You Haven’t Seen!?!: Ghostbusters (1984)


Hello and wel­come to You Haven’t Seen!?! This is my brand-new col­umn delv­ing into the inter­sec­tion of Geek and Cinema! Now, I’ve seen a lot of movies, and I con­sid­er myself an aspir­ing film snob. That said, there are quite a few rather impor­tant films I have not seen before begin­ning this project. I’ve doubt­less seen movies and played games (for this is the Geek, after all) influ­enced by said films, and I prob­a­bly know the twists and spoil­erz, but the films them­selves I haven’t seen.

UNTIL NOW!!!

So let me lay out how this is (ten­ta­tive­ly) going to work. I will write about what I know about the film du jour before I watch it, and after­wards I will talk about it, assum­ing that I’m the last one to the party and that lit­er­al­ly every­one else on the Internet will have seen it. These are some sig­nif­i­cant films we’ll be dis­cussing, some of which are older than I am, so SPOILERZ will abound. Sound fun? I think so, too! Let’s dive right in!

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BEFORE:

Alright, this is it. Of all the movies I haven’t seen, no other title has drawn so much rau­cous dis­be­lief when I con­fess my vir­gin­i­ty than has Ghostbusters. I’m famil­iar with much of what came after it, given that we are now thir­ty years out from its debut and the cast has by now had its day on Hollywood’s A‑list.

And yeah, I know not to cross the streams, and that you should total­ly cross the streams.

My gut tells me that it is a high­ly mer­chan­dis­able com­e­dy with some heavy hit­ting comedic actors  (I also find it funny that, where­as Ernie Hudson prob­a­bly gained much of his pop­u­lar­i­ty from this film, to me he’ll always be Warden Leo Glynn from Oz.). Oh, and a theme song that is basi­cal­ly ear-herpes doesn’t hurt either. Sounds like a good time.

AFTER:

Well. Now about half of nerd/pop cul­ture makes sense. Cool.

So, like, did every sin­gle para­nor­mal inves­ti­ga­tion show take notes from Ghostbusters? From Raymond’s end­less tech­nob­a­b­ble, to the equip­ment the Ghostbusters use (okay, minus the pro­ton packs), to even the inves­tiga­tive pro­ce­dures, it feels as though all the high pro­file para­nor­mal crews from Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State stole from the Ghostbusters’ play­book.

Think about that for a sec­ond. This mid-80’s com­e­dy that made up almost the entire script as it went along is so deeply imbed­ded in our culture’s psy­che that peo­ple who are actu­al­ly get­ting paid money to act like para­nor­mal inves­ti­ga­tors are copy­ing off them. I say this as a hard­core believ­er in the super­nat­ur­al.

So Ghostbusters works because of its spot-on com­e­dy and flaw­less chem­istry among the cast. The fact that a size­able por­tion of the peo­ple who cur­rent­ly dom­i­nate the Internet today grew up watch­ing it doesn’t hurt either. In terms of our cul­ture and her­itage, this is yesterday’s movie, but it’s still rel­e­vant today, and I’d wager it will be so tomor­row as well.


Chelsea L. Shephard

About Chelsea L. Shephard

Chelsea L. Shepard (formerly Hannah DuVoix) doesn't write for the Ontological Geek anymore, but she used to be our Editor-in-Chief! She is currently earning her MFA in Game Design from NYU and is probably also thinking about Fallout: New Vegas.