— I blog here now: jamesgreenejr.substack.com
— my latest book A Convenient Parallel Dimension: How Ghostbusters Slimed Us Forever will be published late next year by Lyons Press
— I keep talking about how much I’ve learned working on A Convenient Parallel Dimension and to that degree I’ve removed some articles from this blog that contained factual errors about our very famous ghost smashers
— I love you all
I considered myself a pretty serious student of Ghostbusters before I started work on this book and now I can’t believe how much I’m learning. There’s still a year of labor to be done but I think the end result will really be something special. My fingers are crossed that all the ghost heads will agree.
By the way, I’m still trying to get to Manhattan to complete a leg of research. If you’d like to help, check out my GoFundMe. Donate enough scratch and you’ll receive a signed copy of this yet-to-be-titled volume when it’s complete. Thanks for even considering; there are more worthy causes for sure.
My zine Idiot Time is on hiatus for the moment while I focus on the book. If you’re thirsty for new writings, I’ve started penning the occasional article for Hard Noise. It’s a nonfiction offshoot of The Hard Times. Here’s one I wrote about the Reagan Youth song in Airheads. Here’s an interview I did with a former Dead Kennedy. And this one’s about Wendy O. Williams and Kiss.
I’m getting married in December. My heart is full of love and I can’t wait to be a wife guy. For my bachelor party I will go to a deli and eat a sandwich.
Until the next update, stay fresh, stay funky.
Well, here’s some news.
Lyons Press has contracted me to write a book about the long, storied history of the Ghostbusters films. All of ’em — the old ones, the new ones, the ones they never even made. It probably won’t be published until 2021. Friends of the blog know I tried to get this off the ground a few years ago. The fact that it’s a reality now…well, my back teeth are swimming in excitement. I can’t wait for everyone to read it.
Speaking of junk you can read, I do a zine now about bizarre tv. It’s called Idiot Time and you can subscribe for the low low price of just two dollars a month at patreon.com/idiot_time. Seven issues so far. The most recent is a tribute to Ted Knight. Hi, guy.
Also, I live in Texas now. The grocery stores are enormous.
Certain elements excite me (crisp look of the establishing shots, everything with Kate McKinnon, the car) and certain elements give me pause (recycling of the library ghost, recycling of Slimer, the ghost punch). Judgment reserved until I exit the theater in July but definitely interested to discover what else this remake / reimagining is cooking up. Ready for busting to commence.
Last night Paul Feig tweeted out this photo of the new Ecto 1, a.k.a. the car in which his rebooted Ghostbusters will be cruisin’. Looks hype to me, like a cross between the original Ecto and the car from Blues Brothers. Definitely more on point than many of the fan recreations you see out there.
I’m not as punk rock as I thought—I don’t like being out on the highways of America and seeing Jeep Cherokees or Ford Fiestas in the iconic dressings of the Ecto. Would you try to turn a smart car into the Batmobile?
I digress. This new Ecto is boss and here is quite possibly the hottest take I can give: it’s cooler than the Ecto 1A, the revamped Ectomobile unveiled in Ghostbusters 2. There’s just too much fucking shit on the roof of Ecto 1A, my disbelief cannot be suspended. There’s no way the Ghostbusters would be able to glide through the boroughs without bits flying off every few miles.
Also, the hazard tape racing stripes and flashing digital sign are garish. You’re the Ghostbusters, not the goddamn Money Store.
Again I digress. JG2 is pro new Ecto. Looking forward to seeing Wiig, McKinnon, et al tear ass in these ace wheels. I’ll be there, front row, in my “Ecto 1A Has Too Much Fucking Shit On Its Roof” shirt.
The plan for my next book has always been a history of the Ghostbusters film franchise and its ancillary properties. Sadly, I must now abandon that idea. This week it was revealed (to me) that Sony, the company owning the rights to Ghostbusters, is publishing a historical volume of extremely similar parameters in September. The party delivering this news was the publishing house most interested in working with me on what I had tentatively titled A Convenient Parallel Dimension: Ghostbusters, 1974-2016. They’re open to hearing other ideas I’m sitting on; time to tear through old notebooks and ferret out potential ideas.
No need to invoke the wrath of the slor: we’re getting an officially licensed Ghostbusters history. I’m sure it’ll be wonderful. I’m actually surprised and somewhat ashamed the Sony tome slipped past my radar for so long. Turns out that Christmas leak didn’t give us everything. Also, I can admit I hadn’t exactly done mountains of work on my own GB project. Subconsciously I must have sensed this. I could feel the Twinkie expanding.
So, do you think the world needs a book about InnerSpace?
