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February 25, 2014 12:17 PM   Subscribe

On June 8, 2014 it will have been 30 years since those paranormal janitors cleaned up the town in the most successful comedy of the 1980s doing over $291 million in gross box office sales. Who you going to call? Everyone in the cast (except Bill Murray, sadly): Ghostbusters: An Oral History. Some choice quotes below the fold.

RAMIS: We very quickly came up with a model: Dan was the heart of the Ghostbusters, I was the brains, and Bill was the mouth.

...

WEAVER: I wanted to show him that I was totally open to howling, screaming, and slobbering. I remember thinking afterwards that I may have frightened him a bit because I did tear into his cushions.

....

ANNIE POTTS: I was in my street clothes so I grabbed a coat out of wardrobe and pulled the glasses off the dresser’s face and put them on. Regrettably, I was stuck with those prescription glasses for the rest of the shoot. She would give them to me right before a scene.

...

GROSS: From the top of [55 Central Park West], we could see traffic backed up all the way to Brooklyn. We shot at five o’clock during rush hour, and truthfully, the city should have said, “You can’t do this.”

...

AYKROYD: Isaac Asimov came out of the building, and I said, “Hi, we’re shooting this paranormal adventure fantasy comedy named Ghostbusters.” And he said, “You guys are inconveniencing this building, it’s just awful; I don’t know how they got away with this.” And he kind of snorted, huffed, and walked away. I thought it was ironic that this guy that we all admired would hate our little enterprise.

...

tip of the hat to zarq for spotting the article.
posted by nubs (158 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just finished Ghostbusters: the videogame, and it actually feels like Ghostbusters 3.
posted by Pendragon at 12:30 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I thought the gameplay of the Ghostbusters game was overly repetitive (especially the absurd amount of health a lot of the monsters and bosses have), but the writing and acting were fun as all get out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:34 PM on February 25


I was twitter watching Ghostbustwrs last night ( oh god everyone is smoking everywhere!) and pointed out a huge part of its charm is that they're having Indiana Jones advnentures against lovecraftian horrors but in this blue-collar, small business milieu.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on February 25 [16 favorites]


"All those brand symbols are cute puffy little things, but when you blow them up to 300 feet high marching down Broadway, they don’t seem so benevolent anymore." - Dan Akroyd

Great post!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 12:42 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Some of the Harold Ramis remembrances have mentioned the falling out he had with Murray. Anyone know what that's aboot (hattip to my canadian friends)?
posted by DigDoug at 12:46 PM on February 25


In hindsight, it is nearly impossible to imagine that Sigourney Weaver would have to work at all to convince people to cast her as anything in the 1980s, let alone the role she did.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:47 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


As far as I can tell the only flaw with the movie ( which has no wasted beats, BTW, something you don't appreciate as a kid, every moment propels the story foward.) is how Weavers' character just kind of "whoops! I guess I like him now!" falls for the Murray character despite him acting like an arrogant, smug jerk the entire time. ( and it's not like other people don't think he's a smug asshole either, like that's literally the first shot in the movie, showing what a jerky con-man he is.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Lighten up, Francis.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:58 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


[William] ATHERTON: The movie had just opened and I was doing a reading for Joe Papp in New York. So I’m walking down 7th Avenue, and there’s this big Ghostbusters marquee, and there are all these buses filled with kids. But I’m not registering it too much, I’m thinking about Chekhov. And all of a sudden about eight million kids lean out the windows and yell, “Hey, dickless.”
:D
posted by zarq at 1:00 PM on February 25 [40 favorites]


sporesfungimolds

spores, molds, and fungus

posted by Big_B at 1:01 PM on February 25


OVITZ: Bill is like the Mayor of New York. He knew every doorman and everyone in every restaurant. He would go to an ATM machine, get a couple thousand dollars’ worth of small bills, and pass them out to homeless people as we walked down the street.


When will there be a religion I can join based on Bill Murray?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:07 PM on February 25 [26 favorites]


Some of the Harold Ramis remembrances have mentioned the falling out he had with Murray. Anyone know what that's aboot (hattip to my canadian friends)?

Supposedly they had "creative differences" during the production of Groundhog Day.
posted by Fleebnork at 1:16 PM on February 25


When this movie was coming out, I assumed that it was a remake or ripoff of Ghost Breakers. Let the record show that the latter film is the superior effort.
posted by Danf at 1:17 PM on February 25


To anyone who thinks oral history as a journalistic form is overdone, I present Exhibit A for the defense:

ATHERTON: The movie had just opened and I was doing a reading for Joe Papp in New York. So I’m walking down 7th Avenue, and there’s this big Ghostbusters marquee, and there are all these buses filled with kids. But I’m not registering it too much, I’m thinking about Chekhov. And all of a sudden about eight million kids lean out the windows and yell, “Hey, dickless.”
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:26 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Some of the Harold Ramis remembrances have mentioned the falling out he had with Murray. Anyone know what that's aboot (hattip to my canadian friends)?

Supposedly they had "creative differences" during the production of Groundhog Day.


Murray wanted a pretty dark, thoughtful movie about how much it'd suck to be stuck where he was. Ramis wanted a more lighthearted comedy.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:26 PM on February 25


The Ivan Reitman interview on Kevin Pollak's Chat Show talks about the movie, and is fun to listen to. Check through the archives here: http://www.earwolf.com/show/kevin-pollaks-chat-show/
posted by wenestvedt at 1:29 PM on February 25


OnTheLastCastle: Murray wanted a pretty dark, thoughtful movie about how much it'd suck to be stuck where he was. Ramis wanted a more lighthearted comedy.

I wonder if fans could edit the film in such a way as to create something of Murray's image.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:31 PM on February 25


Also: AYKROYD: People in the paranormal field loved it. It gave focus to their work.

Based on what I've read here and elsewhere, Dan Ackroyd really is a True Believer.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:31 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


As the joke goes, nobody told Ackroyd that Ghostbusters was fictional.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:32 PM on February 25 [12 favorites]


Ackroyd's vodka announcement is so good. Yes, he is a True Believer.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:33 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I wonder if fans could edit the film in such a way as to create something of Murray's image.

I've read somewhere - and I've never been able to find it back in all the articles that speculate on how long Murray's character is trapped in that cycle, so maybe it's apocryphal - that some of the cut scenes from the movie were heavily dark. Like them establishing the fact that to mark the days, Murray's character would go to the library and read one page from a book every day. That sequence ends with Murray reading the last page of the last book in the library and putting his head down in despair.

I think the lighter touch was the way to go - the existential, philosophical side of the movie comes out after repeated viewings as the viewer themselves starts to wonder how they would pass the time and how horrifying it would be after a while.
posted by nubs at 1:37 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


On June 8, 2014 it will have been 30 years since those paranormal janitors cleaned up the town in the most successful comedy of the 1980s doing over $291 million in gross box office sales

Does this mean Back To The Future doesn't count as a comedy?
posted by dng at 1:40 PM on February 25


Bill Murray reminds me so much of my dad. [/derail]
posted by pxe2000 at 1:48 PM on February 25


Back to the Future appears to be classed as a "Sci-Fi Adventure" film according to some sites.
posted by nubs at 1:48 PM on February 25


I think the lighter touch was the way to go - the existential, philosophical side of the movie comes out after repeated viewings as the viewer themselves starts to wonder how they would pass the time and how horrifying it would be after a while.

