Warning: There are spoilers for the new Ghostbusters within, so read on at your own risk.
Any time that a classic movie gets rebooted or remade, the new version is bound to be chock full of Easter eggs and references that fans will appreciate. It’s no different with Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters, a movie that isn’t content to coast on nostalgia but still manages to drop some fun references for fans of the original movies in addition to featuring .
While appears in the middle of the film, it was a joy to see that the opening scene retained the familiar introduction we love from the original movies as the song slowly fades in to the title of the movie after a character undergoes a horrific scare.
That First Ghost
Just as the original Ghostbusters encountered their first spectral being in the depths of the New York Public Library, so too did the new team have their first paranormal experience among stacks of books. In the library of the haunted historical landmark that the Ghostbusters first investigate, they meet the ghastly form of a former resident that winds up sliming Erin Gilbert. The event is even videotaped by Abby Yates, following suit with Ray Stantz filming his own team’s first investigation.
Death By Electric Chair
The subway ghost in the new movie is one of the film’s creepiest moments, but it calls to mind the Scoleri Brothers from Ghostbusters II — siblings that were sent to the electric chair and come back for revenge on the judge that sentenced them. Something about seeing a phantasm with the crown of the electric chair around their head and wearing prison garb is extraordinarily terrifying.
A Harold Ramis Bust
Outside of Erin Gilbert’s office at Columbia University, a bust of Ghostbusters co-creator and Egon Spengler himself, Harold Ramis, is visible in the background. and Paul Feig dedicated the new movie to the late comedian. Feig told Movie Pilot:
“I was lucky enough to know Harold because when I was working on ‘The Office’ as a director he had come in and done some episodes. I ended up getting to have dinner with him one night and would just run into him at various events. He was just such a wonderful man that influenced [‘Ghostbusters’] so much because he had the same kind of sense of humor I do, which is liking things to be absurd but it all has to be grounded in the characters. That comes from his work as an improv person. it really meant a lot to me to have him involved.”
Fired From Teaching
Just as the original team of Ghostbusters formed after essentially being called frauds and getting fired from their cushy jobs in the Parapsychology Department at Columbia, so too does Erin Gilbert get her start as a Ghostbuster by getting the boot to the unemployment line. As fate would have it, she’s also fired from Columbia.
Hook And Ladder 8
The original Ghostbusters headquarters at Hook and Ladder 8 in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood on North Moore Street makes an appearance as the first place the realtor (a cameo by Ghostbusters co-writer Katie Dippold) shows to the gang. The movie hilariously plays with the notion of outrageous rental prices and ultimately forces the team to settle for a space above Abby’s favorite Chinese restaurant.
If There’s Something Strange…
When Abby finds out that “If you see something, say something” maybe isn’t the best advertisement for reporting paranormal activity in New York City, she posits using “if there’s something strange in your neighborhood” instead. This is of course a reference to the lyrics of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” theme song.
Ghostbusters, Whaddya Want?
One of the best moments of the original Ghostbusters is Janine answering a phone call at Ghostbusters HQ with a frustrated “Ghostbusters, whaddya want?!” after being berated by Venkman. This is reflected in the new film twice — once when Annie Potts cameos as an irritable Mercado Hotel concierge, and later when we hear Kevin’s answering machine greeting at the office.
Martin Heiss Is Basically Walter Peck
Bill Murray’s cameo as famed debunker Martin Heiss is a clever nod to Walter Peck, William Atherton’s character from the original film that butts heads with Murray’s Peter Venkman. It’s a fun role reversal to have Murray play the character that is suspicious of the Ghostbusters’ methodology.
One of the oft-quoted lines from 1984’s Ghostbusters is Venkman’s description of the coming apocalypse as “Dogs and cats, living together — mass hysteria!” This is mirrored in the new film when the Ghostbusters are having a meeting with NYC’s mayor and the government claims that they are trying to avoid causing mass hysteria.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
The iconic and seemingly innocuous sailor man from Ray’s childhood that became Gozer the Destructor and nearly wiped out Manhattan makes a return as a haunted balloon in Ghostbusters. The movie simply could not have let the opportunity to show Mr. Stay Puft pass by, and I was glad to see that they found a way to incorporate him.
Dana Barrett’s art deco apartment building played an important role in the coming of Gozer, and the new Ghostbusters keeps the importance of NYC architecture intact when it comes to Rowan’s plan. On the intersection of the ley lines on the island of Manhattan stands the Mercado Hotel, another art deco building that calls back to Dana’s Central Park West apartment.
Slimer In Love
Much like Stay Puft, Ghostbusters isn’t Ghostbusters without an appearance from Slimer. This time around, the ugly little spud carjacks the Ecto-1 and finds a Lady Slimer to cruise around with. They ultimately help save the day — although they don’t know it — and send Rowan and the creatures he’s unleashed back to the dimension of the dead.
Total Protonic Reversal
The new Ghostbusters doesn’t explicitly say “don’t cross the streams,” but the end result of doing so — total protonic reversal — that winds up saving NYC from Gozer is the same method that sucks Rowan back through the portal to the undead dimension. It’s a fun way to incorporate the classic Hail Mary play without directly aping it.
That Guy In The Background
In the original Ghostbusters, one of the funniest moments comes from what looks like a totally unprompted cameo from a scruffy Manhattan patron that wonders into the background of a newscast during the busting montage and makes a face at the camera. This is paid homage at the end of the new film when a man walks through the shot of a newscast and yells for no good reason.
The Post-Credits Scene
We’ve already about Ghostbusters‘ awesome — and it’s so explicit it’s not even really an Easter egg — but a mention of Zuul is about as close to the original film as you can get. It could mean big things for the sequel, but even if it’s just a one-off namedrop, it’s an awesome nod to the 1984 classic.
I’ve only seen the movie once (so far) and it’s likely I’ve missed a few — I’ll be sure to add more once I give it another watch. If you can recall any that I’ve missed, leave it in the comments below!
Joey Esposito is a writer and hoarder of things from New England, living in Los Angeles with his wife Amanda and their cat Reebo. He thinks Cheers is the greatest television show ever made. Twitter: @joeyesposito