A Complete Guide To 'Ghostbusters' Easter Eggs And References

Now that the dust has settled around the hotly debated Ghostbusters reboot from director Paul Feig, we wanted to take a look back at all the Easter eggs and references the new film made to the original 1984 classic from director Ivan Reitman. One of the biggest complaints was that the reboot aimed for too much fan service with an abundance of references to the original film, right down to cameos from almost every single key cast member.

Once you check out our complete Ghostbusters Easter eggs guide below, you can decide for yourself. Some of them are obvious, others might have gone over your head. But we rounded up all of them, because there might be some viewers out there who aren't as well-versed with the original Ghostbusters as some of the most hardcore fans. That's why you'll see us referencing everything from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to a tribute the late Harold Ramis to a couple of obscure ghosts you forgot about.


The Opening Scene and Title

The conclusion of the opening scene unfolds with the exact same shot as the first one, with a push into the face of a screaming person who is encountering a ghost for the first time. In the original Ghostbusters it's Alice Drummond (whom you may remember as Ray Finkle's mother from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) who screams before the title, but in the reboot, it's Zach Woods of The Office who gets the honor. Both also employ the iconic theme when the title graces the screen.


Columbia University

Just like the original crew of Ghostbusters, Kristen Wiig's character Dr. Erin Gilbert is working at Columbia University. And just like the characters from the first movie, she ends up getting fired from the school due to her research and eventual belief in the paranormal.


Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis played Egon Spengler, one of the original Ghostbusters, and he also wrote the script for the 1984 film. Sadly, Ramis passed away back in 2014, meaning he couldn't make a cameo. However, Paul Feig included the next best thing. A bust of Harold Ramis can be seen in the hallway of Columbia University in a lingering shot after Kristen Wiig leaves the office of the dean of the school.


Do Not Write Stupid Things on the Door

In the Ghostbusters reboot, there's a note on the door of Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and Holtzmann's (Kate McKinnon) office that says "Do not write stupid things on door!" This appears to be a reference to a similar shot from the original movie where someone wrote "Venkman, Burn in Hell" on the good doctor's office.


Books Can't Fly

The first haunting of the original Ghostbusters sees a librarian walking through the basement bookshelves, and we see some of the books float across the aisle due to the ghost hanging around down there. Therefore, it's no coincidence that in a conversation between Erin and Abby, you hear the line "Books can't fly!" as a little nod to that scene.


Listen, Do You Smell Something?

There's a joke in the new Ghostbusters where Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) doesn't know the difference between his eyes and ears. Not only is it a funny gag, but it's actually also a reference to a line from the original Ghostbusters when Ray says, "Listen, do you smell something?" in the basement of the New York Public Library in the opening scene.


My Pants Are Toast

In the climactic scene of the first Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman is fed up with Gozer the Gozerian getting the best of them, so he taunts her by saying, "All right, this chick is toast." The reboot borrows the expression for a conversation that Ed Begley Jr. has with Abby, Erin and Holtzmann, referencing the fact that Zach Woods' character told him, "My pants are toast."


Abby's Special Helmet

When Erin Gilbert goes to see Abby in her lab, the techno-helmet the latter is wearing looks very much like the device Egon had Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) wear in the original Ghostbusters.


Ghost Classification

There are a few references to the classification of ghosts such as a non-terminal repeating phantasm or a Class-5 full-roaming vapor by the original Ghostbusters. The system is never really explained, and a similar one is referenced in the reboot with a Class 4 apparition being mentioned in the movie. What's interesting is that Dan Aykroyd references this classification in his cameo in the movie, which may have made fans raise some eyebrows about the possibility of some kind of parallel universe. Or maybe that's just me.


He Slimed Me

When the original Ghostbusters take their first job capturing a ghost at an upscale hotel, Peter Venkman ends up getting slimed by the ugly little spud who would come to be known as Slimer. The Ghostbusters reboot takes that to the extreme when Kristen Wiig gets a bunch of slime unloaded on her. It actually becomes much more of a running gag in the new movie than the original.


