RJ Bayley Reviews: Ghostbusters

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While watching Ghostbusters it would be easy to heap all praise and attention on Bill Murray’s sarcastic and childish portrayal of Peter Venkman. He’s the “cool” one most people liked as kids and, to compare it to another enduring, off-the-wall science fiction property from the 80s, he’s the Raphael of the group.

When maturing however, you start to notice the little comedy gems that aren’t as overt as Venkman’s rantings. They’re almost twistedly and perversely subversive, so much so that once you see them you’re unable to comprehend how the film is only a PG.

Take for example the fact Ray Stantz is almost always seen doing one of two things. The first is drinking spirits or beer. This only seems odd when you notice him drinking beer while Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) is eating noodles. The second is that he’s generally spinning on his heels, wheeling around and invariably in poor control of his mind. And when you see Ray in variously dishevelled states and sleeping in his clothes, it becomes clear that the liquor at the start does not belong to Venkman. That’s right, Ray is an alcoholic. So much so that it summons the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

There’s also a several very smutty jokes that only reveal themselves after growing up on Ghostbusters. Probably the most obvious is Ray receiving oral sex from a ghost, but the finest and filthiest joke goes to Egon, who remarks that he feels like the floor of a taxi cab after being covered in thick, warm, white goo.

And who do we have to thank for this? The masterful penmanship of writers Harold Ramis and Dan Ackroyd. Ghostbusters is an absolute classic because of the writing that reveals more and more magic the longer you linger on it.


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