A good test of whether or not you have fairly serious untreated depression is if you saw Groundhog Day as horrifying in your original viewing in 1993.

Or so I can now see in hindsight.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:48 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


There's a very nice tribute to Ramis in Esquire as well:

director Ivan Reitman noted “Bill is this great improv player, but he needs Harold, the focussed composer who understands setting a theme and the rules of orchestration. "
posted by nubs at 1:53 PM on February 25


How old is Julia Roberts that she was considered for the role of Dana? According to Wikipedia she'd have been 15 when Ghostbusters was being developed/cast.
posted by Sara C. at 2:00 PM on February 25


Harold Ramis gave two different answers: about 10 years, or "more like 30 or 40 years," which lead to WhatCulture spending time to figure out their own estimate of about 34 years.

That's dark enough for me.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:02 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Weavers' character just kind of "whoops! I guess I like him now!" falls for the Murray character despite him acting like an arrogant, smug jerk the entire time.

Rewatching last night, I didn't really get this sense.

The first time they meet, it's in a somewhat professional context and she's basically like "who is this weird bastard?" He hits on her in an assertive way, but he's not an asshole or anything.

The second time they meet, she agrees to go on a date with him. She doesn't profess her undying love or anything, just, "Oh, jeez, OK, you're laying it on a little thick and you're not my type, but sure."

The third time they meet, she's possessed. She comes onto him in a story sense, but it's not really her coming onto him, it's the Gatekeeper.

Then he rescues her, which you have to admit is sexy. The last scene of the movie has them kissing with no tongue.

The real hot and heavy relationship in the film is between Egon and Jeanine, where there are sight gags that suggest oral sex in like their first scene together.
posted by Sara C. at 2:03 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


Venkman is much more inappropriate/lecherous with the cute ESP coed in the first scene of the movie.
posted by Sara C. at 2:04 PM on February 25


According to Wikipedia she'd have been 15 when Ghostbusters was being developed/cast.

Julia Roberts is 65 years old alert Glenn Greenwald.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:12 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Egon and Jeanine

Annie Potts is like the perfect amount of grated nutmeg in this movie. She's only got a few lines but kills every single one.
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on February 25 [19 favorites]


They're totally in simpatico huge-glasses love.
posted by The Whelk at 2:17 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


When will there be a religion I can join based on Bill Murray?

He had a killer line in his recent AMA on Reddit:

"It you take what you love and make it the way you live your life, you bring love into the world".
posted by Sebmojo at 2:20 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


I rent studio space 50 feet from where Huey Lewis and The News practiced for 30 years until just last year, and I have known Huey since the time when he used his real name, Huey Cregg (Lewis is his middle name). They cashed in on a plagiarism suit over the theme song, more than suspiciously similar to "I Want a New Drug," but apparently there was a countersuit when Huey mentioned the previously undisclosed settlement in public.
posted by Repack Rider at 2:20 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


REITMAN: We kept looking for a song for the montage in the middle of the movie. I was a big Huey Lewis fan, and I put in “I Want a New Drug,” as a temp score for screenings. And it seemed to be a perfect tempo, and we cut the montage to that tempo. When it was time to mix the movie, someone introduced me to Ray Parker Jr., and he comes back with a song called “Ghostbusters” that has basically the same kind of riff in it. But it was a totally original song, original lyrics, original everything.

...

REITMAN: About six months later, we heard that Huey Lewis was suing us.

PARKER JR.: There were many lawsuits. When you sell that many records, I think everybody wants to say that they wrote the song.

REITMAN: We decided to settle even though I think there’s a lot of songs that are similar to other songs, have the same beat. The fact that it had the same kind of bass hook doesn’t in itself mean a copyright infringement.
posted by nubs at 2:30 PM on February 25


RAMIS: Teachers were writing me saying, “Kids were playing Ghostbusters in playgrounds, and it was very good. It wasn’t about one set of kids versus another like cowboys and Indians. They were working together fighting evil spirits.”
posted by audi alteram partem at 2:32 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Isn't there a story floating around that Columbia Univesrity took a percentage rather than a flat shooting fee and like, made millions after?

On the re-watch, it's interesting how aggressively the movie pushes kitchen sink realism, even having the kind of fireman/plumber work-a-day details most movies don't bother with, cause when the otherworldly shit starts to break down the walls of reality it feels like shit is actually going down.

The best detail, is of course, the people selling t-shirts for the end of the world. Of course they would be there. Of course they'd have those shirts ALLREADY printed up.
posted by The Whelk at 2:35 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Isn't there a story floating around that Columbia Univesrity took a percentage rather than a flat shooting fee and like, made millions after?

There's no way they shot there for more than a day. I guess it's possible that they took "a percentage", but it would have been a tiny, tiny percentage. Half a percent of the gross would be almost 1.5 million, though.
posted by Sara C. at 2:46 PM on February 25


The linked article was published yesterday, the same day that Harold Ramis passed away. The cause was complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease that involves swelling of blood vessels.

.
posted by bluejayway at 2:48 PM on February 25


Now I want to see them do an oral history of Ghostbusters 2:

REITMAN: What it boils down to is this—the studio offered us a shit load of money.

RAMIS: Basically, it was more money than could possibly be conceived of by the human brain.

AYKROYD: I only took the job because at the time I was trying to get a project off the ground—a personal little film that was near-and-dear to my heart—and I badly needed the dough. In fact, I'd say that without Ghostbusters 2, Nothing But Trouble might never have seen the light of day!
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:51 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The linked article was published yesterday, the same day that Harold Ramis passed away.

Yes, there's a thread about that.
posted by Shmuel510 at 2:53 PM on February 25


On god I just had the realization that one of the books I'm working on now is basically "what if some of the concepts in Ghostbusters 2 weren't executed so blandly and terrible?"
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The joy I take in Ghostbusters 2 now is replacing - in my mind - Vigo with Viggo Mortensen.

It just makes moments like this much more amusing:

Vigo: I, Vigo, the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldavia, command you!

Janosz: [gets down on his hands and knees and starts bowing] Oh, command me, lord!




Janosz: He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!
posted by nubs at 3:24 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


The third time they meet, she's possessed. She comes onto him in a story sense, but it's not really her coming onto him, it's the Gatekeeper.

And Venkman knows it, and refuses to take advantage of it, which I always thought went a long way to making him a much more likable person. He's smarmy, but not evil.