The original Ghostbusters crew had 25 years to make a third movie. For whatever reason, it didn’t happen (and now it can’t happen because Harold Ramis is dead). It’s actually a little weird Sony didn’t force this beloved (and enormously profitable) property into someone else’s hands sooner. I know Murray, Ramis et al had something of a tontine when it came to the rights, but everyone has a price. Chinese Democracy came out before Ghostbusters 3. Do you really believe Axl Rose is more reasonable than Bill Murray?
Still, fans are apoplectic over the announced reboot, as if Paul Feig will simultaneously be erasing the first two movies from history. It’s difficult to comprehend some of the ire. Complaints have already surfaced from die-hards who are upset they’ll now have to share convention space with people cosplaying as Feig’s Ghostbusters; the new technology, you see, will clash with their expertly recreated 1984 proton packs. Guess these costumers never stopped to consider how much some of us detest seeing guys with goatees and backwards Yankee hats parading around as “Ray Stantz.”
I love Ghostbusters so much I’m currently working on a book about its entire history, but I have no problem admitting that up to this point the series has been a rigid boy’s club where female characters aren’t given much to do (even Gozer only takes the form of a woman for about one minute). Paul Feig’s decision to “star hilarious women” in the reboot is refreshing and fun and much needed, and fans who are disagreeing need to cop to their own throbbing sexism. Female-based entertainment is not “a gimmick.” The fictional activity of ghostbusting is not “too rigorous” for women.
Key point: ghostbusting is fucking imaginary. Gender bias in real life is bad enough. Extending it to the land of make believe, that’s insane. “You can pretend to be anything, except this one thing that makes me uncomfortable for some dumb reason, because I’m threatened by change even in a fake world where marshmallow creatures go on rampages.”
I think it’s also worth noting that Katie Dippold, the scribe for Feigbusters, works on “Parks & Rec,” a show I’d consider female-centric but one that also boasts some of the funniest, most fleshed-out, and just plain interesting male characters available. The door swings both ways.
Admittedly, this reboot could crash and burn. Previous experience doesn’t mean jack. Dan Aykroyd has to wake up every day knowing he made Doctor Detroit. Yet, even if Feigbusters turns out to be the new Heaven’s Gate (are my references dusty enough for you?), who cares? It’s just one movie. It’s not meant to replace anything. If it’s really atrocious we can just pretend it never happened, like Rocky V or the Halloween with Paul Rudd or Rob Zombie’s Halloweens or the Dumb & Dumber prequel or Ace Ventura Jr.
My only real investment: I hope they make the Ectomobile cool. I don’t have any suggestions because I’m not really a car person…just make it cool. You know, like stylish but also kinda nerdy. Like the original.
The chilling climax of Assisted Living Dracula, which did not make the list.
Since I wrote a book about a horror punk band maybe people care to know my favorite horror movies. Emphasis on “maybe.” It’s understandable if you’re only here killing time until the next dumb cat video.
AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)
So close to perfection you can barely talk about it. Seems like the most accurate portrayal of what lycanthropy might be like (see: uncontrollable gore, psychological fraying, corpse humor). David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are genius together, the Hope and Crosby of onscreen bloodshed.
THE BAT (1926)
Bob Kane copped much of Bruce Wayne’s alter ego from this story, and it’s not hard to see why. Such striking imagery, thick atmosphere (particularly for a movie that takes place almost entirely in one house). The Bat is the best pre-Burton Dark Knight, though this flying rodent has no heroic intent.
THE BLACK CAT (1934)
Lugosi. Karloff. A torturous secret. Great suspense. Delicious turns from two spook masters. Should be up there with Dracula, Frankenstein, et al.
EVIL DEAD 2 (1987)
Gonzo horror at its finest. Could you breathe the first time you watched this one? Bruce Campbell delivers a career-defining performance. Makes Elm Street look like “Sesame Street,” Friday The 13th look like Nancy Drew.
Bonkers carnival movie that also succeeds at skewering our country’s sick tabloid culture. Funny, sardonic, but I can’t stand to even glance at Alex Winter in that mutant bat makeup. Also, those giant sentient eyeballs with arms and legs (that are also Jamaican for some reason) wig me out.
The ultimate power trip: harnessing the fury of the atom to capture evil spirits for profit. Only bureaucracy stands in our heroes’ way. Even when it does, they still have that boss car and an endless stream of wisecracks.
The first time we realized William Shatner’s pasty visage could be an instrument of evil. What’s more horrifying, though: the anonymous killer hunting teenagers or the fact these teens have no grasp of local history?
Frightening beyond belief because there is no supernatural element. Sharks are real, and there’s nothing fantastical about them nibbling on a human.
Max Schreck’s makeup is amazing and his movements are hypnotizing. On top of that, Murnau’s direction is wonderfully feverish. None of it seems real. Sticks in your craw like the best kind of haunting.
