Tuesday, November 30, 2021

My Top Ten Moments In Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Warning: this post doesn't just contain spoilers about Ghostbusters:Afterlife, it is ALL spoilers. Oh yeah.

Also this will be super confusing if you haven't seen the movie yet, so if that's you, go watch Afterlife first and come back. You don't have to be a huge Ghostbusters fan to love the new movie, but the more familiar you are with the 1984 original, the more references and Easter eggs you'll catch. Afterlife is a continuation of the same story and universe, so much like Force Awakens for Star Wars, it stands well on its own, but has plenty of extras for fans.

Oh, and this will be less of a movie review and more of a "let's fangirl together" top ten sixteen list, hope that's cool. I'll try to keep them in chronological order, too, so we can relive the movie together.

This is gonna be fun.

1) When I first realized it was Egon.

From the previews I knew Afterlife would be about Egon, but I never dreamed he would be in it. So when the light fell on his profile on the front porch, chills, y'all. CHILLS. 

2) Egon's study and its symmetrical book stacking.

There were a few times in Afterlife when I clearly heard a quote from '84 in my head. This was the first of those times, and also one of many Easter eggs throughout the movie.

 "You're right. No human being would stack books like this."

3) The chocolate bar wrapper in Spengler's jumpsuit

Just Phoebe finding the jumpsuits made me a little misty (I could almost have a separate top 10 of how many times I cried) but then the Crunch bar wrapper? MY HEART. This is another Easter egg referencing '84 when Peter gave Egon a Nestle Crunch bar, saying, "You... you've earned this."

4) The workshop lamp pointing to Egon's doctorates on the wall

Though clearly meant to be possessed by Egon's ghost, the workshop lamp felt like an adorable mashup of the Pixar lamp and Tony Stark's workshop robot arm. SO CUTE. This moment was a good chuckle, too; casually showing off his diplomas is VERY Egon.

5) The hilariously horrifying Death Whistle

The sound of this thing made us all scream-laugh, hah.

I didn't know it at the time, but the Death Whistle was hand-made by my favorite maker himself, Adam Savage. In fact you can watch Adam create all 7 identical whistles here on Youtube! Adam has a whole host of Afterlife content on his channel you can binge after that, too. I recommend it all.

6) "Switch me on."

This line in particular was my favorite, but this whole scene with Phoebe trying out the pack for the first time is fantastic. It has the same energy of the Sedgewick Hotel, but with the added thrill of a kid discovering a deliciously dangerous new toy. Love that. "Nice shootin,' Tex."

7) Hearing the Ecto-1's siren the first time

I didn't realize how directly sound waves are tapped into my tear ducts until this moment - a moment they do make you wait for! The Ecto siren is pure creaky, shrieky joy, and cranked my nostalgic sniffles into full-on shoulder shakes. Poor John was giving me the wide-eyed side-eye in the theater, trying to figure out if I was having a panic attack. Nope, just a happy nostalgia attack, Sweetie. :)

8) The musical score

I don't have a particular moment to shout-out here, but I have to mention the score overall and sound effects. They are original Ghostbusters through and through, pure spooky sweet ear-candy.


Sure, we all saw this in the trailers, but the way they filmed Phoebe in the gunner seat made me feel like I was there. It felt like a theme park ride, pure thrills and giggles and everything I wanted from a ghost bustin' action sequence.

10) Ray answering the red phone

This was the greatest moment in the trailers for me, and it still packed a punch in-story. That said, I was a little crushed to hear the sweet & giddy Ray reduced to a bitter old man. I see why the movie made the calls it did, but it was still hard to accept that Ray - the least skeptical and most trusting of the original three - would ever turn his back on Spengler. ::sniffle::

11) Paul Rudd unabashedly nerding out on his date

Paul Rudd was born to play science teacher Gary Grooberson, and he gets SO MANY good moments in Afterlife. Just watching his walk toward the ice cream aisle cracked me up. I had to do a quick search, and sure enough, there's already a t-shirt on Etsy with his line, "Science is punk rock, a safety pin through the nipple of academia" on it. Excellent.

Anyway, of all Rudd's scenes, my favorite is his date with Callie.

When Callie says she is "allergic to science," I fully expected Grooberson to back down, change the subject. What guy wouldn't when he's trying to get the girl? But no. This nerd doubles down, and excitedly goes on about how science is awesome. He also repeatedly stands up for Phoebe, a fellow science fan.

