Throwback Thursday: Ghostbusters (1984)


This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the best blockbusters to come out of the 80’s, Ghostbusters. Nostalgic for many; the film is simply iconic, boasting a fantastic soundtrack and imagery such as the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, that has become ingrained in popular culture.

A perfect balance of genres, the film is first and foremost, just really good fun. Horror, action and sci-fi all play their role but it never loses sight of its comedic roots. Even in the films scarier moments, the opening library sequence for example, the action is accompanied by cartoon-like sound effects that remind us the film has it’s tongue placed firmly in cheek.

What really makes the film work as well as it does though, is the casting. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis are fantastic in their respective roles and Ernie Hudson does a great job in the small time he’s on screen. Bill Murray makes Ghostbusters what it is though, and his obvious improvisational style, accompanied by a knowing grin, injects a lot of comedy into the film.

What’s especially surprising is that he somehow manages to make a very unlikeable character, extremely likeable. Let’s face it, Dr Peter Venkman is a slimey and sarcastic bully who as Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett describes as “more of a game show host, than a scientist”. Through Murray’s miraculous abilities however, by the end of the film, we grow to find him endearing and charming enough to cheer on as the leader of our heroes.

What I find really interesting about Ghostbusters though, is the fact that it pushes the boundaries of its certification. Now considered a family film of sorts and shown on television in the mid-afternoon, there are moments throughout that are considerably more adult. Not in terms of the horror, but more in way of the language used and risqué nature of the key master/gate keeper relationship in the films final act. In this regard, it represent’s a period of film which wasn’t afraid to play to an older audience as well as a younger one,

Ghostbusters is the type of film that is passed down from generation to generation, and is always finding a new audience. Rightly so, It’s clever, consistently funny and has a third act that whilst it may seem laughable now, would have been considered huge for its time. Whether you hold a special place for Ghosbusters in your heart or not, the fact that it is a classic piece of cinema is undeniable.

Trivia Tidbit: The original premise of Ghostbusters had three main characters: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. They fought ghosts in S.W.A.T. like suits using wands instead of guns. The ghost named Slimer was known as ‘Onionhead’, and at the end of the movie, Ghostbusters businesses were all over the United States. John Candy also was slated to play Louis. However, with Belushi’s death and characters backing out, the script was rewritten and new actors cast.

Next Week: Inception (2010)

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