Well, I resisted for as long as I could.
The new Ghostbusters toys have hit stores, and there’s literally not one of them that I don’t want. I’ll wait for the inevitable clearance sales for some, but it’s been a long time since one single toy line put out so much stuff that I HAD to buy.
I went to TRU only intending to buy Stay Puft, and left with a pile so tall that it looked like I was carting a freakin’ Dagwood. The cashier who rang me up said that she’d be buying the same toys after her shift, and being ill-prepared for camaraderie, I replied with my classic string of syllables that did not form any words, yet remained audible for as long as any sentence.
Here’s what I picked up:
Rowan the Destroyer is (supposedly) the film’s Big Bad. I don’t know much about him, but since his design was so obviously inspired by the specter from the “No Ghost” logo, he’s a must-buy even for fans who think of the new movie as some personal affront.
He’s one of three moderately-priced ghost figures with light-up features. I worried that Mattel would only be using that gimmick to mask the fact that these were less “action figures” and more “overpriced squeeze toys,” but like his supernatural compatriots, Rowan is perfectly legit, with posable limbs and a good heft.
The figure is stockier than I anticipated, which I guess means that the character is gonna be stockier than I’ve been anticipating, too. His body is basically an albino eggplant.
I was hoping to grab Kate McKinnon’s character, because everyone loves Jillian and I’m a slave to fashion. Alas, TRU was sold out.
(Worth noting: TRU had no Jillians, but they had like ten each of the other three. It’s too early to say if this is because Jillian is super beloved by fans, or just super beloved by eBay sellers who want to turn $20 into $30. More likely, it’s both.)
A Kristen Wiig figure was a nice consolation prize, and if she’s any indication, these figures are way cooler than you’ve probably imagined them to be. Many points of articulation, intense sculpts, nice paint jobs, and oh yeah, proton packs.
My only complaint is that the paint apps around the eyes are a bit erratic, making poor Erin resemble a lizard that moves its eyeballs independently of one another. I don’t know, maybe that happens in the movie.
I’ll warn you: At $20 each, the actual Ghostbusters cost around 75% more than the ghost figures. Twenty bucks is hardly worth blowing a stack over these days, but it’s a big investment if you want the whole team. Still, to be fair, the ladies are 5x as intricate as the ghosts.
As a lure, Mattel includes pieces of a different Rowan figure with each Ghostbuster. Erin’s came with the legs. Collect all four, and you can build another Rowan!
(Weirdly, that Rowan looks extremely similar to the light-up one, which isn’t a corner I would’ve cut if I ran Mattel. Some fans will bite, but I ain’t spending 80 bucks for a Rowan figure that looks 3% different than the one I already have.)
I know nothing about Mayhem, but I like what I see. He would’ve fit into Kenner’s old Aliens line nicely, and I’m not just saying that because his tongue looks so much like a Xenomorph’s second mouth. He just feels so… ’90s. I imagine that certain Skeleton Warriors looked like Mayhem back when they still had flesh.
There’s a lot to digest with this guy, but I urge you to start with his hands and feet, which are actually double hands and double feet. I’m creeped out by how much I appreciate that. Apparently, the key to my heart involves having fourteen fingers.
When you push Mayhem’s chest, he glows green. I wonder if there’s any canonical reason for the ghosts’ light-up features? Maybe they glow when the Ghostbusters blast them? I just can’t imagine Mattel’s bigwigs unanimously voting for secret light bulbs if there wasn’t some bigger idea in play.
Stay Puft Balloon Ghost!
Ohhhh yes. Stay Puft! I probably could’ve resisted that TRU run for another week or two if not for Stay Puft.
Mattel is calling this a Stay Puft BALLOON Ghost, and sure enough, a close inspection of the figure clearly indicates that he’s meant to be a balloon. (Which is kind of a major spoiler, so my apologies to those who were trying to stay clean.)
I have no idea if Stay Puft is just cameoing in the film, or if he’ll play a more substantial part. A quick shot during a parade scene sounds plausible, but I’m holding out hope for something bigger — figuratively and literally.
The figure is a nice sequel to Kenner’s, though some of the original’s simple charm has been traded for more points of articulation. I hope the fact that my Stay Puft can sit means that the one from the movie will do the same. I want him to do the hundred foot version of Earthquake’s finishing move.
Slimer Ecto Ghost!
Okay, so it’s not an action figure. It’s something better. There’s no short way to describe it, so bear with me: You start with a soft Slimer figure, perfectly hollow and stinking like rubber cement. Then you stuff it with a translucent ball, filled with dirty water and toy eyeballs. Then you encourage kids to squeeze it. Your work is done.
It’s thematically similar to the millions of no-name Halloween toys that come out every fall, though this one is much larger, and since it looks like Slimer, much cooler. It’s essentially a stress toy, because what could relieve tension quicker than making both of Slimer’s eyeballs pop through only one of his eye sockets?
There are two other Ecto Ghosts available, both with the same gimmick. I’m sure I’ll pick them up later, but for now they just look like misplaced Digimon to me. Slimer was obviously the One To Get.
If you buy one, treat it with care. These things collect dirt as if Mattel intended them to do so. (On that note, here’s my hot take: In a few years, Ecto Ghosts in mint condition will cost more than any of the other new Ghostbusters toys. Supernatural supply and demand.)
I want more Ghostbusters toys. Lots of them. Actually, what’s shown here isn’t even half of the stuff from my must-buy list. It’s gonna be an expensive summer. I will be destitute, but I’ll have so much to play with.
PS: If reading about scary action figures has put you in the mood for more Ghostbusters, we’ve done a whole Purple Stuff Podcast on that very subject. And if you’ve already heard that one, go listen to our newest ep.