Higgins Institute of Science

This isn't a reference to the original movie, but it's a fun cameo with some history. The actor who plays the dean of the crappy university that Abby and Erin work at is Steve Higgins, for whom the fake science institute is named. Audiences today might know him best as the announcer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but he's also a writer at Saturday Night Live and has been since 1996. That means he saw the careers of Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon grow before his eyes. Plus, SNL was where Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd famously got their start in comedy.


Hook & Ladder 8

The original spook exterminators choose an abandoned, rundown firehouse as their headquarters in the first movie. It's the real Hook & Ladder 8 firehouse in Tribeca, New York City, and it's a temporary location for the new Ghostbusters in the middle of the movie, until they realize they can't afford the $21,000 a month rent. They end up getting the firehouse back in the end, though. Also, the real estate agent who shows the firehouse to the new Ghostbusters just happens to be the film's writer, Katie Dippold.


If There's Something Strange...

Ray Parker Jr.'s theme song for the original Ghostbusters has the iconic lyric, "If there's something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call?" Abby references the first part of the line when she's attempting to come up with a new slogan for their Conductors of the Metaphysical Examination since "If you see something, say something," is already taken.

In the same vein, at one point Abby also wonders what New Yorkers are going to do if they encounter a ghost, and she asks the question aloud, "Who are they gonna call?"


The Scoleri Brothers

This is a bit of a deep cut, but there are two ghost brothers who appear in a courtroom scene in Ghostbusters II known as The Scoleri Brothers. They famously got the electric chair a long time ago, and they end up haunting the courtroom in a key scene. The ghost discovered by Patty (Leslie Jones) appears to be one of the Scoleri brothers, or at least another prisoner who was given the electric chair.



Easily one of the most obvious references to the original movie, the new vehicle driven by the Ghostbusters is still called the Ecto-1. Instead of being an old, busted ambulance, it's a hearse, keeping with the strange origin of their iconic vehicle.


Proton Packs and Traps

The proton packs are one of many obvious lifts of technology from the original Ghostbusters. They're the devices used to ensnare ghosts before they get sucked into the ghost trap. The same basic premise of the tools is used in the reboot, though the proton technology from the packs is expanded into some other little gadgets, and the proton streams themselves are used a little more liberally in confrontations with the ghosts.

In the 1984 movie, when the proton packs are turned on for the first time in a confined elevator, Egon (Harold Ramis) and Venkman (Bill Murray) slowly move away from Ray (Dan Aykroyd). Our new Ghostbusters do the same when they try out one of their new gadgets.


Nuclear Accelerators and Total Protonic Reversal

In the original Ghostbusters, the proton packs are referenced as containing unlicensed nuclear accelerators. The proton packs in both the original movie and the reboot can be charged up by the Ecto-1, and that's why the reboot reveals that the vehicle is technically a nuclear bomb.

In fact, when the Ecto-1 is used to close the portal that the villain Rowan unleashes on the city, it's called "total protonic reversal." In the original film, that's referred to more commonly as crossing the streams, and it's the exact same way that the original Ghostbusters defeat Gozer the Gozerian.


Magnificent Feast

After the Ghostbusters in the original movie have moved into their firehouse headquarters, they're a little short on cash. Ray lets Venkman know in one scene that the "magnificent feast" of Chinese food they're eating represents the last of the petty cash they had on hand. It's no coincidence that the headquarters that the new Ghostbusters end up in turns out to be a Chinese restaurant.


Spook Central

The climax of the original Ghostbusters takes place in an art deco apartment of Central Park West where Sigourney Weaver's Dana Barrett character lived. The location came to be dubbed as "spook central" by Ray when the Ghostbusters are spending some time in a jail cell. A building with a similar aesthetic known as the Mercado Hotel is used for the climax of the new Ghostbusters where Rowan transforms into a moving version of the Ghostbusters logo, and there's even a shot that is framed just like a shot from the original movie.

There are actually plenty of other New York locations from the original movie that can be spotted in the new Ghostbusters.


