Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Most women my age (31) watched and rewatched movies like Dirty DancingHeathers, maybe Grease or Labyrinth or Goonies when they were young.

At the Volz household, we watched Ghostbusters. My younger brothers were totally obsessed with the movie, and I – actually having seen it at the movies when I was a pup myself – willingly joined in the almost daily viewing.

The movie begins with a library ghost.  (Par for the course - Evansville has its own Grey Lady at Willard Library).   The self-styled Casanova parapsychologist Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) and easily excitable Dr. Ray Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) join scholarly Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) at the New York Library to scope things out and collect some ectoplasm ("Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it?"). What seems like a harmless – though transparent - female book browser becomes a scary spectre that causes our heroes to flee the library like schoolgirls.

After their research grant is revoked, the three are forced to figure out a way to capitalize on their parapsychological knowledge – starting their own 'paranormal investigation and elimination' service.  With the new headquarters a dilapidated firehouse (which Ray loves for the firepole) and their official vehicle, a Cadillac ambulance conversion that needs a lot of work (also purchased by Ray).

What makes this movie sheer genius is the casting and humor work perfectly well to make you completely bought in to the idea that three out of work parapsychologists could create ways to stun and harness ghosts with an 'unlicensed nuclear accelerator' (aka proton pack), trap them, and get paid for it. The three initial Ghostbusters are a motley trio of:

  • a hardcore scientist who believes 'print is dead' and collects 'spores, molds and fungus.'
  • a scientist with a bipolar balance of serious studious knowledge and innocent kid-in-a-candy store glee at things like 'actual physical contact!' with a ghost
  • a pseudoscientist more interested in getting the ladies than…well, anything else

And then when business is booming, they add Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), who proves to be a rational foil to the original three.

The ghost effects are also quite good and dial up the scare or humor as necessary.  Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), opens her refrigerator to find a vision of a demonic dog saying "Zuul."  Creepy!  Later the same type of creature breaks free from its seemingly stone form on the outer architecture of the building and later emerges in the apartment of Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) only to suffer the injustice of having a party guest's coat tossed on its head (probably why it was so pissed off when it finally bursts through the door, ready to attack).

Probably the most famous manifestion in the movie and beyond is the voracious 'Slimer,' First emerging in the Sedgewick Hotel snarfing up somebody's room service meal, famous for 'sliming' Venkman and becoming their first actual captured ghost, this apparition is more funny than scary. (Which the franchise totally capitalizes on in toy sales and later inclusion of Slimer in the Saturday morning Ghostbusters cartoon).

The whole movie is littered with witty dialogue and dryly delivered one liners, and is highly quotable from beginning to end (just check the 'quotes' page if you don't believe me). Pretty much any time I have to climb several flights of stairs, I break out the line from the stairs-only ascent to Dana's apartment where the Ghostbusters must face Gozer: 'Tell me when we get to 20…I'm gonna throw up.'  One day I'm going to try and get my co-workers to participate in the celebratory exchange: 'We got the tools, we got the talent!' (Zeddemore).  'It's Miller Time.' (Venkman).

Plus, the soundtrack is quite good.  Who ya gonna call for the title song?  Not Kenny Loggins, but Ray Parker Jr.

Realistically, all those hours watching and memorizing Ghostbusters probably could have been spent better by learning another language, playing outside, memorizing poetry, playing the piano, or doing pretty much anything more productive.  However, I do feel that I am prepared should the world need some wit and sarcasm in the midst of a massive supernatural event. And I have learned that if anyone asks you if you are a god, you say YES!

Written by Jennifer Venson