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Argyle students recreate Ghostbusters adventures on screen

Drama and digital media students at the North Van secondary school recreated a scene from the iconic 1980s movie "Ghostbusters" to promote the school's Halloween costume contest 👻

They ain’t afraid of no ghost.

Why would they be, when each of them is wearing a backpack containing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator?

Just as long as they remember one small detail: don’t cross the streams!

The Ghostbusters movie adventures of slacker "scientists" Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz is almost 40 years old now. But this Halloween, one of its funnier scenes has provided inspiration to a new generation as students at Ecole Argyle Secondary’s Theatre Company and Production class and Digital Media Academy students have teamed up for a remake of the hapless trio’s early ghostbusting adventures.

Students recently acted, directed, filmed and produced a reimagining of one of the film’s iconic scenes as a promotion for Argyle’s annual Halloween costume contest.

“Who doesn’t like a classic?” said drama teacher Grant Featherstone.

Retro movie provides lessons

Digital media instructor Chris Miller, another Ghostbusters fan, said while not a lot of students were familiar with the movie that was so popular with his own generation, it was a fun way to introduce students to an earlier era of filmmaking. Rather than complicated special effects or buckets of gore, the movie deals with fear and suspense in a comedic way, he said.

For the actors, “I picked that scene, because I thought it would be fun for the kids to experience a story where they didn't have all of the things right in front of them, where they had to act and imagine that there was a ghost there,” he said. Also, “I chose that scene because I had the costumes,” he laughed.

Filming started in the second week of September and took six to eight hours over several dates to complete three or four minutes of film. There were many more students involved in the project behind the scenes, he added, including the editing.

For theatre student Claire Gummeson, who plays Spengler, the film was a chance to expand skills of acting before the camera that students had to develop out of necessity when live performances were stalled during the pandemic.

Learning about film acting

“I learned a lot about how cameras operate and how different theatre is from film,” said the Grade 12 student.

“I found it really fun, the whole experience. I love the Ghostbusters films. I think everyone really likes retro.”

Gummeson said to get into the role, she watched the original clip from the movie multiple times and tried to copy the expressions and body movements of the film’s original actors.

Featherstone said he thinks the three lead actors did a standout job of nailing the characters’ deadpan delivery and reacting to the imagined paranormal phenomena with superb timing.

“We are spoiled with talent at Argyle,” he said.

To expedite completion of the film in time for Halloween, Miller said he added the special effects, including the laser blasts and the slime monster. But digital media students are fully capable of doing that as well – or creating 3D animation of their own imagined ghosts, he said.

The drama students aren’t resting on their spooky laurels. They are already getting ready for two more productions: a play that’s an adaption of the board game Clue that will be performed as part of the winter festival, Dec. 7 and 8, and an original full-length play written and directed by an Argyle student, to be performed May 2 to 5.

Students at the school will get a chance to see the Ghostbusters clip on the big screen at the school during the costume competition on Monday.

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