An entrepreneurial ghost-removal service runs into opposition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and other creatures of evil. [Dir: Ivan Rietman/ Bill Murray, Dan Aykroid, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis/ 105 min/ Comedy, SciFi-Fantacy/ Creator as Hero, Anti-Regulation]
“Personally, I like the University. They gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.” So whines a former professor, after he and his department are cut from the university staff. As subsidized professors, they were corrupt and barely competent; but once tossed into the entrepreneurial marketplace, they quickly become real producers, “ready to serve your supernatural elimination needs.” As it turns out, these “Ghostbusters” are entering the marketplace at just the right time. It seems that all hell is breaking loose, as it were, in New York City – ghosts are showing up everywhere. The Ghostbusters succeed in capturing many of these renegade spirits, for a fee of course. But then a blundering, high-handed EPA official arrives at their office and mistakenly releases all they’ve captured. The release in turn awakens an ancient, evil god, “Gozer, the Destructor.” In a climatic conflict, the Ghostbusters send him back to oblivion, and so save the world. This film captures much of what it is like to start a business. It presents the entrepreneurs as heroes and the EPA man who opposes them as obnoxious and authoritarian. It’s also first-rate entertainment. The comedic acting is consistently hilarious, Sigourney Weaver’s performance as a possessed nymphomaniac being particularly inspired. Artful special effects also add much. This film was so popular it inspired a sequel, a cartoon series, and untold merchandising. The catchy “who-you-gonna-call” title song was a chart-topping hit in its own right.
This article was reprinted from Jon Osborne's Miss Liberty's Guide to Film and Video: Movies for the Libertarian Millenium, available in the Advocates Liberty Store.