Every Old ‘Ghostbusters’ Easter Egg in the New ‘Ghostbusters’
The following post contains spoilers for Ghostbusters. Obviously.
If you got the feeling of deja vu watching Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, it wasn’t just something strange in your neighborhood. The new movie is loaded, from one end to the next, with references and homages to Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original. It’s haunted, you might say. (And I did, in my review of the film.)
Because I have seen the original Ghostbusters approximately 800 times, it was hard for me to ignore all those Easter eggs. So while I was taking notes during the film’s press screening, I also kept a running list of every reference I caught. Here is that list in its entirety; 41 callbacks and counting (If you spotted something I missed, leave it in the comments below and I will update the post accordingly.)
You will note that I didn’t include the most obvious stuff, like the fact that these Ghostbusters drive a big white car called the ECTO-1, or wear proton packs, or use the same logo. These are not Easter eggs. Easter eggs are hidden or at least require more knowledge than one can glean from looking at a poster. If the stuff below are Easter eggs, the ECTO-1, proton packs, logo, etc. are more like the carton of eggs you keep in the fridge to make omelettes in the morning. So let’s skip right past them to get to the good stuff. Starting now:
Every Old ‘Ghostbusters’ Easter Egg and Reference in the New ‘Ghostbusters’
1. In both films, the title appears after a shot zooming in on the face of a screaming victim of an offscreen ghost.
2. Like the original Ghostbusters, Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is a professor at Columbia University.
3. Like the original Ghostbusters, Erin is fired from Columbia because of her beliefs in the paranormal.
4. The hallway outside Erin’s office contains a bust of Harold Ramis, co-writer of the original Ghostbusters and Egon Spengler in the first two movies.
5. The door of Abby and Holtzmann’s lab has a sign that reads “Do not write stupid things on door!” The 1984 Ghostbusters’ lab had been defaced with the graffiti “Burn in hell Venkman!” (from reader Chris W.)
6. “Books can’t fly!” — This line of dialogue, spoken in a conversation between Erin and Abby refers to the opening scene of 1984’s Ghostbusters, when books in the New York Public Library fly back and forth between stacks.
7. “My pants are toast!” — This line of dialogue, spoken in a conversation between Ed Begley Jr. and Zack Woods’ characters while recounting a ghost encounter, is a reference to Bill Murray’s famous declaration “This chick is toast!”
8. The new Ghostbusters maintain the same ghost classification system as the old Ghostbusters; referring to some, for example, as “Class 4 apparitions.”
9. On their first ghost busting assignment, one of the Ghostbusters gets drenched in slime.
10. The ghost at the Aldrich Mansion looks very similar to the Library Ghost from the first Ghostbusters.
11. Like the original Ghostbusters (and Erin), Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) lose their jobs because of their belief in the paranormal.
12. Like the original Ghostbusters, Abby and Holtzmann (and Erin) draw the ire of an angry dean. In the first movie, it’s Columbia’s Dean Yager (Jordan Charney). In the remake, the dean is played by Tonight Show announcer Steve Higgins.
13. The new Ghostbusters try to take up residence in the same building the original Ghostbusters called home, Hook & Ladder 8 in Tribeca, New York.
14. When the real estate agent tells Erin the price to rent Hook & Ladder 8 her response is “Burn in hell!” a second callback to the graffiti on Dr. Venkman’s Columbia office. (from reader Tyler F.)
15. When Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) arrives for his interview, Abby is making flyers. When Erin rejects her first idea (“If you see something, say something!”) the next option is a classic Ray Parker Jr. “Ghostbusters” lyric: “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood...” (from reader Tyler F.)
16. In the subways beneath New York, the Erin, Abby, Holtzmann, and Patty encounter the ghost of an electrocuted convict, a possible nod to the Scoleri brothers from Ghostbusters II, a pair of apparitions whose ghost bodies were strapped to electric chairs.
17. During a test of a new equipment prototype in the alley behind their headquarters, Feig’s Ghostbusters quietly shuffle away from a potentially deadly new gadget, a nod to a similar scene when Egon and Pete flip on Ray’s proton pack then move to the far end of an elevator.
18. At their lowest point, the four Ghostbusters share a meal of Papa John’s pizza in much the same way the original Ghostbusters use the last of their petty cash to enjoy a “magnificent feast” of Chinese takeout.
19. You had to know someone was going to say some variation of the “Who ya gonna call?” line from Ray Parker Jr. “Ghostbusters” song. (Which appears in the movie in several forms.) Melissa McCarthy gets the honors when she wonders, when New Yorkers have ghost troubles, “Who are they gonna call?”
