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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Who you Gonna Call??? Top 10 Scariest Ghosts on the animated Real Ghostbusters and standout Kenner toys

My absolute favorite illustration from the series...I guess this is how they caught Slimer.

Some of my fellow collectors hearken their current collections all the way back to their first childhood memories.  For me, my current collections like Transformers, GI Joe, Battle Beasts and Star Wars didn't hit my periphery until I was about 7 or 8 however the collection and cartoon franchise I was die-hard for from the very beginning was the Real Ghostbusters.  I remember one Saturday when my parents put on the movie and loving the eggs cooking on the counter, the floating library books, Peter's spray gun in Dana's apartment (it's technical), the waist high swing door between Janine and Peter's "office"...hey, these were things my 4 year old brain noticed.  That right there, spawned an obsession.  From here on in, it was an unending quest to find everything from Ghostbusters' cereal, Ecto-Cooler, the McDonald's GB Happy Meal Toys, Shrinky Dinks, Color Forms, Sleeping Bag (which I still have), the NES game was the absolute first Nintendo Game I ever got (and had my dad return when we disappointedly found out it sucked to hell...in exchange for Legend of Zelda so all was good) and let's not forget...the AMAZING ACTION FIGURE LINE! 
The Best drink ever made...ever.

On top of this, the film was countered by an extremely well animated and written animated series dubbed "the REAL Ghostbusters."  Real was included because it had to distinguish itself against Filmation's 2 month running animated Ghostbusters series based on the live-action 1975 version called the Ghost Busters featuring the adventures Jake, Eddie and Tracy the Gorilla portrayed by Bob Burns, Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker (Tucker and Storch of F-Troop Fame)  The animated Filmation series explains we are watching Jack and Eddie's sons who now inherited the business from their fathers. Side note: as a standalone show, Filmation's Ghostbusters was definitely worth checking out.  It had neat villains, wackier animation and a pretty damn cool Ghost Buggy (their Ecto-1 as a old-school Rolls Royce "Silver Ghost") and used a lot of pretty cheesy but clever name puns...Hauntquarters, Prime Evil, Spirit Shackles.  It also produced an awesome Toy line from Schaper/Tyco that can pull a pretty penny on the vintage toy market now.

I gotta say, super cool headquarters and vehicle for the imposters. 
The base reminds me so much of the Weebles Haunted House.

Anyway, back to the Real Ghosbusters.  They produced some amazingly cool Kenner toys however I always found it strange that they never reflected the characters from the cartoon besides the original four Ghostbusters.  Even Slimer looked more menacing in this rendition.  This mostly changed with the modern renditions from Minimates and Retro Action and we even got some movie accurate stuff from McFarlane and Neca.  The cartoon series not only started with a beautifully drawn introduction but also had some great voice talents including Lorenzo Music (of Garfield fame) and Arsenio Hall.  On Top of this were the really great stories and super creepy ghosts.  Some of these things scared the hell out of me as a kid and even watching them now, I think to myself, kids' shows today don't have anything like this.  It's right up there next to the Inhumanoids in the scare factor.  The only thing more modern stuff had in this department was Invader Zim and that got cancelled for being "too scary." So on to today's list which will be a two parter: the first being the top 10 most memorable/scary ghosts from the animated series and my top 10 favorite Kenner Ghost figures. (Gotta keep it toy related!)

10. Boogaloo - From the 1989 Ghostbusters Halloween Sunday Night Special. He sings which is lame but God is he Satan incarnate. Huge, red, wreaks havoc, stomps things, mouths for knees, that's all you need to know.

9. Samhain - The namesake coming from the Gaelic word for Halloween.  He made numerous appearances within the Ghostbusters canon having some episodes centered around him (the Halloween ones) and making a few cameos.  Adorned in tattered robes with his evil pumpkin head and freaky teeth (still creeps me out), he is one of the Ghostbusters all time arch fiends.  He also possesses the ability to command spirits and has his own set of trolls and goblin minions to help him in his dirty work.
8. Peoplebusters - These ghosts are the antagonists in the episode "Flip Side." They are really unique takes on Ray, Peter and Egon and have great ghostly effects like exposed ribs, discolored eyes, Ray has a hand for a foot, Egon has a tentacle mouth on his face, you know the standard fare for ghost adornments. They shoot ecto-plasm from the bizarro fire-house which I always thought looked like urine tanks. Nonetheless cool, hostile and out to destroy. Even complete with a skeletal ghost Janine answering the phones. Nice.

