You know the film. You know the theme song. Hell, you know every quote by heart. Even 30 years later, Ghostbusters’ impact on the culture of cinema is felt to this day.
I remember first seeing Ghostbusters when I was 14-years-old. At the time, I was going through a period of my life where I was doing nothing but watching classic comedies. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Stripes, Animal House, Groundhog Day and The Blues Brothers were particular favorites of mine. Ghostbusters was one of those comedies that stuck with me, because it was so different. It was a comedy that incorporated elements of horror and science-fiction seamlessly into its narrative. It was and still is one of the most unique and daring films I’ve ever seen.
For those that are unaware, this week marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters’ release. Starting Labor Day weekend, a 4k remastered version Ghostbusters will make its way back into theatres across the United States. Originally making its premiere in 1984, Ghostbusters went on to be one of the highest grossing movies of the decade with a total gross of $230 million. It also created a franchise that seemed to seep into every entertainment medium. With a sequel, two animated cartoons, multiple video games and a never ending supply of memorabilia, Ghostbusters was a cultural phenomenon.
While it feels unnecessary for me to do so, a short synopsis of the original film for the poor souls who have yet to see the film is a must.
Directed by Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters at first follows a trio of parapsychologists who take it upon themselves to investigate paranormal activities across New York City. After losing their jobs at Columbia University, Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) eventually create a paranormal extermination service called “Ghostbusters, “ which is tasked with the removal of angry spirits causing mischief across the city. Quickly becoming celebrities, the Ghostbusters hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddermore (Ernie Hudson), to help lessen their substantial work load.
Meanwhile, Venkman has taken a particular interest in a case involving a woman named Dana Barret (Sigourney Weaver), whose apartment is revealed to be a doorway to a spirit called Zuul, a demonic monster who worships an evil Sumerian god of destruction called Gozer the Gozerian. Venkman also spends his time competing for the affection of Ms. Barett with her awkward yet well-meaning neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis).
The quotes, oh how I love the quotes. Even though it’s 30-years-old, I still hear people quoting the original film like it came out only a year ago. As much as I want to paste every single quote into this article, I’ve picked out a few of my favorites that you can read below.
“Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!”
“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…MASS HYSTERIA!”
“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”
“Yes it’s true. … This man has no dick.”
A sequel, Ghostbusters 2, would eventually make its way to theatres in 1989. Unlike the first film, the sequel would not be embraced by critics or general audiences. It was mostly criticized for being too similar to the first movie.
While the sequel was mostly a disappointment, the Ghostbusters franchise was still going strong with the creation of an animated series called The Real Ghostbusters (1986). Lasting an impressive six seasons, The Real Ghostbusters followed the team after the events of the first film. A sequel series, Extreme Ghostbusters was created in 1997 and followed a new team of Ghostbusters under the tutelage of Egon.
While Ghostbusters has multiple video games across a number of gaming consoles, the best is the recent title, Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the Xbox 360 and the PS3. Almost working as an unofficial third entry in the film series, Ghostbusters: The Video Game threw players into the world of paranormal extermination as the newly hired fifth member of the Ghostbusters. The game revisits a number of locales from the first and second movies, and even features the vocal talents of the original cast. The game actually received fairly positive reviews, and features a meaty single-player campaign of about 8-10 hours. It’s a must-buy for any Ghostbusters fan.
Even with all of Ghostbusters’ success, a possible third film has been languishing in development hell for nearly two decades. Every year, rumors of a third movie typically end up on the front page of multiple film review websites. It’s almost become a running gag for Ghostbusters 3 to be moving forward, only to be shut down after a director drops out, or a former cast member refuses to be involved in the production. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directing team behind such cinematic hits such as The Lego Movie and 22 Jump Street, were the most recent directors hired to take on the task of making the third entry in the series. Sadly, even the miracle-making duo decided to drop out of the production.
With the recent passing of Ramis and the all too obvious disinterest of Murray, a third Ghostbusters film featuring the surviving members of the original cast seems unlikely. However, I do think it’s possible to bring this series back from the afterlife in a new form. Who’s to say that the franchise can’t continue with some fresh faces thrown in the mix? Look, as much as some fans want to see Venkman, Stantz and Zeddermore again, it’s just not in the cards. A new quartet of actors are needed to continue the franchise.
That’s why I believe that casting actors who exhibit strong on-screen chemistry with their co-stars is the only way for a possible third film to be a potential success. Probably the best comedic on-screen duo in film right now is Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Their surprising success with the 21 Jump Street film series proves that these two actors are able to work off of each other’s strengths and deliver some of the best comedic performances in years.
On the small screen, it’s hard to argue that Danny Pudi and Donald Glover of Community aren’t the best when it comes to showing a loving friendship blossom over a five year period. Troy and Abed exhibit a chemistry that probably hasn’t been seen since Scrubs’ bro-love between Turk and J.D.
Personally, I think a new team of Ghostbusters with a cast consisting of Hill, Tatum, Glover and Pudi would be incredible. We already know that each of them has a knack for comedy and are willing to make fun of themselves to entertain an audience. Aykroyd, Murray and Hudson could probably function as mentors in the series of movies, trying to help the new team battle the paranormal.
A different setting for film is a must as well. As much as I love New York City, one of the problems with Ghostbusters 2 was that it was set in the same location as the first film. Having the new Ghostbusters investigating paranormal activity in a new location could help distance itself from being a direct remake of the first two movies. The Ghostbusters could investigate ghostly apparitions in the New Orleans, or possibly European cities. It’s important for the third film to honor the original, but to also be its own thing.
Even if Ghostbusters 3 never becomes a reality, I’m still just happy to just re-watch the original, while quoting every single line from memory. What? It’s not weird!
What about you reader? How has the franchise impacted your life? How would you approach a third Ghostbusters film? Should there even be one? Let us now in the comments below!