Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Action Figure Review: Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost from Ghostbusters Kenner Classics by Hasbro


   I was surprised in early February when I walked into Target and stumbled upon the retro styled Fright Features versions of The Real Ghostbusters figures from Hasbro. These were right on the shelf alongside the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire toys and they're currently exclusive to Target until later this spring. I've now found all four of the Ghostbusters from this series (Hasbro hasn't announced a release of Janine Melnitz yet, but she's one of the few original vintage figures I still own) but Peter and Ray were the first two I found from the set. These are pretty much straight up remakes of the vintage figures released in very late 1987/ early 1988, which I definitely had and remember fondly. They would have came out when I was four and when I was really into Ghostbusters. The Fright Features series isn't my favorite variant set of the Ghostbusters (that would be either the Super Fright Features or the Backpack Heroes) but these are definitely one of the most recognizable sets of vintage Ghostbusters toys. Apparently they had the widest distribution of any of the sets, which explains why you'll find these in nearly any loose toy bin at comic and collectible shops. Ready to start off checking these remakes out with a look at Peter Venkman & Gruesome Twosome Ghost? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 4 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel hips and swivel shoulders.

Accessories: Hook shot and Gruesome Twosome ghost companion.

Non-Scalper Price: $15 dollars

The Positives:

* For the Real Ghostbusters line Kenner largely relied on their own designs rather than borrowing too much from the animated series. For the Fright Features series, released as part of the third wave of toys, Kenner created new costumes for each of the Ghostbusters. Peter's outfit follows the standard Ghostbusters costume pattern with a zip-up jumpsuit but it's been accessorized with a yellow vest and some fairly heavy duty boots and gloves. The vest looks like it's designed to hold various pieces of gear and equipment as it's covered with pouches, hooks, and slots while the gloves and boots seem like they're designed to protect Pete against ectoplasm and other nasty substances he might stumble upon.

* Since these are Fright Features, you'll expect them to be frightened, right? It's interesting that despite the tagline "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!" Kenner relied heavily on action features that showed the Ghostbusters being scared. I guess you can say they're startled or surprised, or perhaps that going forward with busting ghosts even though they are afraid is really showing true courage, but it was still an interesting direction to go in. When you press Peter's left arm his jaw drops, his eyes bug out, and his hair pops up on is head. It's very cartoonish, like something from Loony Tunes, but it does work quite nicely. 

* Here's a look at the back of Venkman's vest so you can see the detail on it and the clean printed Ghostbusters logo on his right shoulder. 

* Hasbro has really remade these figures well and they feel just like the vintage toys as best as I can recall. Peter only has four points of articulation because of the action features in his head (so no neck articulation), but that's true to the vintage figure and most other Kenner figures at the time. 

* Rather than including Proton Packs with Neutrona wands, the Fright Features Ghostbusters have unique ghost blasting weapons that interact or "capture" the included companion ghosts. Venkman comes with the Hook Shot, a device that combines a particle thrower like weapon with a hook attachment. A hook seems like an odd weapon for catching a ghost, so it must be some kind of special hook. It's a boxy piece of equipment that looks like something built in Egon's lab. 

* The Gruesome Twosome is (are?) the companion ghost. They're blue, like the Grabber Ghost from the standard Peter Venkman figure, but their are two of them! Two twin ghosts with single eyeballs, huge teeth, and horns. Their tails are tied together, allowing them to multiply their mischief. 

* While the back of the package shows the ghosts wrapped around Pete's shoulders, as a kid I always thought the bottoms of the ghosts were hollow so they could act like handcuffs. They can fit over the hands of a figure, capturing them. 

*The Hook Shot does interact with the Gruesome Twosome which definitely ups the play value a bit. It's fun to actually be able to catch the ghost in some way. 

The Negatives:

* The Real Ghostbusters figures could be a lot of fun, but it was always a bit dismaying to me as a kid that so many of the figures had weird basic faces. Having Peter looking like one of the ventriloquist doll people from Dead Silence makes it tough for this to serve as your default version of the character. Ghostbusters toys often favored the action feature over the figure, sadly. 

   This is a very nicely done retro reissue of the Fright Features Peter Venkman figure. Hasbro has made these extremely accurate to the originals and got them out to shelves at quite a reasonable price. No, they're not true vintage, but unless you're actually wanting to collect the Kenner line to collect that line, I imagine many fans will be just fine with these. The basic vintage figures aren't hard to find but acquiring them complete and in working condition is a feat. These are a nice bit of nostalgia that are still quite fun to mess around with, especially because of the goofy ghost companions. 

If you're a fan of Peter Venkman I've also reviewed the Ghostbusters Kenner Classics Peter Venkman & Grabber Ghost, the Minimates "I Love This Town" Boxed Set which includes Peter Venkman, and the Minimates Spectral Ghostbusters set with Spectral Peter.

For more Ghostbusters Kenner Classics reviews check out the following:
Egon Spengler and Gulper Ghost
Fearsome Flush


  1. yeah, always see this one in charity shops and car boot sales. These tended to creep me out more than the ghosts. But then so did the regular first wave Ghostbusters with their pupil-less eyes. :O

    1. They were apparently the most widely distributed RGB figures, so they're everywhere!

  2. Replies
    1. They are quite fun even though they're so goofy.


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