Even just in the original two movies, the world of Ghostbusters managed to establish a whole host of memorable spectral villains. There’s Gozer, and Vigo The Carpathian, and Slimer, and the kaiju-sized Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and the Terror Dogs to name but a few – all things to qualify under the category of “something strange in your neighbourhood”. And now, with the upcoming Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire preparing to send shivers down your spine, get ready – because a brand new big bad is coming.
While Jason Reitman’s legacy sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife revelled in reviving Gozer for Egon Spengler’s daughter and grandkids to face off against, Frozen Empire – directed by Gil Kenan, who co-wrote Afterlife with Reitman – is instead conjuring up some deadly new mythology. Get ready to experience the Death Chill, a fatal frost enveloping New York in the middle of a sweltering summer, with a glowy-eyed horned figure looming in the mist. “Because the Spengler family story drove the narrative in Afterlife, bringing Gozer back to centre-stage was a natural way to close the book on the past,” explains Kenan in Empire’s Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes issue. “But we are now in the post-Gozerian era of the Ghostbusters saga, so that means we’re able to stretch out and create an entirely new mythology. And that’s thrilling as a storyteller, because there are all-new and terrifying stakes with fresh visual references to draw on.”
There’s plenty new about Frozen Empire, then – but as with Afterlife, it’s also aiming to warm your cockles with familiar favourites. As reunited in Afterlife’s finale, the original ‘busters are back (alongside Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace’s young Spenglers, and Paul Rudd’s Gary Grooberson). That means Bill Murray (seen above in an exclusive behind-the-scenes image), Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, all back in the firehouse. “I remember there was a moment halfway through the first morning of directing one of the big scenes where I looked at the monitor, and just caught myself with the biggest grin ever,” says Kenan. “Finally, it dawned on me that I was calling ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!’ on some of my very favourite characters in movies, working on a big cinematic scale on something that I really cared about. I try to hold on to that feeling. I still have it now, finishing the film.” Turns out, ‘busting makes him feel good. Fingers crossed Frozen Empire has the rest of us feeling good too.
Read Empire’s full Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire story – speaking to Gil Kenan about the Death Chill, the OG Ghostbusters, and returning to New York – in the February 2024 issue, on sale Thursday 21 December. Pre-order a copy online here. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire comes to UK cinemas from 29 March.