Ghostbusters is a classic comedy film that debuted in the mid-'80s and helped establish the genre of blended horror and comedy. For most people, the movie isn't too scary; the focus is on making the audience laugh. But for audiences of young children, the film may not have been as funny as it was frightening. Scenes that may seem funny to your adult brain now probably gave you nightmares as a kid.
To be fair, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II were both rated PG, despite the recently created PG-13 rating. That left a whole generation of young moviegoers scared out of their minds and tucked in that evening to dream of ghosts and monsters.
If you were one of those kids, you know what that was like, but if you need a refresher on which scenes were the scariest to a young audience, these snippets from the first two films in the franchise were some of the ones that went too far.
One of the most frightening scenes in any Ghostbusters film comes at the very beginning of the first movie. When the guys make their way into the New York Public Library, they find slime and some strange uses of the Dewey Decimal system, but everything appears to be benign. As they move deeper into the stacks, they stumble upon a ghostly apparition of a woman floating above the floor.
Barring the fact that she's a ghost, the woman looks relatively pleasant. She shushes them to be quiet, as one does in a library, but when the guys persist in trying to talk to her, she turns into a hideous beast.
In Ghostbusters II, there's a scene where the guys are walking down the Pneumatic Transit Tunnel. A dark tunnel underground is a scary prospect by itself, but the fright is amplified when the ghostbursters turn to see a screaming, disembodied head on a pike. When they turn away, they find they're surrounded by more heads on pikes.
To add insult to injury, a ghost train runs right through Winston, but the real terror is definitely the disembodied heads screaming at the living.
When Louis is possessed by the demon dog from hell, it's scary, and Dana fares no better. While she's sitting comfortably in her chair at home, arms suddenly rip out of the fabric and hold her down. As she struggles to free herself from the monstrous arms, the chair scoots across the floor to the open door, where a hellhound eagerly awaits her.
After seeing what he first thought was a dog in his closet, Louis is quickly chased from his apartment through the streets of New York City. He's clearly frightened, and who wouldn't be if a gigantic hellhound was chasing them down? But as he runs up to a restaurant and pounds on the glass begging to be let inside, nobody pays him much attention.
Despite the humorous manner in which everyone ignores Louis's cries for help, his fear is palpable. Granted, a deranged man running through NYC screaming that there was a bear in his apartment might trigger the "ignore the nutjob" response, but plenty of people do see the monster chasing after him. It's not unreasonable to think that somebody might have helped him.