Dana: Take me now.
Venkman: Well, I make it a rule never to sleep with possessed people.
        (she pulls him down, and they kiss)
Venkman: Actually, it's more of a policy than a rule.
Dana: I want you inside of me
Venkman: I don't know. You've got two people in there already. It could get a little crowded.
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:28 PM on February 25 [17 favorites]


replacing - in my mind - Vigo with Viggo Mortensen

I will periodically annoy Mrs. Example when Viggo Mortensen is on screen by declaring in my best Janosz Poha "YOU ARE LIKE THE BUZZING OF FLIES TO VIGGO!".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:30 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


In the later seasons of Law and Order, S. Epatha Merkerson's lieutenant was in a relationship with Ernie Hudson, and I liked to pretend that there was another show about the difficulties of navigating a relationship where she's a police officer and he's a ghostbuster. That's my oral history.
posted by klangklangston at 3:38 PM on February 25 [19 favorites]


Ooh I also have a Janosz Poha quote that I annoy people with - "Why am I drippings with goo?" when I have a cold.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:39 PM on February 25 [14 favorites]


another show about the difficulties of navigating a relationship where she's a police officer and he's a ghostbuster. That's my oral history.

This show obviously takes place in the same universe as Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the Merkerson-Hudsons frequently socialize with Captain Holt and his Columbia professor husband.
posted by Sara C. at 3:53 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


The other kind of sweet thing about the Dana/Peter relationship is that at one point in the movie Dana is referred to as Peter's "would be girlfriend", which just seems so wholesome.

I feel like in 2014 there is no way Peter Venkman would be willing to admit he was looking to be Dana's boyfriend.
posted by Sara C. at 3:57 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I love all of these shared NYC universes and they should become canon.

Also wasted on child-aged me, how much this movie is FIREMEN VS. SHOGGOTHS. It's so heavily in the whole love rafting mythos.
posted by The Whelk at 3:59 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Reboot/sequel where ghostbusters are an established part of the city infrastructure but there's a break between academic, theoretical paranormal work and boots on the ground ghost busting, the real problem is when you run out of actual threats and have to justify your existence DOHS style.

...which is basically this book I'm outlining so no one actually pitch that.
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


William Atherton is a wonderful villain in both of my favorite 80s comedies: Ghostbusters and Real Genius.

"I saw this 150-pound bag of shaving cream, and said I wasn’t going to do [the scene where the Marshmallow Man explodes]. They said, “Oh, come on, man, you’re not going to be a pussy, are you?” So I went up to Ivan and said, “Couldn’t we test it?” and he said, “Sure.” So they got a stuntman or somebody expendable, and it knocked this poor guy down.."

"Somebody expendable?"
posted by absalom at 4:03 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


If William Atherton breaks his leg or scrapes up his face, they lose him for potentially the rest of the shoot.

If a stunt guy or a grip does the same, he goes on worker's comp and they bring in a replacement.

He does come off like kind of a d-bag, though.
posted by Sara C. at 4:07 PM on February 25


Am now imagining the ghostbusters absorbed into city service, like firemen. The GBNY.
posted by The Whelk at 4:09 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The last scene of the movie has them kissing with no tongue.

Venkman goes to sweep her off her feet with a smooch and her first reaction is to lean away. Then she kisses him because, well, he DID just risk his life to save her, and she has this look on her face afterwards like "did I _really_ just kiss that idiot in front of all these people? I'll never hear the end of it."

As far as I can tell the only flaw with the movie ( which has no wasted beats, BTW, something you don't appreciate as a kid, every moment propels the story foward.)

I wouldn't go that far. There are some definite hiccups in the last third.

Peck is an obvious caricature, though a funny one. Do jailed people typically get to bring all of their books, blueprints and such into common lockup with them? (Maybe, I've never been arrested so I wouldn't know.) The whole Venkman-hamming-it-up sequence between the mayor's "Whaddya need?" and climbing the stairs was filler, including the mini-quake. The ending itself mostly made sense -- crossing the streams was certainly a valid enough Chekov's Gun -- but 'they survived via dumb luck' is about all we got as an explanation as to how they didn't get vaporized in the process, at least until the recent video game came out.
posted by delfin at 4:16 PM on February 25


William Atherton is a wonderful villain in both of my favorite 80s comedies: Ghostbusters and Real Genius.

Die Hard, too.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:19 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I was little when the movie came out, enough to love it and have no idea the adults were enjoying a completely different layer of jokes.

One thing I remember is that for months afterwards, every TV show worked in a Ghostbusters episode at some point (which I loved). It was a cultural zeitgeist.
Here's some Youtube of Different Strokes doing some ghostbusters.
Warning: Risk of Youtube 80's rabbithole
posted by anonymisc at 4:20 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


delfin, The Whelk is talking specifically about story beats. There's not a scene in the movie that doesn't move the story forward.

There are a few silly/improbable things in the movie, but keep in mind it's an action comedy about ghosts haunting New York City. Zuul isn't any more real than the NYPD's policy on personal effects in holding cells.
posted by Sara C. at 4:21 PM on February 25


He does come off like kind of a d-bag, though.

He's still in character! Actually when I watched the movie again for the first time since becoming a responsible adult I was surprised by how much I sympathized with his position. Given that it's set in the real world, you wouldn't want the EPA to be, like, "Oh, you're failed parapsychologists who have nuclear-powered equipment in the basement of a building that you yourselves admit should be condemned in the middle of New York? That you won't even let us see? Sounds good."

The ending itself mostly made sense -- crossing the streams was certainly a valid enough Chekov's Gun -- but 'they survived via dumb luck' is about all we got as an explanation as to how they didn't get vaporized in the process, at least until the recent video game came out.

What was the explanation in the game?
posted by No-sword at 4:24 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


"It's so heavily in the whole love rafting mythos."

Can Meryl Streep escape Kevin Bacon before he sacrifices her to the Old Ones?

"Am now imagining the ghostbusters absorbed into city service, like firemen. The GBNY."

That has the potential to be the most awesomely tasteless 9/11 tribute ever.
posted by klangklangston at 4:26 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


NEW YORK'S SPOOKIEST
posted by Sara C. at 4:27 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


One thing I remember is that for months afterwards, every TV show worked in a Ghostbusters episode at some point (which I loved).

My favorite is the Super Mario Bros Super Show episode with Ernie Hudson as himself. I like to think they were all set to have him appear as Winston Zeddmore, but at the last minute someone realized DiC didn't have the appropriate rights and said "screw it, those kids will never know the difference" (and we didn't)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:35 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


oh god one of my first comment fables was GHOSTBUSTERS RELATED and Tkchrist liked it which encouraged me to keep doing it so ghostbusters is responsible for me blabbing on Mefi for SIX YEARS.
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


What was the explanation in the game?

Basically, that the presence of a cross-dimensional portal to Gozer's realm distorted the effect, so you really shouldn't ever ever cross the streams unless it's the absolute last resort and there happens to be an open cross-dimensional portal right where you're aiming them.

Now, there's STILL the matter of the force being enough to pulp Stay-Puft the Destructor but the human beings, who were closer, were perfectly intact...

