YMMV / Ghostbusters


  • Accidental Innuendo:
  • Applicability: Three heroic businessmen and scientific innovators who get paid for performing a service well and use their profits to expand and create jobs for more people are opposed by a villainous government bureaucrat who puts the world in danger when he tries to put them out of business, using public safety as an excuse but, in context, is clearly only on a power trip. Many would say this film is more Objectivist than the film adaptations of Atlas Shrugged!
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The dream sequence in the first film, remnant of a cut scene that appears in its entirety in the novelization. The entire footage of the original scene, and others that were cut through production, has yet to ever be released.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Dr. Venkman's "scientific method" in his parapsychological test; rewarding and sucking up to hot girls but electroshocking guys regardless of the accuracy of their preditions. So sleazy it's funny.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
    • The theme song is nearly as beloved as the franchise that spawned it.
    • "Higher and Higher." A literal example as it actually electrifies the Statue of Liberty's crown.
    • The Elmer Bernstein score. Dana's theme is especially powerful besides the Lincoln Center theme (which sounds like a waltz).
    • Bobby Brown's song "On Our Own" played during the end of the second film.
    • Special mention to Mick Smiley's "Magic" It set a very creepy and atmospheric tone for the escape scene in the first movie.
    • "Flip City" in the second film. Performed by Glenn Frey of the Eagles.
  • Designated Hero: The Ghostbusters are portrayed by the narrative as heroes throughout the story despite the fact that many of the ghosts they catch aren't actually hurting anybody. After their first outing where they cause more damage than the ghost they captured, they threaten to release it back into the restaurant they caught it from when their client objects to the sudden price increase. Of course once they save the actual world, their heroic status is quite indisputable.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Walter Peck, as demonstrated in Straw Man Has A Point, is only a villain in so far as the Ghostbusters are concerned. They are, by their own admission, using "unlicensed nuclear accelerators" in a densely populated area. Peck had every reason to be concerned about their technology.
    • Many of the ghosts in the film, by and large, cause less damage than the Ghostbusters. The worst they do is scare people and slime them.
  • Ear Worm: If there's some damn song / runnin' through your head / who ya gonna call?
  • Fan Nickname: Mention Walter Peck to a more casual fan of the franchise and you might get some confusion who you're talking about. Mention "Dickless" and they'll know at once.
  • First Installment Wins: The first film is an undisputed classic. Fans are split about the second film. The cartoon and video game? Even moreso.
  • Fountain of Memes: Robert Zemeckis stated that the first Ghostbusters spawned more licensed T-shirts with lines from the movie than any other film.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In the first film, Venkman asks the librarian if there's any history of mental illness in her family, she mentions that she had an uncle who thought he was St. Jerome. St. Jerome is the patron saint of librarians.
    • Also in the first film, Peter's entire conversation with Possessed!Dana actually follows a lot of the accepted rules for conversing with a possessed individual.
    • Most of the theories, literature, and procedures the Ghostbusters use are used by real paranormal investigators, as Dan Ackroyd's father is one and Dan himself is an actual expert on the subject.
    • Vigo (the Carpathian) and the mood slime cause, among other things, the Titanic and its ghosts to return. In real life, the rescue ship that helped the survivors was called the Carpathia.
  • Genre Turning Point: This franchise is perhaps the first major ghost story where the supernatural entities are successfully fought through scientific research, which produces purely technological weapons effective against them.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The first movie's scene in which Venkman tries to "scientifically" disprove the first ghost's existence. He asks the librarian if she has a family history of substance abuse… accusations of which later destroyed Bill Murray's second marriage.
    • Also in the first film, when the containment system is shut down, the trapped ghosts are released throughout New York and see them flying out over Manhattan. During a long-distance shot, they seem to originate from right around the Twin Towers. So we have bright lights and ghosts flying out from the World Trade Center towers. One of the memorials to the Twin Towers has been shining twin spotlights straight up into the sky from Ground Zero (now from the centers of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's pools where the twin towers once stood) once a year.
    • The way Venkman smiles at a pretty young blonde and casually invades her personal space, coupled with the fact that he carried sedatives around when he was planning to go out with Dana make him seem downright creepy in light of the number of rape and sexual assault cases that have been making headlines in years around 2016.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Peter MacNicol (Janosz Poha) would later play an art curator who was forced to host Mr. Bean. Harris Yulin (the judge from the second film) was the owner of the museum!
