How Casper Defeated the Ghostbusters


Summary

  • The Ghostbusters have faced plenty of powerful foes, but one group in
    Casper
    proved too much for a
    Ghostbusters
    legend.
  • Fans of Casper were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected cameos and pop culture references incorporated in the movie.
  • Ghostbusters fans will get a kick out of seeing Dan Aykroyd making a playful cameo as Ray Stantz in the friendly ghost film.



One of the most iconic lines coming out of the theme song for the 1984 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters is “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” While this was the extraordinary mantra that spurred the team of Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, there was also an equally important but underrated moment in movie history that turned this slogan entirely upside down. As the underrated scene would ultimately come to show, there were actually some terrifying ghosts out there that even made a Ghostbuster so afraid that they would quit on the spot.

But how could it be that out of all the sources of paranormal lore out there – the ghouls that stop the heroic efforts of the Ghostbusters emanate from the world of Casper: The Friendly Ghost? While that may very well be the weirdest spiritual crossover of all time, many other cut cameos were planned for the 1995 Universal Pictures films we will get into.


For those unfamiliar with one of the most lovable ghostly protagonists, this small, all-white, and translucent little ghost was made famous by Harvey Comics starting in 1952. Casper became a hit with readers and quickly made his presence known in many titles. As with other licensed characters, he leaped over to television around 10 years later and has starred in five different series since then, with the latest one, Casper’s Scare School, ending in 2012.

In the mid-1990s, Universal Pictures quickly realized that this cultural icon was still floating in popularity and decided to greenlight the very first theatrical film centered around the personable character. Directed by Brad Silberling and starring Christina Ricci and Malachi Pearson (who voiced the character), Casper was largely a success at the box office. What usually goes unnoticed in this film is the number of surprise cameos and pop culture references.



Casper Features Many Surprising Cameos

Casper

Release Date
May 26, 1995

Writers
Joseph Oriolo , Sherri Stoner , Deanna Oliver

Studio
Universal Pictures

According to the writers Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver behind the movie, they accredit Steven Spielberg (the executive producer) with some of the surprise appearances in Casper. In a 1995 interview with Entertainment Magazine, the duo stated that he thought the barrage of classic throwbacks would help widen the appeal of Casper.

For example, this included Casper’s uncle’s beds with their names carved into the side, just like for the seven dwarfs in Disney’s Snow White. Also, when they are finally disposed of, they imitate the death of the witch from The Wizard of Oz with the “I’m melting” line. One of the more interesting sequences within Casper that makes a real treat for movie enthusiasts is when the three uncles manifest inside James, the father of 13-year-old Kathleen Harvey. When he awakens and tries to freshen himself up in the bathroom mirror, we see reflections of Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson, and the Crypt-Keeper.


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While those momentary visuals would surely entertain, the Ghostbusters brand would appear much earlier when the spoiled Carrigan and her friend Dibs try to exorcise the house of all spirits. First, they brought in SNL alum Don Novello, portraying Father Guido Sarducci. The man of god walks right in after telling Carrigan that he has yet to do this procedure himself but has watched and read enough to confidently know what to do. He quickly returns from the house mere moments later with white goo all over him, and his head turned backward. Casper’s uncles have done more than enough, it seems. Viewers naturally expected him to fail anyway since Sarducci is a comedic persona.


Dan Aykroyd Portrayed Ray Stantz in Casper

Finally, we have Dan Aykroyd portraying his Ghostbusters character, Ray Stantz, with his signature patched brown jacket, black gloves and proton pack on his shoulders. Like the previous “expert,” Mr. Stantz is seen running down the staircase leading to the mansion’s front door. With audiences worldwide knowing the quote, the lone ghostbuster changes it a bit: “Who you going to call? Someone else.” Then he runs out of the shot, never to be seen again. As mentioned in the beginning, this formidable ghost busting unit has flat out saved the entirety of New York City on several occasions. Granted, we only see one of them called in to cleanse this haunted mansion, but the quick defeat makes a profound statement.


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Stretch, Fatso, and Stinkie are seemingly more daunting and more powerful than the likes of Gozer The Gozerian, Vigo the Carpathian, and even The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. That’s a terrifying thought in itself. Of course, the cameo is played as a joke, but a children’s movie adapted from a cartoon that started in the 1940s apparently has fiercer ghosts in its universe than an action-packed franchise which depends on shape-shifting “gods” as its antagonists. . . and that’s only the first movie.


Let’s hope they don’t reboot Casper. We can only imagine what kind of afterlife-themed deviants emerge from that. With all that being said, Ghostbusters 1 & 2 and Casper are available to stream from YouTube or Prime Video.Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is currently playing in theaters.



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