Ghostbusters (1984)
Here To Save The World Again

Ghostbusters (1984)
"We came. We saw. We kicked its ass."

After losing their jobs at Columbia University, a trio of misfit parapsychologists—Peter Venkman (Murray), Raymond Stantz (Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Ramis) — establish their own paranormal exterminator service, "Ghostbusters."

The business, operating out of a retired fire station (located at 14 N. Moore St. in TriBeCa), gets off to a slow start, and they run out of money.

Fortunately, their secretary Janine Melnitz (Potts) gives them the news that they have been contacted by the upscale Sedgewick Hotel to investigate a haunting.

At the hotel, they successfully (albeit chaotically) capture their first ghost and deposit it into a "containment unit" of their own design located in the basement of their office.

Paranormal activity soon begins to increase across the city, and business skyrockets for the Ghostbusters, who become local celebrities in the process.

As their workload continues to rise, the group is forced to hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Hudson), to keep up with the demand for their services.

The Ghostbusters are hired by a woman named Dana Barrett (Weaver), whose apartment at 55 Central Park West is haunted by a demonic spirit called Zuul, a demigod worshipped in 6000 B.C. as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god.

Venkman, who finds Dana attractive, takes a particular interest in the case, competing for her affection with her socially-inept neighbor Louis Tully (Moranis).

As they look into the matter, Dana is possessed by Zuul, which declares itself "The Gatekeeper".

Louis is also discovered to be possessed by a similar demon called Vinz Clortho, "The Keymaster".

Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive god Gozer, and the Ghostbusters surmise it would be prudent to keep the two separated from each other.

However, the next day, the Ghostbusters office is visited by Walter Peck (William Atherton) of the EPA, who arrests the team for supposedly housing dangerous chemicals in their basement (though in reality Peck is a sceptic who believes the Ghostbusters are dangerous frauds), and orders their ghost containment grid shut down, unleashing hundreds of ghosts onto New York City. 
Ghostbusters was released on June 8th, 1984 and grossed $13.6 million on its opening weekend and $23 million in its first week, a studio record at the time. Ghostbusters was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984.

It was followed by a sequel, Ghostbusters II in 1989, and two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters (later renamed Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters) and Extreme Ghostbusters.

Ghostbusters Recut Trailer

Freed from the Ghostbusters' protective custody, Louis/Vinz begins making his way toward Dana/Zuul's apartment as the escaped ghosts create havoc throughout the city.

The two demonic beings meet and head towards the Temple of Gozer to complete the opening of the gate.

Consulting blueprints of 55 Central Park West, the Ghostbusters learn that it was built by a mad doctor and cult leader named Ivo Shandor, who designed the building to act as a spiritual magnet to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world. The Ghostbusters are brought to the mayor's office and freed in order to combat the paranormal activity.

The Ghostbusters head towards the Shandor Building, arriving at the shrine at the top. They are unable to stop Dana and Louis from completing the opening of the gates, transforming into demonic beasts and summoning Gozer, who initially appears as a woman (Slavitza Jovan).

Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, though her voice echoes that the "destructor" will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Venkman explains that this means that whatever they imagine will be manifested as a destroying force, and urges everyone to blank their minds to avoid giving form to the destructor.

However, rumbling is heard in the distance, and Ray finally admits that he was unable to keep his mind blank, so he imagined "something that could never, ever possibly destroy us."

The destructor arrives in Stantz's chosen form of the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and begins laying waste to the city, including stepping on and destroying Central Park West's Holy Trinity Lutheran (1904), causing Peter Venkman to exclaim "Nobody steps on a church in my town!"

Although they manage to light the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man on fire with their Proton Packs, it only makes him angry and he continues advancing towards the building. To defeat this manifestation of Gozer, the team decides to merge the energy streams (known as "crossing the streams") of their Proton Packs (which they were advised against earlier in the film), and aim at the dimensional portal Gozer came through, at the risk of their own lives.

The plan ultimately destroys Stay Puft, who explodes into torrents of melted marshmallow, some of which dumps on Peck below.The Ghostbusters survive, and Dana and Louis emerge out of the charred remains of their possessors. As they exit the building, the Ghostbusters are met with cheers from the gathered crowd. A dazed Louis is taken away for medical attention while Peter and Dana kiss as they drive off.

