The true beauty of this movie is the startling social commentary that it provides.

Hypothetically, any work of fiction is a reflection of the political and social climate of the time in which it was written, and when describing a blockbuster hit (like this was), this is especially pertinent, because it apparently resonated with a lot of people. But what does this mean?

Let's look at the movie:

  • The BAD GUYS: It’s the summer of 1984, and Ronald Reagan is stepping up his re-election campaign. And who is the bad guy in the biggest hit movie? The mean, petty, maniacal, self-promoting, just plain won't-mind-their-own-business Environmental Protection Agency. Yep, those guys over at the EPA sure are evil.
  • The GOOD GUYS: Those three wacky scientists who are determined, despite all odds being stacked against them, to round-up and imprison all of the supernatural residents of the city of New York. Sure, the ghosts may have been living, err, not-living, in that house for hundreds of years, but if we don’t stop them, a veritable invasion of aliens, or at least alien gods, from another world would take over the American way of life. I mean come on, these guys are just trying to make an honest dollar, you know, in the spirit of free trade. Not only that, the ghosts would pervert even the most basic of American institutions—the marketing campaigns of our youth.

So in conclusion, let me just say thank God for the Ghostbusters, because with out them we might have “dogs and cats living together,” and I for one shudder at the thought of different races cohabitating peacefully.

Credit where credit is due: This idea was first suggested to me by my friend Matt over cards, but he doesn’t node.

Personal Note: I LOVE this movie. It's just funny to me how conservative it is when you look at it. What can I say, I’m just another bitter victim of the “just say no” campaign. :-)

Ghostbusters, 1984 - directed by Ivan Reitman, Region 2 DVD - BBFC Rating - PG.

Walking a fine line between horror and comedy, Dan Aykroyd's supernatural satire proves to be a rare thing indeed—a live-action cartoon. Bill Murray deadpans his way through everything and utters quotables too numerous to mention. Basically, a frankly ridiculous idea pulled through 360 degrees and spun into an entertaining romp for everyone.

The picture's probably the best it has ever looked since the original negative was first struck back in 1984: rich, detailed, vibrant colors, it is lent a warmth from the transfer. 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, too. Excellent.

The surround channels are barely used, so it's good that the subwoofer kicks in when the backpacks are switched on and the lightning whips sound superb. A shame more wasn't done, but it's still nice to see a fine film brought into the digital age.

A multitude of extras on the Ghostbusters DVD goes to show the effort expended by Columbia Tristar, lovely menus of New York with Mr. Stay Puft walking through, loads of photographs, and twelve deleted scenes. 1984 promotional featurette on the production, preproduction sketches, special effects featurette, comparison of a rough cut of the film with the final cut, storyboards and Ghostbusters 1 and 2 trailers AND the first video commentary on DVD, something to show off.

Ghostbusters, an oldie but goodie game from Activision for the Commodore 64, is, of course, based on the 1984 smash hit movie of the same name. Players control the three Ghostbusters (Winston drives the Ecto-1 and is not playable, apparently) as they catch New York City's ghosts. Trap ghosts by positioning two of the three busters beside the ghost, push the fire button to fire up the proton packs, and then push the beams into the ghost to force it over the trap. Then suck the ghost into its jail. For each ghost that is successfully trapped, you earn money to spend on better ghost equipment. There's all sorts of neat equipment, such as:

  • Ghost traps (a must have - without these you cannot catch anything!) - Place one of these under the ghost and wait until it hovers over it. Then press the button and the demon's yours.
  • Marshmallow Bait - useful for catching the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Without this, Puffy can stomp the city to bits, causing you to be sued by the city.
  • Ghost vacuum - allows you to suck up the ghosts on the road and earn more money.
  • Ghost bait - attract the ghosts to the vacuum area.
  • Vision Goggles – allows you to see invisible ghosts.
  • PKE Meter – lets you see where ghosts will appear next.
  • Portable containment unit - allows you to refill ghost traps.

The gameplay is great for a C64 game. Use the joystick to move the Ghostbusters from left to right in the street scenes or to drive the Ecto-1 in the driving scenes. The hardest part about the control is convincing the game that you're pushing the "ghost trap activate" button, but other than that it's quite smooth. The sound is faithful to the film. The movie's theme song plays nonstop through the game, and if you should fail to trap a ghost, you hear a electronic voice shout "He slimed me!" If you suck a ghost into the ghost vacuum, you get a sucking sound. Lose the game and you are electronically laughed at. This is the extent of the sounds.

