a review by the Swan(!)
ft. the Crow (a little bit).
Hey guys. Swan(!) here. The Crow asked me to write another review for the horror-themed month on the The Corvid Review, but truth of the matter is I’m not much of a horror movie fan. Then the Crow suggested that I should review Ghostbusters, and seeing as that’s one of my favourite movies, I decided to help the Crow out by writing this old thing. Not only is “Ghostbusters” a song that this Swan(!) decides to bellow out every karaoke night at his local, it’s also a film laced with quirky characters, humour and a lot of entertainment. So, let’s strap on our packs, fire out those protons, avoid crossing the streams and begin.
The Crow: You’re all welcome for the link.
SPOILER LEVELS at MODERATE
The film starts with three scientists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) investigating various paranormal activities at Columbia University. Unfortunately, their bizarre methods of “investigating” attract the unwanted attention of one of the deans, leading the scientists to be fired from the university.
In response to this, the scientists form their own business which investigates all things paranormal and captures said paranormal entities in the process – a.k.a. the Ghostbusters. (duh!). Fortunately, Ray’s relatives left him a little something in their will, which means the Ghostbusters end up getting their own headquarters (i.e. A disused fire station). And while they’re at it, they get a nifty car (which is a former ambulance), a secretary in the form of Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) and a storage facility which allows the Ghostbusters to develop high tech equipment to capture their ghosts.
One of the first Ghostbuster customers is a Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver). She initially believes the whole Ghostbusters thing is a bit of a fluke, but she decides to “give them a call” after seeing some random terror dogs scream “ZUUL!” in her fridge. Man, those terror dogs used to scare the living shit out of me as a kid. Maybe that contributed to a weariness of dogs for many years, but I digress.
Venkman shows up at Dana’s flat to investigate and uses the opportunity to hit on Dana (which doesn’t work). Business is also slow on the Ghostbusters front until they get a call to capture a ghost at the Sedgewick Hotel. The Ghostbusters manage to capture the ghost (known as Slimer in future animated instalments) and from then on, their business skyrockets in the form of more clients, more tv interviews etc. They even recruit another member Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) who’s not that into the paranormal stuff but is willing to play along for the sake of a “steady pay-check”. Heh, always loved that line.
Meanwhile, the Ghostbusters are under scrutiny from Walter Peck (William Atherton) who’s an Environmental Protection Agency inspector. He asks to see the storage facility and gets pretty much told to fuck off by Venkman in one of my favourite scenes. This spells trouble for the Ghostbusters later in the movie, but I’ll get to that in a little while. Venkman meets up with Dana and explains that Zuul was a demigod worshipped as a servant to “Gozer the Gozerian.” They also agree to go for a date. Unfortunately for Dana, the terror dogs show up at her flat and possess her under the orders of Zuul. They also possess Dana’s next-door neighbour and stalker Louis Tully (Rick Moranis). I kinda felt sorry for Tully in the scenes before he was possessed, as he meant well but was very socially awkward. Like my love life as a teenager, but I digress again.
Venkman shows up at Dana’s flat and ends up getting creeped on by a possessed Dana who claims to be the “Gatekeeper”. Similarly, a possessed Louis Tully wanders the streets of New York claims to be the “Keymaster of Gozo” leading the police to drop him off at Ghostbusters HQ in order to find out what the heck’s wrong with him. To make matters worse, Peck returns with law enforcement/city workers and demands that the Ghostbusters shut down their storage facility. Ignoring the pleas of the Ghostbusters due to Peck’s persistence, the storage facility gets shut down, the ghosts escape to wreak havoc among New York City and the Ghostbusters get arrested. Louis manages to escape the building, meet up with Dana (still possessed by Zuul) and take over the flat which is revealed to be a dumping ground for Gozer worshippers with the intent of destroying the world.
Fortunately, the Ghostbusters convince the Mayor to release them in order to stop this threat for good. So, the Ghostbusters march up to Dana’s flat to do battle with Zuul. Who wins? Well, this being a supernatural/comedy movie, there aren’t really any surprises. Although, I have to say I do like the final battle as it’s jam packed with funny dialogue and an encounter with one of the most bizarre villains in the Ghostbusters franchise: The Stay Puft Marshmellow Man. I mean, like, seriously. Such a comical, bizarre character but hey, it works.
Overall, Ghostbusters is a movie I like watching now and again due to the humour. I think that’s the main thing that works in this movie: the humour. Especially how the main cast use that humour to play off each other in certain scenes. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson make a formidable team as the Ghostbusters, while Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis make a fine supporting cast. I also like William Atherton’s performance as Walter Peck. He’s a character that people are supposed to despise, as he’s the no-nonsense bastard trying to put our heroes out of business. While some of the special effects leave a lot to be desired, we do have to accept that it is a film made in 1984 and that it was never going to be perfect by any means. Still, it’s one of my top favourite films and one that I remember very fondly as a “weeny lickle boy”. I also liked the spin off cartoons as well: The Real Ghostbusters and The Extreme Ghostbusters. And please for the love of God, do not get me started on the 2016 remake. I think the Crow’s already torn that to shreds. Here’s hoping the true sequel (which is coming out next year) does the franchise justice!
— Peace out!
THE SWAN(!): 8/10
Here’s the official poster: