31 Days of Horror 2014 – Ghostbusters (1984)

It’s October, Biff Bam Pop’s favourite month of the year, and we’re celebrating with our annual 31 Days of Horror feature. For all of October, we’ll be posting reviews of horror movies both old and new; ones we love and some we don’t. To kick things off, I took a look at the brand new Blu-ray edition of a certifiable classic, the 1984 horror-comedy classic, Ghostbusters.

30 years after it’s initial release, the late of four ghost hunters who wind up having to prevent the apocalypse remains as entertaining as ever. Much of its lasting appeal comes from the fantastic story, concocted by stars Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. In theory it’s simple, and the film itself isn’t complex, but it’s ability to weave genuine scares (the librarian ghost off the top scared the crap out of me when I was a child and it still gives me a start all these years later) with fantastic comedic bits (I may have missed the joke going on during Ray Stanz’s dream encounter with a ghost, but I get it now)set the stone for every horror comedy that would follow in its footsteps.

Director Ivan Reitman pulls out real romantic tension between Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman (perhaps the actor’s greatest creation?) and Sigourney Weaver’s Dana – the two of them, while not onscreen together for very long, have a classic banter that, in my mind, harkens back to 1940s cinema. Murray is just so good, one minute playing the skeptic, the next finding his inner hero. I admire the man for not wanting to return to the character for a third outing.

Ultimately, for all the laughs, Ghostbusters is a supernatural horror story. Demon dogs living in fridges; possession; transformation; the end of the world in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. While there’s laughter will all of them, there’s no doubt that this is also some scary stuff – would you want to take on Gozer the Gozerian? I wouldn’t – not without my proton pack, anyway.

The original Ghostbusters would spawn an “ok” sequel, but it’s real gift, besides its own longevity, was the creation of The Real Ghostbusters, the animated ABC Saturday morning cartoon that haad episodes that one can legitimately argue are actually scarier than the first film itself. Ghosts; demons; the Boogey Man; the Sandman; Lovecraft’s Old Ones – they all appeared on the show. Kids may have thought the show was full of cool, creepy villains. Now we’ve grown up and know better. These are the horrors that still haunt our dreams.

Three decades later, we’re all still talking about Ghostbusters. It’s as fresh as it was the day it theaters. The new Blu-ray looks great, and has some cool extras, including a recent conversation with Aykroyd and Reitman. Looking for a way to kick off the Halloween season? I know the perfect movie for you to call.


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