From as far back as I can remember, I don’t believe there has been a single moment when Ghostbusters hasn’t been a part of my life. Being 35 at the time of writing this, I find it amazing that the franchise remains as popular today as it was when the original film was released in 1984. In truth, Ghostbusters opened my eyes to the bigger world. It introduced me to many things I had not yet experienced so far in my life: teamwork, friendship, sex, violence, horror, and comedy; they were all there.
The Happiest Days of My Life
In the days before game consoles and mobile phones took over the world, there was a time when kids would actually go out and play. None of this iPad stuff, no internet (Jeez, I’m old!) and certainly no lounging about indoors on weekends and after school. The days when kids were made to entertain themselves, get some fresh air and engage face to face.
My introduction to the world of the supernatural came in 1987 when the cartoon show, The Real Ghostbusters started airing on UK television. Scary in places but amazingly fun, each episode drew me in little by little. These are the days I consider to be the happiest in my life.
After getting home from school, I would wait patiently for my favourite cartoons to come on. The Real Ghostbusters was shown on Fridays on ITV. The moment it finished, out I would go and meet up with my friends; all of whom had also watched the show. We’d talk about what had happened and start play-acting the episode, recreating our favourite moments while adding in our own personal touches.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, the cartoon was, in fact, a spinoff from the 1984 feature film, Ghostbusters.
Ghostbusters on the Big Screen
The first time I saw the movie, I was completely blown away. I was too young to understand what certain parts of the dialogue meant, nor would I understand how much of a creep Dr. Peter Venkman truly was. I was too busy getting scared out of my wits! The Library Ghost, The Terror Dogs, Gozer: these were the stuff of nightmares. Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man balanced the movie out, adding some comedy and silliness to what was the most epic thing I had ever seen. As far as I was concerned, this blew the cartoon right out of the water.
By the time Ghostbusters 2 came out in 1989, my life was dedicated to the franchise. From homemade Ghostbusters birthday cakes to homemade Proton Packs, I believed that everything I had seen was real. Ghosts were real, and it was my job, along with my fellow neighbourhood friends, also decked out in Ghostbusters gear, to go and catch them. Armed and ready, we patrolled the streets, assuring everyone we met that should they need ghost catching services, we were there for them. No collection was complete without the toys, the sticker books or the videos. Even now, I have collected every release of the movies, be it VHS, DVD or Blu-Ray, I have them all.
Over the years, Ghostbusters has continued its popularity. In 2016, the rebooted version of Ghostbusters was released. This was a movie that took a lot of heat and was damaged by the internet long before it hit the big screen. From sexist comments to director/actor/fan backlash, the behind-the-scenes issues of this movie dominated its publicity. I think it was a shame really. I love the original two movies and I always will, but for fans to say that the new version ruined their childhoods just borders complete idiocy. Nothing has changed, and the classics are still there. Just because a new movie comes out, and features women, it doesn’t mean they were replacements and that all the others would disappear.
They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To
Looking back, I realise that a lot has changed since the 1980s. Life has had its moments, from happy events to the loss of family and friends. It is rather scary to think that 33 years have passed since the release of the first movie, 28 years since the second but yet this franchise still remains as fresh as it did back in the day.
It could also be said that they simply don’t make movies like this anymore. Now, we live in a world of CGI, where everything can be done on a computer. The problem with this is that things have started to look less real and less convincing. Ghostbusters became one of the last of the greats to use only practical effects, and although they were released in the ’80s, they still hold up pretty well today.
I have always said that a definition of a great movie is one that can make you forget everything else that is going on while enveloping you and expanding the horizon of your imagination. Ghostbusters has been and always will be one of those movies that does that for me.