Tag Archives: The Thing

“Mad Max: Fury Road” — Best Films of 2015

by Gabriel Valdez

What is there left to say about “Mad Max: Fury Road?” It’s arguably the greatest action film ever made. It’s thematically thick and boasts a nuanced story that unfolds its characters through action rather than dialogue. It doesn’t treat the viewer as stupid or needing explanation. It simply leaps into its world and expects you to keep up at its breakneck pace.

Because everyone else is going to talk about it in particular ways, and I’ve already discussed its feminism and how it uses choreography to create visual myth, I’m going to do something more esoteric. I’m going to tell you why the film closest to “Mad Max: Fury Road” is one of the last you’d ever compare it to: John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”

They’re both broadly sci-fi, but for all intents and purposes, they belong to completely different genres – “The Thing” is alien body horror. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is post-apocalyptic demolition derby. One takes place almost entirely in one location. The other never stops moving.

I compare the two because of the specificity in each film. Both enjoyed an overly long scripting process. “The Thing” was pushed back considerably. Because of this, director John Carpenter decided to take the time to plot out extra elements in the film. It meant small details that would’ve normally been overlooked instead got their own unspoken story lines. There’s a throwaway argument early in the film about who had keys to emergency blood transfusions. It might’ve served only as an opportunity for characters to turn on each other and cast suspicions. Carpenter noticed layers he could add to this. He added notes for each scene, including moments that hint the keys’ potential paths via subtle details in other scenes. It’s always backgrounded, and it’s unlikely you’ll notice on first viewing, but it gives you the sense there’s more going on in the world than just what’s happening in front of the camera.

For a film where the very question of who’s human and who’s a flesh-ripping alien creates the tension of the story, these extra details – even if we don’t consciously notice or connect them at first – serve to ground us in the film’s reality. There are stories happening that we only see pieces of, suggestions of. These elevate the horror of a film by letting our mind run wild with the possibilities. Instead of a routinely effective story, we’re offered a more complete glimpse into a nuanced horror world. That wouldn’t have been there without the delay that allowed Carpenter to keep on making notes, to add the details that make us feel his world’s rhythms.

George Miller effectively worked on and revamped the story and sequences of “Mad Max: Fury Road” for a decade. The stunts and shots were already mapped out in extreme detail by the time the stunt crew even started working on them. But this is detail and what I’m looking for is nuance. The film is filled with suggestions about when it might take place in the original “Mad Max” trilogy’s timeline. All the details disagree, adding even more fuel to the concept that we’re being told a myth that transcends time rather than a story that fits within it.

Character is realized through action, but the action is so detailed that it feels expressive in the way dance often is. I’ve long said the best fight scene should act like the best dialogue scene. Something should change for everyone within it and we should understand what that is. This is precisely what happens in a movie where action scenes almost never stop. Most action scenes have a few moving parts – that makes them simple and we’re left to rely on emotional investment to suspend our disbelief. “Mad Max: Fury Road” has that emotional investment, but it doesn’t waste it filling in cracks in its artistry. Instead, each sequence is detailed in ways that make us understand how dozens of moving parts interact together. That’s brave, and it’s the kind of madness earned through years of pre-planning.

To get even more tangential, developers have sometimes said that the holy grail of video game development would be a world that takes place at the level of detail our own does: a block of a real city, where real people make unpredictable decisions that are unique to their own complex motivations, and even those motivations evolve. Worlds can be built in grand scopes, but the way they translate to audiences is via details so minor you don’t always register them in a conscious way. This is the true measure of world-building. This is what films like “The Thing” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” do. They marry genres built for grand scale to the finest detail imaginable on a cinematic level. That’s how you transcend genre, by delivering a world so nuanced, it feels like it could live without the artist’s hand.

Mad Max Fury Road poster

Images are from Nerdist and Coming Soon.

Advertisements

Disaster of the Year — “The Pyramid”

Pyramid how not to excavate a pyramid

by Gabriel Valdez

The Pyramid is a calamity of rare proportions. Sure, more expensive films have become greater disappointments because of the expectations we place in them. A largely point-of view horror movie, The Pyramid neither cost much to make nor had any expectations that it would be good. Yet very few movies so creatively find new ways to fail every 10 minutes.

