Slimer in Ghostbusters (2016)
|First appearance||Ghostbusters (1984)|
|Last appearance||Ghostbusters (2016)|
|Created by||Dan Aykroyd|
|Voiced by||Ivan Reitman |
(Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II)
(The Real Ghostbusters)
(Ghostbusters: The Video Game)
|Title||Focused, Non-Terminal Repeating Phantasm|
Class 5 Full Roaming Vapor
|Spouse||Lady Slimer (Remake film)|
Slimer is a fictional character from the Ghostbusters franchise. He appears in the films Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989) and the remake Ghostbusters (2016), in the animated television series: The Real Ghostbusters, Slimer! and Extreme Ghostbusters, and in the video games Ghostbusters: The Video Game and Beeline's Ghostbusters. Slimer was voiced by Ivan Reitman and Adam Ray in the films and by Frank Welker in the cartoon series. In The Real Ghostbusters, he is the Ghostbusters' mascot and friend (unlike the films, where he is just a ghost who needs to be busted).
- 1 Creation and conception
- 2 Character
- 3 Appearances
- 3.1 Film
- 3.2 Television
- 3.3 Video games
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
Creation and conception
During the pre-production of Ghostbusters, Ivan Reitman remarked Slimer was sort of like Bluto in the film Animal House, like the ghost of John Belushi. Since then, Slimer has been described as "The Ghost of John Belushi" by Dan Aykroyd in many interviews.
In the script for Ghostbusters, Slimer is never actually called by any name, so is never given one. The creature's original moniker was simply "The Onionhead Ghost", which the film crew semi-officially dubbed him because of the horrible odor which he uses to scare a couple in a scene cut from the original movie. In early drafts, Slimer was vaguely described as an 'incredibly foul-smelling amorphous vapor'. In July 1983, the final design came along and the 'green, potato-shape' was incorporated into the script. In total, three large scale Onionhead ghosts were created, each with a different expression and/or task. One was for smiling, one was for looking scared, and one was for drinking. A miniature was made for long shots of it flying around the hotel chandelier but it wasn't used. The Onionhead form was cast in the form of a foam latex suit but actual expressions were done with cable mechanisms.
For the live action set, in the scene where Ray spooks Slimer, a room service cart trailed after him. The cart was motorized and piloted from underneath by one of Chuck Gaspar's crew. Naturally, when the cart crashes, the driver is not present. The shot of Slimer phasing through the wall was shot at Entertainment Effects Group and incorporated optically later on.
During effects photography, the suit was worn by Mark Wilson. Wilson's legs were concealed with black velvet. A team of puppeteers dealt with facial expressions. Wilson worked with oversized props so the ghost would appear smaller after composited into live action.
Slimer wasn't always a definite part of the Ghostbusters II script. It was a matter of considerable debate if he should appear at all. Slimer's appeal, luckily, was very universal among children thanks in part to the first movie and The Real Ghostbusters. Slimer was given a subplot and written into movie - Slimer would eat various foods in the Firehouse while Louis Tully would try to trap him then they would become friends. Michael Gross requested elements of the animated version of Slimer to be incorporated into the movie. Tim Lawrence and Thom Enriquez worked on a new design. Meanwhile, Bobby Porter was called into portray Slimer. Some of the technology and techniques used for Nunzio Scoleri were used for Slimer - the divided head construct, pneumatic jaws, SNARK and a fat suit - a departure from the first movie where he was hand puppeteered. Then Slimer was removed from the script. Porter was released.
Two weeks later, Slimer was back in the script and had a bigger role. However, Porter was no longer available. Effects coordinator Ned Gorman remembered working with Robin Navlyt on Willow and she was brought in. Surprisingly, she was the same height as Porter and fit into the suit very well. Chris Goehe and his mold shop crew made a full lifecast on her and Al Coulter worked on a new skullcap. The Slimer shoot was finished close to the first day of shooting. Michael Gross was onhand to push the crew to keep Slimer subtle and reduce any complicated approaches to moving him. Slimer's segments were deemed intrusive by preview audiences. During editing, Ivan Reitman decided to limit Slimer's role even though all scripted scenes were filmed and completed. Ultimately, Slimer's scenes were trimmed to two brief shots plus one during the end titles.