    • In-universe, Venkman is the one who had the idea to found the Ghostbusters, having to talk Ray and Egon into it, even saying "The franchise rights alone will make us rich beyond our wildest dreams." Flash forward a few years; Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis were pushing hard to make a third Ghostbusters film, but Bill Murray refused to come back.
    • At the trial in the second film, the judge gruffly states that "Before we begin this trial, I want to make one thing clear: the law does not recognize the existence of ghosts, and I don't believe in them either." Just two years after the film was released, New York state law did recognize the existence of ghosts. See Stambovsky v. Ackley 572 N.Y.S.2d 672 (1991) (holding that "as a matter of law, the house is haunted.")
    • From the first film, the librarian is asked if there any history of mental illness in her family. Alice Drummond, who plays the librarian, would play Ray Finkle's mother in Ace Ventura, with mother and son shown having both becoming mentally ill.
    • One of the psychics interviewed by Venkman near the beginning of II predicts the end of the world to be in the year 2016... which happens to be the year the female-led Continuity Reboot is scheduled to be released. (Valentine's Day, the date pegged as the date in question, was actually the day that Sony released a teaser for the trailer.)
    • Sigourney Weaver sports an aggressively '80s look in the first film. Contrast to her being the only normal-looking woman to modern eyes four years later in Working Girl.
    • In the second film Louis asks Janine if she wants to play Super Mario Bros. 11 years later Nintendo made Luigi's Mansion.note 
    • The Twinkie scene, which featured in, and had strong significance in Zombieland.
  • Ho Yay: Believe it or not, yes. In the scene where the Ghostbusters first meet Dana, Egon and Ray sit awfully close to each other (when Ray has plenty of room off to his left), they choose to huddle together in fear just before Stay-Puft arrives, in the sequel when Vigo paralyzes the Ghostbusters, Ray is the first person Egon checks on and vice versa... it's almost enough to make one wonder if it wasn't intentional.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks: One of the key points of criticism about the second movie is that it's in many ways a repeat of the first.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Any reference to "crossing the streams", "Who You Gonna Call??", "This man has no dick", and many, many more. Before the first film came out, "slime" had no verb form.
    • The Ghostbusters uniform is still a standard of fancy-dress parties over twenty years later.
    • "He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!" frequently comes up whenever people talk about Viggo Mortensen.
    • There is no X, there is only Zuul.
    • "If someone ever asks if you're a god, you say YES!"
    • Any description of the End Times now includes "Dogs and cats living together... MASS HYSTERIA!"
    • "Back off man, I'm a scientist."
    • "I ain't afraid of no ghost!"
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The proton pack start-up sound. You know the one; the one you just heard in your mind upon reading that.
    • Also, the distinctive siren of Ecto-1, though more for nostalgia than the actual merits of the siren.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Terror Dogs. Particularly in the scene where Zuul kidnaps Dana. The second film has some choice moments as well, like Possessed!Janosz's glowing eyes and the heads on pikes that appear in the underground railway.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The whole premise of the franchise: there are horrific and powerful forces lurking in the shadows ready to do their evil at any time. However, they can be studied scientifically by learned experts, who in turn can develop effective and easy to use weapons and countermeasures those eldritch will never see coming. In short, if you have the knowledge, the tools and the courage to face these supernatural entities of your darkest nightmares, they will have real reasons to fear you!
    "We got the tools, we got the talent!"
  • No Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The 2009 game was well-received by critics thanks to solid gameplay and full participation from the core four (even picky project selector Bill Murray) along with some returning supporting actors like Annie Potts and William Atherton. Dan Aykroyd himself said it may as well be the original series' canonical third film, a statement the majority of fans agree with.
    • The 1990 Sega Genesis game is also regarded to be pretty decent.
    • The 2016 LEGO Dimensions Ghostbusters Level Pack has received a warm reception, with its relatively long and enjoyable retelling of the first movie, a free-roaming world featuring locales from the first two picturesnote , and the unlockable ability to play any Ghostbuster (all of whom speak through actual soundbytes from the movie).
