Of Ghosts, and the Busting Thereof.

You know how it is with fanfilms. Some of them suck, quite a bit. Others are pretty decent, with at least a few well-done aspects that make them worth watching. But there are a select few that are incredible, and stand high above the rest. You’ve got your “The Formula”, your TESBY/TENCLO, your “Fanboys” (the 2003 one by Peter Haynes, not the upcoming cheesy-looking theatrical one)…seems like most of the great fanfilms have been Star Wars related. Isn’t it about time somebody made, oh, I don’t know, a really solid “Ghostbusters” fanfilm?

Ask and ye shall receive.

Return of the Ghostbusters” is the long-awaited follow-up to BraxtanFilm’s “Freddy vs. Ghostbusters“, an entertaining-but-uneven “Nightmare on Elm Street” crossover fanfilm from 2005, about a new, young group of paranormal investigators in Denver, organized by Egon Spengler’s nephew. Admittedly, I’ve never seen any of the Elm Street movies, so part of the first fanfilm was lost on me, but it was still enjoyable, even if (or perhaps because) it was just “friends making a movie”, without much real focus on professionalism.

With ROTGB, the professionalism is evident from the get-go. Not only is this a better-made movie technically than FvGB, but in some ways (particularly due to today’s advanced special effects technology), it’s superior to the real “Ghostbusters” films.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. Most of the camerawork is static and boring, with just motionless head-on shots of the characters talking. (Not that I’m always one to talk in that arena, but still.) This isn’t really a big deal, but some more interesting camerawork throughout would’ve been nice.

Also, some portions of the story, such as the barfight and the turnaround in the “love interest” subplot, seem a little forced or contrived…but there actually is a story, which is more than can be said for a lot of movies. What’s more, there are characters. Some of them are cookie-cutter, but they are diverse and interesting. The humor in the original “Ghostbusters” was very much character-driven, and it’s impressive for a fanfilm to replicate that dynamic, without creating carbon copies of the original film’s specific characters.

On top of everything else, there is a quite impressive score by Jon Vandergriff, which includes some very effective original “creepy” motifs, but also manages to mix in elements of Elmer Bernstein’s classic score. And, of course, Ray Parker Jr’s theme is here. It wouldn’t be “Ghostbusters” without it, now, would it?

If you like “Ghostbusters” at all, you should definitely check out this fanfilm. (You may want to also watch its predecessor, but it’s not a necessity before seeing this one.) I highly recommend watching or downloading the high-quality DivX version on Stage6, although it *is* feature-length, so if you have a slower connection, you may wish to just stream the IFILM version.

But no matter how you watch it, be sure to check the end credits for my name in the “Associate Producer” section. I smell another IMDB credit on the way. Yay for dishing out a couple bucks on PayPal to get an undeserved notch on my resume!

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