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Ghostbusters: A Complete Fan Guide (2024) Magazine Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Apr. 2, 2024 at 9:10 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, Cast & Crew, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Books, Filming Locations, The 2016 Parody Remake, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

A360 Media LLC recently released the unofficial Ghostbusters: A Complete Fan Guide magazine, which should be on store shelves until June 10, 2024. Retailing for a cover price of $13.99 ($16.99 in Canada), the 98-page magazine is approx. 8"x11" in size. It's the same kind of "special" magazine that can be typically found in Stop & Shop (personally confirmed), CVS, Rite Aid, and places of that sort. Is it worth a purchase? Let's find out...

Before I get into this, I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Spook Central VIPs for providing the funds that allowed me to buy this item and review it for all of you. This item was NOT provided by the manufacturer.

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As can be seen from the Table of Contents listed above, the magazine covers the entire Ghostbusters franchise, from the 1984 original up to Frozen Empire, and everything in between; including Feig's Folly. It starts with an introduction entitled "Who Ya Gonna Call?", which tells you what to expect: "As the original Ghostbusters film celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024, we're taking a look back at the hit franchise -- and celebrating the new movie, Frozen Empire."

CHAPTER 1 - "ALL ABOUT THE NEW MOVIE" contains a single article, "We've Got Chills", that claims to provide "everything you need to know" about Frozen Empire. It's just a rundown of what the writers knew about the film from online sources at the time of publication.

The book tends to swap Afterlife's two epilogues, often referring to the Peter & Dana mid-credit scene as "post-credit" and the Janine & Winston post-credit scene as "mid-credit". You'll first encounter this minor error on Page 8. It's one of several minor errors that only Ghostheads will catch. Magazines like this are meant for a mainstream audience, as an impulse buy at the checkout aisle, and not for the die-hard fans of the subject matter.

Acei Martin, stunt double for Mckenna Grace, will be happy to see a photo of herself (on Page 12) from the June 2023 New York City filming.  Shame that she's not credited.  I guess she's the "unknown stuntgirl". (Before my second viewing of Frozen Empire, I saw the trailer for that new Ryan Gosling dreck they're calling The Fall Guy.  They seem to have forgotten that Colt Seaver's sidejob was as a bounty hunter, not as a secret agent.  I would much rather watch a gender-swapped continuation starring Acei as Lee Major's granddaughter than whatever the hell I saw in that trailer.)


CHAPTER 2 - "BUSTIN' MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD" contains profiles of all of the major players in Frozen Empire, and two from other entries in the Ghostbusters franchise: Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Connor, New Faces, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis.

It was nice to see a photo (on Page 19) of McKenna Grace in the Disney Channel series Crash & Bernstein (2012-2014). I thought I was the only one who remembered her in that series. Carrie Coon's profile includes the deleted scene photo (on Page 25) of Callie holding the PKE Meter outside the farmhouse from Afterlife. It was nice of the magazine crew to include profiles (on Pages 38 and 39) of Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis, even though they're not in Frozen Empire. Sigourney's profile includes the mid/post-credit Afterlife swap error. A slightly bigger (but still relatively minor) error pops up on Page 36, where it says that Janine reminisces with Winston in the firehouse in an Afterlife post-credit scene. They were actually in his office; he was by himself with the Ecto-1 in the firehouse afterward.

In addition to the small mistakes, there are some incorrect assumptions about Frozen Empire. The book quotes the Empire magazine articles a few times, so it must have been finalized no later than mid-February, at which point enough was known about the film online that these errors and assumptions shouldn't have been made. For example, on Page 15, the writers assumed that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man would be in Frozen Empire because Bill Bryan posted a photo of himself (to Instagram on December 29, 2022) looking down the barrel of a proton wand with the caption, "Here we go again.. and look who is back.."

Some of the incorrect assumptions are kinda funny in hindsight. On Page 37, the caption on a photo of William Atherton, walking down the street in London en route to the set, says to "expect comedy fireworks between his character, Walter Peck, and Bill Murray's". Peck and Venkman only share one scene in Frozen Empire, and they barely interact in it.

