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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Book Reviews

A Misfortune of Lake Monsters: a Book Review

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As summer approaches, there’s nothing quite like reading a book with warm campy vibes. It’s especially true if you’re lying on a sunny beach. Nicole M Wolverton’s A Misfortune of Lake Monsters matches that picture perfectly. It’s described as a creature feature with a Stranger Things-esque friend group.

Although set in modern times, I found the story felt like something out of the 80s (in a good way). Character dynamics reminded me of The Goonies and IT while the narrative combined just the right amount of adventure, romance, and horror to bring out nostalgia and comfort at the same time. Anyway, let’s dive (hehe) in! 

Plot

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Lemon Ziegler has one aspiration in life – to become a vet. Unfortunately, that would involve leaving her hometown, which is a problem as she is obligated to continue the family business. While such a situation is not out of the ordinary, the business itself definitely is. Lemon must impersonate Old Lucy, the town monster (a nice homage to the Loch Ness myth). 

The decades-old legend about this creature swimming around in the lake is keeping tourism in the town alive. Because of this, poor Lemon has no other choice but to follow in her family’s footsteps. She keeps this secret from everyone, including her best friends, Derrin and Troy. The latter is harbouring feelings for Lemon that are stronger than friendship. As he is a teenage boy though, he is too afraid to make a move (much to Darrin’s enjoyment). 

Things take an unexpected turn when a real monster shows up, hungry for blood. As one could guess in these kinds of stories, no one believes Lemon at first. This only allows the creature to claim more victims (and yes, I feel the saddest about the poor dog). Once the adults finally decide to do something, it alerts the FBI, which makes the situation more difficult for our gang. Unsurprisingly, they are the only ones who can stop the monster from wreaking move havoc.

In the midst of the riveting adventure, we also see Lemon go through a character arc. She stands up to her grandfather, allowing him to see her as an adult for the first time ever. There’s also the blossoming of her and Troy’s romance. The pair awkwardly navigate the transition from friendship to romance in an adorable way. At its heart though, this novel is about family, blood or otherwise, and how strong connections can sometimes be the only way to save your life. After all, who could defeat a multidimensional monster by themselves?

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Overall thoughts

I had a blast with A Misfortune of Lake Monsters as it combined all the components of making an effective adventure story with enough heart to make you care about what happened to the characters. They are sympathetic yet entertaining and their relationships feel organic down to the dialogue that, while a tad cheesy, is oozing with charisma.

The reasons I am giving it four stars are more individualistic. I tend to go for a darker type of thriller/horror and this story, although not short of gore, ultimately steers in a more heartwarming direction. It’s something I anticipated knowing the age range and found fitting with what the narrative was going for.

I also would have liked a slightly different as I feel the story entered more of a sci-fi subgenre in the last third. While that’s fine overall, it is not my first choice of horror. Considering these things are more down to my personal preferences as a reader, I would absolutely recommend this book. I’m excited to see what the authors does next!

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Movies n TV

Fallout, The Beginning

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We’ve now reached the end of Fallout, season one. As I mentioned during the last review, I was heartily concerned that this show, like so many others, was going to drop the ball at the finale and ruin an entire season.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. This episode was everything it needed to be and more.

Let’s discuss.

The story

We begin our story with Maximus returning to the Brotherhood of Steel compound. He has a head, which he is claiming is the real head of Wilzig.

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I don’t know why he thought that was going to work.

Of course, it doesn’t. The elder cleric is about to kill Maximus until Dane says that they hurt their foot.

Because of this, the Brotherhood is sent out to get the head. Or rather, what’s inside of it. They head to the city run by Moldaver. This happens to be the same place Lucy and The Ghoul are headed.

Still from Amazon Prime's Fallout.

There, Lucy does manage to find her father. What she ends up finding is so much more than she wanted to find.

What worked

The first thing I have to discuss is how seamlessly the storylines of the series combined.