The Pyramid is a pioneer into the depths of terrible – not simply content with mere badness, it keeps on discovering fresh ways to make you scratch your head and ask, “Really?” If it had slightly better intentions, I’d be tempted to place it in the Ed Wood Memorial Pantheon of movies that are so bad they’re good.

The premise is simple: a team of archaeologists and documentary filmmakers descend into an ancient pyramid to face cannibal zombie cats, an angry Egyptian god, kinda deadly traps, and most terrifying of all: a room full of the cannibal zombie cats’ droppings. But wait! There’s more:

Before making this movie, no one seems to have researched anything about archaeology (or medicine, or scriptwriting, or holding a camera, for that matter). Each character will whine at the others incessantly, only taking breaks to roll their eyes knowingly at the camera. This is annoying but acceptable – most of The Pyramid is found footage. The audience pretends this is real footage discovered later a la The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity.

Pyramid awfully bright in this pyramid

Director Gregory Levasseur forgets his genre at hilariously random moments, switching between characters’ points of view and an omniscient cinematographer without reason or warning. The most crucial aspect of POV movies is to establish a rhythm with the audience that indicates to us whose perspective we’re viewing, even during frenetic action sequences that cut back and forth quickly. It’s a cinematic geography formed through staging and editing.

It’s not that there’s no rhythm in The Pyramid, it’s that there’s not even any awareness that there should be. I was often unsure of characters’ interactions during action scenes and that omniscient cinematographer pops up so frequently that you’ll repeatedly mistake it for a real character’s perspective. Levasseur’s is a ridiculous failure in understanding the basics of the genre in which he’s directing.

In terms of story, this is a cast that features no leaders, people with courage, or intelligence. I’m prepared for people to make stupid decisions in horror movies – sometimes that’s half the fun – but The Pyramid takes the phrase “stupid decision” as a challenge.

I briefly began wondering if the film realized how bad it was when it started delivering dialogue like, “Stop being an archaeologist and be a human being for once,” and “Robot guy just got killed by something we can’t identify!” There’s some choice cheese in here, but a series of increasingly tedious and inexplicable climaxes quickly dull any sense of fun that threatens to creep in. The ending is so bad, I wondered if the film was simply trolling its audience by trying to be the worst found footage movie it could be.

Pyramid these hieroglyphs say our art director failed to google hieroglyphs

Compare The Pyramid to an underrated POV gem from earlier in the year: As Above, So Below. The earlier film boasted intelligent characters, including a fantastic leader. When things went wrong, they would slow the situation down and take stock of it. Injuries warranted field medicine and new strategies to accommodate the wounded. Impossible situations required puzzle solving and teamwork. To them, hopelessness and panic became as dangerous an enemy as anything lurking in the shadows. This situational give-and-take created a captivating one step forward, two steps back narrative that’s key to horror. It also gave me characters I was excited to cinematically follow into danger.

With the team of whining buffoons in The Pyramid, I was just rooting for the cannibal zombie cats to eat them already. Seriously, those cats looked pretty underfed. The deadly traps are only deadly because our heroes are complete imbeciles and “tragically” bump each other into them. The most terrifying thing about the angry Egyptian god is his cheap CGI – always opt for make-up effects when making budget horror. If you’re not predicting every jump scare to the millisecond by the time you’re halfway through The Pyramid, then you’ve never seen a horror movie before.

Some outlets request I give movies I review a score. I keep those off this site because I don’t think scores are useful shortcuts to judging art, but I gave The Pyramid half a star out of four, which is like giving it points for writing its name correctly at the top of the test. It’s terrible. Go rent As Above, So Below, or sit down with a more classic horror movie instead. (Here’s what we chose as Our Favorite Horrors back on Halloween.)

Personally, I break out John Carpenter’s The Thing every Winter to get in the proper freezing out of my mind spirit.

Does it Pass the Bechdel Test?

This section helps us discuss one aspect of movies that we’d like to see improved – the representation of women. Read why we’re including this section here.

1. Does The Pyramid have more than one woman in it?

Yes. Ashley Hinshaw plays Nora, the daughter of the lead archeologist and an archeologist herself. Christa Nicola plays the documentary’s director and narrator.

2. Do they talk to each other?

Yes.

3. About something other than a man?

Yes.

Horror may be the only genre in which it’s very difficult to not pass the Bechdel Test. As a genre, it seems to involve multiple women as main characters at a higher rate than any other. This isn’t always for the most noble reasons – horror movies need a number of characters so that many of them can be picked off over the course of a film. But the Bechdel Test isn’t about being noble, it’s about treating women like everyone else in the film, whatever that may entail.