This game is designed with replay in mind. After winning the game you are given a password that allows you to start a new game with your previous bank account, allowing you to buy advanced weaponry and faster cars at the beginning of the game. The downside of the game: once you buy your equipment you cannot buy more until the next game. Also, once you run out of ghost traps, you must drive back to headquarters to swap them out. This can be time consuming if you have only a few traps.

The game was also released for the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, and Sega Game Gear years later with some enhancements (more weapons, easier gameplay, better graphics, and harder goals), but I find that the C64 version of the game is the best version of them all. It is not as buggy and is, to me, more fun with its simple premise and engaging challenge level. I sold my Commodore 64 years ago, and it's a shame that this game went with it – it’s a C64 classic.

This writeup is based on a review I wrote for several years ago.

Who ya gonna call??

wait…whaddya mean that’s not the right one?!? Oh yeah, right…*ahem*

Let’s goooo Ghoooostbusters!!

Before Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston strapped on the proton packs to fight Gozer and Mr. Stay-Puft, there was a forgotten 1970s television series that chronicled the adventures of a trio known as the Ghostbusters.

Premiering on September 6, 1975, "The Ghostbusters" starred "F-Troop" veterans Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch as Jake Kong and Eddie Spenser, two bumbling spook chasers who use their "ghost dematerializer" ray to bust ghosts. Joining up with them is their pet gorilla Tracy, played by Hollywood creature effects guru Bob Burns (who admits that he only got the job because he owned a really good gorilla suit). Ghostbusters was one of the few live action shows produced by Filmation.

The 1975 Ghostbusters was essentially a campy kids' show, with emphasis on poorly done slapstick and vaudeville routines. For example, at the beginning of every episode the team would get their assignment via an exploding tape recording a la "Mission: Impossible", except they would never be able to get rid of the tape in time causing the trio to get cartoonishly blown up. After they got the mission the Ghostbusters would call out “Let’s gooooo Ghoooostbusters!” and ride off into danger in their Ghost Buggy.

Unfortunately the exploding tape gag never got a chance to grow old, as the show was cancelled after 16 episodes.

When the Ghostbusters movie that we all know and love made gobs of money in 1984, Filmation decided to cash in by releasing a cartoon spin-off of their old kids show. Premiering in 1986, this new cartoon, initially called "Ghostbusters" but later changed to "Filmation’s Ghostbusters", was about the original Jake and Eddie’s sons (very imaginatively also named Jake and Eddie) working with Tracy the gorilla. The trio are also joined by Jessica (a TV reporter), Futura (a mysterious woman from the future), and Belfry (a talking bat). At their HQ "Ghost Command" they battle the evil spooks of Prime Evil, who are set up at his "Haunt-Quarters." The Ghost Buggy received a major upgrade and can now transport the team through space and time.

The cartoon was a much more action-oriented show than the original and emphasized fantasy more than the pseudo-science of the Ghostbusters movie, fitting it in well with the other major Filmation cartoon at the time, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". Like He-Man and most other children’s shows at the time, Ghostbusters had several product tie-ins and a series of action figures.

"Filmation’s Ghostbusters" initially did very well in the ratings, but the numbers began to slip when animation studio DIC came out with "The Real Ghostbusters", which was a cartoon spin-off of the Ghostbusters movie. The show was aptly named because although Filmation had the original ghostbusters, in the minds of the viewers, Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston were the real ones. Facing competition from the highly popular characters, Filmation’s ratings began to slip and the show was canned after 62 episodes.

As an avid viewer of both the cartoons, and from what I can recall from when I was 6, the "fake" show was just as good as the “real” one and not as much of a cheap cash-in as one would assume. I was a big big fan of the Filmation show and was sad to see it cancelled. It’s a shame that they couldn’t coexist since both had different niches, the Filmation had more fantasy and comedy than the horror-themed episodes of Real Ghostbusters (at least until that show changed its name to "Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters" and turned to shit.)

Director: Ivan Reitman
Writer:   Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
Genre:    Comedy
Year:     1984
Rating:   PG
Bill Murray      as Peter Venkman
Dan Aykroyd      as Ray Stantz
Harold Ramis     as Egon Spengler
Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett

Plot Summary

Ghostbusters opens with a librarian getting a fright by some unseen creature in the basement of a library. After this, Ray Stantz bursts in on Peter Venkman, who is supposedly running experiments to study psychic ability at the university but is actually flirting with female students, telling him about the ghost sighting. Reluctantly, he ends the experiment and comes along to investigate.

