'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' — The Alberta Connection
Exclaim! explores some of the Alberta locales that make up the world of 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'
Published Jan 04, 2022Without any ghosts at all, this might have been a pretty decent movie about a family moving to a new town. As it is, it's got just enough heart to bring Ghostbusters back to life without feeling too cynical.
So goes a line from Exclaim!'s review of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and it's a good thing to hear. Because yes, nostalgia can be nice. But so is original storytelling! And if you can manage to tie the two together — without completely bowing to fan service — then you've really got something. It appears that director Jason Reitman has achieved precisely that.
The 'family' in question? Egon Spengler 's (Harold Ramis) estranged daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two children. And the 'new town'? Summerville, Oklahoma. Only it wasn't Oklahoma. The actual shooting locations were in parts of Alberta, and the scouts earned their money, digging into some really cool spots not well known to outsiders and far beyond the familiar sights of Calgary. Here at Exclaim!, we're painfully Canadian, so we thought it'd be neat to trace where Ghostbusters: Afterlife came to be. If setting is indeed 'its own character',
then this one raises beef and wheat.
Village of Beiseker
The closest we get to Calgary, is the village of Beiseker (pop. 800). It's about 70 km northeast from Alberta's most populous city, and this is not the first time the area has appeared on film. It was also part of the backdrop for Brokeback Mountain, and the third season of Fargo. But in this case, it's where you can find Spinners Burgers & Shakes, a drive-in restaurant featured in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. But don't go looking for cheeseburgers there … it's actually Beiseker's body shop.
The Empress Theatre
Old theatres are amazing. Why don't we make 'em like that anymore? Fort Macleod, a shooting location in southern Alberta, has one of these on its Main Street, built in 1912, now designated as an Alberta Historic Resource. It's featured prominently in a climactic chase scene in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as is much of Fort Macleod's main drag. And, the historic Empress Theatre hosted a special premiere event to screen the film, complete with cosplay and Stay-Puft.
Dorothy Grain Elevator
Just outside of Drumheller AB, is the ominous-looking Dorothy Grain Elevator. Who is Dorothy Grain, you ask? Turns out she's not a person — Dorothy is a hamlet, and the grain elevator is a large structure used to stockpile grain. They're cool-looking, spooky things, more or less obsolete, and there are still 'ghosts' of them scattered around the Canadian prairies. If they're still around, they often appear as backdrops for roadtrip selfies, and (obviously) in blockbuster movies.
Also close to Drumheller is a bounty of geological history in the Canadian Badlands — Horsethief Canyon Why the name? As the legend goes, horses were smuggled and hidden here in the early 1900's between Alberta and the United States. This is not to be confused with Horseshoe Canyon, also a notable spot in the area. Its striped walls and stones make it a destination, because it's just so damn gorgeous. Also located on the Dinosaur Trail, so it's definitely one of the most famous locations on our list.
Enjoy Garden Restaurant
It's nice to hear about city-slicker movie types offering local improvements. Actually, that's something we hear about … never. But in the town of Crossfield it happened! Enjoy Garden Restaurant is a local favourite, and was used in a scene with Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon. The film team gave it a lil' makeover with some window decals and wood installations, in classic Chinese Resto style. Apparently the Schezuan Dumplings are a must-try.
Those are just some of the locations we've discovered, and if you've yet to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife (or even if you already have), now you can play spot the spots!
Available now on Digital and on Blu-ray February 1