Horror-A-Thon: Ghostbusters (1984) vs Ghostbusters (2016)

Let’s discuss one of the hotly contested debates of last year…Ghostbusters vs Ghostbusters, or more importantly, why even remake it. I figured this one make another good kick-off post for the month since both films are pretty light hearted and we’re going to be getting deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of horror as the month progresses. Might as well enjoy the daylight while we can, right?


The original Ghostbusters is one of those films that is part of my childhood and watching it again is like putting on an old pair of socks. Instantly familiar and comfortable. But, like many things from childhood, the aging process has not been overly kind. I made the mistake of watching it on Blu-ray and it casts a magnifying glass on all the cheats and illusions they used for the special effects (such as matte backgrounds, etc). I highly recommend finding an old, grainy VHS version for the most accurate feel of the original classic. This is often true of most movies from this time period, and for the sake of tradition, VHS is certainly ideal for this movie.

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Taking away the minor quibbles about the special effects, the movie as a whole is pure gold. The plot, cast, and script are of the highest caliber, and Bill Murray ad-libbing his way through the film really makes it for me. His deadpan delivery and dry humor are the foundation for the rest of the laughs. Despite being a childhood favorite for me, Ghostbusters also set the bar for comedies in the 1980’s (grossing over 200 million) and wasn’t toppled until Home Alone came out. It remains a part of American culture to this day (I dare you to not say “Ghostbusters” when someone asks you who you are going to call).

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Overall, Ghostbusters is a great movie experience. The special effects haven’t aged well, but few movies from that era have (Blade Runner being a huge exception). You have to take into consideration that when the movie came out, those effects were mind-blowing. Where Ghostbusters really shines is in how much heart it has, and in that, it delivers every single time you watch it.

So now, we take a look at the new film, and though I’ve caught a lot of grief about it, I firmly maintain it’s a stand up film worthy of being part of the franchise. I don’t understand the argument about it…can’t we just have both? Can’t we be excited that we get more Ghostbusters fun? Or why don’t we just say it’s Ghostbusters II and forget that movie ever got made?

The new Ghostbusters has all the heart and soul of the original and, just as important, a lot of laughs. It’s more than deserving of the time and space I’m giving it here, even though the movie world as a whole gasped in horror when they heard about a new Ghostbusters film. You don’t mess with a classic as loved as Ghostbusters. Right?!? What?!? An all female cast?!? Yes, all female. And guess what? They killed it.

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If you refused to see the new Ghostbusters because of tradition or because you can’t stand the thought of the new cast, you’re doing nothing but hurting yourself. The movie is hilarious, fun, and pure movie magic. It’s a riot from the starting credits to the ending credits and I wasn’t bored anywhere in the middle either. There are cameos of all the original cast aside from Ramis, who died in 2014, and Rick Moranis, who doesn’t do film work anymore. More than that, they all gave the film their blessing and that’s more than enough for me. Is it a classic? No. Did it set the standard for movies over the next decade? No. But does that make it bad movie? Also no. I had fun, I was entertained, and that’s what a good movie is supposed to do.

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So, who is the winner in this big debate? Us…the viewers. The original cast tried for years to make another movie and never got around to it. In fact, Murray was the reason for this, as he was so disappointed with Ghostbusters II he was reluctant to reprise his role. The studio’s response? No Murray, no Ghostbusters. As the years went on and multiple new Ghostbusters projects started and stalled due to controlling vetoes amongst the original cast (mostly Murray), it was decided a new generation of Ghostbusters was the course to take, especially with the passing of Ramis. The result? The reboot we got in 2016. So, as you can see, there really is no argument here…this was the only way we were going to get more Ghostbusters, and for me, more Ghostbusters is always better than no Ghostbusters. /end soap box rant

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