Of course I love the action sequences and celebrity cameos in this movie, but for some reason it was this moment more than any other that made me want to stand up and do a fist pump. PROUD NERDS REPRESENT.

12) The Terror Dog with his head in a dog food bag

"Ok, who brought the dog?"

I asked John for his favorite moments, and this was one of the first scenes he mentioned. The comedy of the moment, combined with the sheer awe over how the terror dogs look EXACTLY like the ones from '84, is fantastic. The whole chase through Walmart captures the feel of Tully's run through Central Park: a great mix of laughs and screams. (But mostly laughs.)

I know I'm skipping the mini-Pufts scene, but these little destructors have been so over-advertised it wasn't much of a highlight. I still like them, though, and the smile that appears in the splattered goo of the blender definitely made me laugh:

 I've read theories that the Pufts are immortal, which is why they're so gleeful about trying to destroy themselves.

13) Podcast covered in marshmallow goo

I felt from the start that Podcast is the spiritual successor to Ray Stantz, so every time Podcast gave us more Stantz energy I wanted to cheer. His impulsiveness, excitement, and unquestioning belief in the supernatural would have been enough, but then we also get Ray's goggles, and Podcast covered in post-battle marshmallow the same way Ray was?

::wipes eye:: Beautiful

14) The hilarious role reversal of the Gatekeeper & Keymaster

This encounter may have stretched from "homage" into outright parody, but I was laughing too hard to care. Instead of Dana waiting seductively on the rocky plinth, we get science teacher Grooberson. Hilarious.

I couldn't find any photos of this online, which makes me happy. I'm glad there are still surprises waiting for folks who haven't seen the movie yet.

15) Evo Shandor turning his head in the coffin

(Image from the Ghostbusters video game, which they must have referenced for the movie.)

Afterlife has a few jump-scares, but it isn't scary. Except maybe for this scene. When Shandor turns and stares at the kids through his glass coffin it is juuuuust creepy enough to deliver a delightful spine-tingle. Mwuahahaaaa.

16) Phoebe & Egon battling Gozer together

Really the entire ending was a teary high, but for me the highlight was Egon's hands appearing on the proton wand with Phoebe's. Seeing her vindicated after defending her grandfather, but also just her finally meeting him, in the (ghostly) flesh, and getting to see how proud he was of her? Gah. I still tear up.

Afterlife would have been a hit even without the original cast cameos, and the Big Moment with the original 'busters showing up actually fell a little flat for me. Then the after credits scene with Dana was cute, but confusing; are they still together? Why are they running the card test? So of all the original cast cameos, I liked Janine's best. It was a delight to see her, but also it made sense that she would look after Egon all these years. The addition of the deleted scene from '84 of Janine giving Egon her "lucky coin" was really special, too, though I wish they'd shown Egon's coin in his house somewhere afterward. That would have tapped out my tear reserve for sure.

And now,
Bonus Easter Eggs!
...Because I'm Not Done Geeking Out.

I already mentioned a few of the more obvious homages, but here come a few more. Not trying to list them all, just more of my faves.

- Egon's collection of spores, molds, and fungus.

There are lots of gems in Egon's house and lab - the pole, the terror dog statue, etc -  but this is a standout for me.

- The wall ad for Stay Puft marshmallows

My google powers are failing me, but I believe there is a matching billboard in the movie from '84. Can anyone confirm?

- Diner Zombie:

There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene of a zombie having coffee when Gozer is on the rampage.

This looks like the same ghoul driving a cab back in 1984:

- Ivo Shandor's selenium mine

Most fans caught this from the trailers, but it's a very cool tie-in if you remember some of the jail cell techno-babble from this scene:

And finally, an Easter egg I *never* would have caught, and only know thanks to Adam Savage's interview with the prop master on set:

- Egon kept the Pink Slime toaster from Ghostbusters 2:

In Egon's farmhouse kitchen you can see this same model toaster from GB2. You can also peep the toaster's original packaging in an open cabinet.

This is the only Afterlife nod to the second movie I'm aware of, so if you know any more, please share!

I wrote all this after only seeing Ghostbusters: Afterlife once, so I'm sure I missed things. Which means now it's your turn to tell me YOUR favorite parts. Go on. Spill!


P.S. It's been a while since I've mentioned we have Epbot shirts for sale over on Threadless.  So, hey.

We have Epbot shirts over on Threadless. :)

Click through to browse the rest of our designs.


