WHO YOU GONNA CALL?!
I’m going to stop promising to cover topics in my “next” blog post, and just say “a later” blog post, so I have something to come back to in the lean times. We’ll call them blog residuals.
I say that because I said in my last post I was going to touch on the subject of humility, but I’ve decided I don’t want to do that today, so I won’t. I have a lot of other, more current stuff to talk about.
Case in point: There’s a new Ghostbusters game coming out.
This is, as my friend Travis likes to say, a big damn deal.
To use another Trav-ism: Let me explain something to you.
I love movies. I’ll go into how loving movies, especially as a filmmaker, goes through the same stages as loving a person in a later blog post (see how I brought that back? Four years of college, right there). But I’ve been watching movies as long as I can remember. And the first three films I ever saw were:
In that order. I loved all three of those movies, even though I’ll be the first to tell you I didn’t understand a goddamn bit of them. They were just the most wonderful things to me, with their music and their personalities. And Ghostbusters has the distinction of being the first film I saw in theatres. I didn’t get the jokes, but I knew Venkman was funny. The dry/sarcastic thing informed my own burgeoning sense of humor. (Being fat in middle school added just the right dash of self-deprecation to make me the pundit-in-my-own-mind I am today.)
And when a Ghostbusters cartoon came out…heaven. (The Real Ghostbusters, not to be confused with Filmation’s GhostBusters, which was an impossibly bizarre cartoon based on a short-lived 1975 live-action series in which, as IMDB explains, “Two guys and their pet gorilla hunt spooks.” That’s right, pet gorilla. The cartoon was a spin-off about their sons, who had apparently inherited both the family business and the gorilla.)
I (i.e. my parents) bought all the toys (including the fucking gorilla, because I was unclear on the distinction), got the funny-smelling purple slime mashed all into every carpet in the house when I would use it with the official Firehouse playset, the whole nine.
People are surprised when they find out that I’m 24 and yet didn’t grow up a fan of Transformers. But I had ghosts to bust, goddammit.
I knew every line of the film and could recite it at the drop of a hat, although I still had no idea what I was actually saying. (“I feel so funky” while writhing around on the floor pretending to be slimed was apparently a favorite of mine.)
And about five years after the original film, when Ghostbusters 2 started advertising? Dude. I could’ve shit Bono, I was so excited. Saw it opening weekend, and for all I remember multiple times. I wore out the video tapes — as we still brooked such bullshit as VHS back in the day — just watching and watching.
So then, years later, the internet has arrived. I’m still movie-obsessed, although, as mentioned before, I haven’t actively realized yet that movies are and rightfully ought to be my life’s passion.
While browsing through Coming Soon — an Ain’t It Cool News precursor that, like most websites, didn’t have its own domain and so was impossible to find without bookmarking it — I discover that there’s a Ghostbusters 3 in the works.
(One thing I really miss about Coming Soon, is that the news was sorted according to the title of the rumored film. I remember reading about I Am Legend on Coming Soon; back then it starred Ah-nold, my man Ridley Scott was directing, and Will Smith was “that kid on Fresh Prince.”)
Well, in these heady early days of consumer internet, do I take that lying down? No sir. Straight to Yahoo! I go (the major search engine at the time, before the benevolent Google-beast consumed us all). I found a Ghostbusters fan site. With a MESSAGE BOARD! It was really little more than a glorified listserv, but man, even just looking at that Wayback Machine page takes me back. I REMEMBER those guys. Tim the Terror Dog (or TTTD), Paranorman, Jen Spengler, Simone…goddammit, good times.
Well. Needless to say, I was on there ALL THE TIME. Or at least, as “all the time” as having to pay for dial-up access and deal with dial-up speeds would allow. See what I said about VHS.
The GB scripts were some of the first scripts available online, through that site, and I initially learned script formatting by studying those scripts. I later learned the difference between a shooting script, which is what those were, and a screenplay, which is what you write first.
With GB3 interest in a lull in summer of ’98, I, being the scamp of but 15 that I was, decided (under a fake name) to pretend to “leak” some pages from the “Ghostbusters 3 script”, which was of course a forgery which I wrote myself. Based on the premise that Dan Aykroyd had talked about, it was a scene where Egon tests a new device that accidently sends Ray to Hell for about two minutes.
I thought it was a good scene at the time, a lot of cool visual concepts. Now I just have to shake my head and give younger self an affectionate pat on the head (“Cabs in Hell are RED, see? Instead of YELLOW!” although the description of the diabolical Statue of Slavery does still strike me as inspired), but hey, the board loved it.
