For over 30 years now, Ghostbusters, and even its divisive sequels have been part of the cultural lexicon. Cartoons, toys, video games, clothes – you name it and there’s probably a “no ghosts allowed” patch stuck on it somewhere. It’s a testament to a little film that could. The concept seems completely outlandish, even for eighties film standards. In fact, the elevator pitch for the movie was basically “ghost janitors in New York.”
Films sometimes just come together and work. Even if on paper they probably shouldn’t. Ghostbusters had a unique mix of horror and comedy. It had a cast of Saturday Night Live and SCTV alumni. It featured the action heroine of the day – Sigourney Weaver. A hodgepodge of elements that when culled together by the director of Stripes and Cannibal Girls.
Excitement for the first film has only grown during the years. Even when Ghostbusters 2 came out. While the movie has its fans, the consensus is that it pales to the original. It took nearly 30 years to come out with a third film, Answer The Call. Try as they might, the all-female cast was not able to capture the magic, the mayhem, or the funny that the original two had done.
Jason Reitman is gearing up to take on his father’s mantle – Ghostbusters will be coming to screens again in 2020. Reitman is being very coy about releasing any details, just that it’s coming out July 10, 2020, and will serve as a sequel to the original two movies. He has not acknowledged yet if it will be a sequel to the third or not. While fans salivate at all of the possibilities of the next adventure, here are 25 Hidden Details Only True Fans Noticed In The Original Ghostbusters Movies.
25 Dan Aykroyd Believes In Ghosts
The original movie was written by Dan Aykroyd. As it turns out though, while he is a comedian by trade, that seems to be just a hobby to make some money. The family business really does happen to be dabbling in the occult – does that make Ghostbusters an autobiographical movie?
Dating back to at least his great-grandfather, Samuel Aykroyd, the family has been trying to make contact with the spirit world since the 19th century Samuel was a psychic investigator who conducted seances with the help of a medium, Walter Ashurst. His grandfather Maurice tried to make a crystal radio to call the spirit world and his dad kept all sorts of occult books the house. Dan is a fourth-generation ghost hunter just trying to continue his family’s legacy.
24 Ron Jeremy Cameo
In the first film, after the team nabs Slimer at the hotel, we’re treated to a montage of the Ghostbusters endearing themselves to New York. There’s a ton of cameos here, including Larry King and Casey Kasem.
The film also has one more cameo that isn’t so obvious, but it is still a dubious one. With all of the hedgehog talk currently going on with the new Sonic movie, how about a different kind of hedgehog? New York native and grown-up film star, Ron Jeremy found his way into the original film. He and his mustache can be seen when the containment center explodes.
23 The Razor’s Edge
To just about everyone except himself, Bill Murray is perfect and loved for his portrayal of Peter Venkman. Who knows why, the comic mastermind has, by all accounts, always been an odd duck. He took the role of Peter, provided Columbia greenlit a movie he was attached to and deeply invested in, The Razor’s Edge.
It was a passion project for Murray. The only problem is that seldom few others shared his passion for the WWI W. Somerset Maugham novel. The film was not well received by critics or fans when it was released, barely making half of its budget back.
22 Eddie Murphy = Winston Zeddemore
The core four cast of the original Ghostbusters is the film’s most memorable asset. Even if Ernie Hudson as Winston isn’t also pictured in the promotional materials or the fact that Winston doesn’t even show up until about halfway through the movie, and he still finds ways to steal the show every scene that he’s in.
The movie might look very different had the original choice for Winston been cast. Eddie Murphy was originally up for the role. Don’t feel bad for him though, he decided to star in Beverly Hills Cop instead.
21 Ghostbusters, Dimension-Wide
If you think the idea of a couple of college professors defending New York from the other-worldly forces of evil sounds like a completely insane idea to pull off, you’re right. It was a small miracle that Dan Akroyd and fellow writer, Harold Ramis were able to get their project off the ground.
But it could have been a heck-of-a-lot more farfetched than what we got. Aykroyd’s original plan was to have featured teams of Ghostbusters traveling all across time to stop all sorts interdimensional threats.
20 John Belushi Cameo
Dan Aykroyd wanted his SNL bestie, John Belushi to play Venkman. The outlandish physical comedian would have done something a lot different with the role than what Bill Murray did. The entire movie would have been different because of Belushi’s performance. Sadly, Belushi passed before filming started.
But Aykroyd still found a way to put his friend into the movie. Slimer, the team’s first catch and unofficial mascot is actually based on Belushi’s “party animal” persona.