  1. The OG Ghostbusters was the only movie we had for a while when we first got a VCR in my family. My sister and I watched it a LOT and I can pretty much recite the entire thing still. So I enjoyed the hell out of this new movie. Even having seen all the mini puft scenes in the trailers, I still laughed out loud at those parts. I caught a bunch of these Easter eggs, but I clearly missed a couple so thank you for this post.

  2. "Ray's Occult Books" appeared for the first time in "Ghostbusters 2".
    Apparently Peter and Dana ARE back together (my husband thinks the Zener cards and shock-box are "foreplay" :0 ) The Internet Movie Database page lists the character as Dana Barrett Venkman. (This has led my husband to suggest that a possessed or supernaturally indebted Oliver should be the Big Bad of the next film)
    We really loved the movie - my husband and our college roommates really are the Ghostbusters, their personalities map so well onto the characters! (As I married "Egon" I think that makes me Janine!)
    The only disappointment we had was that there is SO MUCH backstory missing! Who is Callie's mother? (The trailer implied that Janine was Egon's widow, but that seems to have been a deliberate misdirection). Is Callie's mom still alive? Are they estranged?
    Does the family really use the Spengler family name? If so, why has no one ever mentioned Egon and the Ghostbusters to Phoebe?
    I look forward to the next generation going forward - I'd love to see Phoebe and company being mentored by Ray (and funded by Winston)!

    1. Very possible the kids use their dad's last name, and I know when I was their age I just never would have had reason to know my friends' moms' last names, so it wouldn't have come up. I'm sure Callie also kept them away from any family/old friends that might bring it up.

  3. The toaster in the second one is actually in the farmhouse kitchen.

  4. When Phoebe finds an old pair of Egon's glasses (when she finds the candy wrapper), she holds them up to her eyes and the frames match.

    And I legit SHREIKED and grabbed my husband's hand when we saw Egon's ghostly hand reaching around Phoebe's on the proton wand. SO GREAT!!!

  5. Phoebe's character is just soadorableandwonderful. 20 -- or even just 10 years ago, they would have written her character as a grandson, so I love that it's Phoebe, the granddaughter of Egon Spengler.

    Podcast makes a great partner, too. His supportive, geeky enthusiasm pairs well with Phoebe's calm scientific curiosity. I love the moment he discovers THE Ray Stantz is his one subscriber.

  6. I had literally just said to my friend as the credits started to roll that I had wished that Sigourney Weaver had been in the movie and then BOOM end-credits scene. I was so happy. XD

  7. I had no idea how emotionally connected I was to these movies till Phoebe said, "I'm a scientist" and I kind of gasp teared up. Then I basically sobbed through the last 15 minutes of the movie, which I was NOT expecting. Woo that nostalgia attack was realllllllll! I am so glad you loved it. I thought it was wonderful.

  8. When someone asks if you're a god, you say YES!

    1. My husband and I were all “say YES Ray!” 😂

  9. The absolute best callback for me was Gozer's "Are you a god?" and you visibly SEE Ray reminding himself to follow the others' advice before saying "Yes."

    I agree that it was hard seeing Ray turn so hard on Egon, but I think it was BECAUSE he was the most loyal and trusting of them all. That's what made it so incredibly hard for him when Egon turned his back on the entire team, the FAMILY. I don't think anything else would've made him do it.

    Phoebe as Egon's spiritual heir was just the best part of the movie. The glasses matching, "I'm a scientist!", and her pulling a proton pack on the cops to defend him as not just a crazy dirt farmer! <3 It was so, so, so good.

  10. The 1984 StayPuft sign isn't really a billboard - more the faded remnants of a painted sign. You can see it when the firehouse roof blows up and all the ghosts start to be released.

    Pic from Reddit thread - https://i.redd.it/xj2w3h0qp6g11.jpg

  11. Seeing Egon’s ghost pulled me right out of the movie. I wanted to know who played him and how much of it was CGI. According to google (we saw it at a drive in, so I think I googled during the scene-that’s how much I got pulled out) they used archival footage and stand ins.

  12. Also, Phoebe's jokes are GOLDEN. I love them all so much; they're so terrible.
    I plan to steal them to use myself. :D

  13. i love how they put Egon in it. He was CGI and stand ins, yes, but it was archival footage and a lot of care put in there to make him look just RIGHT. and not having him speak made it way more than what it could have been: a cheesy add in. It would have been schmaltzy to have him talk to them. Instead, he did his knowing smile and nod.. and my eyes were tearing.


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