MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A scene featuring Slimer was cut from the end of “Ghostbusters II.”
There’s an interesting phenomenon in which groups of people can believe they saw something that didn’t actually occur, whether in reality or in film or television. We’ve addressed this a few times over the years, such as whether there was an end scene cut from U.S. prints of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, whether “Star Wars” was originally titled “Episode IV” in the opening scroll or whether “Back to the Future” originally ended with “To Be Continued …” People will sometimes swear they saw something in a film that they actually didn’t.
However, sometimes scenes really are cut from film following its release (a famous example is “The Program” removing a sequence because people died trying to re-enact it), so it can be difficult to figure out whether people actually saw a scene that was cut.
One of these possibly mythical scenes is the longstanding rumor regarding Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II.” The green glob of a ghost flew toward the audience at the end of the first film and, as the story goes, repeated the move in the sequel, only this time flying out of the restored Statue of Liberty.
However, as Bill Murray was adamant about not doing another “Ghostbusters” sequel, the theory was that ending the second film like the first one would suggest they were going to make another. That’s the rumor, anyway. When I recently mentioned this on Comics Should Be Goo, and multiple people wrote in to say that yes, they saw that very scene in 1999 when they watched “Ghostbusters II” in theaters.
But did they?
It does not appear that way.
The scene was definitely written, as seen on Spook Central’s page for “Ghsotbusters II” deleted scenes, which has a more elaborate ceremony celebrating the return of Lady Liberty to her perch on Liberty Island, including the following at the end:
They all look up at the Statue.
EXT. STATUE OF LIBERTY – HEAD OF STATUE – DAY
Slimer flies out one of the observation windows, THEME MUSIC KICKS IN and the CAMERA PULLS UP and AWAY FROM the island TO a HIGH SHOT of the Statue, lower Manhattan and the shining sea beyond.
It doesn’t appear as though this scene was ever actually filmed, however. Slimer scenes were tricky in “Ghostbusters II.” They had to film his appearances separate from the rest of the film at times because of the special effects required to create him. Slimer appears in the closing credits of “Ghostbusters II” as a cast member, but the scene his closing credit sequence came from didn’t make it into the finished film (it was part of a deleted scene involving Rick Moranis’ character).
No one has ever shown the Slimer ending, and many deleted scenes from “Ghostbusters II” have appeared over the years. So just based on that I would almost be willing to rule this as false. I wasn’t quite there yet, though. Luckily, reader Adam M. saw my question to the crowd on the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment and wrote in about his experiences with “Ghostbusters II.” I asked Adam to elaborate a little bit, and here is what he had to say:
I worked as a projectionist from 2007-2014 at a small, one-screen indie theater in a suburb of Pittsburgh, called The Oaks Theater. We did two screenings of “Ghostbusters II” in July 2010. Back then, the theater was mostly still doing 35mm film prints, which helped us stand out from the others in the area, who were switching over to an all-digital format. The screenings were part of a summer-long festival that we did every year, called the “Moonlit Matinee” series. My personal pick that year was “Ghostbusters II” because I had never seen it on the big screen, as I was too young to see it at the time it originally premiered in 1989.
I did a private screening of it for myself, once the film print (which was an original print directly from Sony’s vaults) was ready to be watched. I had always heard the rumor about Slimer appearing in the final scene at Liberty Island, so I was anxious to see if that were true or not. I had a great time seeing it on the big screen, the print was in really good shape, but when it came to the final scene, there was no Slimer to be found. I gotta admit … I was a little bummed that it didn’t happen, because so many people have sworn that they saw that in the original release. I chalked it up to memory being a slippery thing…
That cinches it for me.
So I’m going with the legend as…
Thanks to Spook Central for the Slimer scene from the screenplay and thanks to Adam M. for the great piece of information!
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