Origin of name
In the script for Ghostbusters, and in the film itself, Slimer is never actually called by any name (the term "slimers" is used to identify a kind of ghost). The creature was called "The Onionhead Ghost" by the film crew, and in the film's closing credits, Steve Johnson is credited as the sculptor for "Onionhead". Slimer was marketed as "the Green Ghost" in initial merchandise for The Real Ghostbusters. When the cartoon series was produced, and in response to the name much given to the character by audiences, the writers renamed the green ghost "Slimer", and the name stuck on all subsequent Ghostbusters properties, including Ghostbusters II and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, despite the character never actually being referred to as Slimer within either film. Although Slimer was referred to as "The Green Ghost" early in the related toy line, in later releases of his first figure, an extra label was applied specifying "Known as 'Slimer' in the Real Ghostbusters TV show".
The in-narrative explanation for Slimer's name was revealed in the eleventh episode of The Real Ghostbusters, "Citizen Ghost" (first broadcast on November 22, 1986). A flashback depicting how the Ghostbusters made friends with Slimer reveals the ghost was so nicknamed by Ray Stantz.
Throughout the first film, Slimer appears to lack intelligence, only caring about gaining food to eat. In the second movie, Slimer appears more fat and more intelligent, and could drive a bus (Louis wonders who gave him a license). Slimer is shown to be caring in The Real Ghostbusters, showing compassion from Ray Stantz, and kissing Janine. The 2016 reboot features a different incarnation of Slimer, who savages a hot dog cart and, after an attack by the Ghostbusters, steals the Ecto-1 to go on a joyride with his girlfriend, Lady Slimer, and other ghosts.
His origins in the original timeline were explained by the Marvel UK comic book The Real Ghostbusters #22. It is explained that he was King Remils ("Slimer" backwards), an obese king who died of heart failure, while a deleted scene from the 2016 Ghostbusters film was meant to expand on Slimer's rebooted continuity origins: when he was alive, Slimer was a gangster who killed a restaurant waiter that got his order wrong, resulting in his imprisonment and execution. After his death, the Ghostbusters encounter him haunting the same restaurant, but due to the experimental nature of their equipment, they inadvertently disfigure him, destroying his legs and turning him green, before he escapes.
Voiced by Ivan Reitman, Slimer (not named until The Real Ghostbusters) was a legendary ghost to all on the original staff of the Sedgewick Hotel. His usual territory was the twelfth floor, but his outings were usually non-violent and simply involved gorging himself on food from room service carts. As a result, the hotel was able to keep a lid on the supernatural problems for a while. For some reason, Gozer's approaching time of arrival provoked Slimer (and many other ghosts) into being much more active than usual. Eventually the staff could no longer keep the ghost a secret and called the Ghostbusters. However, the team had not yet fully tested their equipment and were not completely prepared for a full capture. Ray Stantz attempted to hold Slimer by himself, but the ghost escaped through a wall, charged at Peter Venkman, and covered him in ectoplasmic residue.
Slimer fled into the hotel's Alhambra Ballroom, where the Ghostbusters successfully caught and trapped him after causing extensive property damage. Stantz loaded him into the team's storage facility as a demonstration for Winston Zeddemore after the latter was hired to work for them. He and all the other captured ghosts were released when Walter Peck ordered the facility to be shut down. Slimer took refuge in a hot dog cart soon afterward, surprising the vendor greatly upon opening it. After the defeat of Gozer, the film's closing credits begin over scenes of the Ghostbusters being celebrated by the citizens of New York City. The last shot of the film is Slimer flying towards the screen, after which the film cuts to black and the remainder of the credits roll.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Again voiced by Ivan Reitman, and now known as Slimer (after the events of The Real Ghostbusters), Slimer first appears in Ghostbusters II when Louis Tully caught Slimer eating his lunch, to which the two of them fled in fear from one another. In a deleted scene set between the scene with Dana's bathtub and the scene with Dana and Venkman going out for dinner (mentioned in the novelization), Louis attempts to catch Slimer using a Proton Pack by baiting him with fried chicken.
Later in the film, on New Year's Eve, Louis decides to take up a Proton Pack and help the Ghostbusters. In an attempt to patch up their initial misunderstanding, Slimer helped an exhausted Louis by giving him a ride to the Manhattan Museum of Art (to which Louis wonders how he got a license to drive a bus).
