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GHOSTBUSTERS on Disc

A great gift for movie buffs and aspiring filmmakers alike.

By Frederick C. Szebin     June 06, 2000

In 1984 (quite a good year for genre films) director Ivan Reitman surprised Columbia Pictures, moviegoers and maybe even himself with the success of Ghostbusters, a very expensive movie that just raked in the cash during a very hectic cinematic summer. The story of Venkman (Bill Murray), Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon (Harold Ramis) fighting off the supernatural forces of evil while Venkman tries to make some time with pretty Dana (Sigourney Weaver) has become a classic of its kind and remains one of the coolest comedies of the 1980s. It's dvd release is how such a thing should be done, with lots of extras that highlight the beautifully-restored image.
Ghostbusters has turned out to be the best work of everyone involved, and it's nice to see Laszlo Kovacs' stunning cinematography the way it was intended. This DVD gives us a crisp wide-screen image that can be more fully appreciated once you see how the deleted scenes have deteriorated in only 16 years. The animated menu screen includes the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and a repeating snippet of Ray Parker Jr.'s ever-catchy theme song. We get the usual scene selection, but there is also the treasure of Spook Central, which includes a Scene Cemetery, tricks and trivia, Ghostbusters Grab Bag, Special Effects Conceptual drawings and story boards.
Fans will get a particular kick out of the Scene Cemetery, which includes ten deleted scenes: 'Stake' is a continuation of the scene in which the boys get thrown out of their college, with Murray losing a verbal sparring match; 'Dana' has Weaver's classical musician still trying to throw Venkman out of her apartment; 'Honeymooners' includes actors Charles Levin and Wendy Goldman in a funny scene as the come across the slimy remnants of the Onionhead ghost (later to be immortalized in limited animation as 'Slimer'); 'Winston' is a quick scene in which Ernie Hudson's character is filling out his application and sees just how busy the Ghostbusters are through one of Janine's (Annie Potts) telephone conversations; 'Bums' has Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd dressed as two worldly-wise bums in a funny (but potentially confusing) scene as Louis runs from the hell hound that burst from his apartment; 'Busy' gives some details to what became the tightly edited rush to get the Ghostbusters from city hall to Dana's apartment; 'Promotion' has the guys gearing up as the crowd cheers them on. Winston would prefer they all hop a plane until this all blows over, but the ever-playful Venkman, knowing that this won't blow over and that they might not make it out chides Winston with the promotion he was being considered for until showing such a bad attitude; 'E.P.A.' has the annoying Peck (nicely played by William Atherton) ordering the police to go up and arrest the Ghostbusters even as Gozer's Staypuft marches down the street; 'Puft Hat' comes after the boys have blasted Staypuft and Peck gets covered with marshmallow goo. The crowd cheers the boys as Staypuft's sailor hat glides to the street; 'No Louis!' takes place after Louis and Dana have been dug out of their hell hound husks and little Louis has a nagging memory of him and Dana having had sex at some point.
The DVD also has Tricks and Trivia, in which the movie is shown with informative sub-titles; there is the Ghostbusters Grab Bag, a collection of video commentary, the Tricks and Trivia screen, a 1984 and 1999 featurette, and Ghostbusters Recommend, which is three trailers for the Bill Murray movies Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters II and Stripes. There is also the MST3K-like running of the film that has Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman and associate producer Joe Medjuck giving their remembrances of making the film. There are special effects before and after shots, production stills, and conceptual drawings. This is the be-all and end-all for Ghostbusters fans, which can only be further detailed by a copy of Don Shay's excellent 1985 book, Making Ghostbusters, if you can find it. The only thing missing from this wonderful package is Ray Parker Jr.'s music video (remember Bill Murray break dancing?) that included the catchiest (and potentially most annoying) song until beaten out four years later by 'Don't Worry, Be Happy.'
This is a great gift for movie buffs and aspiring filmmakers alike, a beautiful rendering of this fine film and enough background and developmental information to make the study of Ghostbusters an informative and entertaining film course all its own.

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