I should just shift into MST3K mode and really just relax.
posted by delfin at 4:39 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I always assumed that after the portal closed, the FOO, divine will, and/or other guiding animus powering the StayPuft man went with it and the monster just kind of "fell apart," not that the blast literally blew the creature up. Gozer was the threat, everything else was just a manifestation of Gozer's power.
posted by absalom at 4:42 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


I love the unspoken assumption, given how much little panic is presented by the very idea of ghost busting being real, that "well okay the paranormal and afterlife are totally real ...how do we get this on the city budget?"
posted by The Whelk at 5:04 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Everyone is really blaise about proof of life after death, just saying.
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


>The third time they meet, she's possessed. She comes onto him in a story sense, but it's not really her coming onto him, it's the Gatekeeper.

And Venkman knows it, and refuses to take advantage of it, which I always thought went a long way to making him a much more likable person. He's smarmy, but not evil.


I'd hate to shatter this impression, but have you ever wondered why he apparently brought 300ccs of an injectible knockout drug to his date with Dana?
posted by anazgnos at 5:06 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


He just carries that around all the time for personal use. Venkman is from 70s New York I'm sure his coat is a goddamned pharmaceutical wonderland.
posted by The Whelk at 5:09 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


Everyone is really blaise about proof of life after death, just saying.

Well, they'd read the Handbook. Reads like stereo instructions, they say.
posted by delfin at 5:10 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


I love the unspoken assumption, given how much little panic is presented by the very idea of ghost busting being real, that "well okay the paranormal and afterlife are totally real ...how do we get this on the city budget?"

I really feel like there was a deleted bit that takes us from the HOLY SHIT GHOSTS ARE REAL of the opening sequence in the library to the WE HAVE NUCLEAR BACKPACKS THAT TRAP GHOSTS IN JARS in the Slimer/hotel sequence.

We see the Ghostbusters getting kicked out of academia. We see them rent the firehouse, hire a secretary, and get the ambulance. We see them do an initial fruitless house call, at Dana's apartment.

And then in the next scene the entire apparatus of ghost busting is in place without any real explanation except that of the crossing the streams detail.
posted by Sara C. at 5:12 PM on February 25


The linked article was published yesterday, the same day that Harold Ramis passed away.

It's not a coincidence - Esquire reprinted the piece from Premiere magazine as an homage.
posted by gingerest at 5:12 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I'd hate to shatter this impression, but have you ever wondered why he apparently brought 300ccs of an injectible knockout drug to his date with Dana?

But if he intended to roofie her the whole time, wouldn't he have taken advantage rather than verbally insisting that he could never do such a thing?
posted by Sara C. at 5:14 PM on February 25


I like to think Egon just totally had the proton packs in his apartment from a failed grad student project years ago.
posted by The Whelk at 5:16 PM on February 25 [8 favorites]


Everyone is really blaise about proof of life after death, just saying.

I get the feeling that ghost sightings don't become appreciably more common to the average joe until the containment unit blows up. Before that, I think the idea is ghost sightings and problem go from basically non-existent to existential threat by degrees. Even if ghost sightings go from never to very uncommon to OH MY GOD IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD over a period of maybe a year, it's easy to see why these guys would never get taken seriously or even blamed in the aftermath. I mean, is there some credible "paranormal expert" that could be called to testify other than these three guys in the inevitable civil and criminal suits that would follow?

I think it'd be easy at the time - and even moreso after the fact - to write it off as mass hysteria. Anyway, even at the time, the existence of "ghosts" might have it's impact reduced by not actually favoring one cosmology over the other. I mean, I guess that's good to know, but what you gonna do? I've got bills to pay, and it doesn't help me figure out what church to tithe to.
posted by absalom at 5:16 PM on February 25


If I do nothing else before I die I will reference that "Breathe" , ghosts escaping scene in something cause that was the SCARIEST SCENE IN THE MOVIE to child me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


There is a montage relatively early in the film that establishes that the Ghostbusters are a household name across the US (covers of magazines like Time and the Atlantic Monthly), and that apparently in general people regard them benignly and don't question that ghosts are real.

Which is another huge question mark, because the library and university sequence makes it seem like it's this huge surprise that ghosts are even real, and then there's a montage and suddenly Everything's Coming Up Spectral.
posted by Sara C. at 5:21 PM on February 25


I also feel like the sequel deals with some interesting aspects of the aftermath of the first movie, where everybody knows ghosts are real, and the Ghostbusters are who you call when you need someone to deal with that sort of thing.

But I last saw that circa age 10, so who knows.
posted by Sara C. at 5:22 PM on February 25


I like to think this a very 70sish kind of " Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell" kinda universe where it's a given that paranormal ghost is actually real but it's a boring, obscure part of academia and no one has actually tested and applied it.
posted by The Whelk at 5:23 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


Yeah. Larry King does also present the point of view that they're frauds who are behind the disturbances.
posted by absalom at 5:24 PM on February 25


TIME TO WATCH GHOSTBUSTERS TWO AGAIN I GUESS
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


the whole love rafting mythos

I DEMAND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS NEW MYTHOS.

Also:

The looooove raft,
Soon will be emerging from noneuclidean horrors from beyond space,
The looooove raft
Promises eternal suffering for everyone
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:27 PM on February 25 [27 favorites]


Also I think we're supposed to think the movie works on a ...really short time table? Like it makes more sense if the time from Slimer to Gozer The Gozerian is like, four months. No one bothering to question WAIT GHOSTS ARE REAL fits if it's happening pretty quickly.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on February 25


Sure, but where did they get all that stuff?

I'm fairly certain there's an expository scene that got cut, because they spend more time talking about the structural stability of the firehouse than they do explaining the conventions of the entire ghost universe and all their paranormal tech.
posted by Sara C. at 5:35 PM on February 25


I'd hate to shatter this impression, but have you ever wondered why he apparently brought 300ccs of an injectible knockout drug to his date with Dana?

Because he's Doctor Venkman. Doctors carry that stuff all the time on television and in the movies just in case someone's injured and needs it. And the Ghostbusters drive around in a car that has lights and sirens, so obviously they're a public service on par with the police and fire department and not at all a bunch of unregulated, for-profit exterminators.

I arrived at those explanations when I was seven, and I'm standing by them!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:38 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


It's always seemed to me that the idea isn't just "ghosts are real", but that this is a world where the kooks are right and everything Dan Aykroyd believes in is real, which means the place is probably goddamn nuts outside of the little slice we saw.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:38 PM on February 25 [6 favorites]


It's like Fringe, the Frontean Times is a peer reviewed journal and everything on the history channel is an actual, real thing.
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


( but that goes back to my first comment about the appeal of the movie. Wouldn't it have been better with the characters in Fringe Division had to make house calls and advertise on local TV and pay rent?)
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


And then in the next scene the entire apparatus of ghost busting is in place without any real explanation except that of the crossing the streams detail.

This is the nub of why a lot of movies are way too long these days.

Because when you watch Ghostbusters you're not tapping your chin mentally reconstructing the GANTT chart critical dependencies for proton pack construction you're going 'woo portable nuclear reactors!'

And that is a good thing.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:47 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]


I'm fairly certain there's an expository scene that got cut, because they spend more time talking about the structural stability of the firehouse than they do explaining the conventions of the entire ghost universe and all their paranormal tech.