There are, essentially, three main male characters, two main female characters, one supporting male character, and a buncha cannibal zombie cats. The Pyramid does include a brief lingerie scene for one of its female leads, so it’s momentarily exploitative without being equal opportunity about it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a cheesecake scene, but if you’re going to put one in, I’m sure a lot of women (and men) wouldn’t have minded Amir K with his shirt off.

That said, The Pyramid could have just included the women as monster fodder. Instead, it puts them in positions of professional power and expertise. That power and expertise may not be well written, but it’s not well written for the men either. The Pyramid deserves some credit for exposing every character to its awfulness equally.

Our Favorite Horrors — By Friends of the Blog

Alien violation

by Gabriel Valdez

I recently conducted a poll regarding artists’ and filmmakers’ favorite horror movies, and the results aren’t what I expected at all. Now, this poll is about as scientific as my foot, so take it with a grain of salt, but it ended up being a tale of three very different movies:

Now, I wanted the artists themselves to define what “favorite” meant, and when pressed, I described it as “the movie you’ll berate your friends about until they sit down and watch it” and “the movie you’ll watch when you get home after a hard day and pull over yourself like a warm horror blanket.”

Playwright and critic Chris Braak, who wrote not just one, but two of the best articles of this past year, broke the question down into categories: which is the best movie, which is scariest, and which one does he like to watch the most?

“The scariest horror movie experience I had was the American version of The Ring (I know people like the Japanese version better, but subtitles completely destroy the horror experience for me).

“The horror movie I can and will most readily watch is John Carpenter’s The Thing, which I will put on any day of the week.

“I think the technically most superior horror movie in terms of script, direction, acting, &c. is The Exorcist.

“Actually, also An American Werewolf in London is tied with both The Thing and The Exorcist in both of those categories [rewatchability and most well-made].”

He added that The Ring‘s strength lies in showing how closely horror and surrealism relate.

Jeff Holland, who also writes for Threat Quality Press, listed about a dozen movies, including calling The Thing “the Snickers of movies” for how much its appeal has grown over the years. Ultimately, though, he settled on The Fly as the “bar-none scariest movie I have ever seen…it remains as potently unnerving as it was to 80’s audiences.”

(That’s two Things so far.)

The Thing every little piece

Not everyone stuck to American films, however. Painter Ashley Zuggerman, whose retro-styled artwork harbors a threatening, off-kilter sensibility, immediately listed Japanese horror Audition. It’s “such a subtle movie and it lulls you into thinking it’s just a weird romance drama. Then when you relax it hits you with the last 20 minutes that just freaked me out.”

Our own editor Eden O’Nuallain backed her up. “Audition is the creepiest movie after the lights come on. It’s not cause it’s so shocking or different from something else, but cause 80% of it is so normal and uneventful.”

(Two Things, two Auditions.)

Let the Right One In held underwater

Jack-of-all-trades filmmaker, photographer, writer, illustrator, and model Cassie Meder might be my favorite Fantastique artist, with a macabre and witty sensibility. “Let the Right One In is one of my favorites across the board. Alien is at the top of the list for everything. And the Marble Hornets series is a great one to watch around this time of year for indie enthusiasts.”

Actress Rachel Ann Taylor offered Jacob’s Ladder and Alien as “the most surreal and the most horrifying, one-two. Most awesome double-feature ever. Leave a bowl of candy out, disconnect the doorbell, and drop-kick any kid that knocks; this is what’s on and I’m not leaving the couch.”

Actress, event producer, and model Alyson Rodriguez Orenstein had this to say: “My favorite horror movies are a lot like me, over the top & terrible – but entertaining! (That’s why I’m a horror host!) Some of my faves are The Gate & Killer Tongue.”

The Gate, by the way, is an awesome 80s movie starring a baby Stephen Dorff facing off against both his sister’s sleepover friends and the mouth of hell opening in his backyard. I have an older sister, and it’s no contest which of those things is more evil.

I’ll paraphrase the plot for Killer Tongue, or La lengua asesina, from IMDB: a woman hiding out with four pastel poodles in a gas station (with loot from a heist) waits for her boyfriend, who’s in prison. A meteorite crash transforms the woman into an alien with a “gigantic voracious tongue” and her poodles into four drag queens. Also features a mute nun transformed into a sexy drum majorette.

