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When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes! Well, you might not be a god, but if you’re a fan of the Ghostbusters films and animated series, you’re certainly part of a cultural phenomenon that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. From the moment the original movie hit theaters in 1984, the Ghostbusters franchise has become iconic, inspiring sequels, animated shows, and even a reboot. With its mix of comedy, horror, and sci-fi, Ghostbusters has carved out its own unique niche in the entertainment world.

But what is it that makes Ghostbusters so special? Is it the memorable characters, the ingenious gadgets, or the thrilling supernatural adventures? Perhaps it’s the catchy theme song that never fails to get stuck in your head. Or maybe it’s the combination of all these elements, masterfully blended together to create a franchise that has stood the test of time. Regardless of the reason, one thing is for certain: Ghostbusters has left an indelible mark on popular culture.

Join me as we embark on a spirited journey through the Ghostbusters films and animated series, delving into the stories, characters, and impact that this beloved franchise has had on the world. So, strap on your proton pack, and let’s get ready to bust some ghosts!


The Original Ghostbusters Film: A Breakdown

The film that started it all, Ghostbusters (1984) was directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The movie stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as the titular Ghostbusters, a team of eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. With their trusty proton packs and ghost traps, they set out to rid the city of its paranormal pests, eventually facing off against the ancient, malevolent deity Gozer the Gozerian.

The original Ghostbusters film is often praised for its perfect blend of humor, action, and spookiness. The witty banter between the characters, particularly Bill Murray’s Dr. Peter Venkman, adds levity to the supernatural proceedings, while the inventive ghost-catching technology and thrilling action sequences keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The film’s special effects, including the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, were groundbreaking for their time and still hold up remarkably well today.

One of the most memorable aspects of the original Ghostbusters film is its unforgettable theme song, penned and performed by Ray Parker Jr. With its catchy chorus of “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” and its funky, infectious melody, the song became an instant hit and remains synonymous with the franchise to this day. The movie’s success led to a sequel, animated series, and a lasting impact on popular culture that continues to resonate with fans old and new.

Ghostbusters II

Five years after the success of the first film, the original cast and crew reunited for Ghostbusters II (1989), once again directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. This time, the Ghostbusters are called back into action to save New York City from a new supernatural threat: an ancient, malevolent spirit named Vigo the Carpathian, who seeks to return to life by possessing the body of a human child.

While Ghostbusters II didn’t quite capture the same magic as the original, it still offered plenty of laughs, thrilling ghost-busting action, and memorable moments. One standout sequence involves the Ghostbusters using their proton packs to bring the Statue of Liberty to life, controlling it with an NES Advantage joystick in a bid to save the city from Vigo’s evil influence.


Though it received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, Ghostbusters II remains a beloved part of the franchise’s history, serving as a testament to the enduring appeal of the Ghostbusters concept and characters. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the last time we’d see our favorite paranormal investigators in action.

The Animated Series

Capitalizing on the success of the first film, the Ghostbusters franchise expanded into the world of animation with the debut of The Real Ghostbusters in 1986. This animated series followed the continuing adventures of Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Raymond Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore as they battled ghosts and other supernatural entities in New York City and beyond. The show also introduced fan-favorite characters such as Slimer, the mischievous green ghost who becomes the mascot, and Janine Melnitz, the team’s sassy secretary.

The Real Ghostbusters was notable for its high-quality animation, engaging stories, and clever humor, which made it appealing to both children and adults. The show was so successful that it ran for seven seasons and spawned several comic book series, video games, and a vast array of merchandise. In 1997, the franchise returned to the small screen with Extreme Ghostbusters, a sequel series that introduced a new, younger team mentored by an older Egon Spengler. Though it only lasted for one season, Extreme Ghostbusters maintained the franchise’s tradition of great animation and entertaining storytelling.

