Ghostbusters is a 1984 movie from Columbia Pictures that combines comedy with elements of action, adventure, horror and fantasy. It was directed by Ivan Reitman and stars Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman, Dan Ackroyd as Dr. Raymond Stantz, Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler, Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as secretary Janine Melnitz, Rick Moranis as Louis Tully and Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett. The movie was rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Its theme of things that go bump in the night means that Ghostbusters is a movie that many people choose to watch around the time of Halloween. The movie's theme tune by Ray Parker, Jr., with its chorus of "I ain't afraid of no ghosts" continues to be a favorite song for Halloween parties.
Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz and Egon Spengler, three investigators into the paranormal, lose their funding and their jobs at a university in New York City. They set up their own business, Ghostbusters, promising to remove ghosts from buildings. Their first call is from an upscale hotel which is haunted by a chubby green ghost (later named Slimer). With some difficulty, the team are able to use their Proton Packs to disable and capture the ghost.
The Ghostbusters receive a call from a woman, Dana Barrett, whose apartment is being haunted by an ancient Babylonian spirit named Zuul. Peter Venkman takes an immediate liking to Dana Barrett, competing for her attention with her nerdish neighbor Louis Tully.
Initially business is slow but there is soon so much ghostly activity going on that the Ghostbusters need to recruit a fourth member of the team, Winston Zeddemore. Winston speculates that the reason they are so busy is because the dead are rising, a sign that Doomsday is coming.
Dana Barrett becomes possessed by Zuul or "The Gatekeeper", Louis Tully becomes possessed by another spirit, "The Keymaster". The Ghostbusters realize that they have to keep the two apart but they are arrested by Walter Peck, an Environmental Protection Agent who thinks they are charlatans. Their ghost containment equipment is shut down, releasing hundreds of ghosts into the city. Louis is freed from the Ghostbusters' protective custody and is able to track down Dana.
The team are freed so that they can stop the paranormal activity. They discover that Dana's apartment building was designed by a mad scientist and cult leader as a spiritual magnet to attract the destructive Babylonian deity Gozer and bring about the end of the world. They arrive at the roof of the building and see Dana and Louis transform into dog-like demons. Gozer appears in the form of a woman.
Gozer tells the Ghostbusters to choose the form of the destroyer, they realize that this means that whatever they think of will come to life and destroy the world. They try not to think about anything but Raymond thinks of the most harmless thing he could imagine, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. In order to defeat the giant destructive marshmallow man the team have to merge the energy streams of their Proton Packs and aim them at the portal that Gozer came from.
The Ghostbusters prevent the end of the world, Dana and Louis emerge from the burnt remains of the demons that possessed them. The Ghostbusters are hailed as heroes and Peter and Dana kiss as they drive away.
Sequels and spin-offs
A sequel, Ghostbusters II, followed in 1989. The plot of the film concerns the ghost of a tyrant, Vigo the Carpathian, trying to posess Dana's baby son Oscar. The action takes place in December and reaches its climax on New Year's Eve.
An animated cartoon series for television, The Real Ghostbusters, aired between 1986 and 1991. It was renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbuster in 1988 and emphasis shifted towards the chubby little green ghost who lived with the team. A Halloween special of The Real Ghostbusters introduced the villain Samhain, named after the ancient Celtic festival from which Halloween is derived, a demonic figure with a jack-o-lantern for a head.
A second cartoon series, Extreme Ghostbusters was televised in autumn 1997. The series featured Dr. Egon Spengler recruiting a new team of younger Ghostbusters. The villain Samhain reappeared in the series.
Another film called Ghostbusters, an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to reboot the franchise, was released on July 9, 2016.
After the failure of the 2016 Ghostbusters film, a new film which is a direct sequel to Ghostbusters II titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released on November 19, 2021.