Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day Three Hundred - Ghostbusters, "I believe it's Magic... Magic...."

If memory serves me there was one VHS tape that my family borrowed from the base library quite a bit. That tape was The Neverending Story, which my parents probably thought was a more wholesome pick than a movie that had a simulated ghost fellatio scene. Still, Ghostbusters was probably a close second due to the fact that, besides a few fleeting expletives and the aforementioned "spirit suck" (which was really just a dream sequence), it was a pretty safe horror movie to watch... more comedy than anything else.

When it was re-released in theaters two years ago, for one night only, my friends and I were almost first in the queue to see it once again on the big screen (sadly, no vintage trailers went with it). It was a gloriously nostalgic experience. It's been close to forty years since VCRs and DVD players made re-releasing films in theaters a novelty at best as who would want to go out and pay theater prices when they can watch it in the comfort of their own homes. Personally, I'm on the fence. I love Netflix and my DVD/BluRay collection, but sometimes it's nice to see an old favorite on a 50'x20' screen.

In any case, no theater release for Ghostbusters this Halloween season, but we're lucky enough to have it on the Instant Stream just in time for our last Weekend Spooktacular Flick. Maybe it's the nostalgia or maybe I'm on a weird Ernie Hudson binge (as he was also in yesterday's The Crow), but I was definitely in the mood for a supernatural film that was more fun than frightening.

Ghostbusters definitely delivers.

Made in the mid-80's in the height of Bill, Dan, and Harold's careers, Ghostbusters tells the story of three paranormal psychologists and engineers who are thrown out of their university positions just when they find proof of real, honest to deadness ghosts! Being the enterprising Americans that they are, they decided to go into hock and start their own ghost extermination business and, after a slow start, business booms.

Along the way, they begin investigating the haunting of a young musician (Sigourney Weaver) who is being occasionally tormented by a demon dog named Zuul and constantly hit on by the smarmy leader of the Ghostbusters, Peter (Bill Murray).

Anyways, long story short, great mystical convergence, possible apocalypse, and harassment and interference by the EPA. I mean, really... the EPA? Well, it was the 80's.

As far as the film goes, it definitely shows its age via its dated effects, but they still hold up pretty well and were actually groundbreaking for the time. Yes, it's mostly matte and miniatures work, but there are still plenty of fun practical effects like the shooting card catalogs and floating books (which still give me mild chills to this very day).

While I'm never scared like I was as a child with this film, getting more from the laughs than the jump moments (that chase through Central Park with Rick Moranis definitely freaked me out more then than now), I think that I enjoy Ghostbusters more this way, as an adult. It's just so much better when you catch things like Venkman's not so subtle come-ons towards Dana or the previously noted supernatural sex act. It's also better when you see Ernie Hudson's Winston as more than just a second act add-on and instead see him as a contrast to the bookish scientists of the team. Winston adds an everyman dynamic to the team that grounds them instead of allowing them to remain aloof as experts among plebeians.

For my last Spooktacular horror flick, I probably could have chosen something more creepy and scare worthy, but I'm actually pretty happy with Ghostbusters. It's a nice nod to both nostalgia and the softball fun of the holiday. Sure, I could freak myself out with other films... but this is better... for me, anyway.

Now... let's see if I can power through the final five episodes of Twin Peaks and survive.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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