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
Slimer appears in the 2016 film Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, voiced by Adam Ray. After Rowan North unleashes an army of ghosts upon New York City, the Ghostbusters see a green glow coming from a hot dog stand, and find Slimer inside. Slimer promptly hijacks the Ecto-1 and rides off. The Ghostbusters are unable to stop him. Slimer is later seen driving the Ecto-1 around New York City and several of his ghostly friends. While the original Slimer was created as an androgynous blob with no gender defining characteristics, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call introduces a female "Lady Slimer" character with red lipstick and a bow tie in her blonde hair. The Ghostbusters later cause both Slimers to crash the Ecto-1 into the portal to cause "Total Protonic Reversal" and close the portal.
The Real Ghostbusters
After the Ghostbusters stopped Gozer, they began rebuilding their Firehouse. During this process, the green ghost from the Sedgewick Hotel secretly observed them. Once the Firehouse was fully restored, a celebratory dinner was held. The ghost made himself known and attempted to steal the food. Janine Melnitz speculated the ghost was lonely and the Ghostbusters were the first humans to pay him any attention. The Ghostbusters dismissed her theory. Over the next few months, they occasionally saw Slimer.
Ray Stantz took a liking to the ghost and named him "Slimer" to annoy Venkman. When the Ghostbusters were attacked by their ghostly doppelgangers, Slimer distracted the entities long enough for them to be drained of their energy. The Ghostbusters were then able to overpower and trap them. The Ghostbusters agreed to adopt Slimer from then on. For an official statement to the press given by Venkman, Slimer is allowed to freely roam for "scientific research being conducted".
Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters
In 1988, Slimer got his own cartoon series primarily aimed at young children. Unlike previous series, Slimer was able to talk very well. Many episodes of Slimer! had little to do with the Ghostbusters franchise, simply being about everyday events for Slimer. Like in the first film, he still haunts the Sedgewick Hotel, visiting it in many episodes as a visiting pest.
Slimer was given personal enemies in the show, such as an eccentric scientist named Professor Dweeb who wanted to capture Slimer in order to study him, an alley cat named Manx, a dog named Bruiser, and two ghosts named Goolem and Zugg.
After the dissolution of the Ghostbusters, Slimer stayed with Egon Spengler as he watched over the Containment Unit in the Ghostbusters Firehouse. In 1997, when there was a sudden surge in supernatural activity, Slimer flew to Egon's class to inform him of the bad news. After the formation of the "Extreme Ghostbusters", Slimer joined them in their cases.
Slimer's appearance was slightly different from the previous series, as he had a ghostly tail and a slightly bigger face, which was less compacted than the previous series. Unlike the version of Slimer from The Real Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, this version acted much like the version from the original Ghostbusters. Slimer's voice was noticeably higher in pitch than in The Real Ghostbusters, because he was voiced by Billy West, instead of Frank Welker, who reprised his role as Ray in the two-part series finale "Back in the Saddle".
Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue
Slimer, as he appeared in The Real Ghostbusters, is among the various cartoon characters who help main character Michael turn away from drugs.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
At one point, Slimer was recaptured and kept in a Paranormal Containment Research Tank in the Firehouse in the lobby. Egon Spengler is said to have used him for various paranormal studies (a nod to the take on Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters). On Thanksgiving weekend 1991, Slimer was playing with Peter Venkman's ESP cards inside the Paranormal Containment Research Tank.
The Psi Energy Pulse damaged the Tank and Slimer escaped. The team finds him looking at the Containment Unit. When the Rookie takes a shot, Slimer avoids it and the Proton Stream hits the Unit, releasing the Sloth Ghost. Rookie and Ray pursued Slimer into the Sub-Basement but it escaped through a wall. After the Sloth Ghost was recaptured, the Ghostbusters headed to the Sedgewick Hotel on Ray's hunch Slimer would return to his old haunt. Sure enough, Slimer was found by Ray, Peter, and Rookie eating and drinking off someone's tray in front of Room 1218. Rookie took a shot but Slimer ran for it and tried to hide. Rookie roused him out and Slimer flew off towards the elevators where he descended back to the ground floor (but not before sliming Peter for a second time). Slimer is joined by Bellhop Ghosts. With renewed paranormal activity, Egon opts to split up. Rookie and Peter are tasked with recapturing Slimer. Peter believes he's feasting in the Alhambra Ballroom but the manager John O'Keefe bars entrance. Peter regroups and leads Rookie through the kitchen to access the other entrance to the ballroom. Rookie and Peter successfully trap Slimer.
Slimer is placed back into a working Paranormal Containment Research Tank when the team returns from Times Square. When Ivo Shandor shut down the containment grid, Slimer is among the escapees. After the Ghostbusters destroy Shandor and return to the physical plane, Slimer slimes Ilyssa Selwyn just as she and Peter are about to kiss in Central Park. In the stylized version of the game, Slimer flies around, on the loose once again, as the Rookie fires on him during the credits.
