Ghostbusters II (1989)

To finish my parade of eighties sequels, I went with Ghostbusters II, which I can remember seeing in the cinema with friends back in the day. My father took me to see the original Ghostbusters, at Swansea Odeon, when I was eleven years old. I have a wonderful memory of feeling scared by the librarian ghost in the New York Public Library, and then laughing uproariously with my father as they ran outside. I’d never seen him laugh like that before, uninhibited and really enjoying himself. The whole theatre was in pieces. Magical.

Five years after defeating Gozer, Ray, Egon, Winston and Venkman are out of business. Dana works at an art museum and has a baby, Oscar. One morning she runs her pram through a sliver of red slime on the pavement. The pram takes on a life of its own, racing through traffic, and Oscar barely survives. Thinking it was a ghost, Dana asks Egon to investigate, and soon the old team have discovered a river of slime running through abandoned subway tunnels under the city. Meanwhile, Dana’s boss, Janosz, is restoring a painting of Vigo the Carpathian, an evil sorceror, who needs to possess the body of a baby at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve if he is to conquer the world, and because Janosz likes Dana, Oscar becomes the target.

The four ghostbusters don’t fully rekindle the chemistry from the first film, so the first act feels awkward and not very funny. I’m surprised again at how unpleasant Bill Murray could be in the eighties; I have no idea what Dana sees in Peter Venkman. The best bits usually involve the supporting characters, Dana, Louis, Janine, and Janosz, who liven things up with some heart and good comic acting. The special effects still look pretty good, but I wish there were more ghosts, and it was always a losing battle trying to replace Ray Parker Jr’s legendary theme song, so the ghost fight scenes feel flat.