On the list of things that are fantastic, that is now near the top, and I think I’ve got to ask Alyson for movie advice more often.

Film/theatre critic Roy Sexton, who’s been a great supporter of our site, offered The Shining, Scream, and Psycho, but added “sometimes the best ‘horror’ movies are those that deal with the terror of the mundane and, if that’s the case, one of the best recent examples for me would be Prisoners.

Alien hi whats up

Erin Snyder, a film critic and satirist whose absolutely fricking essential holiday-season blog Mainlining Christmas is gearing up, pointed out, “Ah, horror. There’s probably more experimentation done there than any genre outside of animation.” Despite this, he said he never got into it because of the gore. Nonetheless: “Alien. Hands down, the best horror movie I’ve ever seen.”

(Alien just took the lead at 3, which doesn’t matter since it’s not a competition.)

Shawn Main, who works for tabletop game designers Wizards of the Coast, might have had my favorite answer: “I have a bunch of horror movie favorites, but the warm blanket for me is all the old Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episodes. I’ve fallen asleep to those episodes more times than I care to count.”

Oddly enough, I caught a marathon of them yesterday and stayed through a few. It definitely felt like throwing on a warm blanket – reassuring, safe, worry-free. That’s definitely a feeling I don’t get from much TV or movies anymore.

Joe Laycock is an expert in religious studies who focuses on how we inculcate folk tales and the supernatural into modern society. His answer? The Exorcist:

“It was the first horror film nominated for best picture. It also created a popular turn toward actual exorcism in the United States. Ed and Lorraine Warren (from The Conjuring) owe their entire careers to that film.”

Now, I don’t know much about them, so when I asked if they only started after The Exorcist, he corrected me:

“The Warrens started a ghost-hunting society in 1952. Their first “case” involving demons was in 1971 – the year The Exorcist came out. But their big break was the Amityville Horror cast in 1975, which was highly derivative of The Exorcist. In fact, the Jesuit who consulted on The Exorcist also consulted on the first two Amityville movies.”

He added that the Warrens weren’t con artists, but believed in what they were doing. The Exorcist simply created conditions in which more people listened to what the Warrens had to say. Since Catholics couldn’t get exorcisms from priests, the Warrens acted as brokers who connected outside priests who were willing to bend the rules.

(Alien 3, Thing 2, Exorcist 2, Audition 2.)

Our Aussie correspondent, Olivia Smith, stood up for her home country with Picnic at Hanging Rock, a mystery surrounding the disappearance of several schoolgirls and their teacher during a field trip. She called it “everything you need to know about Australia in one movie. Our country’s beautiful, we’re hysterical inside of it, and we’re loyal to racial homogeneity at the exclusion of our senses. What’s horrifying is our repression and the sense in the back of our minds that we don’t deserve to be here, that Australia’s against us, and that which is most unnatural and displaced here is us. It’s not the feeling of getting lost. It’s the realization that you’ve been lost for a long time already.”

The Descent is not for the faint hearted

Kyle Price-Livingston does something in comics but I don’t know exactly what, so now I feel pretty bad about it. He’s an awesome personality whose answer was immediate: “First thing that springs to mind is The Descent. I love the combination of creature feature, morality story, and Woman-vs.-Wild survivalism. Plus the main cast is basically all women, none of whom end up topless.”

The Descent was actually written first for a male cast, and when the director converted it to an all-female ensemble, he thankfully made all of this many changes to the script: 0.

Bryan DeGuire is a producer whose most recent, the animation “Hitler Dinner Party” for Bob Odenkirk, appears on Funny or Die. Bryan extolled the virtues of Rosemary’s Baby: “Slow burn dread unnerves me more than big shocks. But ultimately, what I find horrific about it is not the supernatural element, cause the devil doesn’t exist except, ya know, metaphorically. The true horror is how Farrow’s character is betrayed by her husband. The way the people we love can hurt us the most is a much more terrifying idea than any boogeyman. Plus, ‘he has his father’s eyes,’ is such a great f*cking line. I know that Polanski is a morally problematic director to admire, but I agreed wholeheartedly with that essay you wrote a few weeks back about fandom, Mel Gibson, etc.

