Female Ghostbusters Won’t Ruin Your Childhood. I Promise.

Ghostbusters remake

You’ve surely heard by now that Bridesmaids/Spy director Paul Feig is working on a big screen reboot of Ghostbusters, which in fact just began filming today. True to Feig’s style, the quartet of NYC ghost hunters will be played by female actors this time around, with Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones set to strap on the proton packs and take a ride in the Ecto-1.

Not surprisingly, a large portion of the Ghostbusters fan community is outraged about the fact that their beloved childhood memory is getting a reboot, and much of that snarky hatred is due to the all-female cast. Despite the fact that we know very little about the film at the present moment, it’s already enemy number one in the geek community, and there’s one phrase being tossed around ad nauseam.

“STOP RUINING MY CHILDHOOD!” has become a rally cry for fans who are tired of Hollywood turning old money-makers into new money-makers, and Feig’s upcoming Ghostbusters reboot has been targeted by that particular subset of angry fans more than perhaps any other in recent years. It’s a phrase that never fails to make me roll my eyes, as well as question what it actually means to be a ‘fan.’

To suggest that a Hollywood film is ruining your childhood is of course completely insane, and it illustrates the weird sense of entitled ownership that many feel toward things they loved when they were growing up. You may indeed have fond memories of watching Ghostbusters as a kid, just as I do, but treating such a beloved property like it’s YOURS is frankly the behavior of a whiny child.

And the beauty of reboots, if we can think logically here for a minute, is that no matter how bad they are, they can NEVER rob you of those childhood memories you hold so near and dear. Paul Feig going back in time and removing the original Ghostbusters from your childhood would indeed make your childhood a little less joyful, but you can take comfort in the fact that he doesn’t possess such powers.

As a longtime fan of the Ghostbusters franchise, including the toys, movies and animated series, I can’t help but be excited about the fact that we’re getting a new take on an old classic, and I also can’t help but wonder why I seem to be in the minority on that. Whether it’s a sequel, prequel, remake or reboot, and whether it sucks or it’s awesome, I’m always happy when franchises I dig get to continue on.

Why, you ask? Because I’m a fan.

Next year’s Ghostbusters reboot of course isn’t the only film currently being targeted by fans who have forgotten what it means to be fans, as a recently announced prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and sequel to the original Halloween 2 have garnered similar reactions. And again I find myself alone on an island, wondering why I shouldn’t be excited about Leatherface and Michael coming back into my life.

What further confuses me about the Ghostbusters outrage is the fact that the little we know about the film at the present time is all good news. Paul Feig is a supremely talented writer/director – go see Spy, if you haven’t yet – and the actresses filling out the roles are some of the funniest in Hollywood at the moment. To me, everything I’ve heard so far sounds like the recipe for nothing but success.

And why shouldn’t the Ghostbusters reboot feature an all-female main cast? Is that really such a horrible thing? True, the Ghostbusters we know and love centers on four male characters, but this is not the Ghostbusters we know and love. This is a brand new take on the franchise, for a new generation of fans to love and cherish, and we simply must accept and embrace the fact that it’s going to be different.

Of course, if you’d rather walk into the theater with intentions on absolutely hating Feig’s Ghostbusters, simply because it’s “not the same” (wahhhh), that’s your prerogative. You are as free to do that as I am free to go in with high hopes. But try to keep in mind that the original Ghostbusters will still be sitting on your DVD shelf when you get home, and at least try to enjoy what will likely be an enjoyable movie.

There is no franchise I cherish more than Nightmare on Elm Street, and I was nothing but genuinely excited about the idea of the burnt-faced demon returning to theaters back in 2010. The excitement didn’t last long, as I left the theater absolutely hating almost everything about Hollywood’s latest bastardization, but guess what? As if by some magical force of nature, my childhood was still intact.

So breathe. Relax. Accept the fact that the entertainment you enjoyed as a child isn’t yours but rather everyone’s, and take solace in the fact that your childhood is safe from ever being harmed, modified or tampered with in any way. Cheer up, friends. The magic of cinema is that Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston will always be there for you, whenever you need a reminder of how enjoyable your childhood was.

Hollywood may have given those characters to you, but they cannot take them away.

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