Ghostbusters: The Novel by Larry Milne

1966874Most novelizations of movies that I read in the past were fairly fun to read and padded out the story in places giving it room to breath where the movie didn’t have time to. Usually deleted scenes or even alternate ones would end up in the novel since it would be based on a draft of the script that was changed or had scenes deleted or re-filmed. But I always found them a nice companion piece to the movie. I realize that these days the writers of film novelizations aren’t as free to flesh things out as before but back in the 80s I would have expected something more than this. I looked up other works by Larry Milne and could find nothing much else by him expect an adaptation of ‘Biggles The Movie’. I don’t know why this Ghostbusters novelization seems so lazily written. It could be that he had zero time to write this but even if that were the case I have heard of other authors having the same problem but yet being able to produce something more satisfying than this.

As in the final script the novel retains a lot of the dialogue between characters. Slimer is yellow (as in the script) instead green, they accidentally shoot at a bellboy instead of a maid. What puzzles me though is that excised scenes from the script or even deleted ones are not in the novelization. If the novel was worked on from the final cut of the film I could understand but clearly what is in this book is taken from the script, yet anything extra is not.

Here are a few little things though that might make it worth a read

  • The ghost in the “no ghost” sign is described as being Casper the friendly Ghost.
  • Egon helped Venkman get through University and Venkman paid him with chocolate bars which was a nice little filler to the “you’ve earned it” scene in the movie.
  • Louis Tully is far more obsessed with Dana in the novel than the movie and he wants Dana to do.. what to him?? Yikes….Rick Moranis made Louis a more lovable character and funnier.
  • We actually get to see inside the Ecto Containment Unit through a viewer. The description of the inside of the Containment unit seems rather similar to what they showed in ‘The Real Ghostbusters’.
  • The end fight with Mr. Stay Puff is a little more intense with a faster pace. We see that Mr. Stay Puff actually has a bone structure under all that Marshmallow. The end is wrapped up far too quickly though. The proton streams are crossed and directed at the terror dogs which defeats Gozer just as Mr. Stay Puff is about to come down on them with a fist.

This novelization of the film was published in 1984. I say novelization but it’s a rather poor term for what this book actually is. That is, a very direct script to book adaptation of the story. What we get here is a 167 page book told in the present tense of the movie.

Since the novel is short and the lacking of anything extra it moves at a fairly brisk pace and is a quick read. I can’t think of any real merit to reading this over the final draft of the script. The good point is that it can be finished quickly and it made me want to see the movie again. There is a second novel that is also an adaptation of the film, this time a more fleshed out one by Richard Mueller. While I haven’t read it yet I do intend to sometime (whenever that is) in future. It should be interesting than to compare the two.

Favorite Quote: “We don’t need the University. Einstein did his best stuff while he was working as a patent clerk. They can’t stop progress.” – Venkman

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