Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire Resurrects Concepts Originally Conceived For The 1984 Movie

This article major spoilers for "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire."

As has become "Ghostbusters" legend, the original script draft for the film that eventually became the 1984 classic was a massive tome written solely by creator and star Dan Aykroyd, before collaborators like eventual co-star and co-writer Harold Ramis and director Ivan Reitman came aboard. That draft, entitled "Ghost Smashers," (one of several alternate titles for the film which hung on well into production, when Columbia Pictures was having trouble securing the rights to use "Ghostbusters") was a phone-book sized script that had a wildly divergent tone and narrative from what ended up as "Ghostbusters." Really, the largest element to remain intact from that initial draft to the finished film was the notion of ghostbusting being a profession, with the rest of the particulars being changed and found along the way.

However, that didn't stop the filmmakers using Aykroyd's original script for inspiration, then and now. Back then, some other elements seen in the first script, like the Onionhead ghost (which became Slimer) and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, made their way to the screen after all. Although that original draft of the script seems to have been lost, some of the concepts developed for it as well as further ideas cooked up by Aykroyd in conjunction with Ramis and Reitman remain known, some of them almost making it into the original film. In the latest installment of the franchise, "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire," two concepts originally conceived for the 1984 movie have now been brought back to life and materialized on screen.

Something strange in the Garden State

In "Ghostbusters," the containment facility that the four parapsychologists dump the trapped spooks into for storage is located in the basement of their firehouse headquarters in lower Manhattan. When Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) is first hired to the company, he's given a tour of the facility by Ray Stantz (Aykroyd), who demonstrates how they slide the trap into the red structure constructed over the basement wall, and when "the light is green, the trap is clean."

However, as Don Shay's 1984 book "Making Ghostbusters" revealed, the original concept Aykroyd had for the storage facility in the first draft script involved the containment unit being established quite far away from the 'Busters' headquarters. Shay explains that this initial idea had the storage facility located "in a deserted Sunoco gas station in northern New Jersey."

Subsequently, in "Frozen Empire," the newly expanded Ghostbusters company, with Winston as its CEO, has established a place known as the Paranormal Research Center inside of an abandoned aquarium just outside of NYC. Not only does the new facility act as an all-purpose paranormal studies lab, it also contains not one but several brand spankin' new containment units, the better for the new Ghostbusters to dump their massive overflow of spooks into.

A tomb with a view

New containment units aren't the only spiffy feature of the Research Center in "Frozen Empire." The facility also conducts tests on numerous ghosts who are held in individual cells by a series of proton fields (the same technology the 'Busters use to hold spooks still while in the act of trapping them), and, like normal cells, the researchers can look in on the ghosts as they go about their spooky business.

Fortunately, these ghosts (like the spooky Phosphor or the devious Possessor Ghost) are far too malevolent to be pitied while trapped inside their rooms. That wasn't necessarily the case for some of the original concepts developed for the original "Ghostbusters," which at one point would have included a viewing window for the 'Busters to look in on the specters as they floated around inside the containment unit. As Shay explains in his book, this was initially planned to be revealed during the scene where EPA rep Walter Peck (William Atherton) arrived with a warrant to search the firehouse, and would've used the viewer to see what was inside the storage facility he then demands to be shut off.

According to Shay, there were two reasons this idea was abandoned: one, the shot of the ghosts inside the unit was deemed to be too difficult to complete given time and budget. Two, the concept, while providing a humorous contrast to the image of the Ghostbusters themselves being jailed a short time later in the film, was considered perhaps too depressing for the film. The viewing window did turn up, however, several times in "The Real Ghostbusters" animated series. 

In any case, "Frozen Empire" takes both of these ideas and makes them a reality in a fantastic way, leading one to wonder if there are more concepts initially thought up by Aykroyd and company that could be included in future "Ghostbusters" films. If the material in "Making Ghostbusters" is any indication, there's a lot of great ghostbusting ideas that may end up having an afterlife.