Who you gonna call!?
Ahem. Sorry about that. But I can’t help but get hyped every time someone mentions Ghostbusters. It’s one of the movies that sticks out prominently in my childhood. It was unique because everyone liked it. My entire family. And believe me–that’s a rarity.
We had a tradition in my family when I was growing up. Every Friday, we’d rent a movie from Blockbuster or Hollywood (or this great little mom n’ pop shop that also rented out movies with the kid’s section in this massive wooden castle with a drawbridge–a DRAWBRIDGE– that you had to duck through in order to enter and it was the coolest thing ever!). Between me and my two brothers, we’d cycle through movies. For the most part, our parents let us pick. But sometimes–very rarely–but sometimes our parents would pick out…a Grown-Up movie.
Those movies were the Holy Films of Adulthood. The Adult Movies with Adult Actors doing Adult things like battling space wizards or traveling back to the future. No animation. No singing. No kids as main characters. These were movies made for Grown-Ups. When our parents brought those movies out, all bickering and arguing would stop. The three of us would be on our best behavior. Because this was a Grown-Up movie. And Grown-Up movies demanded perfect attention.
We’d spread this massive Food Blanket on the floor (the one meant to catch our crumbs as we sat in front of the TV for the one night out of the week we got to watch a movie with dinner). Sometimes (especially on Grown-Up Movie Night), we would spread it hours before our dad came home with the pizza. It was ceremonial in a way, laying out that blanket. The first step of our tradition of Friday nights, movies, and pizza.
I still remember the first time we watch Ghostbusters, sitting on that blanket, eating our Mr. Gatti’s pizza. My mother had been concerned it’d be too scary for us. And part of her was right. The opening scene in the library, with the ghost screaming and shifting into some ghoulish figure had me jump in my seat and sending my crusts flying onto the Food Blanket. After that, I became enraptured with the film. I laughed at parts that were funny (and parts that my parents laughed at too, even though I didn’t get the joke), I jumped at the scares, I cringed at the slime. For the film’s run-time, I was lost in New York with 4 guys in jumpsuits with proton packs.
For the rest of the weekend, I talked Ghostbusters. I re-watched Ghostbusters. I pretended to be a Ghostbuster.
The story stuck in a way none had before. I’d heard of ghosts and scary stories before, sure. But this was the first time that humor had been involved with ghosts, instead of the typical suspense and fear. Ghosts, to me, were suddenly cool, suddenly fun.
And that’s how I still come at Ghostbusters, after all these years. It’s a wild ride of genre-bending shenanigans. I loved the new version, when it came out. And I hope to incorporate that fun element to my own ghost stories.
And man, you should have seen my face light up when my mother told me there was a sequel.