Ghostbusters (1984 franchise)
Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991) AKA Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters (2016 reboot)
A band of supernatural pest exterminators are the only ones who can deal with reports of increasing paranormal activity in New York City, but must deal with obstructive bureaucrats, skeptical politicians, and weird cultists in addition to ghosts, spooks, specters, a strange Gozerian demon-god, and the reincarnation of Vigo the Carpathian sorcerer-tyrant....
- Release Date: 1984-present
- Country/Language: US, English
- Genres/Technical: Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure
- Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis (original films); Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth (reboot)
- Director: Ivan Reitman (original films); Paul Feig (reboot)
- Writer: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis (original films); Michael Reeves, J. Michael Straczynski, et.al. (animated series); Katie Dippold, Paul Feig (reboot)
- Producer/Production Co: Black Rhino Productions, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Delphi Films
- View Trailer: (link), (link), (link), (link)
- Rated: PG (generally PG with mild Profanity and Adult Content, mild slap-stick Violence)
Generally PG, with the cartoon series rated TV-Y7 and the reboot film rated PG-13.
A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:
- Ss___ (One and a Half Tentacles: Barely Lovecraftian)
Aside from the spirit-busting team essentially being a party of Call of Cthulhu investigators, the films involve weird gods, cultists, a lock-and-key metaphor suggestive of a parody of Yog-Sothoth, the bizarre architecture of a Gothic/Art-Deco skyscraper/temple, and other Lovecraftian tropes, while the animated series included some more overt nods to Lovecraft's influence (such as the episode "The Collect Call of Cthulhu").
Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.
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Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
- GHOSTBUSTERS (1984) - After the members of a team of scientists lose their cushy positions at a university in New York City, they decide to become "ghostbusters" to wage a high-tech battle with the supernatural for money. They stumble upon a gateway to another dimension, a doorway that will release evil upon the city. The Ghostbusters must now save New York from complete destruction.
- GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989) - After saving New York City from a ghost attack, the Ghostbusters -- a team of spirit exterminators -- is disbanded for demolishing parts of the city during the battle. But when Ghostbuster Peter Venkman learns that spirits have taken an interest in his son, the men launch a rogue ghost-chasing mission. The quest quickly goes awry, landing them in court. But when the ghosts turn on the judge, he issues an order allowing the Ghostbusters to get back to work.
- THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS (1986-1991) - The animated continuing adventures of the staff of the ghost removal service.
- GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) - Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
Comments, Trivia, Dedication
- For a far more detailed description of this franchise, see the Ghostbusters wiki at: (link)
- The first film's original premise was darker in tone and 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', there would have been a budding romance between Egon and the receptionist Janine, Gozer would have been played by Paul "Peewee Herman" Reubens, and with the movie originally set in near-future Chicago, and Ghostbusters businesses were all over the United States like fire and police departments. John Candy also was slated to play Louis, Chevy Chase considered to play Peter, Christopher Walken or Jeff Goldblum or Christopher Lloyd or John Lithgow might have played Egon, and Grace Jones considered to play a form of Gozer. However, with Belushi's death, other actors backing out, and the near-future cyberpunk film setting being too expensive to film, the script was rewritten and new actors cast.
- The animated show The Real Ghostbusters includes the words "the real" due to a 1986 animated kids's show called "Ghostbusters", completely unrelated to the films, which aired at roughly the same time; this "Ghostbusters" show, also about paranormal investigators ("Eddie", "Jake", and their gorilla sidekick Tracy, who hunt the evil ghost of a wizard mastermind and its minions) was actually a reboot of a 1975 series called "The Ghost Busters", leaving this franchise with a stronger claim to the name, forcing the show related to the more familiar film franchise to rename the series "The Real Ghostbusters".
- In spite of the success of its original format, executive meddling into The Real Ghostbusters, at the advice of a consulting firm, added a heavier emphasis on the "Slimer" character and severe changes in characterization (such as "softening" the Janine character and pushing Winston into the background as the team's driver), removal of scary ghosts and occult references, and addition of "kid-friendly" elements like "junior ghostbusters". These changes were apparently intended to draw a younger audience for marketing and merchandising purposes. The changes rattled the show's creators, caused J. Michael Straczynski to leave the show in protest, and ultimately resulted in a notable drop in the show's quality and ratings.
Associated Mythos Elements
- film: compare to Beetlejuice (1988 franchise) and The Frighteners (1996 film)
- The Real Ghostbusters episodes:
- "The Collect Call of Cathulhu" (sic) - when the Necronomicon is stolen from the public library, the Ghostbusters find themselves fighting creatures in the sewers, chasing down cults, and researching comic books to help them in their mission.
- "Russian About" - When the Ghostbusters visit Russia to lecture about ghostbusting, they are made scapegoats for the theft of the precious Nameless Book, a link to awakening a great evil.
- Original Films:
- character: Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf (Sorrow of Moldavia, Scourge of Carpathia, the Cruel, the Torturer, the Despised, the Unholy) - the Vigo character was based on Vlad III (Vlad The Impaler) and Grigory Rasputin.
- characters: Vinz Clortho (Keymaster of Zuul), Zuul (Gatekeeper of Gozer)
- deity: Gozer, the Gozerian (the Destructor, the Traveler, Volguus Zildrohar, and Lord of the Sebouillia); the name Gozer was related to a documented haunting in England, during which the name appeared mysteriously throughout the house, written on walls and things
- race: Terror Dogs
- race: various ghosts, phantoms, specters, poltergeists, etc.