Ghostbusters

PLOT:

Investigating a disturbance at the New York Public Library, three misfit parapsychology researchers, Drs. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), Raymond “Ray” Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), for the first time witness concrete evidence of paranormal activity, including a ghost. They nevertheless are expelled from Columbia University after their research grants are terminated. To maintain their livelihood, they establish “Ghostbusters”, an organization described by Venkman as a “professional paranormal investigations and eliminations” service, using an old firehouse as their headquarters, a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance dubbed “Ecto-1” as transport, and one Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) as a receptionist. Just as the fledgling business runs out of funds, they are hired by the staff of a hotel plagued by a ghost (named “Slimer” by Ray in The Real Ghostbusters). They capture this ghost successfully, using their nuclear-powered “proton packs” to force it into a small holding trap for later transfer to a containment grid in the firehouse. Following their first successful endeavor, the Ghostbusters suddenly find themselves overwhelmed by calls from prospective clients about hauntings, to the point that they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson). Zeddemore ultimately comes to believe that the increase of ghostly activity is building up towards a single grand-scale paranormal event that will result in the biblical “Judgment Day”, and is later proven to be correct.

Meanwhile, a woman named Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who lives in an apartment at 55 Central Park West, asks the team to investigate a bizarre occurrence in her kitchen. Venkman feels an immediate attraction to the woman, and sees in her request for help an opportunity to become romantically involved with her. He decides to take charge of the case and visits her apartment. He learns from Barrett that a demonic figure speaking from within her refrigerator called her by the name “Zuul”, which is discovered to be the name of a (fictional) demigod worshipped in 6000 BC by the Hittites, Mesopotamians, and Sumerians as a minion of Gozer, the shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman then asks Dana to go on a date with him. On the night of the date, Barrett is abducted by monstrous beings and put into demonic possession by a dog-like beast (see Gytrash) in her own apartment; Venkman arrives to find her in a trance, determined to locate another possessed person. At the same time, accountant Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), Barrett’s neighbor, is chased down and possessed by a similar beast. He is caught by the police and brought to the Ghostbusters. Spengler recognizes that the beings possessing Barrett and Tully, Zuul (“Gatekeeper”) and Vinz Clortho (“Keymaster”) respectively, are seeking each other, and the team agrees to keep them apart to prevent an apocalypse from occurring.

As the ghost containment grid nears its maximum storage capacity, the Ghostbusters are visited by Walter Peck (William Atherton), a representative of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, who had previously questioned the business’ safety only to be turned away by Venkman. Peck has obtained a court order by which to shut the system down; unable to stop him, the team flees the firehouse as the grid collapses and hundreds of freed ghosts flood the city. In the chaos, the possessed Tully roams free and makes his way to 55 Central Park West, while Peck has the Ghostbusters arrested. As they wait in jail, Stantz determines that this building was constructed specifically to summon Gozer, who would then destroy the world. The mayor (David Margulies) orders the release of the Ghostbusters from jail, overriding Peck’s demands, and sends them to prevent the potential catastrophe.

Assisted by the police and Army, the Ghostbusters proceed to the top of 55 Central Park West, but are too late to prevent Barrett and Tully from meeting. Together they open an interdimensional portal, allowing Gozer to enter the human world, while the two are transformed into the doglike beasts seen earlier. When Gozer (Slavitza Jovan) emerges in a female humanoid form, the Ghostbusters briefly force her back into her dimension with their proton guns. Being led to believe that they are its prophesied adversaries, Gozer challenges them to choose a form for it to assume as it destroys the world. When Venkman orders his teammates to think of nothing, Stantz is unable to avoid thinking of the most innocent being he could imagine: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. A gigantic version of this mascot appears and begins to lay waste to the city. Seeing this, Spengler realizes that their only hope is to cross their weapons’ emitted energy streams, reversing the particle flow and destroying Gozer’s gate to its home dimension, despite the fact that the Ghostbusters themselves may be killed as a result. As the “Marshmallow Man” reaches the top of the building, the team executes this plan, causing the gate to explode and reducing the creature to torrents of melted marshmallow. The Ghostbusters survive and Venkman frees Tully and Barrett from their doglike forms, which have been carbonized. When they leave the building, the Ghostbusters are met by Janine, who had been waiting for them. As they leave the scene in the Ecto-1, the public cheers them and Venkman and Dana share a passionate kiss.

REVIEW:

I’m rather ashamed to admit this, but this film gave me nightmares the first time I saw it. Of course, I was only 5, but still. After watching it again tonight, I don’t even know what it was that frightened me so.

Ghostbusters ranks # 28 on AFI’s list of top 100 comedies. I don’t know what else is on there, but that is a respectable ranking for this film. Of course, knowing how some people are, they’d have preferred for this to be some sort of dark horror film with no levity whatsoever. I doubt that it would have had the lasting legacy it does had they have gone that route, though.

Since this film was made in the 80s, the effects aren’t the greatest, but not the worst, and the music plays a major part in the film. You know as soon as you saw that poster up there that you started singing Ray Parker, Jr.’s immortal hit song that doubled as the theme to the movie.

The ghosts, with the excetion of Slimer, seem to be projections on a screen, at least that’s how they look to me. Nothing really tangible to them, then again, they are ghosts. As far as Slimer goes, he seems to be, for lack fo a better term, fleshed out a bit more.

Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Ernie Hudson play the Ghostbusters. The former 3 start the film working at a university and have doctorates, while Hudson is hired later in the film. Murray seems to be the voice and de facto leader of the group. not to mention the mouthpiece and self-proclaimed ladies man. Ramis is the brains of the operation, which is saying something, since these guys are all apparent near geniuses. Akroyd is best described as a balance of his colleagues. Hudson is brought in as the, as much as I hate to say this, token black guy and “normal” guy. He doesn’t have too much of a role here, but he gets more screen time in the sequel. His main scene is one where he warns Ray that it might be Judgement Day.

Sigourney Weaver is a nice change of pace for the eyes to look at, especially once she becomes Zuul. Rick Moranis’ career is all about playing the nerdy guy, so this role was right up his alley.

Gozer initially seemed like she’d have been a formidable adversary, but turns out to not be much of anything. Of course, that may be because she/it chose to morph into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, which aside from being giant wasn’t really intimidating. Still, it was fun to see this giant baby sailor marshmallow dude traipsing down New York City.

Such a shame they don’t make films like this anymore. The sheer fact that 25 years later it still stands as one of the greatest films is a testament to how great it is. This isn’t quite a family film, but everyone can enjoy it, but take it from me, little children may want to look away in parts.

5 out of 5 stars

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7 Responses to “Ghostbusters”

  1. […] Let’s All Go to the Movies!!!! My reviews of movies I catch via Netflix, in theaters, TV, or my own DVD collection. « Ghostbusters […]

  2. […] certain iconic scenes such as the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man stomping down New York City in Ghostbusters, the flying DeLorean taking off and leaving behind two trails of fire in Back to the Future part […]

  3. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  4. […] One critic said that this was trying too hard to be a new version of Ghostbusters. I initially brushed that off, but after I think about it for a bit, it does make sense. Four guys […]

  5. […] We lost a legend this week in Harold Ramis. As it just so happens, ’84 might have the year that his biggest success was released. You may have heard of this little film called Ghostbusters […]

  6. […] fun. Think back to Ghostbusters. Remember how that even though Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man was the harbinger of doom, we all just […]

  7. […] me to hell. I wasn’t expecting anything on the level of Ghostbusters when it comes to the special effects of this film, but the look of the recently deceased going up or […]

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