  • One-Scene Wonder: In the second movie, Cheech Marin as the dock supervisor who sees the wreck of the Titanic arriving and simply says "Well, better late than never.".
  • Peripheral Demographic: When Ramis and Aykroyd wrote the film, they obviously intended it to be for an adult audience like Caddyshack and Stripes. However, when the film became a smash hit, everyone noticed that kids were going nuts for it. After all, it is the ultimate Nightmare Retardant story about Science Hero characters facing the scary supernatural threats, and shooting them with Awesome Backpack weapons. From that realization came the long running The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series and a slightly softened sequel with less innuendo, swearing, and casual smoking (though Ray can still be seen chewing on or holding unlit pipes and cigars, never a cigarette).
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Egon and Janine. However, Harold Ramis was playing Egon as a Mr. Spock-like figure that barely smiled and was unconcerned with romance. This made the interplay between the two very awkward. Janine's seduction of Louis Tully was far more natural in the sequel.
    • This didn't stop Egon and Janine from becoming by far the most popular ship in the fandom, beaten out only by maybe Peter and Ray or Egon and Ray. To their credit, both of these pairs at least had dialogue and some kind of interaction after the first movie.
  • Sequelitis: The second movie is generally considered much weaker than the first, and something of a pale imitation at that. The fact that that story requires a completely illogical Extra-Strength Masquerade to have the Ghostbusters discredited about their claims of the supernatural after all the physical evidence and thousands of witnesses of Gozer's attack, and then essentially repeats the first film's basic plot, will do that.
  • Signature Scene: The Ghostbusters battling the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • You can see where the where the heated tiles Dana's eggs cook on end and the regular tiles begin by some eggs not landing on the heated ones.
    • The Stop-Motion terror dog in the first movie just doesn't look like it's actually there, even though they do a fairly good job of having it crush a table and smash down a door. The puppets, however, are very well done.
    • Towards the end of the first movie, a rather large rock harmlessly bounces off of a police barricade instead of crushing it.
    • In the widescreen version of the first film when the ghosts escape, there's several incomplete ghost trails.
    • Mr. Stay Puft unintentionally appears to be going through some buildings at times (known as "clipping"). It's particularly noticeable when he steps on the church, collapsing it from the top despite the foot never actually clearing the wall.
    • In Ghostbusters II, the mechanism that makes the toaster dance is clearly visible.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Played with. Janine was supposed to be Egon's Love Interest, but the manner in which Harold Ramis played the character, it came off as forced and stilted (which still worked in context of the movie). Janine's romance with Louis in the sequel was better handled. Ramis also hated the idea of Janine and Egon getting together, and demanded the subplot be abandoned in the sequel, which is probably part of the reason their interactions seem so awkward.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Walter Peck's initial request to see the containment grid was reasonable given that it was new technology that is explictly "unlicensed". He's also quite polite before Venkman gives him the runaround (albeit in a rather unctuous and condescending manner). It is his job to make sure people like the Ghostbusters are operating with safe equipment, and in fact the Ghostbusters' containment grid could cause a massive explosion in a densely-populated area. In fact, Egon was at that moment telling Ray and Winston that he was getting worried at the massive amount of psychic energy the grid was containing. After getting crudely brushed off by Venkman, however, Peck overreacts and orders the grid's immediate deactivation. If Venkman had cooperated, instead of treating Peck and the EPA as an enemy from the start, they could have avoided the ensuing meltdown.
    Walter Peck: Forget it, Venkman. You had your chance to co-operate, but you though it would be more fun to insult me. Now, it's my turn, wiseass.
    • This is the start of Peck grossly overstepping his authority with his Cease and Desist order and proceeding to enforce it on the spot against all warning, including the electrician he himself hired. In Real Life, the Ghostbusters would have been given a set time limit to shut their equipment down (weeks if not months), and of course the opportunity to fight it, but Peck (illegally) shuts it down immediately.
    • This actually goes both ways as we're supposed to see Dr. Venkman's mistreatment of Peck as anti-heroic and skirting the law, except Peck's entire investigation was illegal from day one. Walter Peck was with the Environmental Protection Agency, not the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and thus has no right to be in the Ghostbuster's office, demanding to look at nuclear powered equipment he has no understanding of, accusing them of being fakes, and addressing men with PhD's as "Mister".
