No ghost was safe in Fort Macleod on Saturday night.
A red carpet was rolled out, an Ecto-1 replica parked in the street and more ghostbusters than a person could count filled the town’s Main Street.
It was a special screening of Ghostbusters: Afterlife six days before the movie’s scheduled premiere date.
“I couldn’t even sleep last night,” said Candace Schneider with the Calgary Ghostbusters. “I was so excited I was like, ‘I need to be up early to get ready,’ because I worked today, but I could not sleep because it just felt like Christmas.”
Schneider remembers watching Ghostbusters as a young girl. She grew up with the movies and admits she thought she was going to marry Egon from the cartoon.
While that didn’t happen, Schneider isn’t alone when it comes to Ghostbusters fandom.
Co-founder of Winnipeg Ghostbusters Kris Rutherford said he recalls a Halloween where his parents put him in a white painter’s suit and wrote “Ghostbusters” on it.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Rutherford said. “We’ve been waiting what, three years for this.”
The movie was filmed throughout Alberta, touching down in small towns and big cities.
Carson, Jaxon and Cooper Baugeois are from Calgary. The brothers say there was a week where their family drove around the province, following the filming.
“I’m a massive Ghostbusters fan,” said Carson.
“I’ve probably seen the first movie more than any other movie, and it’s so great that I’m getting to see this one. I watched the filming and everything, and it’s just feeling like it’s all coming together now, and I can’t wait to see it.”
The brothers had tickets to the special screening at the Empress Theatre.
But the event wasn’t just a movie premiere. It was also a fundraiser for the 109-year-old theatre in Fort Macleod. The theatre is due for renovations and upgrades to the flooring and ceiling.
Tickets were sold for $100, and while that may seem like a hefty price tag for a movie ticket, they sold out in 45 minutes.
“This is kind of the first big fundraiser for that as we’re moving forward, and the support has been overwhelming for us,” said theatre director Margaret Ann Bianco.
Bianco added that the ticket sales caused her system to crash. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The excitement is unbelievable and it’s building. Just walking down the street and hearing the Ghostbusters song and all the lights flashing, it’s quite remarkable.”
Ghostbusters, young and old, small and tall, came from all corners of Canada. Bianco said people from England and the United States even attended the event.
“To know that people care that much about our jewel on Main Street, we’re very excited,” Bianco said.
Kathryne and Stephanie Patterson were dressed to the nines as they walked the red carpet. The sisters are from Beiseker, a village with a population of less than 1,000. They were extras in the movie and were excited to see not just themselves but also friends and family on the big screen.
“We’re from a small community as well, so that’s really important to us. To see everybody gather together and do some good for the community.”
Brandon and Emma Mindel are the owners of the replica Ecto-1. They brought the iconic vessel from British Columbia. It’s part of their car collection they rent out for special events and photoshoots through their business called B.C. DeLorean. They’ve only been the cars owners for about six months.
“It was a really, literal big one that we wanted on our list, and we’re just so happy to have it,” said Brandon. “And we’re so excited to show it to everyone here in Fort Macleod.”
When the Mindels heard about the event in Fort Macleod, they knew they had to be there. Arriving on Friday, Brandon said they woke up at the crack of dawn Saturday to recreate scenes from the movie in front of the Empress Theatre and the grain elevator in Dorothy, Alta.
“For me, personally, it’s Canadian film history,” said Brandon. “Dan Ackroyd, Ivan Reitman, and now it’s come back to Canada shooting in Alberta. I’m just proud Ghostbusters is partly Canadian.”
Despite the last Ghostbusters film with the original cast premiering more than 30 years ago, there’s one message that has never faded.
“Anybody can be a ghostbuster. That’s the thing. You don’t have to have a superpower, you don’t have to be extremely good looking, you can have a bit of a beer gut,” said Schneider.
“Most of the people out here are going to have their last names on the flight suits because we’re not playing characters. We are ourselves as ghostbusters.”
Ghostbusters: Afterlife premieres Nov. 19.