Both The Real and Extreme Ghostbusters played a significant role in cementing the franchise’s place in popular culture, introducing the concept to a new generation of fans and keeping the ghost-catching spirit alive throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Reboot: The 2016 Film

In 2016, the franchise received a fresh start with a reboot directed by Paul Feig and starring an all-female team of Ghostbusters, played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. This new film, simply titled Ghostbusters, offered a modern twist on the classic formula, with the new team facing off against a malevolent spirit named Rowan who sought to unleash a paranormal apocalypse on New York City.


Though the 2016 film received mixed reviews and sparked controversy among some fans, it nevertheless showcased the enduring appeal of the franchise’s core concept and introduced the world of ghost-catching to a new generation of viewers. The film also featured cameos from the original cast members, paying tribute to the franchise’s history while paving the way for a new era of supernatural adventures.

Ghostbusters Afterlife poster with 6 humans ready to fight bad guys

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – The Latest Installment

In 2021, the Ghostbusters legacy continued with the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a direct sequel to the original two films. Directed by Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, the film follows a new generation of characters as they discover their connection to the original team and face off against a new supernatural threat.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife has been praised for its nostalgic callbacks to the original films, as well as its heartfelt story and engaging characters. Featuring appearances from the surviving original cast members, the film serves as both a loving tribute to the franchise’s past and a promising new chapter in its ongoing story.

The Legacy of Ghostbusters Films and Animated Series

From the moment the original film burst onto the scene in 1984, the franchise has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, spawning sequels, animated series, and even a reboot. The enduring appeal of the films and animated series lies in their unique blend of humor, horror, and sci-fi, as well as their memorable characters, inventive ghost-catching technology, and unforgettable theme song.

As we look back on the legacy of the Ghostbusters franchise, it’s clear that these paranormal investigators have left an indelible mark on popular culture, inspiring generations of fans to strap on their proton packs and join the fight against the supernatural. So, the next time you find yourself faced with a ghostly apparition, you know exactly who to call: Ghostbusters! The franchise has become a cultural phenomenon, with its memorable characters, gadgets, and supernatural adventures resonating with fans old and new. Whether you’re a fan of the original films, the animated series, or the recent reboot and sequel, there’s no denying the impact that Ghostbusters has had on popular culture.

With Ghostbusters: Afterlife released in 2021, there’s no telling where the franchise will go next. But one thing is for sure: the legacy of the Ghostbusters films and animated series will continue to inspire and entertain audiences for years to come. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all have our own proton packs and be able to catch ghosts ourselves.


In conclusion, Ghostbusters is more than just a franchise. It’s a cultural touchstone that has inspired generations of fans and left an indelible mark on popular culture. From its iconic characters and gadgets to its memorable theme song and catchphrases, Ghostbusters has earned its place in the pantheon of great entertainment franchises. So, the next time you’re feeling spooked, just remember: Who you gonna call?

Real skull. Don't ask. You wouldn't believe it if I told you.

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Heroic Adventures Await: An Epic Review of The One Ring Starter Set



Prepare thyself, brave adventurer! In a time ripe with peril and filled with daring tales of glory, you are invited to embark on Lord of the Rings adventures filled with magical creatures, powerful artifacts, far away lands of Middle-earth and heroic feats. This is the epic journey of Lord of the Rings. The One Ring Starter Set‘ RPG from Free League Publishing – a game system full of rich stories and strategic battles that draw you into the realm of J.R.R Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Whether your story be one of heroism or villainy in this land steeped in ancient lore, Free League Publishing has crafted an inviting experience for veteran players as well as those new to table top RPGs alike!

What players can expect

The One Ring Starter Set by Free League Publishing is a pen and paper system that allows players to experience the epic journey of Hobbits. It comes with a lot, and I mean A LOT of goodies, making it a must-have for fans of The One Ring.

From their website the box includes:

  • A 24-page volume of Rules.
  • A 52-page volume describing The Shire.
  • A 31-page volume containing The Adventures.
  • Eight double-sided pre-generated character sheets.
  • Two large maps showing the Shire and Eriador.
  • 30 Wargear Cards that can also be used with The One Ring core rules.
  • Six double-sided Journey Role and Combat Stance Cards that can also be used with The One Ring core rules.
  • Two D12 Feat Dice.
  • Six D6 Success Dice.