Thank God for that. The pacing of the movie, as the Whelk observes, is what makes it so watchable, even today. Larding it up with exposition would have killed a lot of the fun.
posted by Cash4Lead at 5:49 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


Oh, yeah, I'm by no means complaining about the lack of proper exposition or anything. Ghostbusters is the perfect length and complexity for a movie, and tends to put emphasis exactly where it should be.

Except that there are all these other scenes where they spend time establishing far more mundane aspects of their world, like what kinds of repairs the car needs, Rick Moranis' tendency to get locked out of his apartment (which is funny, but they go back to that well SO MANY TIMES), ghost blowjob, the sheer number of publications which devote their covers to the Ghostbusters, etc.

So it's sort of funny that Oh Hey So There Are Proton Packs doesn't even rate a mention aside from a few asides in the hotel sequence.

I wouldn't cut any of those other bits, but it's pretty clear if you watch the film that there must have been a scene that lavished that level of detail on the mechanics of busting ghosts, but which was cut. For good reason, of course.
posted by Sara C. at 5:56 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The nice thing about a fictional world where the conspiracy theorists and paranormal aficionados are right is that the conspiracy theorist's good old friend the shadowy coverup is right too, patching over holes in the consistency of the fictional world just like it patches holes in the theories. The world doesn't undergo a fundamental spiritual shift with the confirmation of an afterlife? Of course not, because that's just how They want it.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:01 PM on February 25


I wouldn't cut any of those other bits, but it's pretty clear if you watch the film that there must have been a scene that lavished that level of detail on the mechanics of busting ghosts, but which was cut.

We got that scene shortly after Winston is hired: "When the light is green; the trap is clean". That's really all you need to know. Any further exposition into the spirit realm would've completely ruined the movie's ghosts-as-pests theme. Do you have existential thoughts on the nature of the owls infesting your apartment and eating your food?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:05 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I always assumed that after the portal closed, the FOO, divine will, and/or other guiding animus powering the StayPuft man went with it and the monster just kind of "fell apart"...

Didn't I see this in The Avengers or one of those Star Wars prequels? Is this a sci-fi trope?
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:07 PM on February 25


Honestly it makes more sense to me as an explanation in Ghostbusters than in The Avengers or Star Wars because in the latter two it seemed like a dumb technological oversight on the part of the bad guys, where in Ghostbusters, sure, it's magic, destroy the thing that's animating the other thing and there you go.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:14 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


It was a damned good movie. Worthy of exaltation? I don't think so. I loved it and all the stars, but it has remained just one of my favorite movies.

The death of Harold Ramis DID actually hit me harder than I'd have thought though....
posted by chuckiebtoo at 6:18 PM on February 25


Rick Moranis' tendency to get locked out of his apartment (which is funny, but they go back to that well SO MANY TIMES)

Because he is the KEY MASTER.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:19 PM on February 25 [41 favorites]


"well okay the paranormal and afterlife are totally real ...how do we get this on the city budget?"

I like that aspect, it's like a friendly caricature of New York attitude. The other place you could do that would be Russia. (Like when that giant meteorite exploded over Russia like the beginning of the end of the world, and the Russians in the dashcam footage glanced up and were all like "The sky is exploding? Ok." then went back to what they were doing.)
posted by anonymisc at 6:25 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Because he is the KEY MASTER.

o god i never got this why did i never get this
posted by Sebmojo at 6:38 PM on February 25 [26 favorites]


There are a few hints to the equipment; when Ray and Peter are getting hammered after being fired they're talking about the work Ray and Egon have been doing and how they're going to pay for it (Ray mortgages his house). I assumed that was basically it. Most of their equipment looks like it was inexpensively cobbled together.

When I was little there was some scary stuff there but as bad as GB2 was the scariest part in the GB 'verse was Janosz with his light up eyes outside of Dana's apartment.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:41 PM on February 25


Also if having 300ccs of Thorazine on your person at all times is "creepy" then I guess that makes me some kind of "weirdo"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:42 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


If I do nothing else before I die I will reference that "Breathe" , ghosts escaping scene in something cause that was the SCARIEST SCENE IN THE MOVIE to child me.

If you seek out that song (it is like the only thing that guy ever did ever) it will surprise you how uncool it is, considering how cool that sequence is

See
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:43 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


The looooove raft

It's been done.

ghost blowjob

Much as I love this movie, the ghost blowjob is one of the great WTF moments of 1980s movies. I've never understood it as a joke, or if it's supposed to be symbolic of something, or what the hell. What the heck is that scene about?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:44 PM on February 25


We got that scene shortly after Winston is hired: "When the light is green; the trap is clean" yt

But that's after the hotel sequence where they prove themselves by catching Slimer and the montage establishing their success.

We go from "ghosts exist" to "of course there is a mechanism by which we can eradicate spectral infestations" without a shred of exposition. The "if it's green, it's clean" bit is mostly to establish Winston as part of the team and also lay some pipe for the EPA subplot.

Again, this is fine. The film flows perfectly, and not having that expository moment doesn't change anything.

But it's clear from the pace and flow of the film that there must have been such a scene in the script at some point which was ultimately cut.
posted by Sara C. at 6:51 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Also, aaaaaaaa I can't believe I didn't get the keymaster/locked out of apartment joke until this very moment.

What a fucking great movie.
posted by Sara C. at 6:53 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


If you seek out that song (it is like the only thing that guy ever did ever) it will surprise you how uncool it is, considering how cool that sequence is

I DON'T CARE IT'S GOING IN SOMETHING. Breakdown of reality set to cheesey 80s synth YES
posted by The Whelk at 6:55 PM on February 25


Again, this is fine. The film flows perfectly, and not having that expository moment doesn't change anything.

For calibration purposes, when little-me saw the movie, I was surprised that it started with just regular normal people instead of starting with the Ghostbusters, and that it was only later on in the movie that they eventually became the Ghostbusters. So in a sense the first quarter of the film was unexpectedly detailed pure exposition and backstory.
(Kids stories follow a different pace :)
posted by anonymisc at 6:57 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Sigh. I have fond memories of seeing this as a little kid at the local drive-in from the back seat of my grandparent's Valiant AP-5. Now I have a job with the state government that bores me witless, and I'm surrounded by burned-out speech therapists and ex-nursing staff who've never been employed outside the health sector. My department's manager appears to lack the will to introduce simple changes to improve departmental performance, for fear of invoking the wrath of the union, and as there are no commercial pressures to drive innovation, the most important thing appears to be to ward off ministerial complaints. I come from the insurance industry and this level of malaise is totally alien to me. But it's one of the little joys of my job that I occasionally have cause to say "You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector; they expect results."
posted by MarchHare at 6:57 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


OH WAIT so Ghostbusters is one of those movies I watched 80 thousand times cause our TV could only play movies and my grandma babysat a lot and she brought like , four VHS tapes with her to babysit so me and my brother watched the same four or so movies ENDLESSLY (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Little Shop Of Horrors, Ghostbusters, and...something else) and I remember the only gag that always made her laugh, even deep in her knitting, was when they cut to the GB crew walking up the stairway to Dana's apartment cause the elevator was out "Just ...24 stories left to go."
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


There's a part after the library scene where Egon tells Venkman that according to his calculations with the data they got there, that there is "a very real chance" that they can capture and hold the ghosts indefinitely.

