It's an opening that practically everybody who grew up or went to the movies in the 80's remembers: The camera drifts along the stacks of a huge, dark library. Ahead a librarian is butting books away, blithely unaware that they are quietly rearranging themselves behind her back. The creepy synthesizer plays out it's haunting note as we get closer and closer to the woman as she finally starts to realize something's amiss. She turns to the camera, the screen flares in a bright flash and she screams as her hair is blown back. Cue the world-famous theme by Ray Parker Jr.
It's been a long-time coming, but the Cavalcade finally got around to Ghosts, choosing this theme to close out the "Year of the Creature Feature". And to be totally frank, there was absolutely NO way we were going to not screen this movie. It was written by and stars Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and features fantastic turns by Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts. One also cannot discount the memorable role played by Sigourney Weaver in her second Cavalcade appearance (first being Aliens), the only actor to do that so far aside from Casper Van Dien. Auspicious company indeed.
The film is an origin story of sorts, focusing on the discovery of the spirits and the founding of the titular capture and removal service. Some of the best scenes of the film involve the early use of the equipment, which hasn't really been field-tested. But as Murray's Peter Venkman states with more than a little fear-induced sarcasm:
"Why worry? Each one of us is carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back."
Fortunately the tests prove successful, as does the business model. Eventually the group garners the unwelcome attention of two hostile forces: The E.P.A. and an ancient Sumerian god of destruction named Gozer. Both reak havok on the lives of our heroes, and are responsible for untold millions in damages and loss of life. But only one is responsible for one of the most memorable moments in film history:
The 50-foot tall Stay-Pufft Marshmallow man stomping through New York City, raining down sugary destruction.
Thereby, Gozer wins on cool points.
This leads us to the special effects, which were beyond amazing in their day, are finally starting to show their age. They are by no means "bad", mind you, still managing to surpass a healthy chunk of the low-budget fare of today. I'd actually be interested in a "special edition" that cleaned them up ala the one or two good parts of the Star Wars re-releases (hint hint). The proton blasts, ghosts, goblins, zombie cabbies, and afore-mentioned confectionary monsters-all look good... or as good as such things can look, being dead and/or demonic hell-beasts.
There's so much more to say about this movie! But rather than wax poetic about it for another umpteen paragrahs, I'll close this with a clear recommendation for any Cavalcade event. It's a fantastic ride, hilariously funny with some genuine chills here and there, and your audience will thank you for it.