Free League Publishing

The only things you’ll need that aren’t included are a pencil and some paper (oh and pizza..oh donuts…okay, pencil, paper, pizza, donuts, and some tea. Hmm…are taquitos still banned in canada? I digress).

I have had a lot of RPG starter sets before, but this beginner box is complete. It’s like if the Red Box came with dice and the white crayons with pre-gens, a ton of art, and maps. That’s the level of excitement opening this box.

Courtesy of Free League Publishing

Box fullness rating:

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Differences between The One Ring RPG and other popular game systems

The One Ring Starter Set RPG is a tabletop role-playing game system based on the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The One Ring roleplaying game system is designed to allow players to experience the story of Lord of the Rings firsthand, making choices and facing challenges that determine how the story progresses.

It is also, as I have found by experience, one of the most customizable games I’ve played in a very long time. Yes, it’s weird that a kid who grew up with Red Box and AD&D says that The One Ring set of pre-gen goodies from Free League Publishing is the most customizable in recent adventures. Let me explain 🙂

The Pre-Gens and rule systems can be adapted to your imagination.

I teach various humanities, English, ESL, sociology, business, and ‘kitchen sink’ at the college level. Roleplaying is a great way to engage students into scenarios or just to explore new worlds and engage in language production. This box has appeared in my classes in ESL, literature, business management, philosophy, and even gender studies. Heck, I’ve even used it in faculty in-service training. That’s how customizable and adaptable the attributes of this game can be.

Courtesy of Free League Publishing

The brilliance of The One Ring game is the lore, the art, and the ‘all in one’ aspect. Pre-generated characters mean we can explain and map attributes to what a person already knows in the world. Even the students not familiar with Lord of the Rings, still understood the concepts by quick mapping to their existing knowledge. Not only are the characters pre-gen but also weapons/armor item cards are included. My favorite thing to do here is to give a player a pick from the deck, cards down, and have a random piece of equipment. Then I make a secret roll and see if that card is cursed or blessed. Do I tell the student this? Of course not…not until they use it to often hysterical consequences.

The dice and maps are there. A little wipeable white board goes a long way here (get one cheap at Amazon or Staples or Walmart, etc).

The rest is your imagination. This really is a great ‘pick up game’ feel.

Of course, it works amazingly well as a stand-alone campaign system, too. I mean, it’s Free League Publishing. Name one of their games that aren’t fun, easy to get into, and instant hits like The One Ring. I’ll wait…

Adaptability rating:

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

The One Ring Playing Tips as we wait 🙂

Playing in a The One Ring campaign can be an unforgettable adventure. Here are some tips to make the most out of your game:


To Pre-Gen or Not Pre-Gen, that is the question

This box, the One Ring Starter Set, is everything you need to start an awesome adventure. If this is your first time venturing into the land of The One Ring, you might want to try the pregenerated characters route. Once you get your feet wet, you can start creating your own hobbits — but — from experience, I can say that we all became attached to our pre-gen characters. They have a backstory that you can tweak and the art work is superb.

Combat and the art of running away

The One Ring Starter Set RPG by Free League Publishing offers an immersive journey into J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, complete with engaging gameplay, customizable scenarios, and rich lore. The game set includes extensive volumes of rules, adventures, and character sheets, maps, cards, and dice. It is adaptable to various settings and can be used as a teaching tool in diverse fields. The game’s high replay value, detailed artwork, and potential for endless adventures make it a must-have for both Lord of the Rings fans and newcomers to tabletop RPGs. Jim Phoenix

Get ready to chuck The One Ring dice! It’s a lot of d6 and some d12. This means if you are new to RPG, but you’ve played ‘some’ games before, you might have extra d6 but no d12 laying around. For the most part, the d6s are used so if you do have some lying around, feel free to grab them to make the passing of the dice a little less passy.

