June of 2019 is a big June for those who you will call in case there are any ghosts causing havoc in your house. The Ghostbusters celebrated their 35th anniversary on June 8th, and the sequel celebrates its 30th anniversary on this very day!
I feel as if I’ve put myself in a precarious spot as what will follow is a ranking of what I believe the best ghosts from the two films. There’s a lot of slime and ectoplasm to shuffle through, and I’ve found that my mind switches from one ghost to another as to who is the ultimate busted ghost.
So pull out your proton packs and set up your ghost trap because we’re about to catch 5 of the best ghosts from the two films.
5. “The Montage” Ghosts
There were plenty of ghosts in both films that appeared for a short scene mostly within a montage setting up the New York City arrival of all that ectoplasm. The most memorable of these from the first film is the seductive spectre that awakens Ray (Dan Aykroyd) from a deep sleep by the means of … definitely not just being “tickled” as my parents had me believe as a child. More montage ghosts emerge as the ‘Busters’ power grid is shut down thus freeing from the containment unit every ghost that they’d captured. The other memorable of those being the zombified cab driver and the subway spectre.
Ghostbusters II upped the ante on its montage ghosts. Thanks to the psychomagnotheric slime created by the negativity of New Yorkers, a handful of ghosts got some small screen time. The most memorable being the Titanic and its passengers arriving at New York City at Pier 34, and Cheech Marin’s – cameoing as a dock hand – reaction. Other ghosts who appeared moreso as demonic creatures were the multi-eyed baddie that emerged from a movie theater and the giant, probably too costly to put on screen for more than a few seconds ghost at the Victory Arch in Madison Square Garden.
One of the more disturbing visuals from either movie came in the sequel when the Ghostbusters are investigating the abandoned City of Albany subway tracks, and a multitude of decapitated heads on sticks appear around them. Out of all of the Ghostbusters running time, this scene is definitely the most horror movie-esque. Gotta give a shout out to the mink fur coat that comes alive and attacks its owner. That always elicits a giggle out of me on every viewing.
4. Psychomagnotheric Slime … Vigo, the Carthapian (I guess)
The disembodied floating head of Vigo the Carthapian (Wilhelm von Homburg) definitely did its job of scaring me as a kid, but on a recent revisit to Ghostbusters 2, Vigo isn’t the total draw. It’s the continuous river of pink slime that he uses to give birth to himself that is the true ghostly star of the sequel. Could it really even be called a ghost, though? For this list’s purpose, it shall be due to its presence in the film being ever moreso villianistic than Vigo ends up being.
Although the Ghostbusters make it do cute things like animate a toaster to dance to a Jackie Wilson number, and its color is that of a combo of retro pinks, this slime’s use is for that of the evil sort. Due to its host of all of the negativity of NYC, it almost causes Egon (Harold Ramis), Ray, and Winston (Ernie Hudson) to tear each other apart after they survive a river of it.
Do you remember the first time that the slime began pouring out of Dana’s (Sigourney Weaver) tub faucet as she’s prepping Oscar (Will and Henry Deutschendorf) for a bath? I’m sure that feeling would be TERROR as it took shape and lashed out to Dana and Oscar. Jeepers. I mentioned earlier how the heads on sticks was the most horror-esque of all the scenes, but perhaps it ties with tub slime.
It’s always surprising how little screentime Slimer has in both films. Within pop culture, he’s synonymous with the Ghostbuster world. Of course, that’s thanks to the wonderful animated The Real Ghostbusters! To have been able to transition over the cartoon with the Ghosbusters means he left some sort of mark in the first film.
His initial haunt is that of the 12th flood of The Sedgewick Hotel. He is definitely the most ectoplasmic of the group, cause, well, yanno, his name. He leaves Peter (Bill Murray) doused in the nasty goo after attacking him. He’s also the first ghost that is sent to the ghost trap. In Ghostbusters 2, he reappears, and perhaps due to his cartoon counterpart helping the Busters, he aids Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) in getting to the Ghostbusters to help in the fight against Vigo. So not that much screen time, but enough of an impact to stay in our hearts forever.
Gozer appears so high on this list due to one thing, and one thing only, and that is because it takes on the shape of The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. If there is any ghost or creature – aside from Slimer – that people associate with the Ghostbusters franchise, it is the towering being of marshmallow fluff. Gozer actually gives the Ghostbusters free reign to choose how it will enter this world, and thanks to Ray, that entrance came in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Before it takes on that shape, Gozer does appear as a seductive and androgynous woman who teases the Ghostbusters in a very ancient God(dess) like way. There was something so enticing and ethereal to the entity in this form portrayed by Slavitz Jovan. “Nimble little minx, isn’t she?” asked Peter about this form, but quite the contrary, Mr. Venkman. There’s a definite power surging from Gozer in this form. I’ve always wished for more of a battle between good and evil with Gozer in this form because she is kick-ass.
1. Eleanor Twitty, the Librarian
She may not have been a penultimate foe for the Ghostbusters, but she is the very first ghost that we see in the franchise. Her arrival is teased in the opening at the New York Public Library with a librarian experiencing floating books and a spewing card catalog (whew, been a while since one of those). The Ghostbusters come to investigate the scene, and experience a few ghostly accidents in the form of stacked books and a falling bookshelf which – trivia! – wasn’t meant to happen. Word is the crew behind the bookshelf accidentally knocked it over, but the cast’s response to it was in character, and director Ivan Reitman decided to keep it in the film.
Call me old fashioned, but there’s nothing more ghost-like than a musty old part of a library haunted by an old librarian dressed in the garbs of her time. Particularly the part where she “Shhh”s the Ghostbusters before totally going all scary ghostform in their faces. I mean, when a librarian tells you to “Shhh,” you hecking Shhh.
Maybe it’s a cheat to call this my favorite ghost out of the franchise due to her bit part, but the first of anything is always the most memorable. It has all of the aspects of the franchise associated with it: humor, whimsy, fear, etc. And the monster design of her when she’s in her scary ghost form? It will never leave my head.
There they are, the 5(+ if you count the montage ghosts) top ghosts of the Ghostbusters franchise. Of course, not counting the 2017 reboot because it’s unsure if that is canon or not, yet. It could be with the upcoming canon sequel that is set to release next year.
And you may be saying, “There is no Dana! There is only Zuul!” Yes, it was hard to not include Zuul as well as the Skelari brothers, but I had to limit myself. Be sure that I believe all of the ghosts in the franchise are extremely memorable.