The biggest error in the book occurs on Pages 14 and 29, where it says that former child star Miko Hughes is in Frozen Empire, even going so far as to give him a mini-profile with accompanying photograph. I've never ever heard his name associated with Frozen Empire, so I have no idea where they got this misinformation from. MrMichaelT reached out to Eric Reich from Ghost Corps, to find out if Miko was in a deleted scene. Eric had this to say: "I have no idea who did this magazine, it was never something run by Ghost Corps, it was definitely a mistake cause he was never in the film or even discussed to be part of the film to my knowledge."

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CHAPTER 3 - "LOOKING BACK" - Sections detailing the franchise from the first film up to Afterlife, with some brief profiles on the equipment, ghosts, and other villains.

Page 42. The Origins of a Franchise - "How the Aykroyd family's long fixation with ghosts birthed a supernatural blockbuster."

Page 46. The Original and the Best - "Hollywood wasn't excited about ghosts... until the 1984 movie became a hit."

In this section, on Page 51, there is a small side piece on "Ghostbusters Day", with a photograph of fans outside the firehouse in 2023. Also on this page is a photo of Bill, Dan, Sigourney, and Ernie on the temple set at the 1984 "Press Day" event, which was mislabeled as being from the movie's premiere.

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Page 52. We Ain't Afraid of No Quotes - "While Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the original Ghostbusters script, some of the best lines were improvised on the set by Bill Murray."

Page 54. Iconic Locations - "Some of the Big Apple sites featured in the first film are making a repeat appearance in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire."

Locations covered include the New York Public Library, Los Angeles Central Library, Columbia University, Firehouse/Hook & Ladder Company 8, Dana Barrett's Apartment, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, and Fire Station No. 23. A minor typographical error appears on Page 54. When discussing the New York Public Library's appearance in The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), it says that it was a stand in for the "Metropolitan Music of Art". I've never seen the film, but I'm pretty sure that should be "Metropolitan Museum of Art".

Page 58. Trying to Recapture the Magic - "Set five years after the first movie. Ghostbusters II got the original cast back together to save Manhattan (again)."

Page 62. The Movie That Was Never Made - "The Ghostbusters team worked on a script for a third film, but fate had other plans."

I gotta give the magazine crew credit for even bothering to mention the aborted Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent project. Despite its flaws, this magazine does give a fairly complete overview of the entire franchise... or at least it hits the major notes. The article includes a photo of the script that I believe was taken by Tristan Jones (posted to Twitter on November 11, 2017), who is not credited for the photo. It also incorrectly states that the Ghostbusters 3: Hellbent storyline was used in a video game. The 2009 video game was an original story by John Zuur Platten and Flint Dille.

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Page 64. The Controversial Reboot - "Why the all-female Ghostbusters: Answer The Call flopped, despite its stellar cast."

Again, gotta give the publisher credit for including Feig's flop for the sake of completeness.

Page 68. A Jolt of Energy - "The franchise was on its deathbed when filmmakers mined the past for inspiration and introduced new Ghostbusters in Afterlife."

On Page 71, it says that Frozen Empire was announced in April 2022. It was announced in June 2022 on "Ghostbusters Day". The article also states that Dan Aykroyd owns the rights to the characters he created with Harold Ramis. I knew that there was a rather unusual deal in place for the first movie, but that's new to me.

Page 72. Here Comes Trouble - "While the Death Chill, which has the power to frighten people to death, is the new big bad in Frozen Empire, writer-producer Jason Reitman teased that some of the villains from past installments might also make an appearance."

This section includes mini-profiles on the Stay Puft Mashmallow Man, Terror Dogs, Vigo the Carpathian, Gozer the Gozerian, Rowan North, Janosz Poha, and Ivo Shandor.

One of the slightly more egregious errors in the book is here on Page 72 (and earlier on Page 15) where it says that the villain in Frozen Empire is named "Death Chill". We all know that the villain's name is Garraka, and Death Chill is his power. Again, the book must have been finalized no later than mid-February. At that point, it was well-known that the villain was named Garraka due to the Funko Pop being for sale since January. If the magazine writers had done their proper research, they would have known that.