Word on The One Ring dice: Yes, they are graphically designed beauties and feel great in your hands.

Endless adventures

Love the Lord of the Rings books? Awesome, this game, The One Ring, is for you. The movies? Sure! The cartoon movie? Yup, welcome Gen X’er! The Amazon TV show? Got you covered!

Yes, you can recreate moments from the Lord of the Rings books and films (even the TV show!) in The One Ring, but there are many other possibilities for adventures in Middle-earth. That’s the beauty about Free League Publishing’s games. They are open world concepts. You can zig instead of zag. Players could travel to different parts of Middle-earth and explore its many regions, meeting new people and creatures along the way. They could also join one of the various factions in the war against Sauron, fighting in epic battles against the Dark Lord’s forces. Or they could undertake their own personal quests, seeking out lost treasures or ancient secrets. The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to the players to decide what kind of adventure they want to have.

Replay value:

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Score for The One Ring Starter Set

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, then The One Ring Starter Set from Free League Publishing is a no-brainer. Free League Publishing has never done me wrong and I don’t think they’re about to start. The One Ring Starter Set is gorgeous and comes with everything you’ll ever need to step forth in Hobbit Land. My score reflects being a fan of the land and lore. I’ve played this with people who didn’t know much about LotR and they seemed to have enjoyed it. This shows that the starter set has something for both fans and non-fans. All in all, a greatly detailed adventure in a box.


So what are you waiting for? Unlock epic roleplaying adventures with the Free League Publishing One Ring Starter Set!

Overall Score:

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Podcasts - HMTL PodPeople

Unwell Season Five



Unwell is a midwestern gothic podcast. It says so right in its description. And this year saw its final season. If you’ve listened to the whole series like me, then you know this barely scratches the surface. But here we are, at the end. Let’s see how it goes.

The story

After Rudy’s death last season, no one’s okay. The crew at the boarding house is mourning in their own, strange ways. Chester is mourning as well. But more than that, he’s in a panic. He doesn’t understand why Rudy died.

See, the town was supposed to protect him. The town is supposed to protect everyone. But Mt. Absalom seems to be losing its mind. Strange things are happening. Starting with the boarding house, where rooms have started just floating around at random. And duplicates of living people have started wandering around.


Then there’s the ghosts of the town. Wes is realizing that he’s not exactly what he thought he was. He’s not the ghost of a young man. As he comes face to face with Silas, it becomes clear that they might have more in common than they thought.

Speaking of Silas, he isn’t doing too well. He’s becoming less and less reasonable. More and more unhinged. Whereas before we could only sense the anger and cruelty that lingered just below his surface, we can see it now.

So can the rest of the town.

What worked

Unwell had a satisfying ending. It had an ending that made sense. And it was even a happy ending. But it wasn’t an entirely happy ending.


Not everything is okay at the end. Not everyone comes home. Not everyone gets better.

But if everything got better, and everyone came home, the ending wouldn’t have worked. It would have felt fake, and unsatisfying. So even though it’s sad, it’s satisfying.

One thing that made it satisfying was that Lilly got closure about her relationship with Dot. I don’t think it’s ever made sense that Dot would have left her beloved daughter for no good reason. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s made clear that Dot didn’t have any choice.

I loved the way that, through the season, Lilly came into her own. When we first met Lilly, she was bitter about caring for her mother and eager to be free of the chore. Now she is the new caretaker, taking over the family business in more ways than one.

Finally, this season of Unwell worked for the same reason all the other seasons worked. Yes, Mt. Absalom is a magical town. But its people are also a little magical. Because it’s a small town full of people who take care of each other. Even when they’re different. Even when they do unconventional things. Mt. Absalom is a town of people who care about each other.


What didn’t work

All that being said, there was one part of the story that didn’t get a satisfying ending. And that is the storyline regarding the star cluster that killed Norah.

I won’t ruin the ending. But I will say that we don’t get any answers regarding this.