I just always took it as there being lots of time missing in the beginning movie, without a jarring "x months later" card.

I also agree that having the missing stuff in the movie wouldn't have worked well.

bonus joke that I didn't get until i grew up: Winston telling the mayor that he's "Seen shit that'll turn you white"
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:01 PM on February 25


i'm pretty sure the 4th tape of something totally forgettable and animated like Ferngully, whatever.

I love the NYC in this movie. Open and strange, work-a-day and accessible, populist but grand, the fact that no one freaks out too much that there are demons on west 73rd street is perfect.
posted by The Whelk at 7:08 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


I guess I assumed the ghost blowjob scene was a dream sequence of Ray's to show that he's really really really really into ghosts, like, without grant money and later a business he'd be doing this shit out of a van, and you know he has notebooks of self-insert paranormal fiction, and tbh I kinda wonder if its inclusion was due to Aykroyd having had that exact same dream, epaulets and all.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:08 PM on February 25 [5 favorites]


OMG I remember the summer the movie came out. That song.. was.. everywhere. Always on the radio. And it seemed like MTV ran it about five times an hour.

And now it's stuck in my head.

Again.



Great movie, though.
posted by freakazoid at 7:09 PM on February 25


Yeah, those buster-come-latelies made some slick movies (as well as some crap).

But I'm old-school Ghostbusters. I'm talking Sgt O'Rourke & Corporal Agarn old-school.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:09 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


I love the NYC in this movie. Open and strange, work-a-day and accessible, populist but grand, the fact that no one freaks out too much that there are demons on west 73rd street is perfect

This is reason number 1 that I think a GBIII won't work. NYC is a big character that is just completely different now.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:11 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Modern residents of Spook Central (which I can see from the window I'm looking out of RIGHT NOW) would be way more cagey about the whole thing.

You'd have to have in places that haven't changed much.

The Terror That Came To Gowanus.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


For various reasons, I ended up seeing that movie a whole bunch of times that summer. It was, like, "hey, it's Friday! Let's go watch Ghostbusters!" for several weeks in a row.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:14 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


the NYC of Ghostbusters was one where there was space for a crazy paranormal exterminator crew to set up shop. Like of course they'd fit in.
posted by The Whelk at 7:17 PM on February 25


On the other hand I can think of so many great gags related to how much New York has changed.

70s disco coke-overdose ghosts strutting in Bensonhurst.

A renovated Park Slope brownstone haunted by the 19th century merchant family who first lived there.

Instead of a fancy hotel full of snooty people, the poltergeist Slimer is haunting MoMA or The Whitney.

The Ghostbusters framing themselves as a "startup". Lots of jokes about getting priced out of old neighborhoods, careers, lives.

People instagramming the big climax.
posted by Sara C. at 7:17 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


(Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Little Shop Of Horrors, Ghostbusters, and...something else)

If the fourth was the first Addams Family movie that would basically be me. Raul Julia's Gomez is like... probably in my personal top 5 favorite character portrayals ever if I'm being honest. Watching him in that movie is like mainlining pure distilled joy.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:17 PM on February 25 [9 favorites]


My grandfather fancied himself a hustler back in the day; flea markets, flipping cars, auctions. He even got himself an auctioneer's license so he didn't have to pay someone else. Because he was always swapping this for that, he wound up with the first VCR in the family along with a couple banana boxes of video tapes. He'd seen a couple John Wayne movies on the top, figured that was good enough, and chucked the lot into his truck.

Fast forward a couple weeks. My parents would bring my brother and me to my grandparent's house every Sunday after morning services for lunch and basic small-town gossiping. My brother is two and half years younger than me and we never saw eye to eye much. High school was still coming with rougher years, but we had a healthy sibling rivalry going at that point. For us to sit, trapped by a Michigan winter in our grandparents house, was pure torture.

Hunting through the house for anything to do, we eventually stumbled on Grandpa's latest haul and started digging. Near the bottom of one of the boxes, we found an unopened VHS copy of Ghostbusters. We'd never been to the theater to see it, so we conned Grandpa into hooking up the VCR and letting us open the VHS up.

For the next year, we probably watched that movie every. Single. Week. We were always in the next room to my parents and grandparents and they hated that movie by week 6. But, for every fiber that hated the film, someone (probably my Grandmother) had pointed out that, for an hour and half, both my brother and I were not only laughing, out loud, we were quoting the movie and making each other laugh. The movie would end and we'd spend another hour telling the same jokes over and over, mimicking the actors and generally replaying the movie to each other.

My brother and I grew apart in adulthood; we just became different people. But that movie... to this day, god help the person who tosses a stray line from Ghostbusters out in front of us.
posted by youknowwhatpart at 7:25 PM on February 25 [10 favorites]


"well okay the paranormal and afterlife are totally real ...how do we get this on the city budget?"

I like that aspect, it's like a friendly caricature of New York attitude. The other place you could do that would be Russia. (Like when that giant meteorite exploded over Russia like the beginning of the end of the world, and the Russians in the dashcam footage glanced up and were all like "The sky is exploding? Ok." then went back to what they were doing.)


Well, in Russia, they've seen the sky explode before.

Dr. Ray Stantz: You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909!
posted by limeonaire at 7:26 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Dana: Take me now.
Venkman: Well, I make it a rule never to sleep with possessed people.
(she pulls him down, and they kiss)
Venkman: Actually, it's more of a policy than a rule.

Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule. Saw it a couple of hours ago and now I have this urge to watch anything Murray/Ramis-related.
posted by ersatz at 7:29 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


If the fourth was the first Addams Family movie that would basically be me.

WAIT THEY GAVE THAT TAPE OUT AT MCDOANLDS RIGHT? LIKE PART OF A PROMOTION?

SO yes, it must have been that -

"Uncle Niknak's winter wardrobe." "Uncle Niknak's summer wardrobe." "Uncle Niknak."

is basically how I ended up selling a few things to the New Yorker.
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Except that there are all these other scenes where they spend time establishing far more mundane aspects of their world, like what kinds of repairs the car needs, Rick Moranis' tendency to get locked out of his apartment (which is funny, but they go back to that well SO MANY TIMES), ghost blowjob, the sheer number of publications which devote their covers to the Ghostbusters, etc.

That's the thing though -- emphasizing the mundane, real-world problems + real-life magazines makes the movie more relateable and the fantasy elements more vivid by contrast, but a scene where Ray is like "Egon, these proton packs are a mess. The positron reticles are miscalibrated... etc." would take the whole thing out of the blue-collar, guys-like-us realm, even if the line were funny. That one conversation in the elevator is enough to establish that their gear is just as dubious as their headquarters and car without going into unnecessary detail.

