In the mid 80’s, writers Dan Aykroyd and Harrold Ramis, with the help of director Ivan Reitman, managed to catch lightning in a bottle with their iconic hit film Ghostbusters. The film was a bold and risky endeavor as it would blend the horror and comedy genres. Aykroyd and Ramis used clever writing and excellent special effects to make Ghostbusters an instant classic.
The zany plot revolves around three scientists: Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz, (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harrold Ramis). They work together in the field of paranormal investigations and are making head way in documenting and studying ghosts when their funding is cut, and they subsequently fired by the college that employs them. Rather than giving up, they decide to go in to business for themselves as professional Ghostbusters who eliminate unwanted spirits haunting the people of New York. The business begins to grow and prosper as ghosts and ghost sightings seem to be plaguing the city, alluding to an evil entity that is attempting to cross over into our world. While they become icons and popular celebrities across the city, Venkman begins to fall for his first client Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), who happens to be haunted by a particularly nasty spirit. Soon the Ghostbusters are targeted by an unscrupulous bureaucrat who unknowingly hastens the arrival of an apocalyptic force. It falls to the Ghostbusters to save Dana and the people of New York from an ancient evil.
Despite its strange and risky premise, Ghostbusters became an enormous pop culture phenomenon. Its use of sharp and witty comedy with bizarre and stylish horror aspects were a hit with audiences. The characteristic logo and equipment became a mass marketing success in a similar way to Star Wars merchandise. Ghostbusters would go on to start a whole new sub-genre of films that attempt to make audiences laugh and shriek. The film has consistently made it among various publications’ Top 100 Films Of All Time lists. The popular movie review website Rotten Tomatoes still holds it at a 97% fresh rating. Ghostbusters would go on to start its own franchise and the film itself racked in nearly 300 million dollars. I grew up watching this film, and my family and I can quote nearly every bit of dialogue in this memorable movie.
Ghostbusters was rated PG at the time, but today it would be in the PG-13 category for some use of language, innuendos, and some frightening scenes. Ghostbusters is available at the Union University Library.