The intro for this section also states that "Jason Reitman teased that some of the villains from past installments might also make an appearance [in Frozen Empire]". That's new to me, especially since some of them, such as Rowan North from the 2016 film, aren't even in the same universe as Frozen Empire. Vigo's profile reiterates this false claim by stating that "Jason Reitman has hinted at Vigo's resurrection in the new movie". Where's your proof, magazine writers? At least the A Convenient Parallel Dimension book included footnotes, which informed readers where bits of information came from. No such footnotes exist for this magazine.

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Page 74. Spirited Away - "These memorable ghosts have scared up some laughs -- and a few frights -- in the franchise over the years."

This section includes mini-profiles on the ghosts from the franchise: Slimer, Muncher, Dream Ghost, Scoleri Brothers, Gertrude Eldridge, Library Ghost and Bug-Eye.

The poorly-arranged Slimer profile implies that The Real Ghostbusters came out after the 2016 film: "He returned in the sequel (voiced, but uncredited, both times by Ivan Reitman) and in 2016's Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (along with a lady friend). The gluttonous ghost then underwent a personality makeover to become a lovable mascot -- finally named Slimer -- in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon." I thought "professional" writers worked on this? They should know how to write better than this.

Speaking of poorly-phrased sentences, on Page 75, it is said that the Bug Eye ghost's popularity in The Real Ghostbusters is what got it "it's own doll" and a cameo in Afterlife.  Ummm, the Kenner "doll" came first, and the ghost was only in one The Real Ghostbusters episode...and it was a barely noticeable cameo!

Page 76. Tools of the Trade - "It takes some high-tech equipment to be a Ghostbuster. Just remember not to cross the streams!"

This section includes mini-profiles on the Ecto-1, Proton Pack, P.K.E. Meter, Muon Trap, Ecto Goggles, and RTV.

The Proton Pack profile uses a flipped photo of Louis from a Ghostbusters II deleted scene. The RTV profile (on Page 77) incorrectly assumes that the RTV will play a big part in Frozen Empire. It has a cameo at best.


Page 80. Under the Influence - "How Ghostbusters left its (slimy?) mark on popular culture."

This chapter opens with the Ghostbusters 2 1999 DVD cover which no one liked because it's a Photoshop mess of a Ghostbusters photo. It sucks that it couldn't stay hidden in the past, a relic of 25 years ago.


The "Under the Influence" section makes many wild, if not flat-out false, claims about Ghostbusters' impact on popular culture. For starters, on Page 82, there is an incorrect implication that, in 1984, Universal owned the "Ghostbusters" name. Filmation was not owned by Universal until 2012 when Universal purchased the Classic Media (formerly Entertainment Rights) assets, which included the Filmation library.

When talking about the No Ghost logo, it says that it was created by Michael Gross. Actually, it was created by Stephen Dane, and was just art designed by Michael Gross. There's a big difference. Both guys should get the proper credit they deserve, not just one of them.

A short paragraph touches upon "Ghostbusters clones", which are similarly-themed films that were released in the wake of the original's success in the 1980s, but fails to mention more than just one: an obscure 1987 film called Ghost Fever. Then it jumps ahead to claim that the 1995 Casper film, and the 2012 alien neighborhood watch film The Watch, are "Ghostbusters clones"; as if coming out one to three decades later really shows that these films were made to capitalize on the popularity of the 1984 original. Yet, no mention is ever made of Ivan Reitman's 2001 film Evolution, which is the love child of Men in Black (mentioned) and Ghostbusters.

My favorite part of this entire book is the INCREDIBLY WILD CLAIM that Ghostbusters is responsible for Iron Man (2008) and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe! And I quote... "Many cinephiles say there would never have been 2008's Iron Man and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe without Ghostbusters." Who are these "many cinephiles" and how many lobotomies have they had?


Page 84. Getting Animated - "The Ghostbusters have previously gotten the cartoon treatment on the small screen, but there are plans for a feature film and Netflix series."

