Retrospective on The Ghostbusters Film Franchise

Retrospective on The Ghostbusters Film Franchise

Ghostbusters is a unique science fiction movie franchise that is also a comedy, horror, and action series. The combination of these several genres is one of the major uniqueness of the Ghostbusters. Despite the first two sequels coming out in the 80s, Ghostbusters strategically combines horror scenes with amusing actions.

The film achieved huge commercial success and gained a lot of popularity among the audience. Its outstanding success led to the release of its comic books, video games, toys, cartoon shows, and so much more. 

The use of modern technology in capturing the ghosts such as the red storage device in the original in 1984, and the special transport equipment designed to take them to a different location in Ghostbusters3. Ghostbusters is still one of the best movie franchises of all time.

Join on as we look back on the Ghostbusters movies.

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis wrote the first Ghostbusters movie. Then, Ivan Reitman directed and produced the film. Like its successive sequels, the movie belongs to the science fiction and comedy genre while it also featured horror scenes.

The plot

The movie began with the scene of a ghost at a public library. The librarian suddenly began experiencing an unusual scattering of books before the sight of a ghost, a creature she has never seen up to that moment, shocked her. Three New York scientists were part of the observers who received invites as it appeared they had been working on a similar project.

So, the three scholars appeared with a technological device that helped them detect the presence of the ghost who was reading in the library. After their experience at the library, the scientists returned to their university only to discover they are now unemployed. Also, the university cut off the funding for their research. 

In dealing with the situation, the friends got an apartment with a pole that linked their room and the office. The pole was a crucial factor that influenced their interest. With the apartment, the three scientists decided to coin the term “Ghostbusters,” primarily to address the needs of those who sight the presence of ghosts or any supernatural creature or activity in their house. The scientists also developed advanced technologies to store the ghost after their capture. 

The three scientists were having it easy until the visit from an EPA agent who threatened to sue and revisited with police officers. The agent opened the ghost storage which created havoc on the city. The city jailed away Ghostbusters for the chaos. In jail, they eventually began solving different puzzles, only to realize that a threat to humanity and the world was brewing. The scientists encountered Gozer, a super ghost with god-like abilities. Luckily, the New York scientists defeated Gozer with their technology.

The reception

The movie became the highest-grossing film of that year and it is unarguably one of the best comedy movies of all time. 

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

The second Ghostbusters movie debuted in 1989, four years after the first movie’s release. Harold Ramis admitted he was reluctant to write the movie despite the success of the original, but he agreed to make it the only sequel. Ivan Reitman directed and produced the film while Dan Aykroyd joined Harold Ramis in writing the script. The movie featured a similar tone to the first, keeping the comic nature which was a major part of the script. The movie kept the characters that took part in the first movie, giving it a similar outlook and more acceptability by the audience. 

Like most movie franchises, fans would argue that the sequels may not be able to keep the momentum of the original movie, but if it could not meet up with the category, this sequel was not very far from the original movie in terms of entertainment and quality.

The plot

The movie began with a pink fluid substance coming out of a cracked floor. The substance, an ectoplasmic slime, stole away Dana’s baby carriage wheel while she was talking. Mysteriously, the carriage avoided any collisions before it finally paused in front of a long vehicle. 

Concurrently, the Ghostbusters were at the brink of losing their credibility. Between the property damage lawsuits and denial of the Gozer event, the group had gone bankrupt. However, they were still able to keep their properties especially their office and their humorously designed vehicle. 

Like the first movie, Dana was the Ghostbusters’ first client since she wanted to keep her baby safe from ghosts. So, they searched her apartment then resorted to checking the street when they found nothing. While investigating, they saw the presence of a ghost under the surface of the ground. At that point, the Ghostbusters began digging to see what was underground. In the end, they found a river of ectoplasmic slime. The scientists took a sample and found that the slime energetically responded to negative human emotions, eventually spawning ghosts. 

The reputations of the Ghostbusters resurged after ghosts began ravaging the entire city, especially during one of their court cases. As the cases increase, the scientists found a correlation between the river of evil and the rise of a god called “Vigo”, who needs a body of a baby to revive itself. After manipulating one of Dana’s colleagues, her baby became Vigo’s target.

The Ghostbusters learn of Vigo’s location after a photo of Vigo, which spontaneously caught fire. So, they invade the museum while Dana’s baby becomes Vigo’s hostage. To their surprise, Vigo resisted their technology; however, the city’s chants disturbed him. With the citizen’s support, they saved the day and the baby.

The reception

The movie was also a huge commercial success but unlike the first, it received mixed reactions in its review. As a sequel to the highest-grossing comedy movie of the time, the film did not meet the unreasonably lofty expectations. 

Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters (2016)

Paul Feig and Katie Dippold wrote and directed this sequel. Meanwhile, Amy Pascal and Ivan Reitman, the same producer of the first two movies, produced this film. Harold Ramis’ death in 2004 was a huge blow to the project but it was unclear whether he would have committed to the project because the cast in the second movie disagreed about the idea of having the following sequels. Ramis’ colleague, Bill Murray was part of those who did not commit to the idea of having another sequel of the movie.

Unlike the earlier movies, this sequel made use of three females as the major characters and the Ghostbusters in the movie. Many in the fan base did not welcome the idea, so they criticized the movie even before it came out in 2016.

The plot

Eric Gilbert’s book Ghost from the Past was the early subject of controversy. Eric and Abby Yates authored the book which has content involving the existence of ghosts. However, Eric considered the book a threat to her career as a lecturer at the University. She successfully separated herself from the book until Abby posts the book online. Meanwhile, Jillian and Abby continued their study on ghosts until a report came in about a ghost sighting. 

The ladies rushed to the location and discovered the existence of ghosts was worth scientific attention. This encounter rekindled Eric’s interest. Unfortunately, the video of their ghost encounter had reached the university, so they terminated her.

The three ladies seized the opportunity to rent an apartment where they could devise a means to prove the existence of ghosts and eventually hunt them. The ladies tagged themselves “Conductors of Metaphysical”, before taking up the name Ghostbusters. They discovered that Rowan North, an occultist, created ghost summoning devices. 

Rowan continues his activity until the Ghostbusters found him. However, Rowan commits suicide before the ladies caught him, seemingly halting his program. Unfortunately, they found that Rowan’s suicide was a means to commit greater atrocity by becoming a ghost himself. However, it was too late to stop his antics as Rowan becomes a powerful ghost and disturbs the city. Rowan’s highly successful ability to manipulate his victims led to him manipulating Kelvin, the Ghostbusters receptionist. He then releases several ghosts in the city. 

The Ghostbusters finally fight their way to close the portal. When Rowan attempts to drag Abby, Erin came in time to secure her release. The mayor’s office financed the Ghostbusters’ research as a reward for their activities.

The reception

Before and after the release of this sequel, the controversies surrounding the movie were huge, making the movie the most disliked movie trailer on YouTube as of July 2016. Although it is unclear whether it is the content or the adoption of characters, the movie kept its humorous nature as well as scientific discoveries, although the humor was nowhere near the earlier movies. 


Following a quite controversial sequel in 2016, the next sequel of the Ghostbusters has a scheduled release in 2021. Although the previous characters may not return, the movie still is one of the best comedy franchises of all time.

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About the author

Author: Chris Ingledue 


Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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