The pair meet up with Egon Spengler at the library, and they head to the basement to investigate, finding ectoplasm in the card catalog and books stacked six feet high in the aisles. Egon has apparently already invented the PKE meter, which acts as a ghost detector, and the trio manage to track down the library ghost. Unsure of what to do now that they've actually found a ghost, they run out of the library when the apparition transforms into a more ghoulish form.

Based on the readings Egon took of the library ghost, he and Ray are convinced they can build ghost capturing and containment equipment, but no sooner do they return to the university than they find the dean kicking them out for their unorthodox research. Now unemployed, they wonder what to do until Peter suggests going into business for themselves. To this end, they mortgage Ray's parents house to buy an old firehouse and the equipment they need to build their tools. And also time for TV commercials.

Their first case is Dana Barret, who sees a vision of a strange temple in her refrigerator, but upon investigating Peter can't find anything. Ray decides to check the architectural blueprints and history of the building while Egon checks on the word "Zuul" which Dana heard during the vision. Unfortunately for Dana, their research takes some time to complete.

In the meantime, having just run out of cash, the Ghostbusters get their first live case: the famous Slimer capture at the hotel. This is the first time the Ghostbusters actually fire their proton streams in the movie... at a maid's cart. But shortly following, after Peter gets slimed, they track Slimer to the ballroom and, after a messy and awkward battle and a warning never to cross the streams, they manage to wrangle him into the ghost trap. The hotel manager balks at the steep $5,000 price tag, but agrees to it rather than have the beastie set loose again.

With a successful containment under their belts, their business takes off. A montage follows of the Ghostbusters walking out of buildings with smoking ghost traps and their faces plastered on the front pages of newspapers and the covers of magazines, set to Ray Parker, Jr.'s Ghostbusters theme song. They have so much business, they have to hire on Winston Zeddmore for extra help.

And in the middle of it all, Dana and her neighbor Louis Tully are attacked by Terror Dogs and possessed by the spirits of Zuul the Gatekeeper and Vince Clorthow the Keymaster, both servants of an evil god named Gozer.

Unfortunately, just as the Ghostbuster's homemade ghost containment grid is starting to fill up to dangerous levels, EPA official and skeptic Walter Peck bursts into the firehouse with a warrant to shut down the operation because of their potentially dangerous and unregulated equipment. Against the Ghostbuster's warnings, they shut down the containment unit, releasing all their trapped ghosts in a spectacular explosion. Peck has the Ghostbusters arrested, and Dana/Zuul and Louis/Vince proceed to the roof of their apartment to open the dimensional doorway for Gozer.

In jail, the Ghostbusters finish looking over the blueprints for Dana's apartment, and discover that the architect, Ivo Shandor, was the leader of a cult devoted to Gozer intended to bring about the end of the world. The apartment building was designed as a massive antenna for paranormal energy. Fortunately for everyone involved, the Mayor is at the end of his rope and the only ones who appear to be able to do anything about the current crisis are the Ghostbusters. He frees them from jail and they suit up to take down Gozer. The ending is a special effects extravaganza involving a 100-foot tall Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man mascot stomping through New York and the Ghostbusters risking everything on one last desperate plan to force Gozer back through the dimensional door.


I have a theory that there are three types of people who enjoy Ghostbusters. You can tell them apart when Ray calls Slimer a "class-5 full roaming vapor"

  1. Whatever. Does that mean you're finally going to shoot your lasers at it already?
  2. This effective use of techno-babble has fully immersed me into the show's fictional reality. These men are professionals with their own unique jargon.

Anyone who knows me in real life should have no trouble figuring out that I fall solidly in category #3. Ghostbusters has the right mix of comedy, action, and plausible pseudo-science to keep me interested throughout its running time.

The original idea behind the movie was penned by Dan Aykroyd, and it was originally intended to be another Aykroyd/Belushi vehicle. Unfortunately John Belushi died before the movie could get made, and Bill Murray was hired to take his role. Belushi did receive a homage in the movie though, in the form of the gluttonous "onionhead ghost", more popularly known as Slimer, who was inspired by Belushi's Bluto character from Animal House.