  • Ugly Cute: The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Also Slimer.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • It really is sad seeing Peter Venkman of all people mourning Dana when he believes she was killed during the crossing of the streams.
    • The fact that in Ghostbusters II the guys who were hailed as heroes and saviors of the world five short years prior are laughingstocks now. Ray looks heartbroken when the bratty little kid at the birthday party tells him that his dad says the Ghostbusters were full of crap and that's why they closed down.
    • The mundane jobs the Ghostbusters have at the beginning of the sequel. Peter is the host of an unsuccessful talk show (and every respectable psychic and parapsychologist thinks he's a fraud), Ray is the owner and seemingly sole employee of a bookstore (whose only customers we see are Venkman and an unnamed man picking something up for a Wiccan coven) when he's not doing kids' parties in costume as a Ghostbuster with Winston, and Winston is never seen doing anything outside of the birthday party gig. Egon is the only one who seems to be in a position of any prestige, hired back by Columbia University as a researcher. The fact that these heroes who defeated an ancient Omnicidal Maniac of a deity and prevented the apocalypse are just regular losers in New York now is a little depressing.
    • While it's never been confirmed in canon, fanon seems to hold that when Harold Ramis passed away, The Character Died with Him. The implications of the Ghostbusters without Egon, arguably the most popular character besides maybe Venkman, are heartbreaking.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: With a few exceptions, the games based on the series haven't fared too well. In particular, the 1984 game by Activision based on the first film tends to be regarded as interesting in concept and scope, but extremely tedious in execution (and the NES port of that game was flat-out horrible).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Winston is generally agreed to be criminally underused in the sequel and most spin-offs. Thankfully averted in the ongoing comic, which gave him his own subplot, and a handful of spotlight episodes.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The films have aged very gracefully over the years. The proton pack streams in particular look about as good now as they would with modern CGI effects. And not to forget Stay Puft. The only thing that has dated somewhat is the stop-motion of the terror dogs, but they are still scary.
    • In fact, most of the best visual effects were not optical effects - they were all practical effects.
      • The cards flying out of the card catalogue in the beginning sequence were very good and simply done - a blower out of view blew the cards out as the drawers opened, with crew behind a fake wall pushing the drawers out.
      • The books floating? A very complicated effect: books on a wire.
      • The eggs cooking on the counter? Another practical effect - the counter was actually superheated and those were real eggs really frying on the counter.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • There's some cussing, some innuendo, and early on in the movie, Peter actually asks the librarian if she's been menstruating (It Makes Sense in Context).
    • Not to mention ghost-on-man sex and/or blowjob. Also, Walter Peck has no dick.
    • As well as the fairly obvious symbolism of the key and the gate.
    • While parents have a Nostalgia Filter, the scene where the librarian transforms and yells at them, and later the hands coming out of the chair and holding Dana down as she is taken through the door may be a little much for some kids.
    • The first movie was meant to be an adult/older teen-oriented comedy not unlike the earlier Ramis/Murray vehicle Stripes. Chevy Chase turned down the role of Peter Venkman due to how dark and scary the script was; Chase claims it was much, much darker than the final product. Even then, what ended up in theaters is chock full of casual smoking, swearing, political undertones, sexual innuendo, and of course the ghost-on-human blowjob scene. There's even allegedly an alternate take where Egon, upon spotting Stay-Puft coming up the road, shouts "Oh, FUCK!" instead of "Look!", but this was cut because the PG-13 rating didn't exist yet and one Precision F-Strike would have meant nobody under 17 could see the movie, as it would jump straight from PG to R. Upon realizing kids were losing their minds over it, however, The Real Ghostbusters was conceived and began running and the sequel was toned down to be more kid-friendly, with maybe 5 swear words dropped in the whole movie, every character except Ray ceasing smoking (and Ray is never, ever seen with lit tobacco or even a cigarette, he merely chews on the end of unlit pipes and cigars), and fewer sex jokes.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Some have referred to Ghostbusters as "the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time", as every government official is either too abrasive and/or ineffectual to save the day. However, it was just one of Ivan Reitman's usual "snobs vs. slobs" theme, like Animal House.


Alternative Title(s): Ghostbusters 1984

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Ghostbusters