Slimer appears in Beeline's Ghostbusters game for iOS. The game was released on January 24, 2013. Slimer's role in the game is that Slimer escapes the Containment Unit and floats around the Ghostbusters Firehouse. The player can tap on him for a daily reward, which increases in value if the player is consistent.
Slimer appears as a playable character in Lego Dimensions, packaged with the "Slime Shooter" vehicle, with Frank Welker reprising his voice role. He makes cameo appearances in the main campaign, causing trouble for the heroes, while a bonus level adapting the first film recreates his original encounter with the Ghostbusters in the Sedgewick Hotel. He also appears as a quest-giver in the Ghostbusters adventure world. He appears once again as part of the Ghostbusters (2016) Story Pack, recreating his role in the events of the rebooted film's story.
In other media
- The four-player Taito science fiction shoot'em up arcade video game Gaia Attack 4 features a level in which the player(s) must shoot Slimer-like extraterrestrials in a luxury hotel dining room. The aliens can float like Slimer, and can be identified when they hold something in their hands (making it float) or when one player's viewfinder is on them, theough they are also (hardly) visible to an viewfinderless observer eye.
- Slimer makes his appearance in the 2019 Walmart commercial, as he was seen eating bags of groceries in the trunk of the Ecto-1.
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 78 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Joe Medjuck says: "One day, during preproduction, we were all sitting around talking about the Onionhead concept, and Ivan remarked that the character was sort of like Bluto in Animal House -- like the ghost of John Belushi, in a way, Danny, who was obviously a good friend of John's, never argued with that. Even so, we never officially said that and we never mentioned it in the script. It was just one way to look at the character, because Onionhead's grossness is like Bluto's in Animal House. We certainly never expected anyone to recognize him as such, although somehow the word did get out and we received some calls from a few newspapers saying they'd heard we had the ghost of John Belushi in our movie."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 64 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Although never specifically named in the film, the hotel apparition was to become known within the production unit as the Onionhead ghost -- so dubbed because of the horrible stench which emanated from it, rather than any physical resemblance to an onion. Though the malodorous aspect of the creature was dropped when the newlywed scene was cut -- primarily because to visually support the notion would have required massive amounts of exacting, hand-rendered animation during the postproduction effects phase -- the name 'Onionhead' persisted among members of the crew."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 78 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "After going through an evolutionary design process, the hotel ghost finally emerged as a green, potato-shaped creature -- and it was at this point, in July, that its description as such was incorporated into the script. Prior accounts were less specific, indicating merely that it was an incredibly foul-smelling amorphous vapor."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 74 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Steve Johnson adds finishing touches to a miniature clay prototype of the Onionhead ghost. In all, three large-scale Onionheads were constructed -- one for smiling, one for looking frightened and one for use in the drinking scenes. A miniature Onionhead was fabricated for long shots of it swishing about the hotel chandelier, but was never used."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 74 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Sculptor Marc Siegel at work on the terror-stricken version of the Onionhead. Once completed, the figure was cast in the form of a foam latex suit, with facial articulations achieved through cable mechanisms."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 78 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The room service cart which trails along behind the Onionhead as it flies through the hotel corridors was actually a motorized vehicle, piloted from underneath by one of Chuck Gaspar's crew members. For the scene where it crashes and overturns, the driver was removed and the cart merely pushed into the wall. The ghost itself -- which passes through the solid surface leaving a slimy, dripping residue behind -- was shot on stage at Entertainment Effects Group and incorporated optically in the live-action photography."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 75 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "During effects photography, the Onionhead suit was worn by Mark Wilson. Full-figure shots required that his legs -- which extended out from beneath the legless torso -- be draped with black velvet for maximum concealment. Although Wilson provided the major movements for Onionhead, a team of puppeteers -- wearing helmets or behind plexiglass in this food-throwing scene -- produced the more subtle, cable-actuated expressions. Oversized props were used so that when composited with live-action, the ghost could be made to appear smaller than human-size."
- Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited, Cinefex magazine #40, page 21. Cinefex, USA.
- Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited, Cinefex magazine #40, page 18 footnote. Cinefex, USA.
- media (2016-07-15). "At Last: The Untold Backstory of Slimer From Ghostbusters". WIRED.com. Retrieved 2016-08-08.