It is a truth universally acknowledged that Ghostbusters is the greatest film ever made. It’s also currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Yes, really... you are that old. To commemorate this milestone, Sony are releasing the film on Blu-Ray and a game for PlayStation 3, and to launch both of these they organised a VIP screening of the original film at the Soho Hotel. Unfortunately, I am so behind the times that I have neither a Blu-Ray nor a PS3; but I do have eyes so, with the promise of experiencing it as God and nature intended – that is, on a proper cinema screen – you couldn’t see me for dust.
As my friend Anna and I stumbled, awestruck, into the almost insanely lovely Soho Hotel, I did rather suspect that we would be the most VI people there. With this in mind, I was somewhat thrown by the enormous bouncers and bored-looking paparazzi littering the entrance. I almost didn’t notice the full-size Ecto-1 parked grandly outside with an inflatable Mr Sta Puft standing guard; although, once spotted, it was all Anna could do to stop me from hopping inside and taking it for a spin. Safely ensconced in the bar, we stared surreptitiously at our fellow guests, trying to work out who was famous. Anna spotted an ex-Big Brother contestant holding court at the bar and, utterly unaware of whom she was, I blithely ignored a TV presenter in the loos. It wasn’t until I read the papers the following morning that I learnt man-of-the-moment Dizzee Rascal had been there too. Smooth. Investigative journalism? I won’t give up the day job.
For those of you who lead such deprived lives that you have never seen this piece of cinematic genius, let me give you a run-down. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis play three scientists who get chucked out of their university labs just as they find concrete proof of paranormal activity. Undeterred, they set up a business which will rid NYC of ghosts and ghoulies. Winston (Ernie Hudson) joins the team. The city gets overrun with bad vibes. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters, quite clearly. The boys are on TV. The environmental protection agency is less than thrilled. Sigourney Weaver comes over all possessed because a demi-god has taken up residence in her roof garden. Rick Moranis cavorts geekily around and turns into a dog. A gigantic marshmallow strides the streets. HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY END?! Well, enter our competition, win the Blu-Ray and blooming well watch it yourself, you lazy person. I can’t be expected to do everything.
Perhaps the most ironic thing was that very few audience members – if any – were over the age of 30. Not only were they (well, we – I’m 24) unlikely to have seen it on the silver screen the first time around but chances are they, like most current-day fans, view Ghostbusters with affectionate ridicule, tongue-in-cheek shaking-of-heads and patronising irony. It’s a cult classic in the same vein as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Big Trouble In Little China, although Ghostbusters has a trump card: a fantastically tight, well-written, witty script with barely any margin for error. The effects may be rubbish compared to modern-day CGI but if you consider how long ago it was actually produced, Mr Sta Puft and Gozer’s lair on top of the skyscraper are actually phenomenally well-made. There are some truly frightening moments, and the comedy is as fresh today as it ever was. Hopefully, those audience members who made an appearance simply to get at the free alcohol will have left with a new-found respect for the comedy of Messrs Aykroyd and Ramis. It certainly rekindled my love for the spook-snaring quartet, with or without the wine and freebies.
That evening taught me three things: one, busting makes me feel good; two, if someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes; and three, always hang around at the end of screenings to collect the leftover bags of marshmallows that skinny society girls will never touch in a million years. God alone knows what the long-promised second sequel will bring... but at least nothing will ever tarnish the brilliance of this hilarious, ridiculous, surprisingly scary smash-hit, still the subject of international adulation a quarter of a century later. Keep up the good work, boys; Derek Acorah needs all the help he can get!