It is here where the magazine tells you a little bit about The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, Slimer!, and the in-production animated movie and Netflix animated series.

The Real Ghostbusters photo caption on Page 85 says that the series "bounced around several networks over the years". That's not really true.  First run, it was only on two: ABC and syndication. Later repeats on USA, Fox Family, and so on, don't count. The caption also states that "episodes are now all in one place: the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel". They're not. Sony pulled most of them by the time this magazine was being written.

The profile on Extreme Ghostbusters (on Page 86) doesn't mention voice actors Tara Strong, Rino Romano, or Jason Marsden; but makes sure to mention Jim Cummings as the theme song singer. Is Tara not a big enough voice artist to warrant a mention?

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Page 88. Jumping Onto the Page - "The franchise has spawned a series of comic books and even manga, some based on the films, others on The Real Ghostbusters animated series."

I was surprised to see that a section was devoted to the comic books. There's a profile on the Marvel and NOW books from the 1980s and 1990s, the short-lived 88MPH "Legion" run from 2004, the IDW series, the TokyoPop manga book, and the just-released Dark Horse "Back in Town" series.

Page 92. Become a Buster - "Embody your favorite character in these video games and virtual reality experiences."

This section on Ghostbusters video games skips over all of the games from the 1980s and 1990s and starts with Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009). In addition to that game, there are brief profiles on Sanctum of Slime (2011), Spirits Unleashed (2022), Ghostbusters VR Academy (2023), and Rise of the Ghost Lord (2023). None of the mobile games are mentioned, but most mobile games are disposable and have no lasting relevancy, anyway.

After mentioning the latest video games, there is one page (Page 96) dedicated to the Lego Ecto-1 and Firehouse sets, which has no place in this section, or in the book for that matter (no other merch is detailed). If the magazine crew needed to fill a page, all of those 1980s and 1990s video games would have filled it quite nicely. They wouldn't have seemed out of place, like the Lego sets.  I guess the crew really wanted to use that photo of Gil Kenan looking at the firehouse Lego set that Jason posted on Instagram (on December 6, 2022).

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Page 96. By the Numbers - "Key facts and figures about the Ghostbusters franchise."

This two-page spread features a nice unaltered photo of Ray and Winston exiting Ecto-1 at Fort Detmerring, with some statistics on the right side.

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Overall, it's not a bad book, even though it contains many minor (and one major) errors. It has unaltered photos, even though it's mostly common stuff. Although die-hard fans won't learn anything new from it, Ghostbusters fans may want to buy it as a collectible, since it will only be around until June 10th. There are worse ways to spend $14. If you can't find it in physical stores, you can buy it from Amazon, Magazine Shop (owned by publisher A360 Media), and Zinio. I've never purchased from Magazine Shop or Zinio, so I cannot guarantee how good they are. Magazine Cafe Store, another site I never purchased from, is selling the digital version for the same $14 price as the physical version. If you're going to pay full price, you might as well get the physical book. The digital version shouldn't cost the same price as the print version.

(UPDATE 5/1/2024 - VIP-EXCLUSIVE BONUS FEATURE - In case you can't find the magazine out in the wild, or you'd like to get a more in-depth look at it, a digital copy is available. If you like it, buy the physical copy from one of the aforementioned links.)


Comment from: PEDRO [Visitor]

“but most mobile games are disposable and have no lasting relevancy, anyway.”

I’m glad you’re not a preservationist then! 😂

May. 3, 2024 @ 18:36
Comment from: [Member]

Well, if mobile games were designed to last, I certainly would preserve them :-)

As far as I’m aware, most of them would not work if they can’t connect to the home server (such as for content downloads and microtransactions). The only one I’ve actually been able to save is the Playmobil Ghostbusters game, which I think is still available on the Google Play Store. Otherwise, I would upload it to Spook Central.

I wish all mobile games could be saved. I have an old iPod Touch from 11 years ago that has the Beeline game on it. I’m not sure if the game still works, but even if it does, I can’t get it off the iPod Touch to preserve it.

- Paul

May. 3, 2024 @ 20:30

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