Corporate Hippie Ghost Logos Still Suck
Ghostbusters 2 is a deeply frustrating sequel. The first half is great, setting up a logical postscript to the first movie—the ghostbusters scorned by a cynical city for causing more damage than good. They actually take our heroes to court, where they fail to prove themselves and receive the maximum sentence for their alleged shenanigans. Of course, that all goes out the window once two vengeful spirits show up to antagonize the cranky judge, thereby allowing the ghostbusters to prove their techniques whilst simultaneously rehabilitate their names. Everything up and through that court room scene is funny, fun, exciting, and suspenseful.
Unfortunately, Ghostbusters 2 gets a little too caught up in its own glory following the exoneration of Doctors Venkman, Spengler, and Stantz, half-heartedly massaging the plot from the first movie into some feel-good nonsense involving “mood slime” and Dana Barrett’s gross, unnecessary baby. The movie tries to distract you from its laziness, though, with various bits of eye candy including a souped up Ectomobile, a souped up Annie Potts, a Bobby Brown cameo, Slimer in a bus driver’s hat, the return of the Titanic, and Cheech Marin commenting on the return of the Titanic. Yet none of this silliness is as stupid or offensive to me as the prominence within the film of the Ghostbusters 2 logo, a.k.a. “Hippie Ghost Man Says ‘Peace, Love, Ectoplasm!’”
As an advertising image I suppose it’s acceptable. I can even handle this goofy thing as the only indication at the top of the movie that we are, in fact, watching Ghostbusters 2. That the ghostbusters actually employ this dippy drawing as their new logo during the course of the film, however, sewing it onto their uniforms and glueing it to the Ectomobile’s doors…no, for this I could not suspend my disbelief. It implies that the characters are aware they’re living in a sequel. When Michael Jordan came out of retirement in 1995, he didn’t ask his fans and the press to call him “Michael Jordan 2.” That wouldn’t have made any sense. It would have made Michael look crazy. The ghostbusters are back in business, and they signify that with their old mascot holding up two fingers?
Has that ever happened in real life? Occasionally you’ll see a Chinese restaurant open a satellite location with a number denoting its difference from the main branch, but I’ve never watch a business go under for five years and then come back as “Hardee’s 2″ or “Friendly’s 4.” That kinda thing just doesn’t happen.
The question is moot anyway; as Ghostbusters 2 makes incredibly clear from its start, the ghostbusters weren’t out of business between the events of the first film and 1989. The movie opens with Ray and Winston tooling around in a battered Ectomobile, barely clinging to a faded glory that began to dissipate the moment the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man’s gooey remains began cooling on the ground outside 55 Central Park West. Sure, the dwindling ghostbusters aren’t zapping too many spirits half a decade later, but they’re still out there, doin’ stuff, and ostensibly have been since Ghostbusters 1 ended.
The hippie ghost logo can also be construed as a reflection of the “mood slime” plot line—that is to say, everyone should be “peace”-ful or else the pink goo is gonna rise up and attack you. Still, the ghostbusters themselves haven’t entirely figured that out at the juncture in the movie when they begin slapping the Ghostbusters 2 logo on all their ephemera, so that doesn’t even make sense. It just makes them seem like weirdo flower children. Or fictional characters who are sentient of their existence inside one of the most anticipated sequels of all-time. Or fictional characters who’ve fallen victim to awful corporate branding.
People complain about the nipples Joel Schumacher added to the Batman costume, but it’s far more painful for me to catch a glimpse of this Dennis Hoppery ghost bastardization on the side cinema’s coolest car or on the sleeve of Winston “Steady Paycheck” Zeddemore. It screams “SUMMER OF ’89!” in my face every single time. I pray to Zuul they revert back to the old logo for Ghostbusters 3 (if they manage to actually make the third chapter before Dan Aykoryd’s just a head in a jar).