Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Favorite Era: Ghostbusters (1984)

One year ago I started this series with one of the best blends of action and horror of all time.  Today, the horror comedy gets its due.  When I was a little kid, this movie was an obsession for me.  I loved every single thing about it.  I had the film, I had the toys, I watched the cartoon series, I even sort of dug the sequel when it first came out.  Ghostbusters is one of those bizarre flukes in filmmaking where everything just clicks perfectly.

The story is pretty much verbatim by now but for those few who have yet to take in the wonderment that is this movie, I'll sum it up in as few words as I can.  Ghosts are running wild in New York and only Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd can save the city.

It's one of those few movies I consider perfect, let's take a closer look.
  • The opener with the librarian finding the ghost in the library is a nicely creepy bit with some really good f/x from Richard Edlund.
  • Gotta love the theme song by Ray Parker Jr. (the Elmer Bernstein score is pretty damn good too).  It's a real iconic piece of 80's pop culture.
  • Bill Murray's first scene is perfect.  Actually, he's awesome throughout the entire film, as is Dan Aykroyd.  This was really his peak as a performer.  He's dryly hilarious in every scene, reacting to the oddness of the ghosts as well as his comrades in as deadpan a manner as humanly possible.  It's a real tour-de-force performance and an essential way for the audience to accept what happens in the film.
  • Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis are equally funny as the two "serious" scientists in the trio.  They deliver most of the tech jargon well and also have some funny moments for themselves.
  • Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis are fun in their roles too.  Weaver is good in her "straight woman" role and she and Murray have some great chemistry.  As for Moranis, he plays the ultimate nerd to perfection.  He's just funny as hell.

  • The first sequence with the Ghostbusters going to work is a classic.  Great f/x, some truly hilarious lines and an iconic ghost Aykroyd apparently based on his late friend John Belushi.
  • Ivan Reitman does a great job directing the madness.  He's generally a pretty solid comedy guy with Stripes (with Murray and Ramis) also bringing the laughs.
  • Other good performances come from Annie Potts as the team;s dry secretary; Ernie Hudson as the fourth Ghostbuster and William Atherton as a jerky EPA rep who ends up holding a grudge against the guys.  I know, Atherton playing an asshole.  What are the odds?
  • Weaver and  Moranis getting possessed by terror dogs is a nice blend of humor and horror.
  • The menace in the film has some nicely subtle Lovecraftian elements.  Not often you get otherworldly deities who can destroy the world with a thought in a big summer f/x comedy.
  • The film really kicks into high gear once Atherton shuts down the Ghostbusters operation and all hell breaks loose with ghosts running wild throughout the city.  The finale is also awesome with the Godzilla sized Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and a nicely fiery climax.
It's actually a little hard to talk about the film since the entire thing is just one awesome highlight after another.  Mixing horror and comedy is usually a dicey proposition but in this case you have a hilarious comedy with some interesting horror elements that are subtly played for the most part and woven in with the comedy.  Everything in the movie works from the acting to the effects to the music and everything else.  It's a true classic.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.