveling, are they fleeing with their research, or on their way to urgently assist? Only time will tell on that one. Production moved indoors to film interiors on Friday, and the veil of secrecy was once again lifted.

Getting the most traction among the buzz after day one of filming is McKinnon's costume, seen here recreated by outstanding IDW comic artist Dan Schoening. I think many are mistakenly believing her to be a pseudo-Egon in Real Ghostbusters but we might be seeing the personification of an untraditional scientist that many might be too easy to dismiss as a crackpot. "You regard science as some sort of dodge, or hustle," from the first film comes to mind.

Not much is known about the characters that the four main leads will be portraying but if the exterior filming on Thursday was any indication, McKinnon's character will be the colorful character to the more straight-laced Wiig and McCarthy.

According to posted filming notices around the area, the production will be back after the weekend break to film at the location into next week, then presumably will be moving on to another location or to the soundstages in the days following. It was definitely a thrill both to fans online monitoring the filming and to those in the Everett area that came to watch filming, and a rarity for a production to begin under the sun and out among the public giving us a quick glimpse of what's to come right out of the gate - something the currently in production DC Comics villain showpiece Suicide Squad also was subjected to in its first few days of filming as well.

It's Slime Time (And What/How Production Will Be Covered on GBHQ)

Production on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters (2016) begins this evening (with a night shoot to kick off production, may the caffeine gods bless the crew). Feig took to Twitter to post the above photograph to announce the production start, giving fans their first sneak peek at the infamous ectoplasm which is safely assumed a big part of the film. 

It's probably a good idea to take this moment on day one to lay out a few ground rules of what you'll be seeing here on the HQ, and when and how...

1) No spy photos, no rumors, no spoilers.

As you may have gathered in the few months that we've been back in business, GBHQ is no longer mainly a news site. Breaking news isn't our bag, and the first for a scoop isn't remotely a part of our mission statement. I'm still a firm believer it letting the filmmakers and the studio handle what you see and why as it ultimately can and might impact your viewing experience when the film hits the theaters. Unlit, uncomposed, long-lens spy photos that are your first looks of things drive me nuts. If a drone flies 100 yards above the set and snaps the first pictures of a new Ecto-1 or a crucial part of the production but it's not from official sources, don't expect to see it here.

2) We ARE going to be getting you in-depth articles, making-of/BTS moments, and official news as much as possible.

Those of you that have been around GBHQ since the glory days (or were they the dark days?) remember how we covered Extreme Ghostbusters. It's a little tricky as cast and crew are all under NDAs and I above all respect those. It'll be our goal to get you meaty content that's NDA-friendly and might give a little insight into the production process.

3) Trolls should stick to scouring New York City to breakdance and party.

GBHQ has a pretty civil commenting guideline set that aren't really conducive to feeding the trolls. For whatever reason, there are a lot of (very vocal) angry comments out there. People are entitled to their opinions, just as I'm entitled to mine. So while you're sitting in my living room, take off your shoes and please mind the rules of the house. Thanks.

An Open Letter to Me Circa 1997...

File Photo: Troy, Embarrassingly circa-1999.

Dear Troy,

Hey, it's yourself from the future. Take a minute from trying to reconnect to AOL after your parents picked up the phone and kicked you offline to read this for a quick second.

Today is Wednesday, June 17, 2015. I know that date has to seem pretty crazy to you, and to answer your first question: no. Cars don't fly yet. It's kind of bullshit, sorry. But I wanted to send you a letter from this date today to let you know that a new Ghostbusters movie is finally in front of cameras as of today.

Let's see... being 1997 you're probably super excited about Extreme Ghostbusters right about now.  If my records are right, you're probably hearing rumors that Adam Sandler, Chris Farley and Chris Rock are circling being a part of a new Ghostbusters film. But some heartbreak is on the way as you're soon going to tragically lose Farley, and several years later are going to lose a few other people that will break your heart too.

