16 September 2002 | magic_marker
A severely underrated film
What's that you say? Ghostbusters, one of the most financially successful and over-hyped comedies of the eighties, underrated? Yes. Precicely because it was so over-hyped and made so much money, there has been a stigma attached to this film identifying it as a childish FX piece, when it is nothing of the sort. Most of the lines people remember("He slimed me," "OK. So? She's a dog," "When someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES!") are not its funniest or wittiest lines, which often are missed on first or even second viewing. I laugh every time I observe a gag or a quip that I somehow missed the other 20 times I viewed a scene; "Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head, remember that?" "That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me", or, to the driver of a van from a loony bin, "Dropping off or picking up?" Brilliant.
Not only is Ghostbusters funny, it manages to include some truly scary scenes. And not just lose-your-popcorn moments like the fridge from Hell, but also scenes of quiet, thoughtful chill, like Egon's retelling of how the possessed apartment building came into being, or Winston recalling the Book of Revelation. Which other film has managed to combine the Marx Brothers with HP Lovecraft?
The special effects hold up well, besides some obvious studio sets and models, but what really creates this film's world is the stunning cinematography. Manhattan, perhaps the pinnacle of Gothic architectural evolution, is brilliantly utilised here to create a sense of menacing grandeur. After watching "Ghostbusters" I couldn't imagine the realm of the Old Gods opening into our world from anywhere else. The soundtrack is great, not the overrated theme (Which was in fact lifted from Huey Lewis' "I Need a New Drug"), but the wonderfully blusey "Cleaning Up the Town," the creepy proto-techno chiller "Magic" and also the wonderful score by the late and much lamented Elmer Bernstein.