Slimer Won't Do That: Making of The Real Ghostbusters

The concept was inspired by Aykroyd's own fascination with the paranormal and it was conceived as a vehicle for himself and friend John Belushi, fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus.

The original story, as written by Aykroyd, was very different from what was eventually filmed.

In that early version, a group of "Ghostsmashers" traveled through time, space and other dimensions taking on huge ghosts (of which the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was just one of many).

Also, the Ghostbusters wore S.W.A.T.-like outfits and used wands instead of Proton Packs to fight the ghosts.

Ghostbusters storyboards show them wearing riotsquad-type helmets with movable transparent visors.

In addition to a similar title, the movie shares the premise of professional "exterminators" on a paranormal mission with The Bowery Boys slapstick comedy Spook Busters (1946, directed by William Beaudine).

Aykroyd pitched his story to director / producer Ivan Reitman, who liked the basic idea but immediately saw the budgetary impossibilities demanded by Aykroyd's first draft. At Reitman's suggestion, the story was given a major overhaul, eventually evolving into the final screenplay which Aykroyd and Ramis hammered out over the course of three weeks in a Martha's Vineyard bomb shelter in May–June 1982.

Aykroyd and Ramis initially wrote the script with roles written especially for Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy. However, Belushi died during the writing of the screenplay, and neither Murphy nor Candy would commit to the movie, so Aykroyd and Ramis made some changes and polished a basic, science-fiction-oriented screenplay for their final draft.

In addition to Aykroyd's high-concept basic premise, and Ramis' skill at grounding the fantastic elements with a realistic setting, the film benefits from Bill Murray's semi-improvisational performance as Peter Venkman, the character initially intended for Belushi.

Louis Tully was originally conceived as a conservative man in a business suit played by comedian John Candy, but with Candy unable to commit to the role, it was taken by Rick Moranis, portraying Louis as a geek. Gozer was originally going to appear in the form of Ivo Shandor as a slender, unremarkable man in a suit played by Paul Reubens.

In the end, the role was played by Yugoslav model Slavitza Jovan. Harold Ramis had no intention of acting in any role in the film as he planned on only helping Aykroyd write the screenplay.

However, the crew struggled to cast the role of Egon Spengler, even after renowned actors such as Chevy Chase, Michael Keaton, Christopher Walken, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum were considered.

Ghostbusters - Behind the Scenes

Feeling he knew the character best since he created him, Ramis accepted the role of Egon. He credits this move in revitalizing his acting career, as Ramis had previously focused on off-screen work such as writing and directing.

Winston Zeddemore was written with Eddie Murphy in mind, but Murphy had to decline the role as he was filming Beverly Hills Cop at the same time.

If Murphy had been cast, Zeddemore would have been hired much earlier in the film, and would have accompanied the trio on their hunt for Slimer at the hotel and been slimed in place of Peter Venkman.

When Ernie Hudson took over, it was decided that he be brought in later to indicate how the Ghostbusters were struggling to keep up with the outbreak of ghosts.

In order to properly light the set for Gozer's temple and create the physical effects for the set, other stages needed to be shut down and all their power diverted over to the set. The hallway sets for the Sedgewick Hotel were originally built for the movie Rich and Famous in 1981 and patterned after the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, where Reitman originally wanted to film the scene.

The Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles was chosen because the large lobby allowed for a tracking shot of the Ghostbusters in complete gear for the first time. Dana Barrett and Louis Tully's apartments were constructed across two stages and were actually on the other side of their doors in the hallway, an unusual move in filmmaking.

A problem arose during filming when it was discovered that a television show had been produced in 1975 by Filmation for CBS called The Ghost Busters, starring Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker. Columbia Pictures prepared a list of alternative names just in case the rights could not be secured, but during the filming of the crowd for the final battle, the extras were all chanting "Ghostbusters", which inspired the producers to insist that the studio buy the rights to the name.

For the test screening of Ghostbusters, half of the ghost effects were missing, not yet having been completed by the production team. The audience response was still enthusiastic, and the ghost elements were completed for the official theatrical release shortly thereafter.