FOREWORD BY IVAN REITMAN
Thirty-five years ago, no one had seen anything quite like Ghostbusters before. A movie populated with hilarious but charming heroes and genuinely scary ghosts. A movie that made you laugh one minute and scream the next. A big-budget comedy with elaborate special effects. This wasn’t your typical summer blockbuster.
Despite the unconventional concept, we all believed we were onto something special. I felt it when I first read Dan Aykroyd’s original story treatment back in ’83. Dan had come up with the wild futuristic concept of interdimensional ghost-hunters that included wonderful ideas like the Ectomobile, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and the apparition who would later become known as Slimer. I suggested refashioning it into a contemporary ‘going into business’ story set in New York City, and we brought in the brilliant, much-missed Harold Ramis to co- write the script and play Egon.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been the same movie without Bill Murray. By this point I’d already worked with Bill on Meatballs and Stripes and knew what a joy it was to watch him in action. His Peter Venkman is one of cinema’s great, multi-layered comic characters. Many other amazing actors were crucial to the film’s success too. We were fortunate to have Ernie Hudson as Winston, who acted as kind of an explanatory voice for the audience. Joined by the wonderful Sigourney Weaver as Dana, the remarkable Rick Moranis as Louis, Annie Potts as Janine, Bill Atherton as Walter Peck... a director could not have asked for a more perfect cast.
The other characters in the movie that we needed to get right were the ghosts and ghouls. Richard Edlund and his talented team of artists at Boss Film Studios brought Slimer, Stay Puft, the Terror Dogs and all the other creatures to life with such imagination and technical expertise. The comedy and the special effects worked amazingly well together – and thankfully audiences thought so too!
This book contains stories about all of the talented people who helped make Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II such joyful experiences. Above all, it’s the fans who have kept the spirit of Ghostbusters alive for over three decades – and I hope for many more decades to come! THE ORIGINAL GHOSTBUSTER
HERE’S A FRIGHTENING THOUGHT: without Dan Aykroyd there would be no Ecto-1, no Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, no Slimer, no Ghostbusters. The story and structure may have evolved in later drafts, but the premise of the movie – along with its coolest ghosts and that car – were all in place from Aykroyd’s very first treatment.
“I vividly remember when I first had the idea,” Aykroyd recalls. “It was around the autumn of ’81 and I was in my old ancestral farmhouse. One afternoon I was alone, and I picked up a copy of the American Society for Psychical Research quarterly journal, which my dad subscribed to. Other summer cottages had Life or National Geographic, but we had Fate and The American Society for Psychical Research! Anyway, there was this article on parapsychology and quantum physics. And I read a theory in there that if you build the right hardware, it might be possible to freeze, at least momentarily, the image of an apparition. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s neat!’ It just started me wondering...”
It’s no surprise that Aykroyd’s dad subscribed to parapsychological journals. The Aykroyds had a long-standing interest in the supernatural. The actor’s great- grandfather, Doctor Sam Aykroyd, was an Edwardian spiritualist researcher who held regular seances, while his father, Peter, wrote a book entitled A History of Ghosts that revealed what it was like growing up in a family that had its own medium. Spirits were simply part of everyday life for the Aykroyds.
“Right up until the ’40s, the family were holding their own seances,” Aykroyd says. “Many entities came through. So I was really immersed in the family business, as it were, and the concept of believing in the afterlife – believing in not just life surviving, but the consciousness of an individual surviving. In trance channelling, a good medium can reach your lost aunt, your lost grandmother, your lost brother, your lost sister, your lost cat... They come through vividly to tell you things that only that lost person – or entity – would know. It’s very real to me.”
Suffice to say, Enriquez was swiftly hired. Working from an early draft of the script (“It floored me with laughter!”), Enriquez brought his gift for creating vivid horror imagery to the film’s ghosts and ghouls, along with logo ideas, poster art, crew-jacket designs and advertising art, all under the supervision of Gross.
Copyright © 2020 by & TM CPII. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.