I'm not going to lie to you, the next eighteen years are going to be a little tumultuous in terms of your love for a certain property called Ghostbusters. There are going to be false starts, multiple casting rumors, and plenty of head scratchers between the time you're reading this to the time that a new movie is actually becoming a reality. You're going to hear rumors that make you geek out like you never have before, then there'll be rumors that will make you squint and ask nobody in particular, "Wha?" But ultimately what Paul Feig and the cast he's assembled for this film almost twenty years later from the date you receive this is the only way that it can be done. 

Take careful notice of a movie called Blues Brothers 2000 that's going to come out next year. You and your good friend Drew are going to go see it and, while both of you are going to want to immediately buy Ray-Ban sunglasses because you think they're cool, you're not going to be over the moon about the movie. You're going to notice that the filmmakers made some concessions in order to get the movie made, but ultimately what you're going to notice is that the story is continuing the storytelling of characters that aren't there, and can't be there for many reasons. And it's going to feel odd. It's going to feel like a Beethoven Symphony where a piano wasn't available for scheduling purposes. The music is still good, but you can't help but feel that something crucial is missing.

What the production crew filming in Boston, then later in New York are working on is a retelling. Sort of like what the original Ghostbusters was to those Bob Hope films it so lovingly paid homage toward. I'm sure you're a little disappointed that this isn't the sixth movie in an ongoing story but that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's extremely funny people in front and behind the camera, just as there was back then. It kind of sucks but there's going to be a lot of attention paid to the gender and the weight of some of the actors, a result of the strange snarky judgmental cacophony that pop culture becomes in the internet age. (Yeah, that's also something that you're going to find... your tried and true entertainment news sources are going to turn into gossip tabloids, and the internet is going to turn into a bunch of blogs - including yours - that feed people the news so that they can be upset about anything and everything down to the tiniest detail, it's really tough to explain and I'll have to save that for another letter to you when I can explain it myself).

There's a good chance that you may not like the end result of what they're doing starting today. But then again, there's also a good chance that it'll entertain you. You'll have just seen a fourth (yes, fourth) Jurassic Park movie in the same week that filming begins on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters (2016) and it's going to put things in perspective. Nothing can really ever be as good as the lightning in a bottle that was captured in that 1984 film. To think that you can recreate that is foolishness. But if there's a way to recapture the spirit of what made the original so fun and put it into a two-hour film that you enjoy, that makes you forget about the real world outside that movie theater for a couple hours, and makes you feel like a kid again, then it's all going to be worth the effort of the filmmakers.

But while you're watching that Jurassic Park sequel, there's going to be a little girl sitting no more than six seats down from you. She's going to be standing and jumping up and down (much to the dismay of her parents trying to control her), bonkers excited for the movie to start. She's going to be scared during some of the scarier moments, and she's going to leave the theater making dinosaur noises and begging her parents to see the film again. And for her, that movie is going to be a similar ride as when you were sitting by yourself in a darkened Greenwood Village theater in 1992, and is going to have the same impact.

There's a good chance this new Ghostbusters is going to do the same. It's going to capture the imaginations of an entirely new generation that's too young to moan and groan about the good old days or how they think the movie could have been done far differently and been successful. It might not have the same effect on you as those original movies did when you were a kid, but it might have a similar effect on someone that twenty years from now will be writing a similar letter to their past self.

If they're smart about it, and I'm fairly certain and confident that they are, Feig and Co. are going to make that movie for both of those audiences in mind. A movie for the new generation that's a little too young to get all the jokes but loves the premise and their imaginations are sparked with the possibilities. And a movie for you, the thirty-something (yeah, you become a thirty-something... spoiler-alert) who gets the jokes and just needs to escape for a couple hours.

Hang in there pal, it's all going to be worth it eventually.


The Troy of 2015

PS: Oh yeah, before I forget: there's going to be a guy offering you a pre-order for a hardcover comic book at some in the next couple years... don't do it.