It’s a testament to this film’s genius that so many decades and parodies later you can still watch it and hope against hope that Anthony Perkins is innocent. The score might be the greatest in horror history. The entire score, that is, not just the “ei ei ei ei!” part.
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)
Everything is sort of romantic and intriguing until Lon Chaney’s mask comes off. Then the fur starts flying. Unlike most modern horror movies where the titular evil is allowed to escape in case of sequel, here we get to watch a zealous crowd beat their ghoulish tormenter to death. Cathartic.
“The Simpsons” made a joke out of “can’t sleep, clown will eat me,” but in Poltergeist that terror is all too real. Ground zero for the movement against all grease-painted jesters. Not that I’m downplaying the movie’s bigger theme: manufactured communities are evil, as are those who develop them.
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991)
Not traditionally in this genre but sneaks in thanks to its bleakness. Two robots fighting over the seed of the only woman who has foreseen the apocalypse. Of course no one believes her, so they have her committed. Also, one robot is comprised of an indestructible liquid. Any way we can downgrade to evil clowns?
Please feel free to bombard me with angry comments and angrier e-mails concerning the lack of Leprechaun movies on this list.
We (American consumers) all had a good chuckle last week when Radio Shack’s Super Bowl spot aired. Oh, was it ever amusing to see ALF, Dee Snider, and cheap facsimiles of other ’80s pop culture titans attempting to “take back” “their” electronics store as Loverboy’s hit of hits “Working For The Weekend” pumped in the background. In the week that has followed, however, certain dark corners of the Internet (read: Ghostbusters message boards I frequent) have been buzzing that Radio Shack’s cute little advert includes a veiled jab at Dan Aykroyd.
A few ghostheads out there have interpreted the end of the commercial, wherein Slimer flies through the wall of the new Radio Shack only to be told he’s arrived “too late,” as a shot at Aykroyd and his years-long insistence that a Ghostbusters 3 will be made. It’s “too late,” they say, for that third and ostensibly final entry. Too much time has passed. No one will accept AARP Venkman and Spengler and even less people will accept this “new generation” of busters Ayk is insisting are in the GB3 script. So hit the bricks, Slimer. You’re done. Float away to the 1980s mascot retirement home. Spuds MacKenzie and the California Raisins are waiting for you.
There’s a feeling of reverence for the decades old figures in this ad, and based on that I don’t think Radio Shack would purposely single one out just for sly ridicule. On the other hand, Slimer is a computer graphic; unlike Hulk Hogan, they can say some messed up shit to his globby-ass face without fear of physical retribution. Also, generally speaking there’s some favoritism at play within the spot. We get Ponch from “CHiPs” not John, horror movie icon Jason but not Freddy, eternal barfly Cliff Clavin but not Norm. In that light I’m surprised they used Sgt. Slaughter to compliment Hogan.
I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that Radio Shack took a swipe at the Ghostbusters franchise, but if you’re trying to zero in on the most washed up and/or least profitable property featured…well, look, they put Kid ‘n Play in there, and I think a Ghostbusters 3 of any stripe would make more money than another House Party or Class Act. I’d be willing to bet my reserve supply of Ecto Cooler on that. No disrespect to Kid or Play, of course. I love House Party, but more kids dress up like Ray Stanz every year for Halloween than Chris Reid.
Things I had to fact check for this post: if Loverboy was one word or two, if the “Working” in “Working For The Weekend” was spelled “Workin’,” the proper spelling of Spuds MacKenzie, the proper spelling of “CHiPs,” where to put the apostrophe in Kid ‘n Play.
WHAT IT IS: Ghostbusters: The Energy Drink, a carbonated tribute to the greatest horror comedy of my childhood (sorry, Gremlins).
WHERE IT WAS DISCOVERED: Amongst my birthday gifts.
WHO MAKES IT: Boston America Corp, who brag on their website about offering “the world’s most creative impulse items.” Hey, I’m not arguing.
HOW IT TASTES: The contents of the “Slimed!” can proved Rockstar-ish, which is probably what Slimer would taste like if you could lick him. From what I can gather via Google it’s the same exact liquid in each can, but if I’m wrong may Walter Peck come down from bureaucrat heaven and smack me silly.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: Officially licensed Ghostbusters imagery. This ain’t no “Ghostflippers” nonsense!
NOTES: The can lists a fax number. That seems superfluous. I’m not sure what I’d want from a Ghostbusters-themed energy drink (maybe a Stay Puft marshmallow flavor?) but this stuff gets the job done. It’s tart enough, no wretched aftertaste, and it reminds me of Harold Ramis. Win/win.