To say that this Halloween season will be unlike any other is like saying that Leatherface has a unique take on cosmetics. My wife and I are still taking the pandemic seriously (it’s incredibly stupid that anyone has to say that, wear a damn mask) so trick or treating for the kids is all but cancelled. We’re trying to figure out a new way to celebrate, but we’ll see how that goes. Personally, this year will be very different for me because I’ve got a house full of people who want nothing to do with horror movies (or are too young to see them). So, I’m doing my best to squeeze them in where and when I can, but am also focusing on a lot of comics and books. But, I also decided to decorate the shelf in my office with a small army of fiends in action figure form that date all the way back to my childhood!
So this new Ghostbusters film was kind of a lightning rod, huh? It shouldn’t have been, of course. Grown-up human people should be able to understand that 1) a group of female Ghostbusters doesn’t threaten them in any way and 2) the existence of a remake in no way takes away from the original, but the last few years have gone a long way to prove that rationality and insight might not be as prevalent as I previously thought.
It feels like I’ve been excited for some kind of new Ghostbusters film for forever. I actually interviewed Harold Ramis back in my ToyFare days and he talked about a Ghostbusters film being written by a pair of writers from The Office. Between his unfortunate death a few years after that and a variety of studio concerns, that never happened. Then it turned out that the super talented Paul Feig would do an all-female take. By then I was covering stuff like this for Spinoff and writing about this movie on what felt like a nearly constant basis. Still, I was stoked. Only a fool would be bummed out by a film starring the ridiculously funny Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Continue reading I Didn’t Love The New Ghostbusters, But Love That It Exists
As you can probably tell between last week’s TCT and this one, I went down a bit of a rabbit hole on YouTube looking at various Children’s Palace ads. This was my local toy store as a kid. There’s a Best Buy where it used to be, another place I spent a lot of money when still kicking around Toledo. The Ghostbusters are just the best.
I don’t usually post these commercial compilations, but this is the only place I could find the Ghostbusters commercial with the live action appearance by Frankenstein and Dracula, so feel free to stop after the first entry or go on through the whole thing. I knew that TCT would be tricky when I decided to go vampire themed this week. Vampires were never the star of the show when it came to kids cartoons and toys in the 80s and 90s, so I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go and then I remembered the awesome array of monsters that appeared early on in the Ghostbusters line from Kenner.
I never had either of these fantastic facsimiles of the Universal Monsters, but I still have that Venkman figure with the green ghost that attaches to his chest causing his arms to spin around. Frankly, if these guys are so scared of ghosts as we can plainly see by their action features, maybe they need to rethink their line of work.
When I still worked full time for ToyFare I pitched an idea for a Twister ToyFare Theatre that would feature the Ghostbusters heading to Japan to take care of that country’s ghost infestation. My pitch involved the ‘Busters making fun of some of the J-horror tropes that seem pretty stupid by today’s standards. Hey, on the real, kids and water are not scary. Sure that girl in The Ring was creepy, but I’d just kick an evil kid in the face if he came at me. Know why? I’m way bigger! In essence, the Ghostbusters would have gone into the situation very worried about the whole thing because there’s seemingly ghosts in every livable structure, but then it would turn out to be pretty easy and they’d make a boatload of money and become super crazy awesome celebs in Japan.
The whole J-horror craze (both originals and American remakes) has died down thankfully, so it might seem a little tired now, but I still think it could be a fun story to do either in comic form or as a potential Ghostbusters sequel. I know a lot of people aren’t too keen on the whole Ghostbusters sequel thing and I’m wary too (especially after seeing Year One which was written by the supposed GB III writers and sucked), but I think it’s absolutely possible for the right combination of people to come along and play off of Dan Aykroyd’s original idea which had Ghostbusters running around like exterminators in a world filled with ghosts (that’s how Harold Ramis explained it to me when I talked to him, at least). Seems like it would make perfect sense for a group of ‘Busters to head to Japan then, no? I am completely available to pitch this story as either a comic or screenplay to anyone who wants more information.
Anyone else see this Sony Cyber-shot commercial starring Taylor Swift? Aside from being a pretty rad-looking camera (panoramic’s back Jack!) the commercial also briefly features the Ecto-1, the Wheel of Fortune and…a bear being pulled in a cart? Anyone recognize him? He’s in the bottom left of the image.
Last year I had the absolute pleasure to talk to one of my all time favorite directors Harold Ramis about Ghostbusters and Year One for ToyFare #144. This full interview was up at one point on Wizard’s website, but it got lost with everything else when they redid it, so I’m republishing it here. For a little background on the interview, we had gotten word from Mattel that they were doing Ghostbusters toys well before the rest of the world. I can’t remember if we were world premiering the figures in the magazine, but I think that was the case. The issues was also very 1984-heavy because, after doing some research, we discovered that all kinds of cool stuff came out that year. So, to bring both of our big time sections together, we really wanted to talk to someone from Ghostbusters, focusing on Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. As it was my idea, I jumped into the fray trying to track these guys down with some help from Mattel. But, I wasn’t hearing much back. We had exhausted all of our resources and had even heard back from Aykroyd’s people that he would be unavailable for interview (even though he popped up on some no name blog a day or so later). A few days before closing the issue, I got an email from Ramis’s people asking if we could do the interview in the next few days. I said of course and soon enough we were talking.
I always get nervous before an interview, no matter who it is, even if I’ve talked to them a dozen times, but this guy is a legend. He friggin’ wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters! Those are movies that my dad literally raised me on and all had probably far too much influence on how I think and what I think is funny. Ramis was really nice and gracious with his time. I don’t have the sound file easily played right now, but we talked for a relatively long time, but I probably could have gone on forever talking to him. I’ve interviewed Mr. T and Stan Lee, but this was definitely one of my favorites, up there with Danny Trejo and John Landis. So, if you want to real the full 11 page interview from last May, hit the jump and read on. Continue reading Harold Ramis Interview Transcript 5-20-09
Sometimes work doesn’t really feel like work, especially when you’re getting paid to talk to world famous forces of comedy like Harold Ramis. The latest issue of ToyFare (#144, now on stands, go buy it!) has a group of features I’m really proud of where we talk about how awesome 1984 was. To go along with the theme, we shot Mattel’s upcoming Ghostbusters figures for the cover and, after months of trying, an interview with Harold Ramis co-writer of the film and, duh, Egon.
I got an email about the interview on the Monday before we closed, did it on Tuesday or Wednesday and then frantically transcribed as much as I could because we closed the issue that Friday. Since you hopefully want to support me, you’ve already purchased the issue and read the small portion of the nearly 40 minute interview, but now you can read the whole thing over at WizardUniverse.com. He was really nice and smart and funny (jeez, I sound like we went on a date), but he was also one of the best interviews I’ve ever done (and that roster includes Joel Silver, Mr. T, Stan Lee and John Landis). I probably could have talked to him for a day, really, but didn’t want to come off compeltely crazy. Plus, my mouth gets really dry when I get nervous and I’m always the exact same level of nervous (very) no matter who I’m talking to. So, go check it out already!