May 18th, 2024

Fans get into the spirit as Empress screens Ghostbusters


By Lethbridge Herald on November 16, 2021.

Ghostbusters fan club members pose with ticket holders in front of a replica of Ecto-1 at the Canadian special screening of Ghostbusters: Afterlife outside the Empress in Fort Macleod Saturday night. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

They ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

On Saturday night in front of the Empress Theatre, the question of “Who you gonna call?” rang loud and clear. 

The Canadian premier of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” hit the screen at the Empress Theatre, the location where scenes from the movie were shot.

Tickets for the special screening went for $100 each with money raised going toward restoring the 109-year-old Empress Theatre.

But outside, it was Ghostbuster fandom central as ticket holders and Ghostbuster fan club members from Calgary, Winnipeg and across the U.S. gathered out front of the Empress Theatre to pose for pictures with a replica of the Ecto-1 Ghostbusters vehicle brought in by a company from Vancouver.

It was also a chance for fan club members to show off their custom made costumes complete with proton packs, while even Slimer made an appearance.

As the Ghostbusters theme song pumped over the PA, Kris Rutherford, co-founder of the Winnipeg Ghostbusters and Candace Schneider of the Calgary Ghostbusters assessed their excitement levels.

“I couldn’t sleep because it just felt like Christmas,” said Schneider. “Living in Calgary, I was actually lucky enough to be at a lot of the filming locations while the movie was being filmed. So it’s really cool to be here where it all started and come back and have friends from all over the world to come here and experience that with me. I was truly blessed and I’m so lucky Winnipeg was able to come out and be a part of this with us.”

The wait has been three years, said Rutherford.

“I know (Saturday) morning I sent Candace a message at 5 a.m. (asking) ‘You up?’”

“And I was,” said Schneider with a laugh.

“It’s truly unbelievable,” Rutherford continued. “We threw around the idea for about a year and we just didn’t know if it was going to happen. So to actually be here, driving into Fort Macleod, it was just goose bumps, just chills.”

When they’re not dressing up and donning their proton packs, Schneider said the Calgary Ghostbusters do charity work.

And the best thing is, anybody can be a Ghostbuster, she added.

“You don’t have to have a super car or have to be extremely good looking, you can have kind of a beer gut. Anybody can be a Ghostbuster and it’s just awesome with all the people who have the same passion and we all do good things with it. We’ve raised more than $10,000 for charities since we formed. I know Winnipeg does a lot of good things as well. So it’s really nice we can have this passion, but then give back to the communities we love.”

As the crowd gathered, the Ecto-1 was the photo op hot spot with the 1959 Cadillac Superior converted into a replica of the Ghostbusters vehicle, brought in courtesy British Columbia Delorean just outside of Vancouver.

“It’s a lot of fun and something we really wanted to be a part of as soon as we heard about Fort Macleod getting to have this Canadian special screening,” said Brandon Mindel, owner of the Ecto-1 along with Emma Mindel, having purchased the vehicle six months ago.

Mindel said he and Emma were up at 7 a.m. Saturday to get the Ecto-1 on the street.

“We were redoing a couple of shots from the film, (such as) the car running past The Empress. We also went up to Dorothy to the grain elevator and the ferry bridge where the entrance to the Shandor Mine is in the new movie.”

Mindel said Ghostbusters is funny, spooky and sci-fi.

“For me persoally, it’s Canadian film history – Dan Akroyd, Ivan Reitman – and now it’s come back to Canada, shooting in Alberta. I’m just proud that Ghostbusters is partly Canadian.”

Hailing from Beiseker, where scenes at the Apple Pie Cafe and Ng’s Cafe were shot, Kathryn and Stephanie Patterson were extras in Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

“So we’re excited it’s finally out and we get to be back it’s good to see it,” said Kathryn. “Just seeing a whole community come out and gather around and see what it brings out for the night. We’re from a small community as well, so that’s really important to us. To see everybody gather together and do something good for the community.”

“There are a lot of people from our hometown in the movie,” added Stephanie. “Our dad is in it as well, so we said we’ll watch for him. There have been a lot of TV shows and movies filmed in our small town and it feels like it’s bringing more and more attractions. I think it’s about 600 population in our town, so I feel like it has brought a lot of people there.”

Also shot on location in Turner Valley, Calgary and Crossfield, Ghostbusters: Afterlife shows the beauty of Alberta, said Kathryn.

“We have the mountains and we have Drumheller where its more the desert feel and it’s neat that gets showcased on the big screen. It’s home for us and it’s awesome that it’s coming here and we’re getting that.”

As the The Empress got ready to open the door to the exclusive ticket holders, theatre director Margaret Ann Bianco said it was an honour Fort Macleod’s theatre was chosen for the Canadian premier.

“Ghostbusters was here filming a few years ago on the street and it brought a lot of excitement to the Empress. When the town told us they were able to get the rights to show it at the Empress we were just thrilled. It means everything to the community,” she said, adding tickets sold out within 45 minutes. “Just having that personal interaction with everybody, we have Ghostbuster clubs from all over Alberta that are here (as well as) the Ecto-car from B.C. So the interest has been unbelievable.”

Bianco said the century-plus old Empress will eventually need new flooring and seats.

“This is the first big fundraiser for that moving forward and the support has been overwhelming for us. This is a huge event to know people care that much about our jewel on Main Street and we’re very excited.”

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