Too much wine too quickly tonight, so I'm chilling out doing some "fieldwork" by watching Ghostbusters 2 on E4. At the moment, an Upper West Side-looking extra has just stepped out of a theatre wearing a mink stole and some pastel pink Dyeables (like you might have worn to your prom). She's stepped into some emotionally-susceptible hot pink ectoplasm and the taxidermied mink head of her stole has come alive and is hissing and attacking her face. The green snot-like ectoplasm of the original has evolved, you see. Like the pseudo-scientific ghosthunting I write about in my thesis: "psychical research has evolved," says the UK ghost club sponsered by Living TV here in the UK.
I need to watch this film more closely. Unlike the first Ghostbusters, which was full of mostly funny character ghosts, Ghostbusters 2 is chock full of the past itself coming back to haunt the present. A train that crashed around the turn of the last century comes hurtling through a forgotten underground track. The Titanic finally docks at a city port, allowing its long-dead passengers to file into the city (and as Jeffery Sconce reminds us, the Titanic disaster occurred around the same time as supernatural-seeming devices like radios and telegraphs, were coming to the fore, and inspired a spate of tales of dead victims communicating from the dead through these "new media"). The Statue of Liberty comes to life and walks from Ellis Island across the water to the promised land of Manhattan.
And there's this constant underlying theme of how shit the city is. Bill Murray's character reiterates it over and over. At one point he questions why any ghost would voluntarily choose to haunt such a crap place. This is obviously pre-Disney-happy-Giuliani NYC. I think there are connections to be made between this self-deprecating c.1980s hatred of this most "American" of places, the undigested events of 2001, and the hyper-sanitised version of the city I encounted last week. Can you imagine a Ghostbusters 3 in which the Twin Towers are resurrected via hot pink ectoplasm and victims of 9/11 are released into the city, in need of a good "busting" by the boys?
I've just viewed a cute scene in which Rick Moranis is re-united with troublesome ghost Slimer, who's manning a hot dog stand. "Well, Ok, but I didn't know you were licensed..." says Rick. Sequels themselves are another version of repetition and regurgitation...
Photo is of me re-enacting the scene from Ghostbusters 1 in which Bill Murray happily spins around the fountain outside of Lincoln Center, where Dana (aka Sigourney Weaver) has orchestra rehearsal.