I love the movie Ghostbusters. Not the mediocre 2016 remake but the original 1984 release starring Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and Sigourney Weaver. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film remains a classic example of a very recognisable era of American cinema, when the uncertain final years of the Cold War encouraged Hollywood to turn to fantasy and science-fiction to amuse and distract unsettled homeland audiences. This of course was the “Spielbergian” period of US entertainment, explicitly revived in the two seasons of Netflicks’ nostalgia drama Stranger Things, a reconstruction of childhood familiarity for worried Millennials in a new age of uncertainty for the United States.
However, despite my own nostalgic fondness for Ghostbusters, from an early age I was struck by some of the dramatic incongruities in the movie, later recognising how much of the film’s tone was bound up with the political ascendancy of Reganism in ’80s America. After all, what other period of modern American history would portray a concerned representative of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a minor “baddie” in a theatrical feature soon to be populated with demonic dogs and destructive demi-gods? Well, maybe the present era given the antics of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who has conjured up his very own version of conservative voodoonomics.