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Ghostbusters HQ comes to Brooklyn, and they're looking for recruits

BBQ Films recreates the Ghostbusters HQ for four nights (and a matinee!) of immersive cinema fun.

Ever wanted to strap on a proton pack and do some supernatural pest control? Live out yourGhostbusters fantasies beginning today at their new headquarters in Williamsburg.

The setup is thanks to BBQ Films, who is celebrating the 1984 film — and the gender-swapped remake coming next month — with a "transportive experience."

“You’re transported into a different world,” explains co-founder Gabriel Rhoads, “where the movie you’re watching is almost a documentary of what’s happening around you.”

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If you’ve never been to one of their events — previously, BBQ Films has brought to life fan favorites like “Back to the Future,” “Beetlejuice” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — don’t expect to just watch a movie in a themed room: An entire setting from the film is recreated and filled with performers and interactive elements.

“This is fundamentally a social experience with the guests in the center of that action,” he says. “You get a chance to play inside this world.”

The feeling Rhoads and his team of over 250 are going for is nothing short of achieving nerd nirvana. “This is a Baptist prayer rally or front-row center at a Bruce Springsteen concert or a monster truck rally,” he says. “You’re super in it because everyone else is super in it with you.”

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How they do that is by giving attendees a role in the film. For “Ghostbusters,” everyone is a potential new recruit, an idea that reflects the film’s “everyman, and now everywoman, story,” Rhoads says.

“Anybody can be a Ghostbuster, you just have to be smart, dedicated, brave,” says Rhoads.

Brooklyn’sVillainhas been completely transformed into the new Ghostbusters HQ, where guests complete training scenarios (including a not-yet-released iPad game), encounter the paranormal (via special Giphy-powered scenes), drinkHi-C Ecto Coolercocktails and relive the history of 30 years of ghostbusting with props like the Ecto-1 car and proton packs from 1984 and the new film. Actors will enhance what’s happening onscreen with performances — and fans bring their own magic.

For the “Back to the Future” Enchantment Under the Sea dance, BBQ Films brought in professional swing dancers, but it was a real-life couple who stole the show by perfectly re-enacting the choreography.

“That’s a very active involvement in storytelling, fandom and the people around you, insofar as you actually make the experience of the people around you better by you being there. That’s powerful, that’s social and that’s community.”

As a new parent himself, Rhoads is looking forward to the event’s first-ever Saturday matinee for families. While there’s the emotional component of parents sharing something they love with their kids, Rhoads hopes it goes even further: “What turns kids onto science? Proton packs?” he says. “If that works, that’s fantastic.”


BBQ Films: Ghostbusters

June 8-11, 7 p.m.
Family matinee:June 11, 1 p.m.
Villain, 50 N. Third St., Williamsburg
$10-$77

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