So today I was listening to a podcast, drinking a 6oz box of Ecto-Cooler and realizing that there have only been a few times that I have been as excited about pop culture as I am right now.
Let’s go back a bit.
This week’s Purple Stuff Podcast focuses on 1990 for no particular reason. I suggest checking out the link and listening to it, then coming back here. I’ll wait.
Ok back? Good.
So in the podcast Matt of Dinosaur Dracula , formerly X-entertainment and Jay from The Sexy Armpit talk about Gremlins 2, and got Matt remembering how he was so excited to actually get more of a thing he loved with a ridiculous passion. Obviously those of us that were around for 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch completely can understand that feeling.
But for me there has been one other franchise that makes me giddy and excited like I am 8 years old again; Ghostbusters. That movie and cartoon series hit me right in the childhood. I was a bit young for the original film, just like Gremlins, but when I did see it, I was about 4 years old and it had the same combination of goofiness and scares that Gremlins had and both of those films were the perfect storm for my young imagination.
Once the cartoon hit and the merchandise kept coming, I was hooked for life.
I think Ghostbusters was a bit of a surrogate Gremlins for me, since by 1986-87 it was hard to find anything of Gremlins. It simply wasn’t merchandised as well as it could (and should) have been. Sure there were bendy toys, some shirts and more gizmo plush toys -licensed and knockoffs- than you would believe, but there wasn’t the obligatory 80’s style expansive toy line that a lot of movies and cartoons had.
Though I never stopped having a ridiculous obsession with Gremlins, Ghostbusters filled that niche for me.
It occurs to me that it is still how I feel today. “Well we aren’t getting a gremlins movie or anything anytime soon, but we can still be excited for GHOSTBUSTERS!”
The feeling that I get is almost impossible to describe when I see commercials for a NEW Ghostbusters film, walk into a store to buy Ecto-freaking-cooler, or see an endcap full of Ghostbusters merchandise staring at me again. It feels like all this Ghostbusters stuff is a gift personally to me and that my fandom is validated in some materialistic or capitalistic fashion.
I have had friends look at me like I am completely insane as I stare at the shelves of Ghostbusters toys and load up my cart with plastic proton packs and ghost traps. Part of it is something I can share with my own son who is old enough to enjoy it, and the other part is knowing how much I love this property.
To this day I remember very few first-run movie theater experiences from my childhood. Ghostbusters 2, Gremlins 2, TMNT (1990) and Jurassic Park were all amazing adventures that felt like they spoke directly to me. Even now they still do. Sure they don’t always hold up as well under a critical eye, but I have a great time watching them wherever I am and whoever I am with.
Part of the excitement is to know that others get to share in the passion and can get a glimpse of why I am so excited. I mean there are even in-universe Ghostbusters books coming out! (yes books plural!)
One is a book that is featured in the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot that the main characters wrote before becoming paranormal investigators and eliminators. The title is is Ghosts From Our Past by Andrew Shaffer and comes out later this month before the film.
This is the one I am super excited about. It reminds me of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer that was featured in Twin Peaks. The idea of holding a piece of the film or series in your hands is a enough to make me smile like I found ecto-cooler in my fridge…oh wait! I did!
The other is an actual in-universe Tobin’s Spirit Guide by Erik Burnham
I don’t know much about this one beyond what Amazon says, but again this tome has been referenced multiple times in the 1984 movie, the cartoon series and even the recent IDW comics. While it will likely focus only on the entities from the films and maybe cartoon, I promise you when a question is asked I will put down my Cheez-its and make a verbal note that I’ll check the usual sources like Tobin’s Spirit Guide as I pull it off my shelf.
(Note: I was not paid or asked to write about these books, and they are not affiliate-linked or anything. I am just really excited to share this with fellow fans)
While many people are ragging on the new film, I don’t care if it is good or bad. If it has ghosts and a reasonable amount of busting said ghosts, I will be content. Without the movie we wouldn’t see the retun of Ecto-Cooler, or even cans of slime at the store.
Seriously, those of us who grew up on ecto-cooler in our cold lunch bags cannot describe how long and impatiently we have been waiting and praying to the high-fructose gods above to have another chance to taste this sugar-laden drink. It is more than a “thing” to us. It is an obsession.
I couldn’t drink milk at school so it was ALWAYS ecto-cooler in my bag, even the rare days I had hot lunch. I never was a Capri Sun or Kool Bursts kinda kid, it was Ecto-Cooler or simply water (or occasionally Squeeze-it) for me.
To me knowing that other people feel that Ghostbusters is a neat enough concept to talk about on podcasts, write about in books, and make multi-million dollar films and throw merchandise everywhere in stores is super exciting.
Someday I hope I can feel this way again when Gremlins gets a new movie and hopefully truckloads of merchandise I can chase after for weeks and be broke for months after purchasing.
Thanks for following along on this journey of Gremlins and Ghostbusters nostalgia!
Let me know what kind of nostalgia bombs you have that would throw you into a new dimension if they magically returned below!
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