19 Less Than A Year To Make
Movies don’t just happen overnight. There’s planning and plotting and selling the idea to the studios. There’s scripts, script revisions, and shooting scripts. Location scouting, character casting, pre, and post-production. Ghostbusters was no different.
But the cast and crew of Ghostbusters had to pull everything off in less than a year. In May of 1983, Columbia head, Frank Price had agreed to the 30-million-dollar budget based on the strength of the three leads and the provision that the film hits its release date of June 1984. After an intense writing session on Martha’s Vineyard, the team had less than a year to get this onscreen.
18 New York Movie / Hollywood Magic
Ghostbusters in an undeniable New York movie. The team finds its headquarters in TriBeCa in the FDNY Hook and Ladder # 8 building. The close–up shots of all the New York architecture. The events in an around Columbia University and Tavern On The Green.
But other than location shots, just about everything about Ghostbusters came from a soundstage in Los Angeles. Even everyone in the main cast was born and raised in somewhere, not New York. Sigourney Weaver was the only actor to be born in the Big Apple.
17 Annoying Isaac Asimov
Besides I, Robot and various TV episodes over the years, Isaac Asimov is one of the premier science fiction writers of our time. His Foundation trilogy ranks up there with the likes of Lord Of The Rings and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dan Akroyd ranked amongst one of Asimov’s fans.
When the acclaimed author was being bothered and annoyed by the movie filming in his vicinity, shutting down the area around West 65th Street and Central Park West. Whether or not the situation was smoothed over or not is unclear, but Aykroyd had a ball telling the author how much he loved him.
16 Crossing The Streams Improvised
In the final battle against the demonic Gozer, the guys realize that the best way to defeat it would be to risk the very fabric of existence by crossing the streams of their proton packs and sending the fell beast back to the abyss. The decision was made while filming the sequence and not while writing the movie.
Once this was officially how the Ghostbusters defeated Gozer, another scene was added to the film, with the guys explaining what could happen if they did, in fact, cross the streams.
15 Big Money To Use The Name
A rose by any other name, right? However, can you imagine Ghostbusters being called Ghost-Smashers or Demon Slayers, or whatever other name they would have had to come up with? There was a movie in the 70s released under Universal Studios called The Ghost Busters.
Reitman had scenes filmed of crowds chanting for the team, and all of the leads calling themselves Ghostbusters, reshooting would have been a nightmare. Luckily, Frank Price had moved over to Universal in the interim and since he greenlit the project in the first place, he allowed Reitman to use the name.
14 Reitman Was Terrified At Test Screenings
By all accounts, the mixture of comedy and horror had not been, or rarely had been, done in a long time in Hollywood. Tack on the haphazard production schedule, and a fairly (at this time) unproven track record for Reitman. Reitman, perhaps knew all of this or felt all of this and was nervous that the movie would tank at the box office.
He was scared out of his mind at test screenings. That is until the audience reacted exactly they were supposed to. They laughed when they should’ve and they screamed in fright when they should have. Reitman’s fears faded quick and the film, of course, became a sensation.
13 Max Von Sydow In Ghostbusters 2
In the second Ghostbusting adventure, the boys deal with a river of slime feeding off of New Yorkers’ anger issues. It’s all funneling to a painting of Vigo The Carpathian. The evil conquerer was played by German actor, Wilhelm von Homburg. The actor was excited to be part of an American blockbuster.
But has none too pleased when he saw the finished product and learned that his voice was dubbed over by the incomparable Max von Sydow. Sydow lent his booming gravely voice to the Carpathian.
12 Peter MacNicol Created Janosz Poha
Before he could become corporeal, the spirit of Vigo had taken control of the museum’s curator Janosz Poha. Played by Peter MacNicol, the impish actor was the rest threat until Vigo could gain a body.
Behind the scenes, MacNicol took what was a minor character on paper and made him memorable. He stayed in his trailer creating everything about Janosz. The accent, the mannerisms, everything. None of it was in the script and MacNicol made the role his own.
11 Venkman’s Experiment Was Real
When we first meet the smarmy Peter Venkman, he is conducting an experiment to see if a person might be a psychic. For him though, he’d rather use it to woo a beautiful girl instead of helping the man who actually might be psychic.
While Venkman is a total fraud, the experiment was a real one. The Milgram Experiment was designed to test people’s willingness to obey and perform acts that conflicted with their conscience. Ramis said the purpose of the scene was to test the audience’s ability to accept their hero surprising people.
10 Sigourney Weaver’s Audition
With her silky voice and star-making turn in Alien, Sigourney Weaver proved real quick in her career that is a very different type of actress. She became an instant icon with that film, and films like Ghostbusters only added to her tremendous legacy. As Dana Barrett, she also got to show her chops as a damsel in distress, albeit one that wouldn’t take Venkman’s shenanigans.