That said, I am sure that Dan Ackroyd knows exactly how the ghostbusting equipment is supposed to work.
posted by No-sword at 7:32 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


I know full well that I'm biased due to nostalgia but I will commit to an argument that The Addams Family deserves as much praise as Ghostbusters and Clue and The Princess Bride and all the other classics of the era if I've had a bit to drink and the subject comes up.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:34 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Little Shop Of Horrors, Ghostbusters

If you had to get stuck watching any movies from the 1980s over and over again, you sure lucked out with that selection! I have probably watched each of those 25 times or so, by choice, over the decades.

jason_steakums, your ideas about the scene make more sense than anything I've come up with in 30 years. I can see it now as a symbol of Ray getting everything he's ever wanted during that montage. Like, fame and fortune as a paranormal investigator is literally orgasmic.

Aykroyd has always struck me as one of the saddest SNL grads, in the sense that he was so imaginative and such a great, intense performer, and yet he just seemed to kind of flame out in the mid-'80s. You watch the original SNL, and that guy was a live wire! He seems like a really nice dude, too, odd as he is. I wish he was half as venerated as that arrogant, medium talent Chevy Chase.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:34 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


My only contact with Ghostbusters was intermittently glancing at the last few minutes of it on TV as I got the kitchen ready for dinner one night; I mainly remember several guys in white haz-mat suits with wands and backpacks spraying white fluid toward a big vulva-like opening, followed a few minutes later by the appearance of a giant rampaging baby.
posted by jamjam at 7:35 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


Well, Aykroyd also had the Blues Brothers, and he was nominated for an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy.

But, yeah, in the 90s he hitched his wagon to so many legacy SNL properties, bad sequels, and ill-fated projects that I think his Hollywood capital burned out.

I think that, in general, a lot of the SNL/Second City comedians didn't know how to transition into grownup careers in Hollywood. Getting money thrown at them in the early/mid 80s helped a little, but I think just about all of those guys flamed out in the 90s because they couldn't play the same types of roles anymore.

Bill Murray's career was revived by Wes Anderson and indie stuff. Chevy Chase had a similar boost via Community. A lot of the SCTV dudes who didn't have such rebellious images just started playing dads in smaller movies and on TV. If anything, I think Dan Aykroyd is probably ripe for a comeback, if he can figure out how to get there.
posted by Sara C. at 7:56 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]


you know the line:

"You know you're a real humanitarian"

"I don't think he's human."

doesn't get enough love. It's perfect.
posted by The Whelk at 7:57 PM on February 25 [4 favorites]


Holy christ the gay subtext in Ghostbusters is amazing. First, look at the characters: Venkman is the only confirmed hetero, and he's the most skeptical about the proceedings. Stanz and Spengler have exactly two moments of potential romance among them: Egon is utterly impervious to Janine's charms and Ray's is a dream (of a blowjob... so maybe he's bi). Of course, when the 3 men _move in together_ at the abandoned firehouse, what does Ray say? "You've gotta check out this pole!"

What's the Chekhov's gun? Don't cross the streams. Don't let the flow from these long, cylindrical objects cross over, because that would be _bad_. But how do they save the world? Give into their smoldering, unspoken desires and cross those streams. "I'll see you on the other side" indeed. And let's not forget what happens after the streams are crossed: everything is FLAMING for a short while, and then the entire area is COATED in sticky white stuff. (Venkman is the least coated because, again, he's the only one with any shred of heterosexuality about him.)

I may have overthought this a bit, sure. I also may have already earned a degree at several institutions with the above two paragraphs stretched out to 20-40 pages.
posted by aureliobuendia at 8:01 PM on February 25 [11 favorites]


Siskel And Ebert At The Movies: Ghostbusters 1984
posted by The Whelk at 8:07 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]


I find Ackroyd really fascinating. The previous FPP about the origins of The Blues Brothers and his original 900 page script with complicated backstories and pages of the underlying mythology really underlined it. You can sense that reams of similar material must have been cut out of Ghostbusters. On his own, he has a terrible lack of taste, judgement and self-awareness, but hook him up with a Reitman or a Ramis or Murray or Belushi to act as filter and you got gold.
posted by anazgnos at 8:14 PM on February 25 [7 favorites]


This thread has taught me that despite seeing this movie eleventy billion times, I only caught, like, 20% of the jokes.
posted by jeoc at 8:28 PM on February 25 [3 favorites]


You can sense that reams of similar material must have been cut out of Ghostbusters.

Apparently the first draft took place in the future or maybe outer space.
posted by Sara C. at 8:59 PM on February 25


In fact, I'd say that without Ghostbusters 2, Nothing But Trouble might never have seen the light of day!

For reasons I can no longer remember, I have had a copy of that movie on my shelf for something like ten years.

I have never been in such dire straits as to actually watch it, however.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:41 PM on February 25


Apparently the first draft took place in the future or maybe outer space.

Yeah, both, according to TFA-
IVAN REITMAN: I was told about the idea before, back in the Belushi days. It just didn’t register, and I didn’t pay much attention to it. But finally, I read it and thought, “Wow, this is an amazing idea.” But it would have cost something like $200 million to make. It took place in the future, with many groups of Ghostbusters functioning in an intergalactic setting.

OVITZ: That’s just Danny. He’s never written anything that doesn’t have intergalactic stuff.

AYKROYD: It was a lot darker. And scarier.

REITMAN: I had lunch with Danny at Art’s Delicatessen, and I basically said, “There’s a great idea here, but the script you’ve written is impossible to make. Don’t you think we should set it on planet Earth and not in the future, which would make all the extraordinary stuff feel funnier?’,

I know a lot of script-related stuff is easier to find these days, I wonder if Ackroyd's original version of Ghostbusters is out there...
posted by hap_hazard at 11:46 PM on February 25


Speaking of scripts the original GB3 script (Hellbent) is a pretty good example of why you wouldn't want Aykroyd to have too much power
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:22 AM on February 26


> >In the later seasons of Law and Order, S. Epatha Merkerson's lieutenant was in a relationship with Ernie Hudson, and I liked to pretend that there was another show about the difficulties of navigating a relationship where she's a police officer and he's a ghostbuster.

When you remember she spent the seventies reading the palms of people on bad trips at parties with disco music and demonic possession, this makes even more sense.
posted by K.P. at 4:52 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Well, Aykroyd also had the Blues Brothers, and he was nominated for an Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy.

Trading Places was also very good if problematic.
posted by ersatz at 5:22 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Dr. Ray Stantz: You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909!

Well yeah, that's when the big portal-opening stone was sent through to our side by the Ogdru Jahad.

I recommend any of you who own Ghostbusters to watch with the commentary track. Harold Ramis has some fun anecdotes.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:25 AM on February 26 [1 favorite]


REITMAN: I knew Rick Moranis from Canada.

Finally, an admission that all Canadians know each other
posted by I am the Walrus at 6:28 AM on February 26 [8 favorites]


I admit to not being thoroughly well-versed in the Ghostbusters expanded universe, so maybe some of this is explained, but it's always seemed to me that despite their name the Ghostbusters don't actually spend a lot of time interacting with ghosts.

