I’m not going to do it. I promised myself I wouldn’t do it.
…………………….. ………… ………….. *lips slowly unzipping*
It simply can’t be avoided.
WHO YOU GONNA CALL! Why, GHOSTBUSTERS. Naturally!…okay, now that’s out of my system and am most definitely a failure at life, I cannot deny my love for Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray in this movie (and many other films). In fact, one of the most epic homage’s to Ghostbusters was in the film Zombieland. Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about?
Bill Murray is definitely a household name. He’s been in comedies and dramas alike, some of which did fantastic and some of which…didn’t. But take Zombieland for all it’s worth. Most people will associate Bill Murray with Ghostbusters. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I’ve always had differing opinions on being known for one thing. I’m not talking about typecasting really, but having many movies, songs and/or books under your belt and only being known for one piece of work. I’d gladly take that. At least I would have made a thumbprint in the cookie. But I can see where it might hurt a person’s growth. Ultimately, none of the actors in this film were stunted by it.
A trio of brilliance. Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray), Dr. Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd), Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) are parapsychologists in New York City. Peter is “charming” and has a skeptic’s nose. Ray is “enthusiastic.” His passion for ghost hunting is about as strong as a child’s need to rip presents open on Christmas morning. Egon is “nerdy”…okay, that’s not totally fair, but he’s definitely the science guy of the bunch. Adding Winston (Ernie Hudson) the, “as long as there’s a paycheck in it,” one, upgrades the trio to a well rounded quartet. And one cannot discount Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz, the mother of the group. She’s terrific as the dry humored, no nonsense secretary. After being “let go” from their prestigious university positions, Peter, Ray and Egon go into business together declaring themselves Ghostbusters. Can you hear the phones ringing off the hook? It isn’t until a haunted hotel needs a discreet extermination, hello Slimer, that celebrity ensues. The Ghostbusters become household names. Business booms!….But why is there SO much business? One word: Twinkie
Dr. Egon Spengler: I’m worried, Ray. It’s getting crowded in there and all my data points to something big on the horizon.
Winston Zeddemore: What do you mean, big?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s sample, it would be a Twinkie… thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.
Winston Zeddemore: That’s a big Twinkie.
Meanwhile Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) is living in an apartment that just happens to be the center to another dimension. Why not, right? She’s also being pursued by Venkman. Why not, right? Soon, forces beyond anyone’s control begin to invade, mind, body and spirit. And the Ghostbusters are the only ones who have the knowledge and “expertise” to defeat said forces. Yes, that means the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Bottom line is Ghostbusters works. For whatever reason, it just does. It’s a comedy about ghosts. Most people don’t associate ghosts as being funny. The characters don’t treat the paranormal as funny, they treat it with value and respect. They throw out words like proton packs, ecto goggles and PKE meters. Ancient Samarin demigod’s and god’s, Zuul, Gozerian and Vinz make cameos. All of which should be scary. I’m mean, we’re talking end of days here:
Winston Zeddemore: Hey Ray. Do you believe in God?
Dr Ray Stantz: Never met him.
Winston Zeddemore: Yeah, well, I do. And I love Jesus’s style, you know.
Dr Ray Stantz: The entire roof cap is made out of a magnesium-tungsten alloy…
Winston Zeddemore: What are you so involved with over there?
Dr Ray Stantz: These are the blueprints for structural ironwork of Dana Barret’s apartment building, and they are very, very strange.
Winston Zeddemore: Hey Ray. Do you remember something in the bible about the last days when the dead would rise from the grave?
Dr Ray Stantz: I remember Revelations 7:12…And I looked, and he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became as black as sack cloth, and the moon became as blood.”
Winston Zeddemore: “And the seas boiled and the skies fell.”
Dr Ray Stantz: Judgement day.
Winston Zeddemore: Judgement day.
Dr Ray Stantz: Every ancient religion has its own myth about the end of the world.
Winston Zeddemore: Myth? Ray, has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason we’ve been so busy lately is ’cause the dead HAVE been rising from the grave?
Dr Ray Stantz: [Pause ] How ’bout a little music?
Winston Zeddemore: Yeah.
And yet this is a comedy. The dialogue is witty, the characters are interesting and you absolutely root for them. The best type of comedy is the kind that sneaks in some thought provoking notions underneath the laughs. Making the ghosts look like Slimer and animating an extremely large Stay Puft Marshmallow Man helps lighten the mood. But if you are anyone who understands the science and theories behind parapsychology, you’ll find many truths in this film.
What I’ve really loved about this course is the fact that horror is vast. Ghostbusters isn’t a light comedy by its subject. And it would be no laughing matter if Gozerians were real. Who’s to say they aren’t? The greatest thing about this movie is the belief in the unexplainable (or at least something that is virtually unexplainable). The quartet sticks to their guns even when they are fired, even when they are laughed at, even when they have PROOF and are still denied validation. Now, every story needs obstacles and the ghosts themselves weren’t enough. They never are. It’s our own rational thought that keeps away the impossible. But even under the blanket of comedy, Aykroyd and Ramis created an iconic story filled with bits and pieces of truth (in the field of ghost hunting) and brought ghost hunting/busters worldwide. Today we have shows the Ghosthunters, Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures. They all take a heavier tone than Ghostbusters did, but therein lies the point and the beauty.
Even if not taken seriously by the average viewer, Ghostbusters will always find a way to incite reaction. That right there is gold for a storyteller. Good or bad, reaction is better than no reaction at all.
Shout out to Rick Moranis as the “Keymaster.” Awesome.
And the score for this film is fabulous. 5 stars!