Get Ready to Get Real Tomorrow

Just a gentle reminder that the IDW Ghostbusters/Real Ghosbusters crossover Ghostbusters: Get Real hits your local comic shop and online stores tomorrow! The official solicitation gives only a few details of the story reading: "When a confrontation with the elder God Proteus goes awry, Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon will meet... THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS!" But writer Erik Burnham was kind enough to give GBHQ a small sneak peek through a quick interview on the day the project was announced.

Definitely looking forward to giving the series a read, look for more here on GBHQ (possibly even an infamous Fritz-review) in the future!

He Also Enjoys Racquetball

Yesterday Paul Feig stayed true to his pattern of Ghostbusters announcements and posted a picture to Twitter of the Ghostbusters' new receptionist, in the form of Chris Hemsworth.

At risk of cribbing a phrase from one of the characters in our beloved series... this is great.

According to Variety, the role was initially offered to Hemsworth who passed because the role was on the smaller side. But a rewrite later and the actor most well-known as Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was locked in as a character we only know as "the receptionist." While most fans are immediately drawing lines and comparisons to Janine Melnitz, it stands to reason that this character won't share much in common with his 1980s counterpart other than their chosen profession. The fact that the filmmakers actively pursued him and tailored the role to him is of interest. Maybe they've seen his turn in the new Vacation film and what they saw showed a lot of comedic promise?

For me, Hemsworth absolutely made Thor. What surprised me most about that film was just how much it made me laugh, from chucking a coffee cup toward the floor in the diner to sharing a boilermaker with Dr. Selvig, Hemsworth exudes a genuine charm and charisma that you can see playing well with the other leads in Ghostbusters (2016)

There's also a chance Hemsworth might be trying his hand at being a character actor, and we'll see an entirely different side to him than we've seen before as well. At this point, the sky is the limit and who knows where this is going to go. And that's what I'm enjoying the most about this project. The potential. Much like Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I don't know what to expect with this film. And with those unlimited possibilities, that's exciting.

Feig's Ghostbusters Crew Gets a Little Larger

With principal photography right around the corner, details on Paul Feig's Ghostbusters (2016) crew are slowly beginning to surface around the interwebs. About a month ago, we at GBHQ thought it would be fun to speculate on who might be joining Paul Feig behind the camera to bring a retold Ghostbusters to life.

And I'm happy to report, several of those folks on our wishlist seem to be involved. So let's get into it, eh?

Robert Yeoman
Director of Photography

One of the creative members of Feig's crew that I'm most excited is aboard is cinematographer Robert Yeoman, a long-time contributor to Wes Anderson's films but also a master of vibrant landscapes and stylized imagery. Say what you will about the 1990 Nintendo commercial The Wizard but it's a love-letter to a road trip to California. Imagine what his compositions will do for the city of New York when the supernatural run rampant? I had initially thought Yeoman's prior obligations might have put him out of the running for Director of Photography on Ghostbusters, but it appears the planets aligned and he'll be in Boston this June.

Jefferson Sage
Production Designer

No surprise that Paul Feig's longtime production designer Jefferson Sage will be helping guide the visual aesthetic for Ghostbusters, having worked with the director on all his previous films (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) as well as the broad comedies Year One (directed by Harold Ramis) and Paul (directed by Greg Mottola). What is interesting is that joining Sage in the art department are Supervising Art Director Beat Frutiger (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Star Trek, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Art Director Lorin Flemming (Running with Scissors, the upcoming Spectral and Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice) and set designer Steven M. Saylor, who has designed a wide variety and scope of sets from Alias to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

David Witz
Unit Production Manager

No stranger to large films with a lot of moving parts, UPM David Witz was the battalion leader on films such as J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, the recent Sony film Pixels, Moneyball, Gone Girl and Mission Impossible: III

Great news all around, there's one heckuva creative team assembling to begin filming in Boston. More to come as it develops here at GBHQ.