Aykroyd's original concept for Ghostbusters bears little resemblance to the movie that ultimately resulted from it. At first, the team were highly trained professionals who do battle with the paranormal while jumping through time and dimensions, and what would become the heavy, bulky proton packs we now know were originally wrist-mounted wands that also performed the function of the ghost traps. His high-concept (and high-budget) script was fine-tuned by co-writer Harold Ramis (who played Egon) into its current incarnation. The characters, meanwhile, were re-imagined as out of shape college professors forced into an action hero role they were clearly not ready for.

The four characters that make up the Ghostbusters team play off of each other extremely well. Egon is the stoic scientist of the group, and responsible for the breakthroughs that make their work possible. Ray is the enthusiastic engineer, frequently called upon to translate Egon's babblings into English. Peter is the sleazy salesman, dealing directly with the customers and acting as the public face and voice of the team. Winston is the everyman the audience identifies with, hired on halfway through the movie.

Ghostbusters is followed by Ghostbusters 2, a standard "we were heroes at the end of the first movie but now everyone who hasn't forgotten us hates us" sequel. After years of trying to get a third Ghostbusters movie off the ground, Dan Aykroyd has declared 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game to be the third installment of the franchise.


I give Ghostbusters 5/5 Stars for a fun and engaging movie. One of the few movies I've seen multiple times. The special effects are dated, but it was always intended to be a family movie so it's not too scary for the kids.

Erin: "Why am I operating the untested nuclear laser?"
Holtzmann: "You have the longest arms."

A supernatural comedy movie, released in the summer of 2016 -- and a soft reboot of the original Ghostbusters film from 1984.

Attempts to restart the franchise had been vaporlocked for years, with new scripts coming and going, with original star Bill Murray sometimes supporting the project, sometimes not, with fan interest sometimes rising, but mostly resigned to the series never really making it into theaters, especially after the death of writer and star Harold Ramis in 2014. Murray's reluctance to commit to a new sequel, along with the success of the rebooted "Star Trek" films, likely inspired the move to reboot the franchise with a new cast. 

A number of director Paul Feig's films have been comedies with mostly female casts -- "Bridesmaids" was his biggest hit. So it wasn't entirely surprising that he announced that he was going with a gender-flipped, mostly female cast for "Ghostbusters." But at that point, what was a grumbling undercurrent of "Why can't Hollywood stop remaking classic movies?" turned into a howling, blubbering primal scream of "Don't put nasty girl cooties in my lightweight comedy remake!"

Why the freakout? Very briefly, there's been a mostly under-the-radar war going on in the entertainment business concerning women as audiences, characters, and creators. There were plenty of people who feel that female audiences have been slighted over the years, and that making entertainment that appealed to women -- not the stereotypical woman, not romances and pinafores and new vacuum cleaners -- but to the women who accounted for large percentages of the audiences of action and superhero movies -- would show significant dividends at the box office. And there was the other side, which was driven into frothing fits of rage at the very idea of women in action movies or video games. 

"Oh, be fair! I'm sure they have many good reasons for, um, hating women!" Well, kids, I don't care. These were the same people tweeting death threats and rape threats at women who had the gall to create their own video games or even just to work at video game companies. They're worthless trolls who reasonlessly hate women and minorities and anyone who isn't a straight white male. And ya know, they didn't help their cause very much anyway -- when one of the most common complaints about the new "Ghostbusters" movie was that it was "ruining my childhood," well, y'all, there's just no reason to take someone like that seriously. Abusive parents ruin your childhood. Movie reboots that come out over 30 years after the original and at least 20 years after you were supposed to be classified as an adult don't actually ruin your childhood at all. Fer cry-eye, no one complains that Michael Bay's pukalicious Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies ruined anyone's childhoods. Why not? Oh, it is a mystery.

Holtzmann: (scarfing down Pringles while watching a ghost materialize) "Just try saying no to these salty parabolas."

Anyway: the new movie was directed by Paul Feig, written by Feig and Katie Dippold, and produced by Ivan Reitman (the director of the 1984 movie) and Amy Pascal. The stars included: 

There were also cameo appearances from most of the stars of the original 1984 movie. 

The plot focuses on ambitious physics professor Erin Gilbert discovering that her secret shame -- a book about ghosts written with her childhood friend, parapsychologist Abby Woods -- is still on the market, potentially damaging her quest for tenure. She asks Abby to remove the book from Amazon, but gets dragged along with Abby and the gloriously demented engineer Jillian Holtzmann as they go to investigate a ghost at the Aldridge Mansion Museum. Erin's gleeful reaction to seeing (and getting slimed by) a ghost is recorded and put on YouTube, which, sure enough, causes her to get fired from her position at Columbia University. The three decide to go into business together as paranormal investigators and soon meet up with Patty Tolan, an MTA worker and NYC history buff, who has seen a ghost in the subway tunnels. Patty soon joins the group, and they hire a secretary, the extremely handsome and spectacularly stupid Kevin Beckman. 

