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Peter Venkman, Ray, and Egon
Study strange phenomena,
ESP and ghostly sightings,
Things to make you drop your jaw.
When they lose their college funding,
Business is their next endeavor,
Catching floating apparitions
With devices odd and clever.
Soon they get an early nibble
(Which they then put off till later):
Dana Barrett’s seeing creatures
In her home refrigerator.
When they capture their first specter,
Calls begin to flood the lines.
New York seems to be attracting
Unexpected eerie signs.
He and Dana hit it off,
More or less (it grows with time).
They confine all ghosts they find,
Fighting through recurrent slime.
When the EPA comes calling,
Blasting them for violations,
They turn off the storage system,
Loosing phantom infestations.
In the meantime, Dana’s fallen
To the demon Zuul’s possession.
She and neighbor Louis Tully
Plan for Gozer’s near aggression.
As an otherworldly portal
Helps the ancient god appear,
All Ghostbusters block its way
Until it makes a friend a fear.
As a mountainous marshmallow
Wrecks New York, they roast it well,
Rescuing New York and Dana
From phantasms raising hell.
“Who you gonna call” for hauntings?
We all know the famous yell.

Many, including my VC, will probably scoff at my not including Ghostbusters in my top 100. I know it’s extremely popular, utterly quotable, and uniquely entertaining, but it simply is not among my top comedies. The best explanation I can give is that I find the film more often amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Nonetheless, the story of apparition exterminators has rightfully earned a place on countless other top lists, including #28 of AFI’s top comedies. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis are in their prime with a clever script by the latter two, and Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Rick Moranis, and Ernie Hudson add to the prodigious star power. A few rather dated effects are luckily overshadowed by some impressive pyrotechnics and a few haunting effects that look admittedly real (exploding eggs, flying library cards). Amid all the comedy are also some authentically frightening scenes, such as Dana’s armchair seizure. The refrigerator scene even possibly inspired a later horror film The Refrigerator about a chilled portal to hell. (“Generally, you don’t see that kind of behavior in a major appliance.”)

Some may insist that Ghostbusters ought to be higher, but I still enjoy its blend of comedy and bloodless horror, though I don’t care for its more demonic elements. I do have to include Ray Parker’s “Ghostbusters” in my End Credits Song Hall of Fame. Thirty years later, Ghostbusters remains as classic a haunt as ever.

Best line: (Ray, after they accidentally fry a maid cart that startled them) “I think we’d better split up.”
(Egon) “Good idea.”
(Peter) “Yeah. We can do more damage that way.”
VC’s best line: (Ray) “What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God-type stuff.”
(Peter) “Exactly.”
(Ray) “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!”
(Egon) “Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…”
(Winston) “The dead rising from the grave!”
(Peter) “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”


Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 9
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 9
Watchability: 10
Other (language, demonic elements): -2
TOTAL: 50 out of 60

Next: #126 – The Music Man

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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