Cinema Studies: Ghostbusters

So. This week was supposed to be Alien.

And then I read the script for Alien.

And then I went NOPE.

My nerves and sleep are rather important to me and the script for alien was SO intense, I couldn't even imagine what the movie was like. I have to be mentally in the right place for one of those intense suspenseful somewhat gory films. I'm very rarely in that type of mental space.

So I switched to Ghostbusters! (1984)

For those who don't know what Ghostbusters is, it's about three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. (imdb.com)

The script was pretty easy to read. By that I mean it was pretty easy to follow what was going on. I noticed many of the gimmicks were shortened or cut from the film. For example, Janine had some longer, funnier lines when she's attempting to hit on Egon.

I have some very specific notes about the beginning of the film. Ghostbusters did a very neat thing there. I'm not sure what the technical term is for the shot, but I think they used a dolly zoom in the very first sequence of the library. Coupled with dramatic music playing at the same time, it helped set the mood that we might see some spooky things in the movie!

Here's the notes I took on that specific part:

There were also some neat, gimmicky kinds of shots and sequences. Like, when the busters go on their first call. The shot where the car is leaving the station is sped up and just feels humorous. How did they set up that? Maybe it's the silliness of their blaring vehicle and the deadpanning of Bill Murray.

Which, I realized what a deadpan was in this film. For those who don't know, deadpanning is saying something humorous while affecting a serious or expressionless manner. Bill Murray is a master of this.

Another thing I noticed was the use of alternating camera angles to incite confusion and mild panic. For example, the scene near the beginning with the librarian (1:40-2:00). The library cards are flying out of the case. The camera angles alternate in a well timed rapid succession.

I think this technique is used frequently to increase tension. Another film example might be How to Train Your Dragon, in the end battle scene. Toothless and Hiccup attack the Red Death dragon from multiple angles in a similar rapid succession.

Something to keep notes on! I might and probably will use that technique on a future project or two. :)

The next Cinema Studies will be on His Girl Friday (Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant, 1940s version). I LOVE this film and can't wait to watch it again!