With the 30th Anniversary and the Summer 2013 Ghostbusters 3 filming just around the corner, I thought now would be a perfect time to take a “SS210’s Look Back” at the Ghostbustersfranchise. From movies to toys to comics to cartoons, Ghostbuster’s was everywhere in the 1980s. Please share your thoughts on the past success of this franchise or the future direction of where the franchise is heading!
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City, who start a ghost catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a potential client and her neighbor. It was released in the United States on June 8, 1984 and made US$238,632,124 in the United States. The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list of film comedies.
The film was followed by a sequel, Ghostbusters II in 1989, and two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters.
Following their first encounter with a ghost, misfit parapsychologists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) lose their jobs at Columbia University. Unable to research their discovery, the trio establish a paranormal exterminator service known as “Ghostbusters” in a retired firehouse. Lacking customers and faced with dwindling funds, they are eventually hired by the Sedgewick Hotel to investigate a haunting. At the hotel, they capture their first ghost and deposit it in a “containment unit” located in the firehouse basement. Paranormal activity begins to increase in New York City, and the Ghostbusters become celebrities containing it, while at the same time becoming increasingly burdened by the hectic schedule. The group later hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), to help them cope with the demands.
The Ghostbusters are hired by Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit called Zuul, a demigod worshipped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-changer god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, competing for Dana’s affection with her neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis). As they investigate, Dana is possessed by Zuul, which declares itself “The Gatekeeper”, and Louis by a similar demon called Vinz Clortho, “The Keymaster.” Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer, and the Ghostbusters plan to keep the two apart. Thereafter, the Ghostbusters’ office is visited by Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the EPA, who arrests the team for operating an unlicensed nuclear device in their basement and orders their ghost containment grid deactivated, unleashing hundreds of captured ghosts onto the city. Freed from the Ghostbusters’ custody, Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul’s apartment while the escaped ghosts create havoc throughout the city.
Consulting blueprints of Dana’s apartment, the Ghostbusters learn that it was built by mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, who designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after the horrors of World War I. The Ghostbusters are brought to the mayor’s office and freed in order to combat the paranormal activity, but are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who initially appears as a woman (Slavitza Jovan). Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the “destructor” will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Venkman, holding that this means that whatever they imagine will appear as a destroying force, urges his comrades to avoid giving form to the destructor by clearing their minds. Unable to keep his mind blank, Stantz remembers a beloved corporate mascot from childhood, “something that could never, ever possibly destroy us,” whereupon the destructor arrives in Stantz’s chosen form of the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and begins laying waste to the city. To defeat this manifestation, the team decides to merge the energy streams of their proton packs (against which they were advised earlier in the film) while directing these against Gozer’s entrance. The plan succeeds, banishing Gozer back to whence it came, sealing the gateway between the worlds, and destroying the Marshmallow Man in a single explosion. Soon thereafter, Dana and Louis are freed from the ashen remains of their possessors. As hundreds of New Yorkers wipe the melted marshmallow goo from their brows, the Ghostbusters are applauded by the city’s population.
Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman
Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond “Ray” Stantz
Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett
Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler
Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore
Rick Moranis as Louis Tully
Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz
William Atherton as Walter Peck
David Margulies as Mayor Lenny
Slavitza Jovan as Gozer Paddi Edwards as Gozer (voice)
The cast also includes Alice Drummond as a librarian, Jennifer Runyon as an ESP volunteer, and director Ivan Reitman provides the voice of Zuul and Slimer. Roger Grimsby, Larry King, Joe Franklin, and Casey Kasem make cameo appearances in the film.
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