Each of our four main characters has been on their own journey. Lucy is trying to save her father. Maximus wants to become a knight. The Ghoul wants to find his family. Norm wants to know what’s going on in Vault 31.

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I sure wasn’t expecting all of these stories to come together in the way that they did. And to preserve the ending, I don’t dare say more. I will only say that yes, all four stories tie in perfectly with one another. By the end, two characters end up having the very same goal.

As I hinted before, I did not see the twist ending coming.

Ella Purnell in Fallout.

Yes, we might have guessed some things from the last episode. We of course guessed that Lucy’s dad was involved in some nefarious and probably sci-fi way. But the way this story twists at the end is nothing short of serpent-like. Which is why I cannot go into too much detail here. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to experience it blind.

Finally, I can give the Fallout season finale the most important praise I can ever give a finale. It did its number one job, getting us excited for season two. We have answers, but now we have new and more exciting questions. And even better, we have a desire to see vengeance done.

What didn’t work

Now that the season is done, though, I can bring up something that bothered me through all eight episodes.

I don’t buy Lucy and Maximus’s relationship.

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Maybe because it’s rushed. Maybe because the two actors don’t have a lot of chemistry. Maybe it’s because I’m not sure even now either character could tell you a single thing about the other. There is just no spark between the two. So their love story feels tacked on. I honestly feel like their love story could have been removed from the show entirely and it would have no negative impact.

I also didn’t buy Dane’s confession. This is a minor spoiler, but it comes up early in the episode. Dane confesses that they hurt their foot so that they wouldn’t have to go into the wastelands.

And at first, I kept expecting Maximus to thank them later. I honestly thought that they were just lying to save Maximus’s life. But no, as it turns out, they were not.

But it just doesn’t make sense. The motivations don’t jive. I honestly think it would have been better for the story if they had lied to save Maximus’s life.

At least then there’d be one other Brother of Steel who had some nobility.

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In the end, this first season of Fallout was everything I could ask for. So far as I can tell, it was everything fans of the Fallout franchise could ask for. There wasn’t a bad episode in the bunch. Honestly, the only real complaint I had was that the season was so short.

I’ll be counting down the days to season two, and I hope you’ll be joining me then. Because war, war never changes.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

If you like my work, you can check out my latest science fiction/horror novel, Nova, launching on May 17th. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon.

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Original Creations

More Nail Polish Paintings by Jennifer Weigel

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Well, seems I’m at it again, with more nail polish paintings into found thrift store art. Why so many flowers this time…? Well a friend sent them and I just couldn’t help myself. They are so perfect for creepy fairy paintings. And for those of you who think fairies aren’t scary, you haven’t read much about the fey now have you?

More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel
More Revisitations nail polish paintings by Jennifer Weigel

Top left: Blue Fairy, originally painted by M Wadorf

Top right: Pegasus, originally painted by Edie Babb

Bottom left: Unicorn, originally painted by R Lovelace (After I painted this I realized I missed the opportunity to do a troll with a bridge and so I hope to do another along those lines in the future.)

Bottom middle: Fairy, originally painted by SD Janz

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Bottom right: Dragon, original signed FZ, very sparkly with black-light sensitive eyes

And the most horrific of the bunch this time is this mermaid, who started as a weird bucket painting by Helen Miller… So, what’s in the bucket, Helen? Body parts? Fish? Plants not yet in bloom? I envisioned a trapped mermaid waiting to ensnare some unsuspecting land-goer, because no one would expect to find a mermaid there…

Mermaid in bucket, original by Helen Miller
Is this mermaid trapped in need of help or just trying to lure you close?

So I broke down and redid the unicorn to a troll. Apparently the troll was hungry… Anyway, here is the result. I am happier with it now.

Troll with toll bridge, original by R Lovelace
Hungry troll wants bridge tolls after eating innocent unicorn.

You can find more of my Revisitations art on Haunted MTL here, including links to even more nail polish paintings…

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

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