Sony and Ghost Corps Open the Gates to a Lucky Few

The big story today is, quite obviously, the first Ghostbusters trailer in nearly thirty years. Once again the familiar tones of Ray Parker Jr.'s iconic theme, the familiar sights, the jump scares, and the laughs are on the big screen and it's a glorious thing.

What might be buried under the lead today is the tremendous branch that Sony and the newly-formed Ivan Reitman production company Ghost Corps extended to a select few fans, and the great lengths they went to make a memorable day for them. It's unfortunate that not everyone was able to attend, but when I refer to a select few there was still quite a gathering of fans from all around the country that were given a rare pass inside the gates of the Sony Pictures Studios, allowed to view the trailer with select members of the press in advance, and get to meet and thank some of their heroes - who were just as thankful and gracious in return.

The morning on Wednesday was chaotic, a very complicated press and marketing day with a lot of moving parts that, make no mistake, usually does not accompany a trailer launch but rather the proper premiere of the film. But the chaos was good natured, more of a buzz of excitement rather than an uncomfortable clutter. As fans arrived, some having driven through the night and the wee hours of the morning to make a 9am arrival time, they walked onto the studio lot and immediately caught a glimpse not just of the original 1959 Caddy Ectomobile, but its new "modern" counterpart waiting in the courtyard during their walk. It wasn't uncommon during that walk to hear gasps, backpacks and purses drop to the floor, and Ghostheads in full regalia go running toward the cars and immediately start posing for photo opportunities.

Sony laid out a spread of props, coffee and pastries for the fans and the press as they waited - many fans who have have discussed so many topics at so much length over the internet for years but were only meeting in person for the very first time. I have to admit, in the years that I've spent covering Ghostbusters and trying to be an industrious member of the community, I've been somewhat of a hermit in social gatherings and meeting people "IRL" as the kids say. Do they still say that? Whatever, it's irrelevant, Sony's Cary Grant theater quickly became overrun by flight suits, proton packs, and a whole lot of smiles.

Everyone was led into the theater and seated - fans were placed in the front rows, proton packs were catered to with care, and Ivan Reitman was up first to greet everyone and introduce Paul Feig. After quick introductions everyone was treated to the trailer...

I was so thankful that when fans chanted "one more time" because I was so overwhelmed with the first viewing of the trailer - after all this time, after all this waiting, it was too much of a blur to completely comprehend. A surreal experience where, by the time you realize you're watching a new Ghostbusters trailer, you're looking at the end sell cards at its tail. On the second viewing, I was able to have more of a genuine reaction (something that happened as well in watching The Force Awakens over the holidays, you're able to absorb more on the second viewing after so much anticipation).

Following the trailer viewing, a Q&A discussion with Ivan Reitman, Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold commenced. It was a lively conversation, with so many great details that were revealed about the production process and the things that we've yet to still see. That entire discussion will be heard as a bonus episode of the Interdimensional Crossrip tomorrow.

The theatrical presentation came to a close and everyone flooded into the walkways of the lot outside, and back to the comfort of Ghost Corps' front yard which houses both Ectomobiles. Group photos were taken, autographs were signed, interviews for EPK, the Ghostheads documentary, and several other outlets were completed. And then Reitman took a position at the top of the stairs to the Grant Building and held court, presenting the franchises with certificates of their registration with Ghost Corps, shaking their hands, and posing for photos. After all of the certificates were handed out, more photos were taken and the crowd started to disperse. Paul Feig shook so many hands, graciously thanked everyone, and signed as many autographs as he could before his representatives shooed him away. During the Q&A, he made a point to talk about seeing the original Ghostbusters film for the first time and how much it impacted him. His love for the film, especially for all of the technology, is abundantly clear in the trailer and how he speaks of the film to come, and certainly was evident in the energy and enthusiasm he had for all of the fans on site.

That event in and of itself would have been extremely generous of all involved, but that's not where the day ended. Fans were then invited into a dining area near the theater for a catered lunch that featured themed foods and of course, gourmet Twinkies for dessert. As fans sat at giant roundtables and discussed everything that had just occurred (some lively discussions, some more tempered as exhaustion began to set in for some of those who had been up through the night), the room buzzed again as Ivan Reitman stepped in and went from table to table to have quick quality chats with each. As he sipped his coffee and the fans ate, they talked about the new film, the future of the franchise, and even shared laughs over how his other films like Meatballs were responsible for so many childhoods.

As shuttles and cars began to leave and the crowd thinned, the smiles were still present. It truly was a wonderful day in which the warmth, the love, and the respect between everyone involved was incredibly evident and it once again was clear that the fans are coming first. With so many dedicated fans, so many franchises, and so many active members of the community, not everyone could be included - but the gesture on the part of the studio and the production company was enormous and most likely only the first indication of many more things to come, in which I'm sure a greater number will be able to feel the love.

