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Real Ghostbusters: Creatures of the Night, The

Sony Pictures // Unrated // February 28, 2006
List Price: $9.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Mike Long | posted March 10, 2006 | E-mail the Author
The Shows

The Real Ghostbusters may sound like an odd name for an animated series, especially one based on a live-action feature film. (One could easily make the argument that the characters in the film are the "real" Ghostbusters, as they are flesh and blood, but let's not turn this into a philosophy class.) As far as I can tell, the name The Real Ghostbusters was used to differentiate the show from The Original Ghost Busters, which was an older Filmation series which was revived when the Ghostbusters film became successful. I'm sure that there were plenty of viewers like me who were stymied by this show featuring two guys and a gorilla sporting the "Ghostbusters" name. Well, those "real" Real Ghostbusters have now come to DVD in a compilation entitled The Real Ghostbusters: Creatures of the Night.

The episodes included on this DVD are as follows:

"Night Game" (Original airdate 9/22/87) -- When Winston (voiced by Arsenio Hall) goes to see his favorite baseball team, the Jaguars, play, he notices some odd activity on the field. When he investigates, he is engulfed by a supernatural force. The rest of the Ghostbusters, Peter Vinkman (voiced by Lorenzo Music), Ray Stantz (voiced by Frank Welker), and Egon Spengler (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) soon arrive. After they force their way into the baseball stadium, they find themselves in a very strange place. Winston explains that the stadium was built on Native American holy ground and that every 500 years the forces of good and evil arise to do battle on the site. As the land is now a baseball stadium, an ethereal game of baseball is now taking place and Winston is playing for the good team! To make things even stranger, the gigantic umpire informs the Ghostbusters that the survival of one person's soul depends on the outcome of the game.

"The Bird of Kildarby" (Original airdate 10/6/87) -- A castle has been transferred piece-by-piece from Ireland to a park in New York City. But, as the Mayor is dedicating the site, strange music begins to emanate from the castle and soon bystanders begin to levitate. The Mayor sends for the Ghostbusters. The group arrives and soon learns that the castle is inhabited by ghosts who once defended the building from invaders and now refuse to leave. Outnumbered by the ghosts, the Ghostbusters strike a wager with the specters, unaware that they must battle a giant supernatural beast in order to win.

"Lost and Foundry" (Original airdate 10/16/87) -- The Ghostbusters are chasing a ghost through a steel mill when the ghost falls into a vat of molten steel. As they no longer register any spectral energy on the "PK Meter", the guys assume that the ghost has been vanquished and go home. In fact, the ghost was absorbed into the steel and soon inanimate objects all around the city, from refrigerators to nails to girders begin to move about on their own. The Ghostbusters visit various location encountering these entities and are very dismayed to learn that the ghost wants to reassemble, no matter how many parts it now has.

"Killerwatt" (Original airdate 9/20/86) -- Power surges begin to take place all over the city, followed by black out. The Ghostbusters investigate and soon find an electricity-based ghost has taken over a power plant and has the city at its mercy.

The interesting thing about The Real Ghostbusters is how the show deftly combines bits from the feature film along with original material to become its own entity. The program manages to incorporate humor and supernatural hijinx into one package. Most of that humor comes from Vinkman's cynical comments, most of which would fly right over the young audience for which this show was presumably intended.

One of the most enduring images from Ghostbusters was that of the enormous Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. The idea of The Ghostbusters fighting colossal figures obviously appealed to the forces behind The Real Ghostbusters, as each of the episodes included on this DVD features a gargantuan creature. The umpire from "Night Game", the titular creature from "The Bird of Kildarby", the metallic behemoth in "Lost and Foundry" and the electric monster in "Killerwatt". Each of these creations towers over The Ghostbusters and they must work together as a team to defeat them. If nothing else, this show always offers interesting looking ghosts for The Ghostbusters to battle.

The one drawback to this show is that the animation hasn't aged well at all. The cartoon is often very jerky and sluggish, making for very odd pacing. The drawings often lack detail and move in a very artificial manner. The stories and jokes in the shows still hold up, but those who watched the show in the 80s will be surprised by how bad it looks and younger audience, who have been weaned on computer generated or computer assisted animation will be turned off by the look of this show.


The Real Ghostbusters: Creatures of the Night haunts DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The four episodes included on this are presented in their original full-frame aspect ratio. The episodes certainly show their age, as the image is littered with black & white specs, as well as what appear to be small scratches on the source material. Also, the colors are washed out in some scenes. Video noise is noticeable and jagged lines abound in the animation.


The DVD carries a Dolby Digital stereo audio track. This track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track is well-balanced in the sense that the music is never louder than the dialogue. However, the music sounds very flat, as do most of the sound effects. The audio is adequate, but certainly not outstanding.


There are no special features whatsoever on this DVD.

While TV spin-offs of successful movies aren't rare, one that captures the true essence of the original film are. Somehow, through creative monsters and silly humor, The Real Ghostbusters is able to manage this feat and the episodes included on this DVD show off that ability.
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