It didn’t take long for them to figure out it was a hoax, because like an asshole I had misspelled Ray’s last name “Stantz” as “Stanz”, but they weren’t upset. They wanted me to write more. So I did. I wound up writing a 180 page script for GB3 filled with all manner of fanwankery. Walter Peck was back, and the terror dogs, and all the characters from the spectacularly mediocre Extreme Ghostbusters.
I wound up rewriting it a couple times, mitigating the fanwankery somewhat but not fully, and posting it online. I must have continued to revise it even after posting it, because I remember calling it Ghostbusters: Lost Dimension at a certain point, yet the title on the page remains simply Ghostbusters 3.
And indeed, the script is still there, under a legacy site (I can’t BELIEVE after almost ten years the page still exists) but I’m not linking to it because it’s not good. I also wrote a GB4 script, Ghostbusters: Feast of Samhain — also not good, also a fanwank — because I was 15 and marching band season was over and I had nothing else to do with my life. I damn near wrote a GB5, too, but apparently I found something better to do with my life because it never became more than a vague outline.
The thing I will say in my defense is, I wrote each script in like 5 weeks, because I didn’t know or care that they were crappy. I kind of wish I could get that cavalier attitude back just in the service of pounding out the first draft of a given project.
Anyway, blah blah blah. I loved Ghostbusters, and I had every intention of going to the premiere of Ghostbusters 3 — a premiere which was imminent, damn you! Imminent I say! — in full costume, so I found out how to make the costumes. GB3 never happened, but I and two friends of mine went as Ghostbusters for Halloween, complete with plywood proton pack I had built myself. Besides some cracked paint, it was pretty goddamned accurate thanks to plans by one Norm Gagnon, who was Paranorman on the board and is apparently still furnishing the better fan projects with his GB propping expertise.
I’d gotten the premiere bug, and so when The Phantom Menace came around, I thought it would be great to go to THAT in costume. Then, I got the notion that it would be great to get in for FREE by working with the theatre and agreeing to put on a show (a lightsaber fight) and greet the guests and otherwise earn our tickets with publicity. The theatre actually agreed to it, but they wanted to see the fight first.
Well, my first attempt at choreographing a lightsaber fight was positively an abortion. It all wound up going utterly to shit and we wound up dropping the whole in-costume thing, paying for our tickets, and just enjoying the movie because we didn’t know any better. And the lightsaber fight blew us fucking away. And the rest is history but that’s besides the point of the story.
All that to say: fuck yes, Ghostbusters the Video Game. According to the official site and other sources, the game’s storyline is being written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis themselves, and is closer to a true GB3 than we will ever have again. Taking place after the events of GB2, in the early/mid-nineties, it apparently has to do with a “new ghost attack on New York that only the Ghostbusters can stop”.
The incredible inanity of sites saying that’s the story premise, as though it’s insight, makes me want to yell something incoherent like “Well son of a goddamn duh!” What the Christ else WOULD the story be? But frankly, I don’t care what the story is. It’s Ghostbusters.
It’s a new Ghostbusters story.
Ghostbusters is getting a new resurgence. There’s the game, and there’s the recent release of the appropriately named Return of the Ghostbusters two weeks ago.
It is probably too much to hope that the popularity of the game and concordant blitz of Ghostbusters loving all over the internet will lead Sony and the cast and director to decide that they do want to make a new Ghostbusters movie. But I’m going to hope anyway. I’d even take a Rocky/Die Hard “We’re too old for this shit” self-aware new Ghostbusters movie (actually that might be a pretty sweet direction to take, and revitalize the franchise with the new guys they’ll inevitably and reluctantly recruit).
If nothing else, Travis and I are going to make a Ghostbusters fan film.
“You mean THE Travis? The one you mentioned earlier in this very post?” Indeed, the very same. Incidentally, he also happens to be THE Travis behind Three in the Afternoon, Six in the Morning, and the cameraman for RvD2. Also my war buddy on a certain film project that I’m still trying to decide how much I want to talk about on here. Also co-host of Shooting the Bull, which we WILL record another of someday soon I swear. Long story short, we’re homies, and we’re going to be doing this thing shortly after he gets to L.A., because we’ve got a great premise and it would just be tons of fun for everyone.
And if no one stops me, I might even dust off the old GB3 Final Draft file and see if I can do anything with it, using my highly developed sense of less-shitty.
They’re the best, they’re the beautiful, they’re the ONLY…