7. Killerwatt - This electro ghost had the ability to haunt any electrical appliance and although he himself wasn't the scariest of all ghosts, the haunted renditions of everything from drills to saws to vacuums to ecto-1 all had some really innovative design and possessed cool scare factor. This series did such a great job at making stuff look so menacing with bulging, bloodshot eyes and bared gnashing teeth. This episode was one of the earlier ones and they really added some nice stuff like powering up the proton packs, the crowd cheering...it really emulated the best points of the film and watching it again, I had a smile the whole time.

6. Sandman - Kind of misguidedly harmful, Sandman wants to put everyone to sleep to prevent war and violence...okay. However, this causes our dreams to manifest themselves within the planes of reality and once Sandman is threatened, the dream manifestations transform into nightmare beings. Not a good mix...on top of this, Sandman is extremely weird and evil looking and has one of the creepiest voices you'll ever hear. I did love some of the dream ghosts though...super creative and that Easter Bunny was pretty horrifying. I remember having the sticker book to accompany this episode and loving the screen grabs, it also had some neat 3d effects too. Score one for nostalgia!

Awww....Aren't you cute?

holy hell....

5. Victor - Oh man, what can you say about this little hellion from the episode, "Victor, the Happy Ghost"? He starts out as a cute, harmless stray ghost with big sad eyes and almost looks like a Suessian Who crossed with Casper. But when his true colors form, watch out! He's an evil looking monster that could double easily on any Tales of the Crypt. Those eyes are what really do it for me.

4. Boogieman.  Holy shit, this guy is terrifying.  One of the scariest episodes around and a super powerful enemy.  He thrives on our fears and has the ability to appear out of any child's closet he wants.  That face....oh boy, that face.  Even his netherworld was freaky as hell with perspective-bending angles, Escher-esque doors and a layout that puts the Winchester House to shame.  Egon is pretty much rendered useless against him and once you hear that voice you'd know why.  This was another reason Ghostbusters worked so well.  The voice talents especially on the ghosts were amazingly well casted.


See the resemblance above?  You better run, Sylvester!

3. Wat - Makes his appearance in the episode "Mrs. Robinson's Neighborhood." Personified by a sweet old lady with her cute little birdie, Precious who transform into horrendous demonic true forms...the birdie reminds me a lot of the Jekyll and Hyde Tweetie Bird episode on Looney Tunes.  The old lady is horrifying, the bird is freaky, the whole house is a horror show with haunted oven, keyhole, chairs, books, topiary, you name it.  Even the malevolent "Wattttt" that is yelled through the house can give you the willies. 

If this door talked to me, I would listen.

The Real Ghostbusters: Your source of Childhood Psychological Trauma since 1986

2. The Doomsday Door- From the episode "Knock, Knock"... that's the most horrifying door you'll ever look at in animated form next to Rodin's "Gates of Hell" He warns in a hellish voice, "Don't Open Until Doomsday" which is a nice nod to the Outer Limits canon. Needless to say, the workers he warns ignore him and open him unleashing subterranean bedlam into New York's Subway System. Everything is possessed from the Trains to the graffiti on the sides. (My favorite set of ghosts in any Ghostbusters episode) Until right now researching this, I never knew why I was afraid of the word "Soon" and why eyeballs were associated with it and after finding this pic, enow I know...so weird.

Don't make him angry

Yeah, this will kill you.

Oh my God...

1. The Class 10 / Toy Ghost - This one was from the pilot episode of the Ghostbusters series entitled, "Ghosts R' Us" where a trio of poltergeists set up their own bogus ghostbusting services to put the real Ghostbusters (see what they did there?) out of business.  This all goes wrong when they look to enlist a buddy haunter of theirs in a toy factory only to find he's been (we can guess killed) replaced by a class 10.  This one reminds me of the Dianoga from Star Wars with big tentacle Eye, gaping hell maw and long appendages...  That voice and the enraged moans he makes...all I'm saying is if you hear it, run like hell.  He then haunts and enlarges a set of toys (big wheel, cymbal monkey, jack in the box) to take on a huge demonic beast who pretty much almost takes out the Brooklyn Bridge.  This episode got a lot of flak from parents who complained this was just too scary for their kids to watch.  Glad ABC went on with the show even though you will notice the scariness does get gradually toned down as the series progressed.

