The Ghostbusters Sequel Is Officially Out! Is the Original the Most Quintessential ’80s Film Ever?

GHOSTBUSTERS, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, 1984.
Columbia Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “How on earth have you lived this long and not seen Ghostbusters?” Well, I was not alive when it came out, and, also, it just seemed like a silly movie.

But with the fourth sequel not counting the critically panned 2016 remake  Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (is this a callout to the supremely overrated Disney hit Frozen?), due to be released this upcoming weekend, I figured it was time to see what all the fuss is about.

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, sewer dragon ghost, 2024.

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

From the songs to the hair to the cheesy special effects, Ghostbusters is the most 1980s thing I have ever seen. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but let’s just say: this movie is the quintessential 1980s story.


I think what I found most delightful about this campy action flick was that it was not really about ghosts. I saw it more like an allegory for the American Dream. Scientists Venkman (Bill Murray), Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Spengler (Harold Ramis) get fired from their somewhat mundane university jobs, and instead of giving up on life, they turn this problem into an opportunity to follow their true passion: ghost hunting. Replace ghost hunting with any other career path, and this is merely a Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg success story. They build a business from the ground up after noticing a trend on the horizon, and they take advantage of being ahead of the game. Good for them!

GHOSTBUSTERS, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, 1984.

Everett Collection

And poor Dr. Stanz, having to take out a third mortgage at a 19% interest rate to support their initial investment. And at the height of a major recession, too! If that isn’t the most 1980s thing I have ever heard, I don’t know what is. Oh wait, maybe the government trying to shut them down over bureaucratic concerns. Except that is a rather timeless problem, isn’t it?

GHOSTBUSTERS, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, 1984,

Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

There are some pretty funny lines, such as when the Ghostbusters receptionist (Annie Potts) tells Spengler he’s a real humanitarian for trying to save a possessed nerd named Louis Tully, and Spengler says “He’s not human.”

Even when he is not possessed, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) is hilarious, because who hasn’t met an awkward, nerdy fellow like that at least once in life? With both him and Weaver’s character Dana possessed by supernatural creatures when they eventually kiss, it’s almost like the film is saying that is the only way a man like that would succeed in his romantic efforts with a woman who looks like Sigourney Weaver. That Dana wants to sleep with every man she comes across while possessed is also very ’80s.

GHOSTBUSTERS, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, 1984

Courtesy of Everett Collection

Also very ’80s is when Egon and fellow hired Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson use a Twinkie as a representation of their growing ghost problem. (Not to mention the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man walking the streets of New York City. They really liked their sugar in the 1980s.)


Definitely the graphics. They’re pretty bad. I know that CGI technology was not as advanced 40 years ago, so I’ll give it a pass, but it was a bit distracting.

That kiss between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver at the end was so awkward and frankly cringeworthy. Wouldn’t it have been worth it to reshoot the kiss a couple times?

Ghostbusters Slimer, 1984


I actually don’t have any questions. For a silly, lighthearted supernatural film, it follows its own rules and most of it makes sense. I’m curious where they will take it for the new film, which includes some of the original cast members as well as a younger group of cast members returning from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, including Stranger ThingsFinn Wolfhard as estranged Spengler grandson Trevor, who, interestingly, dressed up as a Ghostbuster for Halloween in an episode of Stranger Things.

GHOSTBUSTERS: FROZEN EMPIRE, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, 2024.

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

At least we know the CGI will be much improved! With three of the four original Ghostbusters returning 40 years later, hopefully no one breaks a hip.


cartoon icon

For most of her childhood, all Ukrainian-born millennial Zhanna Slor ever watched was a cartoon about a chain-smoking wolf chasing a bunny around Soviet Russia. This has the tendency to both amuse and horrify her coworkers. “No, I have not seen Star Wars.” “No, I have not seen Rocky.” “The ShiningCaddyshackAnimal House? Nope.” In this column, using ignorance as a challenge, she debates how iconic films hold up in the new century, when watched completely out of context for the first time. For more of these reviews, click here.