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The Forgotten Fifth Ghostbusters Film

Ghostbusters is one of the world’s most popular horror franchises but have you heard of its fifth canon film? And no… It’s not Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters.

The Forgotten Fifth Ghostbusters Film
Ghostbusters Logo Design Property of Sony Pictures / Image Designed by Vincent L.

Ghostbusters first graced cinema screens back in 1984. The film revolved around a group of quirky and lighthearted men who loved nothing more than busting ghosts (as their theme song so cleverly suggests). A simple premise and a loveable cast meant nothing but success for producer and distributor Columbia Pictures. The film spawned a sequel, several sequel series, two legacy sequels and several video games as well as the much disliked 2016 reboot, Ghostbusters: Answer The Call, directed by Paul Feig. 

All of these projects are connected (besides the reboot), spawning one of the first long lasting franchises. But did you know that this franchise isn’t only a franchise, but also a connected universe? Well, many projects over the years have referenced and parodied Ghostbusters, but none have actually connected properly. Except one. What is that one project you may be asking? It is none other than Casper

Casper The Friendly Ghost is an American comic book character who is quite simply a friendly ghost. He’s gone through an abundance of adaptations since his creation in 1945, but in particular (and most famously) he is the recipient of a 1995 film adaptation directed by Brad Silberling (Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events). The success of the film caused Harvey Films to greenlight two direct-to-dvd sequels which by connection would technically bring the Ghostbusters film count to 7 but due to the lack of Ghostbusters references and theatrical releases—we will opt to ignore this fact.

The Forgotten Fifth Ghostbusters Film
Casper / Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The film adaptation follows a family (Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci) that moves into a manor in order to evict four ghosts, three of whom are extremely unruly. Hijinks pursue, but what is relevant to today’s article is right there. Many of the methods Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty), the owner of the manor, uses don’t work in order to evict these ghosts and she is forced to go with the family above. Some of these methods include a cameo from Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci who tries to exorcise the ghosts which of course does not work. This forces Carrigan to contact Ray Stantz of Ghostbusters fame. 

Although the scene is short-lived, there’s a bit to unpack here. Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd) is alone here and is completely unable to complete his task, completely bailing after witnessing the wrath of Casper’s uncles, The Ghostly Trio. He rushes out of the manor and confronts Carrigan by saying “Who ya gonna call? Someone else.” The statement is a witty reference to the Ghostbusters films (of which only two had been released by that point). Now it’s easy to pass off a comedic intended cameo as just a non-canon cameo but that’s just the thing… It’s canon. 

Dan Aykroyd has stated that Casper is indeed canon to the iconic multimedia franchise, which technically does line up with the universe timeline stated in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. We will expand on that shortly but first, we must address the controversial legal battle between Harvey Films (the production branch of the comic label that published the Casper comics) and Columbia Pictures. The issue stemmed from the iconic Ghostbusters logo and its resemblance to Casper character Fatso (one of Casper’s uncles). The production company claimed that Columbia violated trademark agreements but the court eventually dismissed these claims and Columbia did not pay anything to the plaintiff.

Casper Movie
Casper / Image Courtesy of Universal Pictures

It is indirectly stated in the Ghostbusters films that the films take place during the year they were released. This way we can create a solid timeline of events with the story of the first two films (Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II) taking place in the years 1984 and 1989 respectively. When Ghostbusters: Afterlife released in 2021, we learnt a few pieces of important information bridging the gap between the second and third films. We learn that the Ghostbusters grew apart with Egon Spengler moving to Summerville, Oklahoma in order to prevent the return of Gozer. In that film, Stantz hints at him not seeing any of his ex-colleagues in many years and in the latest film, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, we know that Winston Zeddemore is an entrepreneur with vast wealth, something that would have taken a while to accumulate. 

This separation of characters could explain why Ray was alone when freelancing for Carrigan in Casper. For those eagle eyed viewers, Stantz is also sporting a moustache, this is the first and only time we have seen him do this in the film series, which could (pure speculation here) indicate an atmosphere of sadness and not keeping himself well groomed as he would when surrounded by colleagues. The film takes place in 1995 which would place it six years after The Statue of Liberty incident in 1989.

The Forgotten Fifth Ghostbusters Film
Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire / Image Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The latest entry in this ever evolving cinematic universe, Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire stars Paul Rudd (Gary Grooberson), Carrie Coon (Callie Spengler), Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, and Logan Kim (Podcast). The film guest stars Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts as the original Ghostbusters with Kumail Nanjiani (Nadeem Razmaadi), Patton Oswalt (Dr. Hubert Wartzki), Emily Alyn Lind (Melody), and James Acaster (Lars Pinfield) in supporting roles. The movie is directed by Gil Kenan and is currently in theatres. 

If you liked this article, please be sure to check out some of our other articles and reviews here at Feature First. Thanks for reading!



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Zanda is the Editor-in-Chief of Feature First and oversees the publishing of the outlet and content of the social media pages. He is based in Queensland, Australia and may or may not have a life like cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling in his room. Zanda has been actively turning Feature First into a reliable and high quality entertainment outlet since 2023.