20. Original Ghostbuster Bill Murray plays a ghost debunker, not only calling back to his role in the first movie, but serving the plot function of Walter Peck, the EPA lawyer who refuses to believe the Ghostbusters are legitimate and wants to shut down their business.
21. The ECTO-1 drives past the New York Public Library, the site of the first ghost in Ivan Reitman’s film.
22. Rowan (Neil Casey), an awkward nerd, helps open a portal to bring ghosts into our world. In Reitman’s movie, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), another awkward nerd, helps bring ghosts to our world (although not by his own choice; he’s possessed by the spirit of Vinz Clortho, the “Keymaster”).
23. The Ghostbusters’ actions in the new movie bring them to the attention of New York City’s mayor (Andy Garcia), who holds a meeting with them in his office, an homage to Mayor Lenny Clotch (David Margulies), who figured prominently in both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II.
24. As the mayor’s aide, Cecily Strong says that while the government is fully aware of ghosts, it needs needs to convince society that the Ghostbusters are frauds. “Otherwise,” she explains, “there would be mass hysteria,” evoking Bill Murray’s line in the similar scene from his Ghostbusters, “Dogs and cats, living together; mass hysteria!”
25. In the new movie, the Mercado Hotel, a large art deco building, becomes the focal point of spectral energy in the city. In wide shot, it looks a lot like “Spook Central,” the apartment building on Central Park West that served as the focal point for spectral energy in the city in Reitman’s Ghostbusters.
26. During her cameo as a receptionist, Annie Potts, who played Ghostbusters receptionist Janine Melnitz in Reitman’s movie, says “Whaddya want?” in a callback to the same line from 1984.
27. Rowan wants to bring about “The Fourth Cataclysm.” There have been two previous Ghostbusters movies, and a Ghostbusters video game that Dan Aykroyd claimed was “essentially the third movie,” which makes Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters the fourth official time the Ghostbusters have saved the world from disaster.
28. The new Ghostbusters’ outgoing answering machine message is Kevin saying “Ghostbusters: Whaddya want?” a second reference to Annie Potts’ line in the original film.
29. In his ghost form, Rowan can possess human beings, the same way Zuul and Vinz Clortho possess Dana Barrett and Louis Tully.
30. In an attempt to convince the Mayor is headed for a disaster of Biblical proportions, she bangs on the window of a fancy restaurant where he’s having lunch. The scene echoes the one in Reitman’s Ghostbusters where Louis Tully is chased by Vinz Clortho and bangs on the window of Tavern on the Green.
31. Both movies feature the skies over Manhattan darkening with supernatural clouds when the door to the ghosts’ realm is fully opened.
32. Slimer, the famous green ghost from the original Ghostbusters that Dan Aykroyd claims is the spirit of John Belushi, not only returns for Feig’s Ghostbusters, he’s even seen eating hot dogs from a street vendor, as in Reitman’s Ghostbusters.
33. Original Ghostbusters star and co-writer Dan Aykroyd has a cameo as a New York City cab driver, who also recites a line from the Ray Parker Jr. “Ghostbusters” song: “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”
34. Although the new Ghostbusters has a totally different storyline about the emergence of ghosts, it still finds a way to include the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, as a balloon in a haunted Thanksgiving Day Parade.
35. A billboard in Times Square reads “That’s a big Twinkie!” a reference to Winston’s line when Egon uses a Twinkie as a metaphor for the psychokinetic energy in the New York area.
36. Rowan asks the Ghostbusters what form they’d prefer he appear in for their final fight, and decides to turn into a giant version of the logo. Gozer winds up in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the old Ghostbusters after asking the same question. (Rowan’s big giant ghost form doesn’t look all that different from Mr. Stay Puft either.)
37. When confronting the Ghostbusters, Rowan throws a piano at them, which plays the familiar melody of the Ghostbusters theme. (from reader Tyler F.)
38. When the Ghostbusters attempt to close Rowan’s portal, they mention that their plan requires a “total protonic reversal.” That’s also the phrase Ray Stanz uses to describe what will happen if his Ghostbusters accidentally cross the streams of their proton pack (which they wind up doing at the end of the film to close a similar portal).
39. Ernie Hudson, aka Winston Zeddemorein the first Ghostbusters, plays Patty’s uncle, who lends the new Ghostbusters the hearse that becomes their ECTO-1.
40. Sigourney Weaver appears in a scene during the closing credits as Holtzmann’s mentor in the field of mad science.
41. In a post-credits scene, Patty listens to a recording of EVP (electric voice phenomena) and hears the name “Zuul,” which is the entity that possesses Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett in the first movie.