Generally speaking, a ghost is the lingering spirit of a dead person, right? They may be benevolent, malevolent or neutral; they may haunt a particular location or wander freely; they may have some particular goal they want to accomplish. They may or may not actually be aware that they're ghosts. But the point is that they're dead people, with histories and prior existence as humans.

How often do the Ghostbusters deal with entities like this? Gozer the Gozerian is a god/demon/extradimensional eldritch horror. Vigo the Carpathian was an evil sorcerer of sorts, so that's closer, but he's still not an ordinary ghost. In The Real Ghostbusters, they deal with demons, boggarts, the Boogeyman, and all manner of supernatural beings up to and including Cthulhu himself, but not too many actual ghosts as I'd define them.

So what's the cosmology of the Ghostbusters universe? What happens to us when we die? Did Onionhead/Slimer and the Library Ghost exist as humans previously, and if they did what were their personalities like? Was Slimer a glutton in life, who upon death became an almost mindless creature of the id? Do any ghosts retain their intelligence and consciousness? Could the universes of Patrick Swayze's Ghost and the Ghostbusters coexist, or are they contradictory?

So many questions, but I'll bet Dan Aykroyd knows the answers.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:35 AM on February 26


The Ghostbusters are framed in the movie as "Paranormal Investigators and Exterminators".

They aren't there to answer those questions, just to get these pesky things out of your haunted house/ fancy hotel/etc.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 8:49 AM on February 26


Gozer the Gozerian is a god/demon/extradimensional eldritch horror. Vigo the Carpathian was an evil sorcerer of sorts, so that's closer, but he's still not an ordinary ghost.

Well, for any action movie, you're going to need a "big bad", or an "end boss", or something like that. I guess it's possible to come up with an explicitly ghostly version of that, but to be honest regular old dead people ghosts are kind of boring. There just isn't the scope for imagination that something like an eldritch horror or an evil sorcerer innately carries.

(FWIW in the first two acts of Ghostbusters, you definitely see the Ghostbusters interacting with your typical garden variety haunts.)

In The Real Ghostbusters, they deal with demons, boggarts, the Boogeyman, and all manner of supernatural beings up to and including Cthulhu himself, but not too many actual ghosts as I'd define them.

I think this is sort of like the way that Buffy The Vampire Slayer had slaying vampires as her main mission, but in any given episode they could be dealing with demons, angry demigods, zombies, Inca mummy princesses, gypsy witches, etc. Slaying vampires gets pretty old. You have to mix it up. Likewise with ghosts, though I guess The Real Ghostbusters could have mined the bottom-of-the-barrel cartoon territory of Scooby Doo.
posted by Sara C. at 8:49 AM on February 26


Could the universes of Patrick Swayze's Ghost and the Ghostbusters coexist, or are they contradictory?

I hereby nominate Ghost for inclusion in the Ghostbusters Expanded Universe, along with Animal House and Brooklyn 99.
posted by Sara C. at 8:52 AM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Also The Pit of Ultimate Darkness, Simon and Hecubus' cable access show from Kids in the Hall, should be a real thing in the Ghostbusters Universe, with Ray Stantz a frequent guest.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:25 AM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Well, for any action movie, you're going to need a "big bad", or an "end boss", or something like that. I guess it's possible to come up with an explicitly ghostly version of that, but to be honest regular old dead people ghosts are kind of boring. There just isn't the scope for imagination that something like an eldritch horror or an evil sorcerer innately carries.

Oh, I understand that narratives need a big bad, and that you'd focus on the unusual cases rather than the day-to-day. It's just that it seems like they deal with other types of creatures more often than ghosts. I'm now starting to question the Ghostbusters' shoot-first mentality. How many times have they busted a ghost who was throwing dishes around in someone's kitchen, when it was just the client's late uncle Albert who wanted to call attention to the gold coins he'd buried in the yard?

And if Ghost can exist in the Ghostbusters universe, then how about The 6th Sense? The Frighteners? Beetlejuice?
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:19 AM on February 26


Per the Scouting New York link, and apropos of the ongoing discussion of Could Dana Have Afforded Her Apartment (maybe between me and The Whelk on twitter rather than here?), apparently they originally wanted to have her living on lower Fifth Ave just north of Washington Square Park. Which would be a little more appropriate for a professional concert musician.

Though the main problem with Dana's apartment isn't the neighborhood, it's the extreme poshness of the specific building used. That's the Majestic, an architectural landmark on a prime stretch Central Park West, with a doorman, and notably only one lock on Dana's apartment door.

My guess is that the art director would have put only one lock on Dana's door regardless of the NYC location or the relative poshness of the building.

Though, I mean, come on, she is the GATEKEEPER. If you can't go for the "hahalol NYC is dangerous and I have a million locks on my door" gag here, where can you?
posted by Sara C. at 10:20 AM on February 26


It's just that it seems like they deal with other types of creatures more often than ghosts.

Not in the actual movie. They spend the whole movie dealing with regular ghosts until the last act, which necessarily has to up the stakes.

I don't remember the ghosts vs. other paranormal phenomena ratio of the second film.
posted by Sara C. at 10:22 AM on February 26


Your very own proton pack.
posted by HyperBlue at 12:31 PM on February 26


Your very own proton pack.

A cool thing about ghostbusters for halloween or conventions, is that it's that rare kind of outfit where you can just knock it out of the park and look awesome and turn heads and get people excited even if you're not young, or not beautiful, or not in shape, or not white. The entire aesthetic is grounded in the ordinary everyman (or woman!).
(You'll still need either skill or money though - check out that price on that thing!)
posted by anonymisc at 2:39 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I just remembered that in 2005 I went to the Critical Mass Halloween ride dressed as George W. Bush in his "Mission Accomplished" flight suit and everyone thought I was a Ghostbuster.

In hindsight I sort of wish I'd gone as a Ghostbuster.
posted by Sara C. at 2:45 PM on February 26


A cool thing about ghostbusters for halloween or conventions, is that it's that rare kind of outfit where you can just knock it out of the park and look awesome and turn heads and get people excited even if you're not young, or not beautiful, or not in shape, or not white. The entire aesthetic is grounded in the ordinary everyman (or woman!).
(You'll still need either skill or money though - check out that price on that thing!)


It's also iconic enough that you can do it really rough and on the cheap, Be Kind Rewind sweded-style. Unlike a Ninja Turtle costume, which I learned the hard way as a child you can't half-ass.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:04 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Holy hell you guys I jus rewatched Ghostbusters 2 and wow you can see the studio's fingerprints aaaaaaaallllll over it
posted by The Whelk at 3:29 PM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Here are all my thoughts while watching it ...LIVE
posted by The Whelk at 3:42 PM on March 9 [1 favorite]


also WTF is up with Jeannie's character? She's a totally different person. I had to come up with a headcanon where she worked at like Push-Pin studios and became a hip street artist post Ghostbusters
posted by The Whelk at 1:40 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


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