The Real Ghostbusters episode 8 review

The Real Ghostbusters

Episode 008

Production number 75010 – 1986 ABC Season 1

“When Halloween Was Forever”

Written by J. Michael Straczynski

Plot Synopsis:

Halloween is approaching and the Ghostbusters are being run off their feet. The arrival of 7th century Irish artifacts has brought with it a spike in the city’s paranormal activity. Halloween arrives and the Ghostbusters discover the cause behind the recent increase in spiritual turbulence: The artifacts were the prison of Samhain, the very spirit of Halloween. Now Samhain is loose and unless the Ghostbusters can stop him it will be Halloween night forever.

The Review:

Another JMS episode, and this is one of my favourites. One of the really interesting and praiseworthy things about this series is the way it tried to incorporate actual mythology into the stories. Think of it as subversively educating the kiddies. In this case we learn about the origins of Halloween itself. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Halloween is the most Ghostbustinest night of the year!

As far as antagonists go, Samhain is easily my favourite Real Ghostbusters villain. The spirit of Halloween itself, that’s as iconic as it gets (The Boogieman coming in a close second). The design of the character is pretty great, he’s unmistakably the spirit of Halloween with his jack o’lantern head and yet he’s very ominous and threatening.

I did notice a number of reused designs in this episode. The goblins that release Samhain from his stone prison are almost identical to some of the trolls from the episode “Troll Bridge“. Also, there are plenty of repeated ghosts in Samhain’s army of the night as well. I can’t blame the production though, when you’re doing animation for television there often isn’t a whole lot of money to spread around.

The story is great fun and very exciting, easily JMS’s best effort thus far in the series. A Halloween episode that really delivers. JMS has hit his stride in this episode, especially where the humour is concerned. Not the scariest episode of the series, but we are still in the ABC run of episodes. The only failing of this episode for me is the deus ex machina near the conclusion when Egon finds a bunch of spotlights just sitting in an alley, all of which just happen to have chains attached to them suitable for towing. I think JMS could have done better.

On the technical side of things, this episode displays a number of fairly noticeable gaffs. Several times during the final fight with Samhain we cut to a shot from behind the ghostbusters in which Peter has been replaced with Egon (despite Egon not being on the roof during the fight). Also the busters go off model throughout the episode. For those of you not in the biz, off model is an animation term used to describe when a characters’ features have strayed too far from the established model sheet. Volumes are also an issue in this episode, Ray particularly becomes very fat in a number of shots. All that said however the animation is still top notch for a television series.

Best line of the episode:

Reporter – “A piece of cake Dr. Venkman?”

Peter – “I never said that. Even if I said it I never said it.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 on the PKE meter

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~ by Pagz on November 17, 2010.

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