And yes, to a point I understand why. Some things don’t have answers. Some things aren’t supposed to be known. But that doesn’t sit well with me. The point of fiction is that we can know. We can understand, because it’s not real life. It just feels like the ball got dropped here.

Unwell season five left some things unanswered, and that’s irritating. But it answered the most important question. What does a magic town do when their magic is gone? When the town that has always taken care of everyone is finally convinced to rest?


They take care of each other.

Goodnight, Mt Absalom.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Blood Flower (2022), a Film Review

Blood Flower (2022) is a Malaysian supernatural horror film directed by Dain Said. Originally titled Harum Malam.



Blood Flower (2022) is a Malaysian supernatural horror film directed by Dain Said. Originally titled Harum Malam, the film stars Idan Aedan, Bront Palarae, and Remy Ishak. As of this review, the film is available on Shudder and AMC+ with additional availability for rent or purchase.

After a family tragedy, Iqbal (Idan Aedan) has trouble finding focus as an apprentice healer. His family remains in shambles, and Iqbal struggles to find a purpose in the wake of this change. As his father (Bront Palarae as Norman) finds temporary work helping a family friend, a terrible horror becomes unleashed. Now, Iqbal must overcome his internal turmoil or lose even more.

A young man stands before two older men. A giant flower in bloom to his left side. Underneath him reads "Harum Malam" written in red.
Blood Flower (Harum Malam) Original Cover

What I Like in Blood Flower

The horror evoked here has some elements of fabulism with a heavy emphasis on the supernatural component. In general, I like the established world and how this supernatural element connects to the characters’ development.

Throughout Blood Flower, the acting remains consistent and engaging. The relationship between Norman and Iqbal, which provides the heart of the film, remains a particularly well-executed point. Even when the writing falls short, the acting wins me over more often than not.

The film builds up its horror, which elevates the execution and overall effect. I won’t claim that the horror truly haunts the viewer, but it remains unsettling and, even uncomfortable, throughout.


As for the design of the monster, it works. There are points that remain strong, forcing a rather uncomfortable visual or experience that provides an effective execution of Blood Flower’s vision. One especially effective choice is including stop motion in some of the scenes. This visual creates a somewhat jarring feel to the supernatural entity that still lingers in my mind.

White background, rubber stamp with disclaimer pressed against the white background.
Disclaimer Kimberley Web Design

Tired Tropes and Trigger Warnings

Blood Flower includes sexual assaults that remain clunkily included in the plot. When dealing with such material, especially when it remains essential to the story, the execution makes or breaks the quality. Unfortunately, the execution feels rushed and more for the shock of the reveal.

Possession-assisted suicide remains an element within the film. While I think the distance between such harm and the context of the film doesn’t rise above confusion, it deserves a mention in this section.

There are general decisions made for the sake of the plot. While this can fall into the dislike section, it’s within a range so as to not completely distract or undermine the viewing experience.

If any of these are deal breakers, then Blood Flower might be a skip.

A large flower with a giant column in the center
The Real Blood Flower, or amorphophallus titanum

What I Dislike in Blood Flower

Where this movie falls short is building up some of its elements to their conclusion by the end of the film. The previously mentioned sexual assaults make for a strong example, but another remains the human villain. As they are the reason for the monster, I am surprised by the general lack of attention and presence the character receives.

Iqbal unlocking his power feels underwhelming and lacks any real visuals or style. We have magic and special effects, but his power consists of holding out his hand. The issue lies in the execution, not the actor, as Idan Aedan does everything he can with the given command.


Going into the previous points, a spiritual master helps Iqbal train to become a healer. This person isn’t the one who unlocks their power. I still wonder why so little development on this important point remains in the film.

Final Thoughts

Blood Flower, or Harum Malam, remains an interesting supernatural horror that drops its execution towards the end. It provides a unique viewing experience with equal parts ingenuity and creativity to provide an effective horror. But it remains a flawed work with some wasted potential. Still, it earns its runtime for those interested in Malaysian horror.
2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

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