There’s recently been some scuttlebutt in Hollywood about the making of a third Ghostbusters movie, potentially including the entire original cast. The cast had previously reunited to add their voices to an as-yet-released videogame and now seem primed to join the latest ill-advised ‘80s revival this time potentially training a new generation of ghostbusters. I’m not a fan of the concept of utilizing an old institution to kick off or reboot a new generation. And I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in that disregard. It’s frequently rumored to be the plot of television and cinema reboots and yet very rarely comes to fruition. There’s a reason. As much of a fan of the ‘80s we are here at Eightiesology, we liked a lot of these properties enshrined in our memories as is.
I’ll probably feature the first Ghostbusters in its own movie-only profile one day but I thought today I’d focus more on the overall phenomenon as it reached into different levels of media. The rumors of the new movie got me thinking that the original movie is really one of the quintessential movies of the decade from the look of the movie to the story and the comedy and of course the actors who took part. It’s also indicative of how different the movie experience was back then than it is today. I’m fine with that. I just don’t think it would work today because a movie like this taps into the cultural zeitgeist of the time. That time is largely different now and to bring the move into a modern context would lose a lot of that point. As an example, though it would be a largely foolish venture, one could conceivably bring Back to the Future back from the past because of the nature of the storytelling which is self-aware of its nostalgia and could even use the ‘80s much the same way it once used the ‘50s. Ghostbusters on the other hand was very much a movie produced of that time, reflective of its stars’ power, indicative of ‘80s New York, and entirely insistent on creating an effective big-time comedic adventure, the type that just doesn’t fly these days.
The movie was successful at creating a number of iconic scenes, characters and effects, as well as essential dialogue that even transcended the ‘80s. For such a comedic venture, the technology used in the movie seemed very plausible and certainly cool to us. I think it likely introduced the hearse to children who suddenly saw the Ecto-1 as a cool mode of transportation wanting one itself. (Of course, who knew at the time what hearses were really used for.) The photon packs and ghost traps really felt like things that could be used to fight ghosts. I don’t recall having as much of a fascination with Slimer as his popularity would dictate but Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was a huge icon amongst my crowd and one of the most bizarre movie monsters of all time. You don’t typically get that type of abstract ingenuity in comedy these days.