Recapping the OG Ghostbusters team members making us feel good in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire trailer

There's something strange in the neighbourhood and it demands that you investigate on the big screen at Cineworld. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is the latest chapter in the classic Ghostbusters franchise, reuniting a host of familiar faces to hopefully spooky and entertaining effect. Don't forget that for a proper feel-good Ghostbusters experience this March, you can utilise Cineworld's new Family Ticket offer that allows one adult and one child to be more childish together.

The movie follows the chronology established in the original two Ghostbusters movies, released in 1984 and 1989, and the subsequent Ghostbusters: Afterlife, released in 2021. When a paranormal deep freeze endangers everyone in Manhattan, two generations of Ghostbusters must come together to stop the resurgence of an ancient evil.

That means cracking out the proton packs, the wry humour and the wide-eyed sense of wonder in the face of rampant supernatural mischief. Franchise nostalgics will also rejoice in the return of several OG Ghostbusters favourites, so if you need a refresher course or didn't grow up with Ghostbusters in the first place, here's what you need to know.


1. Pete Venkman

  • Played by Bill Murray

  • Role in the Ghostbusters team Master of sarcasm

  • Classic quote "He slimed me"

Bill Murray's deliciously dry performance is the fulcrum of the original Ghostbusters movies, and it draws on the actor's background in Saturday Night Live. Murray's laconic Pete Venkman, when not hankering after cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), acts as a caustic, deadpan riposte to all the supernatural chaos terrorising Manhattan. Venkman may not have a clue about how the Ghostbusters equipment works, but his high-powered sarcasm is equally effective in terms of getting the job done.

In the first movie, Venkman's nascent relationship with Dana is interrupted when the latter is possessed by the spirit of Zuul, a demon in league with the terrifying Gozer who sought to bring about the end of the world. With that crisis thwarted, Venkman and Dana go their separate ways, only to be reunited in Ghostbusters II after Dana becomes a mother to Oscar. Venkman and the Ghostbusters team must prevent another supernatural apocalypse when the evil spirit Vigo seeks to inhabit young Oscar's body and re-enter the material realm.

At the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, it's revealed that Venkman and Dana are now married, although it remains to be seen if she will turn up in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. We know from the trailer that Venkman turns up alongside his original crew (scroll down to discover who they are) to help bust those spooky ghosts back to where they belong.



2. Ray Stantz

  • Played by Dan Aykroyd

  • Role in the Ghostbusters team The brains behind the operation (along with the late Egon Spengler)

  • Classic quote "It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man."

Dan Aykroyd, a self-described believer in the paranormal, devised the original script for Ghostbusters with the late Harold Ramis who played Egon Spengler. Aykroyd and Ramis' original script, known as 'Ghost Smashers', was possibly too ambitious for its own good, involving time-travelling ghostbusting across multiple dimensions. With the help of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, they worked the script into a more appreciable mixture of wry New York comedy and outrageous supernatural excess.

Aykroyd gives a likeably dorky performance as the unassuming Ray who is a font of all occult knowledge, often to Venkman's disdain. In the original Ghostbusters film, Ray is compelled to sell off his childhood home to help fund the eventual Ghostbusters HQ at the Hook and Ladder Fire Station in New York. He also locates the classic station wagon that becomes Ecto-1, the signature Ghostbusters ride with the unmistakable siren that strikes fear into the heart of all spectres in Manhattan.

In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Ray acts as the supernatural consultant to nascent Ghostbusters siblings Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), the grandkids of the late Egon. At the end of the film, Ray turns up with Venkman, Winston Zeddemore (more on whom below) and the spectre of the late, lamented Egon, to help destroy the newly resurrected Gozer.

Ray's knowledge comes in handy again in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire when he informs Phoebe and Trevor about the 'death chill', the mysterious ice age phenomena that is freezing Manhattanites in their tracks. Ray must once again join forces with Venkman and Winston to stop an apocalypse that may result in cats and dogs living together. In other words, mass hysteria.



3. Winston Zeddemore

  • Played by Ernie Hudson

  • Role in the Ghostbusters team The blue-collar surrogate for the viewing audience

  • Classic quote "If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."

The role of the unassuming Winston was originally intended for Eddie Murphy. When he turned the role down, it was offered to Ernie Hudson and later significantly reduced in the edit. Nevertheless, Winston has emerged as a fan-favourite, simply because he acts as the audience's eyes and ears in the face of increasing supernatural terror.

Winston is the final addition to the Ghostbusters team and answers the application simply because of the money. Nevertheless, he becomes a valued member of the team in the first film and its sequel, providing many memorable moments including the petrified reaction to a subway ghost train in Ghostbusters II.

At the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we discover that Winston has become a wealthy entrepreneur and family man since leaving the Ghostbusters. In the film's final moments he returns the fully restored Ecto-1 to the Ghostbusters' firehouse where a red blinking light on the eco-containment unit seems to spell imminent disaster.

Winston's appearance in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire may indicate that he's bankrolling Phoebe and Trevor's new ghostbusting operation now they've relocated to New York.



4. Janine Melnitz

  • Played by Annie Potts

  • Role in the Ghostbusters team Original Ghostbusters receptionist

  • Classic quote "We got one!"

Straight-talking Janie didn't get out in the field in the original Ghostbusters movies but that's all set to change in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire when she breaks out the romper suit and the proton pack. In the original films Janine held everything together at their headquarters by reeling in their clients and, much like Winston, appeared to largely be in it for the money, At one point, she angrily reveals to Venkman that she's overworked and underpaid. 

Nevertheless, in Ghostbusters II she reconciles with the team after they've gone their separate ways. She also starts a relationship with lawyer Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) whose possession in the first film was a key part of Gozer's plan for world domination.

Janine made a small appearance in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Janine informs Egon's daughter, Callie (Carrie Coon), the mother of Phoebe and Trevor, of her father's death and her inheritance of his decrepit farm in Summerville, Oklahoma. A post-credits scene includes a deleted clip from the original Ghostbusters, in which Janine gives one of her lucky coins to Egon, followed by a present-day meeting between her and Winston in which they reminisce about their time with the Ghostbusters.



Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is released on March 22nd. Who ya gonna call? Well, there's no need to call anybody – simply check out the trailer below and stay tuned as to when you can book your tickets.