Venkman is a Creep, but GHOSTBUSTERS Remains a Classic


The original Ghostbusters was screening last weekend at many multiplexes, and I hope you took the opportunity to see it on the big screen! If you did, you heard sound effects you never noticed before, saw some physical comedy in the background of some shots that aren’t as apparent on a small screen, and got to enjoy that unforgettable theme at peak volume.

Ghostbusters is my favorite movie – I have it tattooed on my body so I’m legally bound to say this for the rest of time. It continues to get funnier to me the older I get and the more I watch it. At this point, I’ve seen it so many times, every single line of dialogue and facial expression gets a laugh out of me. The character dynamics are so strong in this, and you almost learn more about them every time you watch it. It’s a blue collar-science fiction-horror-action-comedy: it has both encapsulated and defined my tastes, like a cinematic ouroboros.


This is, however, the first time I’ve watched this movie in probably two years, and with the clearer perspective on gender dynamics as presented on screen that I now have and am still exploring, I came to a startling new conclusion about this movie – Peter Venkman is a real fuckin’ creep in this movie. I was trying to rationalize it for most of the runtime, noting that Weaver plays Dana as simply smarter and always a step ahead of Venkman. She never seems to be in any kind of danger when in Peter’s presence because she’s portrayed as being his superior in every way. But then Peter gave her a tranquilizer and took the opportunity to kiss her neck – Dr. Venkman is unforgivably rapey throughout this movie and I gotta call it when I see it.

Still fucking love this movie – I just now have a new lens through which to view it. This is the balance I think a lot of us are going to have to find with movies we loved in our youth, and just the century of cinema we have behind us. I think we need to be willing to “kill our darlings” as it were, and call movies on their sexism, racism, any regressive elements they may have, while simultaneously enjoying them for what they are in the context of the history of cinema. This dichotomy is pretty difficult for me, but I think it’s important.

And folks, never forget the best piece of advice the Ghostbusters have for you – “Ray, if someone asks you if you are a God… YOU SAY YES!!”

When Someone Asks if You're a God Say Yes

Garrett Smith
Resident Funny Man / Film Geek
Garrett Smith is a Philadelphia based comedian and podcaster surviving on frozen pizza and macaroni and cheese. Follow him on Twitter and Letterboxd to see if he ever develops lactose intolerance, and check out his milky smooth voice on his podcast, I Like To Movie Movie.
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One Reply to “Venkman is a Creep, but GHOSTBUSTERS Remains a Classic”

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    Kath Heyne

    Yes, Venkman was a creep- but most of the male characters in 80s movies were creeps. Have a look at pretty much anything Michael Douglas starred in. I was 19 when Ghostbusters hit the theatres. The 80s weren’t exactly good times for women and the film industry was a big part of the problem, both in front of and behind the camera. It gave us Fatal Attraction, FFS! And that one’s on bloody Michael Douglas, too.

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