Is This Box Haunted? I Think This Box is Haunted: Unpacking Mattel’s Ghostbusters [Review]
I was almost too scared to open the box of Ghostbusters goods Mattel dropped on my doorstep. Those girls and guys might not be afraid of no ghost, but that doesn't mean I am... am not... I am not not afraid of no ghost? Ghosts are very real and very spooky. I've seen movies like The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror. Those are based on true events so you know they are telling honest narratives and portraying the supernatural elements with the correct amount of realism. I know Ghostbusters is primarily a work of fiction because it doesn't come with that same disclaimer, but I was still wary about the potential for a haunting to happen in my home once this box's contents were spilled on the floor.
I can say with some authority that after opening the box, everything appears to be in the clear. This is despite Mattel sending over a package filled with specters of unknown origin, which could have sunk their ectoplasmic hands into the foundations of my apartment to haunt it for the rest of time. Fortunately, that's not the case (yet), and instead of a gaggle of living impaired vaporizing in and out of existence in the halls, I've got a decent little collection of Ghostbuster toys.
Included in this crate was a whole box of mini figures, a set of the 6" ghosts, and a big ol' screaming Slimer. Now growing up, Slimer was my best friend. I had that little, soft handpuppet that was offered as a toy for the cartoon back in the '80s, and I took that dude everywhere. I was an only child that lived in a fairly secluded rural area, so for me, Slimer was basically it when it came to buddies. I blamed him for everything that went wrong. Seeing him again being a part of the upcoming franchise reboot hit all the right nostalgia buttons in my brain, and taking this new figure out of the package brought me back immediately.
This Slimer is quite different from the one I had growing up, but the gist is the same. He's a gross, green blob that loves chili dogs and making terrible noises. He's basically me on a typical Saturday night. The sculpt isn't bad, and you get a definite idea of Slimer's grotesque nature, but the real draw for this particular toy are the sounds he emits. If you pull on his tongue, he makes a high-pitched groan. If you keep pulling it, the pitch increases in severity. Once you let go, it flaps back into place, and he makes a sound like someone who just swallowed something they absolutely hated. It's cute for kids, but is definitely worth keeping in the "off" position as much as possible because those noises do get a little grating after a few minutes. I would know, I tested it on my cat.
Slimer also has a feature where he plays two different clips from Ray Parker, Jr's Ghostbusters theme song if you pull his arm. Again, a nice little touch and a bit of a throwback, but since the clips are short and alternate when repeating, you might find your patience for the Grammy-nominated song isn't quite as vast as you once thought.
Alongside Slimer, Mattel included the 6" ghost figures, which are separate from the 6" Ghostbusters they also offer. These ghosts --- Rowan, Mayhem, and Stay Puft --- are more meant for scale with the blind bag mini figures than they are for the bigger Ghostbusters. I wouldn't have known that just by looking at them, but based on the press materials and the SDCC exclusive set (which combines Rowan and the 'busters), I figured it out. All three have decent sculpts, though they don't feel very sturdy in hand. They're not poorly made, the plastic just feels more like a ping pong ball than what you'd typically see in a 6" figure. Perhaps that's because the ghosts all need to have a bit of a hollow element to allow room for a light inside.
Each of the three ghosts has a button to press that causes a red (Rowan, Stay Puft) or green (Mayhem) light to turn on in their chests. Without the other figures around, it's merely an interesting feature to give the toys a bit of personality. When you mix it with the mini figures however, the idea that the light is meant to indicate damage being done to the ghost becomes a bit clearer.
The mini figures themselves are fairly nice. Offered in blind bags, there are 12 characters to collect, with 24 bags included per box. I got exactly two of each figure in my box, and it's likely that ratio carries through to every box at retail. No character has better or worse odds than 1/12, and there are no rare ones to uncover. The caricatures of the main cast are fun and still carry a bit of personality despite only being a few inches tall. Thanks to her funky hair, Jillian Holtzmann stands out the most, but you can definitely tell each of the Ghostbusters apart just by the sculpts.
The ghosts in mini figure form all have rather distinct designs, and as a bonus, all glow in the dark. Each of the ghosts is clear cast, with a little glow in the dark element hidden inside. Once you have them charged, you can see the innards well in the dark. It's a small touch, but one that helps set these mini figures apart from other similar toys on the shelf. I'm curious to see which of these monstrosities is actually in the film, but given the look from the trailers, it's possible all these oddballs will be in there.
Curiously, in addition to the Ghostbusters, there's one extra human offered. I've no idea who he is, or why he's there. Chris Hemsworth's Ghostbuster figure makes sense. This random running dude appears for reasons that are beyond my comprehension. It's possible he might be a character from the film, but he could just be there to even up the ratio of humans and ghosts.
The variation in Ghostbusters goods means there'll be something out there for fans of all ages. This batch of toys is clearly aimed at a younger audience, and that's great. They all have elements that appeal to a more youthful crowd, and the larger 6" Ghostbuster figures for adult collectors show Mattel does have both ends of the spectrum in mind. Combined with the roleplay gear and additional accessories, there's going to be a lot of junior Ghostbusters roaming the streets this summer. I don't know about you, but I feel safer already.
Just remember where the "off" button is if you want to keep your sanity around Slimer.
All of the Mattel Ghostbusters figures are available at retail now. The Ghosts cost $9.99 each, the Mini Figures are $2.99 each, and Slimer is $19.99. These figures were provided by Mattel for review.