Stuff I Watch in October: Ghostbusters (1984)


Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Ghostbusters (1984)


DIRECTOR: Ivan Reitman,fresh off “Stripes”, pitched this to the studio as a “comedy” — which it was — but, comedies didn’t really have much of a return on investment. When Reitman assured the studio that they had the film would recoup their money due to it being loaded with action and horror elements, Reitman got the money he needed. And, man, he did some really good stuff after this film. Too bad almost nobody remembers how good “Dave”, “Twins”, and “Six Days, Seven Nights” were.

WHAT IS IT?: 1984’s “Ghostbusters” was truly lightning in a bottle, combining elements of comedy, action, and horror, the film was a huge blockbuster and cultural phenomenon when it came out. People were wearing Ghostbuster t-shirts, Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” was topping the charts, and the film wasn’t trash. It delivered the goods in a way the reboot couldn’t even come close to doing.

THE PLOT: After a trio of scientists who are attempting to prove the existence of the paranormal have their grant terminated by their university, they decide to go into business as paranormal exterminators. At first, business is booming and the three friends are instant celebrities — but all that spiritual energy is building to something far bigger and it may be more than the team of mortal men can handle.

WHAT DID THE CRITICS THINK?: They loved it. Positive marks across the board. Roger Ebert remarked that it was one of the only movies he saw where “the special effects served the actors” and not the other way around — though the New York TImes’ Janet Maslin thought the film went overboard during the third act.


WHAT DID I THINK?: The movie is so well-balanced, with “spirited” performances (see what I did there?) from the human actors and the ghostly ones, boasting equal parts light horror, comedy, and action with beautiful and impressive special effects by Richard Edlund and his company, Boss Film Studios, an effects shop that was literally created for the purpose of making this film by after Industrial Light + Magic (Edlund’s former stomping grounds) declared themselves booked with other films.

Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis’ script is sharp, witty and smart and if it sounds like the supernatural stuff was deeper than it should have been, that’s because Aykroyd has a huge obsession with the supernatural and makes it sound…well, natural and real. It’s also a bit of a love letter to New York City as the film utilized several landmarks and had an actual “route” for the Stay-Puft Marshallow Man (another insanely brilliant moment in this film) to wreak havoc.

The cast is perfection. Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd playing their scientist roles with absolute ease and Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson off-set them perfectly as blue-collar type, no-nonsense jokers. Everyone here is in their prime. Sigourney Weaver makes a wonderful female love interest for Murray and I love how tough and independent she is. Rick Moranis and Annie Potts round out the cast and they’re both awesome.

Everything about 1984’s “Ghostbusters” just screams “fun” and we probably wouldn’t see anything like it again until 1997’s “Men in Black”.


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