Model and cosplayer Emily Smith (aka Luna Lovely) offered a different viewpoint. What’s her go-to, warm blanket of a horror movie? “Human Centipede. Or Human Centipede 2.”

While that’s not my cup of tea (actually who knows, I’ve never seen it), what I love is that everyone has their go-to movies, their favorites that serve as a cinematic home base that they can always go back to.

Actress Carter Churchfield, who owns and operates the World War II Red Light District Tour in Honolulu, and who I appreciate for having a horror sensibility just outside the mainstream, had trouble narrowing it down to The People Under the Stairs, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and La Casa Muda. She settled on The People Under the Stairs, because it’s the one she likes sharing with her friends the best.

Actress and filmmaker S.L. Fevre, a regular contributor here, insisted two classics are still the best: The Shining and The Fly.

Horror aficionado Ellen Dulaney cited Sympathy for Lady Vengeance as revenge horror, as well as Reanimator, before remembering something even better and naming her favorite: Swedish vampire tale Let the Right One In.

(Alien 3, Thing 2, Exorcist 2, Right One 2, Audition 2, Shining 2, Fly 2)

The Wolf Man

Actor Keith Ward, soon appearing in Beyond Hello, listed The Thing, Alien, and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but wanted me to know when he was a kid, it was movies like The Wolf Man (1941) and The Invisible Man (1933) that first captured his imagination. He especially encourages folks to check out Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer because it’s “genuinely disturbing, despite being made for a shockingly low budget.”

Documentary filmmaker Amy Beth Grumbling, producer of Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis offered Dead Again, The Orphanage, and Scream.

Film/theatre critic J.P. Hitesman offered up The Fog.

Model and make-up artist Sarah Belmont gave us a Clive Barker appearance on the list with Hellraiser.

Writer Jesse LaJeunesse wrote me such a personal and heartfelt response, we’re going to feature it later, but his answers were the 1931 Dracula, Night of the Living Dead, and The Ring.

We left most of our own writers for last.

Alt-model and singer Cleopatra Parnell, on break from music video reporting while she’s got a session contract, couldn’t decide between The Ring and The Shining, but said Twin Peaks outranks them both.

Our creative director, paleontologist by day/critic by night Vanessa Tottle, insisted on messing the entire count right up, by liking The Ring, The Thing, and Let the Right One In.

The Shining oh sorry did i interrupt you

(That’s Alien 4, Ring 4, Thing 4, Right One and Shining right behind them at 3. Audition, Exorcist, Fly at 2. Totally not a competition.)

I feel bad being the one to break the tie on this not-a-competition (what am I talking about, I’m the one who edited it this way.) I love all three films. If we were going for total franchises, it’d be Alien hands-down for that initial trilogy, which I marathoned before knowing what marathoning was as a 5th grader. Watching Alien-Aliens-Alien 3 inside 24 hours of each other cracked my head open about what storytelling on film could show you.

In a very slight way, Alien opened my mind to understanding an experience beyond my own, that of physical violation and powerlessness. I wouldn’t identify this until I started encountering it in others’ experiences, but Alien opened a path to comprehension much younger than I would’ve otherwise encountered it. Because of that experience, Alien 3 for all its flaws still holds up as the single bravest anti-climax in franchise filmmaking. It upset many fans, but Alien was never meant to make anyone happy.

Similarly, The Ring is probably the most singularly terrifying movie I’ve ever seen. That movie doesn’t make your hairs stand on end, it yanks them out at the roots. I can’t think of anything as scary, or that made me look behind myself in the dark for days on end. It remains the only movie I’ve ever seen in the theater two days in a row.

The Thing man is the warmest place to hide

All that said…if we’re going purely on favorites, purely on the warmest, most comfortable horror blanket I can find, it’s The Thing. I remember my mom not letting me watch Total Recall as a kid because there’s a scene in which a villain is decapitated. It’s really not so bad, as those scenes go. Days later, she sat me in front of John Carpenter’s gory, blood-soaked The Thing, a remake that flunked in theaters, that grew a cult following, and that finally became so widely viewed it spawned a surprisingly good prequel movie and sequel video game.

About an Antarctic research station besieged by a shape-changing alien, The Thing is dominated by men in beards (there are no women in it). It may be Kurt Russell’s best performance, and its blood-test scene remains the tensest horror sequence in film history. Moreover, it’s a gift that keeps on giving – as I grow older, I view it differently, and realize how very much it has to say as a metaphor for how men view “the other” or “the feminine” as an invasion of what it is to be “a man.”