But even she had to audition back then for her role. It was her decision to bark like a dog as her character was taken over to become a dog from Hell minion of Gozer.
9 Egon Was Almost Played By...
Egon Spengler is the scientist of the Ghostbusters. He also serves as the person who tries to explain everything to his colleagues and the viewer – even though, it’s a lot of pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. It’s hard to think of anyone besides Harold Ramis playing the guy.
But before the writer decided to step into the role that he helped to write, there were several other options to go with. Can you imagine Christopher Walken telling everyone about the Twinkie? Or Christopher Lloyd, maybe even Jeff Goldblum. All of these would have been great Egons. But none would have had the same chemistry with Aykroyd or Murray.
8 Atherton Was A Convincing Scumbag
William Atherton’s eighties must have been bittersweet. He was getting paid handsomely for playing bad guys in movies like Die Hard and Ghostbusters. But he was also getting bothered and still razzed by fans who recognize him. For his role as Walter Peck, he would wind up getting yelled at all over New York.
Even worse for the guy, he’d occasionally have to deal with altercations at the bar, with drunken patrons hurling epithets from the film at him – Atherton and Billy Dee Williams, two convincing actors getting yelled at for doing their jobs a little too well.
7 Hook And Ladder # 8
Egon refers to the home base of the Ghostbusters as sitting in a demilitarized zone. The comical line refers to the TriBeCa section of Manhattan. But on 14th North Moore Street in the area stands the most famous firehouse in all of cinema – the Hook and Ladder # 8, which was the home Of The Ghostbusters.
The fire station still stands today, despite threats of closing down to save the city some money. They even still use the movie’s famous logo as their own.
6 Ecto 1
As one of the most recognizable cars in movie history, the Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1 was one of a kind. At least it was in the original movie. The modified hearse finally crapped out on the crew during filming of Ghostbusters 2.
One drawback to the unique vehicle is that the car caused several accidents while promoting the movie. The actors would drive the car around Manhattan. While normally New Yorkers don’t pay things like a strange ambulance no mind, the car’s siren turned enough heads to cause a few drivers to get distracted and cause collisions.
5 Jason Reitman’s Cameo
Ivan Reitman directed several films before Ghostbusters, but his career really took off after this film. His son Jason has always said he was the movie’s first fan and recently announced that he will be helming the “third” movie, due out in 2020.
He also has a cameo in the second film. When Ray and Winston head to a birthday party as the entertainment, Reitman plays the boy telling them his dad thinks they’re full of crud and that’s why they’re out of business.
4 Bill Murray Ad-Libbed Everything
While he might not care to admit it, Ghostbusters is one of Bill Murray’s defining roles. The complete narcissism and lunacy of Peter Venkman somehow won over fans from the moment he was surprising his patients. The inherent goofiness of Murray’s performance takes a pretty mean character and makes him endearing.
Whatever choices Murray were not only his own, they also were pretty much 100% completely made up on the spot. If you’ve ever thought how spontaneous Venkman seems, that’s because Murray pretty much was making it up as he went along.
3 Harold Ramis In Answer The Call
The third movie, subtitled Answer The Call had an unfortunately divided crowd. Some thought it was an ok movie, most thought it couldn’t hold a candle to the original. Some fans called out “bias” if you didn’t think the all-female cast wasn’t funny. Some just flat out thought it wasn’t funny at all.
But give credit to director Paul Feig and co-screenwriter, Katie Dippold. They did their best to pay homage to the films that came before. Despite having passed away, they even found a cameo for Harold Ramis – he appears as a bust at Columbia University.
2 John Candy As Louis Tully
As one of the residents in Dana’s building, Louis Tully had a huge crush on her. Not only was he crushing on her, he was also susceptible to becoming an agent of the demon living in Dana’s fridge. Rick Moranis makes the role one of his most memorable as a meek little man who becomes a hellhound.
Tully was not written for the diminutive Moranis though. The original choice for Tully was the larger than life, John Candy. Candy, known for playing lovable and slightly psychotic jerks throughout his career would have made Tully an entirely different character, and we already had one jerk (Peter) running around the movie.
1 The Hotline Actually Worked
When you have a service devoted to clearing out all kinds of supernatural vermin, you might need a phone number for patrons to use. When the faux-commercial popped up during the movie’s original run, it linked up to a working number. 1-800-555-2368 was the # to call.
The number got calls all day and night until it was decommissioned. When Answer The Call came, there was a new number to call, at least for the UK – one that led directly to Thor himself. Chris Hemsworth, who played the new team’s receptionist.