1. Ghostbusters (1984)


This is going to be very long, full of spoilers, and very image heavy, just so you know.

October Horror Movie Challenge month commences with Ghostbusters, a.k.a. Ghost Busters. I felt that it was fitting to start with Ghostbusters because it was the film that introduced me to the genre. Watching it on TV with my dad is one of my earliest memories. I hadn’t turned 2 yet, so I wasn’t of an age where I could emotionally connect enough to what I was watching to be scared, but obviously it made enough of an impression that I still vividly remember it. My baby thoughts at the time were:

  1. There is a guy made out of marshmallows, that is cool, is that possible? I don’t know.
  2. My dad is eating peanuts, and he is giving me a few. That is great.
  3. My mom is yelling at my dad for letting me watch this movie on TV, but I am not in trouble, so it is hilarious rather than scary or sad.

Maybe I was too little to be watching it, but I don’t think it irreparably damaged my young, impressionable mind. I guess the moral of the story is that if you take a baby and set it on a couch in front of Ghostbusters then it might turn into someone like me.

"There is no Dana, there is only Zuul."

"There is no Dana, there is only Zuul."

I would like to believe that I live in a world in which every single person has seen this film, but in case I am wrong, there is a plot summary over at Wikipedia. The movie is perfectly cast, which is pretty amazing considering how many re-writes occurred and the difficulty they had in getting people to sign on. John Belushi probably could have handled the role of Venkman, but I think the movie would have seriously suffered without Rick Moranis as Louis Tully, Sigourney Weaver’s nerdy accountant neighbor.

Rick Moranis as Louis Tully

Rick Moranis as Louis Tully

As a child of the 80s, I will always remember Rick Moranis as a) Louis Tully, and b) the dad from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, a movie that traumatized me as a child. True to the title, it is about a scientist whose invention shrinks his children, who then have to grapple with tasks like trying to let their parents know that they shrunk, and trying not to die. It is supposed to be a comedy, but the idea that my own father could shrink me and sweep me out in the trash was completely horrifying. Also, there are giant spiders, bees, and a lawnmower – these kids are constantly in scary, near-death situations. What were you thinking, Disney? What were you thinking??

Really, though, all of the performances in Ghostbusters are top-notch. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis tear it up, Sigourney Weaver is looking GREAT (see above photo), and best of all, we have Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters secretary. I know her role is fairly minor compared to every other one I’ve listed, but she steals every scene she is in, much like she does as Molly Ringwald’s boss in Pretty in Pink. I was going to make a montage of some of the great Annie Potts scenes in Ghostbusters, but unfortunately my poor laptop can’t handle video editing software at the moment. Here is an adorable promo trailer for the new Ghostbusters video game featuring her instead:


The best things about Ghostbusters are as follows:

1. The section of the movie in which the Ghostbusters visit the New York Public Library to investigate a librarian ghost. Ghosts and libraries are two of the best things in general, so it is natural that this is one of the best things in the movie.

"No human would stack books like this."

"No human being would stack books like this."

2. Annie Potts, as discussed above.

3. It is so quotable. In general, I find it really annoying when people are constantly quoting movies or television shows, mostly because I love movies and television but can never remember what movies quotes come from, and so I seem like a dumbass. I hate seeming like a dumass. However, I quote Ghostbusters all the time. Do you know how often I say, “There is no Anne, there is only Zuul” in everyday conversation? Probably more than is normal or advisable.

Anne rating: a solid 9 out of 10.

Maybe I shouldn’t have chosen a movie I love for my first one, because now you will think that I don’t know how to write about films in a critical manner. Uh, um, okay, here are the worst things about Ghostbusters:

1. Ernie Hudson’s character seems like an afterthought – the character just isn’t developed enough, nor does he seem to have any real purpose in the film.

2. Not enough Annie Potts. If I were hanging out with Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis in 1982 when I imagine they were writing this movie, I would have let them know that instead of placing an ad for a 4th Ghostbuster, they should have hired internally and promoted Janine Melnitz. Can you imagine her taking on Gozer on the roof of Sigourney Weaver’s building? That is some classic unmade cinema right there.

In conclusion, Ghostbusters is great. Here is a picture of me from around the same time I first saw the movie. Maybe I am dreaming about it.

Ghostbuster dreams

Ghostbusters dreams

I also watched The Omen today, but I’m saving my post for tomorrow because my laptop crashed (this is not unusual) before I could get good screencaps. This also prevented me from watching Ghostbusters 2 as planned, so I will have to save that for tomorrow as well.

~ by Anne Harding on October 1, 2009.

6 Responses to “1. Ghostbusters (1984)”

  1. UM okay so I love you for this post. ❤

    I also need to watch that movie again. It's been too long.

  2. when i was in 2nd grade i slept over at this kid tony’s house. he was ABSOLUTELY convinced that Zuul was real and he worshipped him, like actually made us (my brother and me) join him in prayer to Zuul that night. it was the first and last time i spent the night at tony’s house, and i think he moved to arizona later that year.

    he also believed you could kill anyone by clenching your hands into fists and spinning them in front of you- dumbass 7 year-olds!

    i look forward to commentary on all the more terrifying imagery in GB 2. specifically, i would argue ernie hudson’s only purpose in both movies is for the setup to the train and heads-on-pikes scene.

  3. Disney, as you know, should never make live action sci fi/fantasy movies for children. Cases in point:Honey I Shrunk the Kids, as you mentioned, and the most terrifying movie ever made, The Watcher in the Woods.

    Also, Annine Potts is tied with Bill Murray’s delivery of his one liners for my favorite thing about this movie.

  4. I love this movie so much I am such a obsessed 80s fan it’s scary and I just purchased the ghostbusters gift set with both movies and I love it lol 🙂

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