I really enjoyed writing that article, and I'm sure I'll enjoy this one just as much, if not more! To recap, when I was a kid, I was deathly afraid of skeletons... and tons of other stuff too. But especially skeletons. One of my cousins was too, so maybe it runs in our family? She had a particularly memorable experience with them about the time I was finally coming out of my skeleton fear. It wasn't in an adventure movie, a horror movie, a slasher, or anything like that. It was found in the most unlikely of places.... a Christmas movie! BEHOLD!
Home Alone 2! Poor Marv! She had a particularly strong reaction, and I wish it'd happened while my aunt and uncle had their video camera out.... the story goes that this scene came on, and she let out a blood-curdling scream, then ran to the VCR, ejected the tape, ran outside, and threw it in the trash! DEEEEEUMN! I never did anything like that, I was just in self-preservation mode instead of fight mode like she was! Ha... VCRs and tapes... today's kids would have no idea what those were.
Anyway, back to me! For me, It didn't matter what these random skeletons were doing - if it was a skeleton, I was afraid. It made watching Indiana Jones, The Goonies, and countless other movies nigh impossible for me until I was older. Now, journey back with me to some more scenes from cinematic history that did me in....
Even today, I'm still not quite sure if Ghostbusters really IS a kid's movie, or if it just happened to be a popular movie when I was a kid... it spawned a Saturday morning cartoon and a whole line of toys for kids, so it seems safe to assume from that they were aiming for kid demographic, but it didn't really have kid themes.... who knows. Either way, it wasn't too scary of a movie, but there were a few scenes I remember really scaring me!
The [Former] Librarian The movie started with a librarian closing up for the night. She heard a strange noise and went to investigate. Then, she turned a corner and we saw her from the front getting blown back while screaming before the screen goes black and shows the Ghostbusters logo. We're then brought into the investigation, with the trio (started with only 3) of Ghostbusters going through the library with one of their tools of the trade. They eventually find a woman floating at the end of an aisle. They try to approach it, and all they get is a "Shhhhh...." After regrouping, they decide to go after it, and it reacts accordingly, turning from an innocent old woman into this MONSTROSITY!
This thing freaked me out so much! It just looked like it could (and WOULD) eat me up in like 5 seconds! I always had to look away when this scene was coming up. Looking at it now, it's still a pretty creepy looking creature, and the special effects hold up really well for a movie that's 32 years old!
Evil Dogs! As the movie got towards the end, poor Rick Moranis ended up being transformed into a dog! But, this wasn't just any old dog with a mean streak... from a statue was born this nightmare!
All it's cuteness was gone and all that was left was these evil glowing red eyes and demon horns! It ran through the city, causing chaos everywhere it went. We later learned that it was a servant of another freaky being... this thing didn't scare me as much as the librarian, but it was still enough to make me shudder!
Gozer Here's the aforementioned master of the dogs. Gozer was the big baddy, an ancient evil spirit that had been reborn through her minions, Zuul (Venkman's love, Dana, played by Sigourney Weaver) and Vinz (Rick Moranis). She had taken over the roof of the building Dana lived in, and that in itself looked like a vision of Hell to me!
Out of the portal on top of the building, Gozer made her appearance... she didn't scare me like the librarian or the skeletons in other movies, she was just more.... unnerving. And her voice sounded twisted, raspy and evil too! Introducing.... GOZER!
Those eyes were the main things that got me. Blood red.... OooOOooOOoo.... then she fires lightning bolts from her fingertips! I haven't seen the movie in a while, but I remember this being a pretty intense scene... It also had a battle with the infamous Stay Puft Marshmallow man.. In the sequel we would see another giant "thing" wandering through the streets, that was much more awe-inspiring than Mr. Stay Puft. As an aside... is it just me, or does Gozer look very David Bowie-ish? RIP
I don't think this movie did nearly as well or is as fondly looked back upon as the original generally speaking, but I actually prefer this one to the original! Maybe because of the time of my life when this one came out, when Ghostbusters were everywhere. I had a ton of Ghostbusters toys and was even one of the lucky few kids on the block who had the Proton Pack play set! I don't think Ghostbusters toys quite reached the success of the Ninja Turtles, but they still had a huge fanbase. Come to think of it, there was tons of merch out for this series, the main one I'm thinking of being the "Ecto Cooler". It started as a fountain drink at Circle K I think before eventually being available in Hi-C juice boxes. But, back to the topic at hand... in Ghostbusters 2, they REALLY brought the scary stuff to the table! Let's get started...
Vigo The big baddy in this movie was Vigo. We were first introduced to him as a simple painting.
