Beth and I watched both Ghostbusters films last night. It had been a while since either of us had seen them, and they definitely hold up. I had actually remembered the first one including more of the guys catching individual ghosts, but such is not really the case. After they capture Slimer at the hotel, most of the rest of their work is covered in a montage of newspaper headlines and television clips, with the next actual fight we see with a ghost being the Gozer encounter. As I’m sure you know, Slimer wasn’t named that in the movie itself.
He was referred to behind the scenes as Onion Head; and Dan Aykroyd saw him as the ghost of John Belushi, who was Aykroyd’s choice to play Peter Venkman before his death in 1982. Merchandise for the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters simply called him “Green Ghost.” Ray does refer to a slimer as a type of ghost at one point in the movie, though, which could have inspired his name in the cartoon. There’s a comic story that claims Slimer was an overweight king named Remils when he was alive, but this isn’t generally considered canonical.
Gozer, described in the film as a Sumerian god, was totally made up, although later materials claimed that he/she was banished from our universe by the actual Mesopotamian primordial goddess Tiamat. The defeat of Gozer was a textbook example of the “Remember that thing we said we could never do? Let’s totally do it!” trope, with the explanation I’ve seen for why crossing the streams worked being that it affected Gozer’s dimension rather than our own. I have to wonder if the movie led to any distrust of the Environmental Protection Agency, since the guy who tries to shut down the Ghostbusters works for them. As Beth noted, his complaint that the firehouse could pose an environmental hazard was hardly unfounded (I mean, they were using nuclear material), but the fact that he later claims the ghosts are a result of gas-induced hallucinations shows that he couldn’t keep his story straight. Also worthy of note is that Egon made a reference to print being dead, and this was in 1984. Now that was a prescient remark!
There’s apparently a fair amount of hatred going on for Ghostbusters II, which is a shame as we know that negative feelings only strengthen Vigo the Carpathian and his river of slime.
Seriously, what I’ve read suggests that nobody really wanted to make this movie, but it turned out well nonetheless. There were some aspects that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, particularly towards the end. The Ghostbusters manage to rig the Statue of Liberty so it can walk, which is pretty ridiculous in and of itself.
To start with, how do they even get inside? Then, when the statue is walking the streets, people are excited instead of terrified. It looks that they felt they needed a giant walking thing to serve as a parallel to Mr. Stay-Puft in the original film, but I don’t know that it really worked. Also, what’s with the Mayor believing and helping out the Ghostbusters in the first movie, then turning against them, and finally coming back around to their side when more unexplainable crap happens? I can’t help but be reminded of the Pharaoh from Exodus. The fact that the Ghostbusters were shut down in between the two films presumably makes the cartoon non-canonical, but Slimer is shown hanging around the firehouse as a mascot like in the show.
The main villain this time is Vigo, a sixteenth century Eastern European ruler who seeks to come back to life in the body of a baby.
Again, Vigo was made up for the film, but I would imagine the multiple unsuccessful attempts to kill him were based on Rasputin. A quick search reveals that Vigo is a city in Spain, while the character’s full name Vigo von Homburg Deutschendorf references the actors who played him and the baby Oscar. I noticed that the psychiatrist at the mental hospital looked a lot like an older Bill Murray, and then I found out it was his older brother. So that makes sense. I know Beth really appreciated that Rick Moranis got the chance to help out the Ghostbusters in this one, rather than just being a victim of evil.