Ghostbusters first hit the screen in 1984 and was a surprising success. It was the first of its kind, being a paranormal comedy that used new technology to provide genuine scares to audiences all over the country. Dan Aykroyd wrote the script with influence from his family, who were into the paranormal. Aykroyd’s great-grandfather was a dentist by day and a paranormal researcher by night, claiming to be able to connect with spirits from the afterlife. So you could very well say that Aykroyd’s love of the supernatural is in his blood. He got help from fellow comedian and writer Harold Ramis to revamp his original screenplay and turn it into what we all know today. The original film and its sequel make up one of my favorite franchises ever.
Director Anthony Bueno’s Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is an in-depth documentary that takes us behind the scenes of one of the most beloved movies in pop culture history. Co-writers Anthony and Claire Bueno pepper in plenty of untold stories from the cast and crew and even include some deleted scenes. Familiar stories such as how John Belushi was originally supposed to be in the role of Peter Venkman, but due to his unfortunate passing, the role would be given to Bill Murray, who turned it into an iconic role, are also included. The cast and crew also discuss how John Candy tried out for the part of Louis Tully but did not land it due to creative differences.
For the first time, I heard how much trouble they had filming the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Apparently, the original stunt man could not get the shot right, only for the crew to find out that he was scared of fire. This is just one of many stories that I heard for the first time, even after reading books and watching multiple documentaries about the franchise. So it proves just how deep the filmmaker goes here.
“…an in-depth documentary that takes us behind the scenes of one of the most beloved movies in pop culture history.”
When it comes to pop culture documentaries, I can watch them all day. Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is definitely a film I will go back and rewatch because I simply enjoyed it and the stories told. Now, as great as it is, some tales and people are noticeably missing. One story which was not mentioned was how Eddie Murphy was rumored to play Winston Zeddemore – the role that would ultimately go to Ernie Hudson. One can only imagine how different of a movie it would have been if Belushi, Candy, and Murphy were all included.
Those missing from the documentary are Bill Murray and Rick Moranis. Both actors are talked about in great detail but do not even expect archival interviews from either of them. Murray has a love and hate relationship with the franchise, and it has even been rumored that he would not return to the franchise unless his character could be killed off and be a ghost. As for Moranis, he has left the acting business to be more of a family man. As such, while their exclusion is sad, it does make sense.
Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters is a fun look back at what went into making such a classic horror-comedy that some did not even think would make a dent in cinema history. It contains something for every fan to be delighted by and will definitely give fans something to rewatch and revisit until the next installment hits theaters. That is the mark of a great pop culture documentary.
"…contains something for every fan to be delight by..."