Honorable Mentions -

Cthulhu - Gotta give a nod to some H.P. LoveCraftian references from this baddie from the episode "Collect Call from Cthulhu."  This episode certainly does do this regenerating, tentacled, gaping razor toothed maw possessing monster the justice he deserves. 

The Anti-Ghostbusters - Came on the Collectors DVD set from the movies...this is the one that ties the movies to the show by explaining why the ghostbusters changed from their monochromatic uniforms.  Peter is supposed to dispose of the spirit charged uniforms from their battle with Gozer and Stay-Puft but he doesn't and the suits become ripe with spectral energy creating the anti-Ghostbusters...not all that scary but just a really neat episode... Toys R Us is putting out these four green faced figures as a collector's set.

Now, onto the top 10 Kenner Ghostbusters Ghosts!!!

10. Bad-to-the-Bone - What ghost series would be complete without a skeleton? This guy is awesome with opening jaw, budging eyes. Also had a weird wishbone-like tail section and jail door swinging rib-cage.  Classic Ghostbusters.

9. H2-Ghost - Two for the price of one, bonus set of blue evil-eyed ghosts...Works as two separate entities or as one singular rubbery monster.  Squishy, Squeezy and Shoots Water.  'Nuff said.

8. Mail Fraud - One of two of the Haunted Humans Series on the List. He had a great transformation and really looked menacing. I remember feeling bad for the mailman character, whoever he may be...even as a standalone mailman figure, this works.

 7. Sludge Bucket - This "Gooper Ghost" was part of a 3 set and was my favorite. He reminded me a lot of "Pizza the Hutt" from Space Balls and had a feature where you could fill him with ecto-plazm that was packed along with him which blew bubbles. He had budging blue eyes, a gaping mouth and a movable red tongue (which also was a totally easily breakable piece).

6. Terror Trash - My second Haunted Human...was one of the more disgusting Ghostbuster Ghosts as he flipped the trash can over his creepy face to reveal a bug head out of the top with slimey puke smeared across the front, along with a pincer mouth coming out of his chest (very Aliens)  and translucent wings that emerged from his legs...Totally took a hint from Jeff Goldblum in the Fly. Even the trash can in normal mode had gross looking bones on the top piece very much like the Kenner Beetlejuice molding on his Vanishing Vault.

Animated debut

5. Bug Eye Ghost - Here's a Kenner figure that actually made it into the cartoon except for a slight color change. Small beady evil eyes? Check. Spooky face mold? Check. Giant, pop-out, Glass, monster Eye? Super Check!

4. HighwayHaunter - This toy line released a number of cool ghost vehicles, a plane, scooter but this VW "Bug" is the real winner.  Transforms into a cool insectoid with a little ghost engine in the boot.  Vibrantly Colored and expertly built, this is a great addition to a Ghostbusters collection.

3. Jail Jaw Ghost (Trap Version) - The only pack-in ghost you could get with an accessory which was an exception to the rule since most of the Ghostbuster 1:1 scale accessories didn't include ghosts. This was a remake of Ray Stanz's Fright Feature figure but this time he was redone to GLOW IN THE DARK! SCORE!

2. Grabber/Wrapper/Gulper/Chomper - these were the original little mini ghosts found in our cardinal set of ghost busting heroes.  This was the modus operandi for the rest of the franchise as ghosts got crazier in their designs and all had an "attack" and "captured" mode where they could latch onto each individual hero but could be connected onto each weapon.  These, in my opinion, were the absolute best.  Gulper was my hands down favorite though.  (they also had great packaging art with each individual hero)

1. Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man - Probably many of our collections started with this original Ghost.  Truly bringing the movie in to meet the series.  He was constructed of a softer plastic pieces with an articulated set of arts and head but had great paint and detailing.  Only problem was his white color stained extremely easy and I'm sure many a young kid got marker, grass stains and dirt all over this poor guy.


  1. That Filmation Ghostbusters Ghost Command Playset is something I have been trying to find for years.

  2. I know, that Filmation stuff was a neat collection... How many kids do you think were let down in 86 when they asked for Ghostbusters toys and got these though? It happened to me but I just thought they were ghosts I didn't know about when my grandpa got me Scared Stiff and Tracy the Gorilla.


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