#5 – Ghostbusters 1984
Back off, man. I’m a scientist.” – Peter Venkman
Ghostbusters is about a trio of recently fired university paranormal research scientists who choose to leave the confines of academia to open a start-up supernatural ghost and spirit extermination business in the private sector. (Insert obligatory “Obama, You Didn’t Build It” joke here) Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spangler (Harold Ramis). They get a call from the manager of the Sedgwick Hotel that their upper floors are haunted – by Slimer. They come, they see, they kick its ass. After that, it doesn’t take long for business to pick up, ghosts to start being busted, and the three to become to New York celebrities. They are then hired by Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) to investigate the demonic haunting of her apartment by a demigod named Zuul. The Ghostbusters discover that Dana’s apartment building was constructed as a gateway to summon Gozer, a Sumerian god of destruction, which they must prevent from happening.
The idea for Ghostbusters came about from Dan Aykroyd’s keen interest in the paranormal. Want to know where that interest came from? Notice this book, A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters. Author’s name look familiar? That’s right. Peter Aykroyd is the father of one, Dan Aykroyd. Which makes Dan Aykroyd a second generation demon hunter, sort of like Simon Belmont or Dean Winchester. Holy Crap. Aykroyd used his “demon hunting experience” during his script development for the movie. As you learn in the commentary track on the DVD, Venkman’s treatment of Dana during her possession by Zuul is the actual recommended treatment for an individual that is possessed by an evil spirit. Even the technical jargon wasn’t just made up. Well, at least it wasn’t just made up just for the movie. For example: The term “ectoplasm” was actually coined by Nobel Prize winning physiologist, Charles Richet, to denote a substance or spiritual energy “exteriorized” by physical mediums.”
Ghostbusters was, and to a large extent still is, extremely popular. It spun off toy lines, video games, cartoons, and a lackluster sequel. The theme song, sung by Ray Parker, Jr., was also a smash hit. It occupied the top spot on the Billboard charts for three weeks and is probably still played today in roller rinks across the country. There are rumblings about another potential addition to the Ghostbusters franchise. I’m not sure how I feel about this considering what a massive failure it was to dig up Indiana Jones for a fourth a time after two decades had passed. Shia LaBeouf swinging on hanging vines through the jungle with a bunch of monkeys a la Tarzan? Really, Spielberg and Lucas? Really?! I now just pretend that the sequel that shall not be named doesn’t exist. I don’t want the Ghostbusters to shame themselves in similar fashion.
Begging your pardon, but I will conclude with a somewhat related tangent involving one of my pet peeves: “Ghost Hunting” shows……….
Ghostbusters was so awesome to me during my formative years, that I went trick-or-treating as one for Halloween one year, complete with khaki coveralls, plastic proton pack, and vaccuum ghost trap. This was me………
But eventually you need to grow up and stop taking the subject matter so seriously. Or else you might end up with your own TV show on the SyFy Network or the Travel Channel believing that you are actually hunting ghosts with a bunch of instruments you don’t know how to operate and don’t understand what they were designed to do in the first place. Like this guy. Judging by his exhaustive wardrobe of Affliction style apparel, Zak Bagans isn’t even qualified to properly dress himself, let alone understand that an EMF meter wasn’t designed to hunt ghosts. “Ghosts are said to give off electromagnetic energy, therefore if we come across a spike on our EMF meter that we can’t personally explain, it is reasonable to assume a ghost might be present.” Sound scientific methodology there, Bagans. Who says ghosts give off electromagnetic energy, again? Citation please.