He already looks intimidating enough, and it's just a friggin painting! As if his looks weren't enough, research by Ray (Dan Akroyd) informed us that Vigo was a sorcerer in the medieval times that was SO bad that people tried to kill him by poisoning, shooting, stabbing, hanging, stretching, disemboweling, and finally drawing and quartering him. But the bastard was STILL alive! Apparently, even after he was decapitated, his HEAD, still alive, warned that he'd be back! That's a hell of a back story! Dana, returning from the original, immediately felt uncomfortable around the painting, saying it felt like it was watching her. Of course, in a later scene, she's walking in front of it and, sure enough, those beady little eyes do move and watch her... He's gaining more strength throughout the movie, and one particularly memorable scene is when he's first starting to be able to come out of the painting.
So creepy! But so cool.. ASIDE - I learned much later in life this was done to even more dramatic effect in a little movie involving a terribly burnt guy with some kinda sharp blades on a glove that liked to play in people's dreams...
Fuckin hell.... I can't imagine what I'd do if I woke up and saw THAT over me!
The Bathtub! Vigo is planning to return to life with the help of the river of slime that runs under the city and feeds off negative energy. Eventually, the slime starts to have a life of it's own (in addition to reviving the dead). In one scene, the slime has made it's way into the pipes and as Dana is preparing to give her baby a bath, the water slows and is instead replaced with a nasty, disgusting worm of slime!
EWWWWWWWWWW! That was so nasty! As the camera was focused on Dana while she was still prepping the baby for it's bath, the slime started sloooowly and ominously rising out of the tub in the background. As she turned around to put the baby in the bath, THERE IT WAS! AHHHH! She screams, she runs out, and the slime beast thing tries to jump out of the bathtub after her!
WHAAAAAAAAAAAA! After that, I knew that I wasn't even safe from evil monsters in my bathtub! For months after seeing that, I would make sure to check the faucet in my bathtub at least once every 15 seconds so I could be proactive about getting the F out of the tub if the evil pink worm decided to make an appearance.
The Scoleri Brothers Things have been getting progressively worse in New York. The Ghostbusters were investigating the river of slime that was flowing under the city, and despite Venkman's best efforts, end up being arrested. They're taken to court, and a particularly nasty judge is hearing their case. They even brought a sample of the slime from the river as an exhibit. After all is said and done, the judge hands down the sentence. He does so in an EXTREMELY ill way, yelling, veins popping out, displaying all kinds of ANGER! The slime reacts to the negative energy and starts bubbling over. The Ghostbusters know something bad is about to happen and try to warn the courtroom but the judge doesn't give them the chance, so mid-sentencing, they all lower themselves under the table. A few seconds later, the slime has reached it's peak and explodes into some of the scariest creations EVER (in my kid's mind), THE SCOLERI BROTHERS!
These two humongous ghosts come out still strapped to the electric chairs they were both executed in. The judge immediately recognizes them, and they cause utter chaos in the courtroom. The judge, so full of hellfire and brimstone moments ago, is terrified and hiding with them, telling them to do something about it! They point him to their lawyer and the judge declares the Ghostbusters innocent, and they spring into action, grabbing their proton packs and preparing to take the ghosts down. Then, as if the visuals of the brothers weren't scary enough, they roll into another scene that had me shaking in my seat, terrified. Ominous music plays as they look around the room, trying to see where the ghosts are hiding, and are unable to. Then, they reveal themselves... by throwing every chair in the courtroom up into the air with a loud, thundering *THUMP* starting in the back. Once in the front, they both blast out of the floor, but our heroes are ready, catching them in the streams of their proton packs (and being absolutely certain not to cross the streams). A struggle ensues, but they're eventually able to get them into the Ghost Trap. They then triumphantly leave the courtroom, smoking trap in their hands, to much fanfare before declaring "We're the best, we're the beautiful, we're the only.... GHOSTBUSTERS!"
The Abandoned Tunnel The Ghostbusters are walking underground, trying to see where the river of slime flows to. To do so, they walk along an old abandoned train track that runs parallel to the subway. It's already a pretty scary scene, with three of them walking down these dark tunnels with only their flashlights and headlamps for light. I wasn't really scared of the dark too much when I was a kid, but pair the dark with old abandoned underground tunnels, evil paintings, and horrifying ghosts like the Scoleri Brothers, and it becomes pretty terrifying! This scene actually had three things happen, leaving me in tears afterwards.
First, the three of them are goofing around, playing with the echo of their voices in the tunnel. They take turns, yelling out "Helloooooo" and listening to the reverb. First is Ray, then Egon, then Winston... pooooor Winston. He yells out "Hello!" and there's no echo, which is concerning to start with... then, instead, you hear Vigo's deep, raspy voice saying "WIIIIIIIIIIINSTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON" WTF! Understandably, Winston is ready to leave, and turns to do so. Then, the second thing happens.... possibly THE single most terrifying scene of my childhood...... Egon and Ray pull him back, and as the camera zooms out, you see something in the foreground. Before we see what it is, Winston turns around and yells at the top of his lungs, seeing THIS!
FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK! As if the visual wasn't enough to send me flying out of the room, you heard tortured screaming coming from EVERYWHERE around them! That scene, seriously...... I've used 10 years old as an age when I could finally watch most of the scary scenes I remember from when I was a kid, but I may not have been able to watch that one until I was 12 or 13. It was so brutal and gory! Even covering my eyes, I still couldn't help but cry in terror because I knew what was happening and could hear the screams.... that scene SERIOUSLY got me. After the 8 or so seconds the heads were on the screen, they all vanish. But, they weren't finished with me! After a brief respite, they start hearing a train off in the distance. Ray assures Winston that there hasn't been a train in those tracks in decades, and Winston tries to think positive, but is clearly not right in his mind. And he shouldn't be.... a few moments later, the train whistle gets louder as if it's getting closer, and appears! And it's heading straight for Winston! Ray and Egon are able to duck and get out of the way, but Winston, frozen in fright, takes the brunt of it!
The whole spectral locomotive and cars go through him and he's left paralyzed from fear, about breaking down into tears. Egon says it looked like a train that wrecked in the past and killed hundreds of people and asked Winston if he caught the train number. Still in shock, he eeks out "Sorry... I missed it"
Janosz Goes For a Walk I think we've successfully established that this movie was chock full of horrifying scenes for a kid. But we're only about halfway through the movie! By this point, Vigo has gotten strong enough that he can clearly communicate with the curator of the art museum, Janosz. Vigo reveals his plan to him, and sends him on a mission to get Dana's baby and bring him to the museum so Vigo can be born again. We don't know what's going to happen, but we see bolts of energy shot from the painting through Janosz.
With what'd I'd already seen in the movie, I half expected his head to blow up! But, didn't happen. The next scene has a power outage happening in the city, and Janosz shows up at Dana's apartment trying as best he can to come in and get to the baby. Despite his best efforts, she doesn't let him in. After being locked out, Janosz turns and prepares to start walking down the hall when all of a sudden his eyes go bright yellow as he pulls this twisted looking grin!
Apparently, the lightning or whatever shot out of the painting gave him flashlight eyes! Seeing this creepy dude walking down the halls with eyes aglow in a red-lit hallway freaked me out for sure. But he wasn't finished! He knew he had to figure out another way to get to the baby. A little while after this initial creepy experience, the baby (Oscar) is awoken from his sleep and looks towards the open window, curtains flapping. He manages to get out of bed and out of the window. Dana goes to check on him and sees the empty room with the window open and panics, running out and finds Oscar on the ledge of her high rise apartment building! She tries to call him back and he isn't budging, so she climbs to the ledge herself to save him. Once out there, she sees a dot appear on the horizon, looking like it's approaching them. It is indeed, and as it approaches, we see this see-through apparition with what (to me as a kid) looked like a death shroud flapping in the wind! It turns out to be Janosz version 2.0, A GHOST NANNY WITH A STROLLER!
There they go with those wicked looking red glowing eyes again! Plus he has an evil grin... and let's not overlook the fact that he's see through and is flying through the air! AYE! As Dana freaks out, we're forced to as well, as Janosz goes Stretch Armstrong on everyone, stretching his arm what looks like 15 feet from him in the air to grab Oscar!
OY! He places the baby in the stroller then turns and flies away! Too much! TOO MUCH!
GHOST TOWN! All hell has broken loose in New York by this point in the film! Ghosts are EVERYWHERE! Instead of focusing on each one, just look! They all creeped me out to some extent, but the Titanic left me feeling especially uneasy!
Posessions! We're near the end of the movie now, and the Ghostbusters, having just rappelled down from THE Statue of Liberty after it walked through the streets of Manhattan (the power of GOOD slime and Jackie Wilson!) have joined Dana, Oscar, Janosz, and Vigo in the museum. Vigo has to first complete a ritual in which he's reborn through Oscar. There's the poor baby, crying in a bassinet, as Vigo starts to form within him, giving us a particularly disturbing scene where Vigo's face starts taking over Oscar's!
Dana manages to save him before it's too late, or so we think! A few moments later, Vigo has stepped out of the painting and is making his way to Dana and Oscar. They did a really cool effect when he walked, using some kind of film delay to create an illusion that I can only describe as "phasewalking". It made his movements extra surreal. The Ghostbusters are fighting him, and Ray is leading the charge. As the battle ensues, all of a sudden Ray stops firing. His buddies ask what's up and he doesn't immediately respond, but then he turns around and he's VIGORAY!
THE EYES! Again! And he almost looks like he's decomposing even! BLECH! FREAKY! He talks in a voice that sounds like a hybrid of Ray and Vigo's. They eventually shoot him down with the good slime, forcing Vigo out of his body, and eventually manage to save the day! Hooray! But what a terrifying 2 hours!
Till The Next Time!
I was planning to write about several other movies in this one, but I had enough scenes to make a pretty good read just from these two! So, part 3, coming soon!