Before long, they enjoy some staggering successes, but also learn the authorities want to keep information about ghosts quiet to prevent a panic. The team also learns that someone (the resentful misanthropic genius Rowan North) is purposely causing ghosts to manifest along ley lines in New York, in an attempt to crack open the barriers between life and death and destroy the world. Can the Ghostbusters keep Rowan from destroying New York?

How much did I love this movie? Well, first, let me tell you that I'm probably genetically predisposed to enjoying Ghostbusters movies. I saw the first one when I was in high school. Then I saw it as many times as I could. I memorized dialogue. I learned to draw the logo freehand. I bought the soundtrack. And the orchestral score. And the novelization. I even watched Ghostbusters II several times and even enjoyed it for a while. I'm a Ghostbusters guy, all the way down to my bones. But I was nervous I wouldn't enjoy it, because I'd heard so many people, apparently worried about angering the GamerGators, who scoffed that they didn't expect to like the movie. 

I loved this movie so, so, so hard. 

Kevin: "Would it be okay if I bring my cat to work sometimes? He has major anxiety problems."
Abby: "You know what? I would love to let your cat live here with you, but I have a pretty severe cat allergy."
Kevin: "Oh, I don't have a cat. He's a dog. His name's My Cat."
Abby: "Your dog's name is My Cat?"
Kevin: "Mike Hat."
Erin: "Your dog's name is Mike, last name Hat?"
Kevin: "Well, his full name is Michael Hat."
Abby: "I can't say that I'm allergic to dogs... so."
Kevin: "You know, it's all right. He lives with my mum."

It's not a perfect film -- but neither was the original Ghostbusters. The biggest problem with the film is the villain. Rowan is just not a particularly daunting bad guy, either as a dour, living misanthrope or as a drunk-with-power undead Ghostbusters logo come to life. He also has relatively little interaction with the rest of the characters, which probably would've done a lot to make him a better villain.

But aside from that, the film pretty much nailed every Happiness Neuron in my brain. The filmmakers very clearly understood that the best things about the original Ghostbusters were the ghosts and the characterization of the main characters. The ghosts are good, and often great -- Gertrude Aldridge and the electrocuted subway ghost are early standouts, mostly done the old-fashioned way -- there are actors under the glowing blue auras, and that helps make them look cool. Improved effects technology also allows for the beautiful and awe-inspiring parade balloon ghosts, which are goofy, terrifying, and retro-cool all at the same time. And Slimer (or Onionhead -- I always preferred the name used by the crew of the original film) has a substantial role to play, too.

The original Ghostbusters worked so well because its main gimmick was taking a bunch of talented comedians and letting them riff off each other. Wiig and McCarthy get the star billing and enjoy tons and tons of great comic moments, but the film really belongs to McKinnon, Jones, and Hemsworth. All three get some of the very best comedy bits in the film -- McKinnon's lesbian mad scientist with the cartoon Egon hairdo, Jones' towering, hilarious history geek, and Hemsworth's unexpected flair for deadpan comedy should be considered star-making moments, and I hope every studio in Hollywood is offering them great new roles.

One of the coolest things about the movie is the Ghostbusters get to be genuine action heroes without having to be turned into femme fatales. During the big Battle of Times Square scene, all four characters get their own badass action scenes, and they don't get sexualized -- pretty much exactly the way you'd shoot a male action hero. No one strips down to a tank top, no one shows any leg. About the closest you get is when Holtzmann pulls out her new proton pistols and licks one of them before unleashing on the ghosts surrounding her. (Holtzmann's action sequence is just so good here -- she kicks the most ass, she gets the longest scene, and her segment is the only one accompanied by the movie's theme song -- it suggests she may actually be the main character of the movie.)

Anyone whose childhood has been ruined by this movie didn't have a very good childhood to begin with -- and they probably weren't actually fans of the original movie. If you haven't seen it yet, try to make time to watch it. Don't let a bunch of whining manbabies scare you off from it. 

Holtzmann: "Safety lights are for dudes!"
Rebecca Gorin: "Safety lights are for dudes."
(high five)
Rebecca Gorin: "I hate doing that." 

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