Ghostbusters (2016) Official Trailer Release

Scientists armed with nuclear accelerators, jump scares, a ridiculous amount of technology, and the Power of Patty Compelling You! It's all here in the first official trailer for the new Ghostbusters film. Stop reading this now and watch this puppy over and over with the sound cranked and get ready for an Interdimensional Crossrip roundtable in the Cyclotron in a bit with an awesome panel of guests to discuss!

A February 14th to Remember

In what will probably be the first of many eventful days to come surrounding the release of Ghostbusters (2016), Sunday February 14th proved to be quite eventful for Ghostbusters fans. Far from the end of the world that Elaine once predicted on World of the Psychic, February 14th was instead filled with the promise of future releases down the line that are tantalizing and intriguing.

Trailer and Poster Release

In the early morning hours Sunday, immediately following the west coast airing of Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters (2016) Director Paul Feig updated his Twitter profile photo with "The End is Nigh." The switching of Feig's Twitter avatar photo has become something fairly common as it has revealed first-looks at LEGO tie-ins and props the fan community has anxiously been awaiting to see for the first time. 

Embedded in light font at the bottom of profile photo was a shortened link (with a numerical value that's a cheeky reference to the 09:17 running time in Ghostbusters II when Elaine makes her admission of alien encounter resulting in a date for the end of the world). Typing in that link sent fans to YouTube where they were met with a Trailer Announcement that, not only gives us our first look at footage from the actual forthcoming film, but announces that a full trailer will be released on 3/3/16.

Shortly after the video made rounds around social networks and movie blogs, a new one-sheet poster was revealed. The poster is similar in style and tone to the original Ghostbusters teaser poster from 1984 that proclaimed they were "Coming to Save the World." The new one-sheet also features the same redesigned No-Ghost logo that was unveiled at the tail end of the Trailer Announcement, which presumably will continue to act as the main logo for the film's marketing from this point forward.

Toy Fair 

It comes as no surprise that the marketing blitz starting a few months out from the film's release also happens to coincide with the Toy Industry Association's annual International Toy Fair held in New York City this weekend. Mattel, Funko, Cryptozoic, Diamond Select, NECA, and several others have unveiled their merchandise planned for the next year including action figures, housewares, and a whole lot more. The products range from those specifically tied to the Ghostbusters (2016) release to those still modeled after the "Classic" Ghostbusters. Details in the products also give hints of what is to come in the upcoming film, including what is believed to be the reveal of the new main villain, so beware spoilers in the below gallery are abound. (All photos courtesy of ToyArk).

Licensing-a-Palooza 2016

It all started out innocently enough, a quick Tweet from a fan to Paul Feig (in good fun riding on the "Where's Rey?" trend) in which it was asked if all four of the new 'busters would receive the action figure treatment and his response was a first glimpse of the new Mattel action figures. That enough got the buzz machine going all throughout the internet but shortly on that image's heels was a licensing event held in London by Rocket Licensing in which new props and gadgets were displayed, footage was shown, and potential developers were enticed with the possibilities of things to come this July that they might be able to hitch their wagons onto. While many of the new props haven't been clearly defined (pistol guns? is that our first look at the trap?) it certainly can get discussion going. 

Below is a gallery of images (courtesy of Rocket Licensing, Mattel, and Paul Feig's Twitter account) from this week's event. Any thoughts what we might be looking at in all of these? 

Ghostbusters (2016) Character Posters Revealed

Hot on the heels of releasing a teaser image directly to the fans through Proton Charging, Sony tasked Time, People, InStyle, and Entertainment Weekly with posting four new individual character one-sheets today for July's Ghostbusters (2016) that are absolutely impressive to say the least. These outstanding images highlight each of the four new 'busters, and get us a nice close-up look at some of the gear for the first time as well (including what we here at the HQ assume is the new PKE Meter in the one-sheet for Leslie Jones/"Patty").

Stay tuned, hopefully hi-res versions of these to follow... and perhaps still a trailer?

Fans Get an Exclusive First-Look at the New Ghostbusters

Very, very early this morning, Chris at Proton Charging posted up an exclusive photo from the new Ghostbusters (2016) provided by the good folks at Sony as a first-look to the fans from, what we can assume is a location that will be seen in the film. It's a great image with a whole lot of attitude as the four new 'busters stand in a very New York art-deco looking locale. And, aside from the single group photo of the gang in front of the Chinese Restaurant during production, is the first official look of all four of the new cast together.

Still no word on a trailer, but one can assume it's still on the way. But in the meantime, this is a great sneak peek of things to come and a great gesture from Sony Pictures to send it to the fans first before it hits the mainstream.

UPDATE: Later in the day, an alternative shot, a little wider and with the actors posed slightly differently was released. This one gives you a better sense of scope that the image from this morning (look at the detail in that set). 

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 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.