Even its tagline, “Man is the warmest place to hide,” hints that The Thing is a unique breed of identity horror hiding behind the façade of a creepy, gory blood-out.

My favorite three are John Carpenter’s The Thing, the uniquely frightening and touching Spanish-language ghost story The Orphanage, and hit-or-miss Italian horror-maestro Dario Argento’s best film, the effectively mixed-language Deep Red.

I’m a little surprised no one mentioned Jaws, but I suppose that’s viewed more as a classic adventure movie than a horror movie nowadays. I was very tempted to list Duncan Jones’s sci-fi masterpiece Moon, since I don’t think anything’s ever left me so mentally agog by its conclusion. And, of course, there’s Requiem for a Dream, which might be the best but is no one’s favorite because it so completely and effectively tears down everything its viewer can believe about redemption.

That’s our list. Totally not a competition.

Happy Halloween, everybody, and remember: All’s well that ends well.

The Ring well

“Ghostbusters” and Protecting Women From Critics

Ghostbusters

by Gabriel Valdez

Ghostbusters led by an all-female cast. That’s the news. I’ve heard the notion in a few circles that, if the film’s a failure, it’s going to be used as an argument against casting all-women ensembles in the future…so it shouldn’t be made.

Clearly, we’ve got to protect women from bad reviews, everyone. They can’t handle it. Let’s not take that step forward – there’s a danger in misogynists being vocal. Because they were so quiet before.

Look, if us guys get to make Marvel Movie Starring a White Guy Named Chris 12 and conclude Expendables 3 with a fistfight between two guys who beat their wives and not worry about the reviews, I think women can hack Ghostbusters: Subtitle Here.

I love the original, but we act as if the franchise is untouchable, as if it was delivered to the brain of Dan Ackroyd fully fledged by God on stone tablets. The 1984 film certainly wasn’t influenced by the 1946 film Spook Busters or the 1975 TV show The Ghost Busters.

It certainly hasn’t been adapted into an underwhelming sequel before, like Ghostbusters 2, or into countless video games and TV shows of mixed quality. No, it is a pristine property and, like the driver’s seat of a car in Saudi Arabia, it is something that powers beyond us have dictated a woman’s hand shall never touch. I mean, to even think of challenging such supernatural forces, we’d need, like, some sort of Ghostbuster.

No film is pristine. Hidden Fortress became Star Wars, royalty-free. Yojimbo became A Fistfull of Dollars. The Wizard of Oz, John Carpenter’s The Thing, 90% of Star Trek, True Grit, The Fly, Sorceror, The Birdcage, John Carpenter’s The Thing, 22 James Bonds, every comic book adaptation with a number or subtitle, Seven Samurai, Aliens, Lord of the Rings, Terminator 2, Back to the Future, and John Carpenter’s The Thing are all sequels or remakes. Did I mention John Carpenter’s The Thing?

We don’t have many rules for this site. We have the Sharni Vinson Rule and the Joseph Gordon-Levitt Bylaw, which basically state we bring them up as often as possible. We typically have a one cuss word-per-article maximum – you try editing Vanessa Tottle’s stuff that way. Here’s the third: any argument that means John Carpenter’s The Thing wouldn’t exist is unacceptable. And you know what they did? They made a prequel to JC’s The Thing, the most bearded up Kurt Russell movie ever made, it starred Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and it was pretty fucking good.

Turns out when you’re frying aliens with a flamethrower, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. I don’t think ghosts care either.

Regardless of who’s cast, I’m pretty sure Sandra “who else could have pulled off Gravity that well” Bullock or Tina “I carried Saturday Night Live on my back for years” Fey can equal the magic of Dan “don’t look at my IMDB page and realize how many terrible movies I made” Ackroyd and Harold “how do you want me to act? Just like I have in everything else?” Ramis. And if Ghostbusters director Paul Feig even thinks of hiring Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates), I’m calling it right here – there’s a real chance it’s better than the original.

So can we please drop the “Oh, what if Ghostbusters flops, women will be set back a thousand years” argument? Because that argument is a catch-all that works against against increased roles for women, minorities, or any group cast in a film you don’t want to see them in. And even if it does flop, the only critics using that logic will be the ones who will never stop doing so.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go start the Jessica Walter for Ghostbusters campaign.