Mass Hysteria

When Peter Venkman and the rest of the original Ghostbusters meet with the mayor to convince him to let them out of jail to fight the breakout of paranormal activity in the city, he references the possibility of "dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria." Both the mayor's assistant (Cecily Strong) and Abby Yates use the phrase when discussing paranormal activity in the city with the new mayor, played by Andy Garcia.


Ghostbusters, Whaddaya Want?

On the answering machine for the new Ghostbusters, their secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) can be heard on the answering machine saying, "Ghostbusters, whaddaya want," just like the original secretary played by Annie Potts. In fact, the actress also says this line in the movie as a hotel receptionist in the reboot.


The Fourth Cataclysm?

Rowan refers to the doom he's trying to unleash in New York City as The Fourth Cataclysm. This could be a subtle reference to the events of the previous Ghostbusters franchise, because even though there are only two Ghostbusters movies, Dan Aykroyd has often said that the Ghostbusters video game the original cast made together was essentially Ghostbusters 3. So this latest world-ending scenario would be the fourth time an event like this has happened.


A Lunchtime Warning

When Erin Gilbert realizes that there's still an impending threat to the city even after Rowan appears to be stopped, she rushes to find the mayor while he's dining at a nice restaurant. She pounds on the glass window of the restaurant looking for the mayor, just like Louis Tully does in a scene from Ghostbusters when he's being chased by Vinz Clortho, one of the terror dogs who ends up possessing him.


Possession and an Unlikely Hero

Just like Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) in the original Ghostbusters, Chris Hemsworth ends up getting possessed by a spirit. He's used to enact the rest of the plan to unleash a bunch more ghosts on New York City. In addition, Hemsworth's role also takes a bit of a cue from Rick Moranis' role in Ghostbusters II as he ends up thinking he was the key to defeating the villain.

Slimer Origin


He's an ugly little spud, and he became a surprisingly iconic part of Ghostbusters, thanks mostly to his inclusion as a main character and sort of mascot of The Real Ghostbusters animated series. So of course he had to pop up in the new Ghostbusters, eating the hot dogs he loves so much, and he even got a female companion to accompany him.


The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

He's not quite as threatening as his appearance in the original Ghostbusters, but the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man does give the new Ghostbusters crew some trouble as a ghostly Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. I'm not entirely sure why he can be popped with a tangible pocket knife, but whatever.


That's a Big Twinkie

Before the face of New York City gets a visual makeover to look like the 1970s, you can see a contemporary billboard in Times Square that says "That's a big..." followed by an image of a Twinkie. This is a reference to the explanation Egon gives to the rest of the Ghostbusters about the size of the psychokinetic energy being unleashed upon New York City.

Ghostbusters Trailer

The Traveler Has Come!

Much like Gozer the Gozerian has the original Ghostbusters choose the form of the destructor of New York City, Rowan tauntingly asks what form the new Ghostbusters would prefer he take. And just like Gozer, he turns something innocent into something deadly, Rowan does the same by turning the Ghostbusters logo into a giant monster, and he's not all that different from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man when you think about it.


Ghostbusters Theme

There are a few uses of the original Ghostbusters theme created by Ray Parker Jr. It's used for the opening title, as we already covered, and a variation on it is used for a ghost hunting show on TV called Ghost Jumpers. Finally, as we've already heard and almost unanimously hated, Fall Out Boy performs a new version of the theme that can be heard throughout the movie.

However, there's a more subtle use of the signature tune as a few notes from the melody are played by Rowan on the piano inside the lobby of the Mercado.

ghostbusters ride


We've already covered most of the cameos thanks to previous stories about Ghostbusters Easter eggs, but we'll run through some of the others here, including a couple details about one of the aforementioned cameos.

Dan Aykroyd plays a cab driver who says he "ain't afraid of no ghosts" and even appears to have an understanding of how they're classified. Ernie Hudson pops up as Patty's uncle who owns the funeral home that loaned them the hearse. And Bill Murray has the biggest cameo as a debunker of paranormal activity, almost as a different version of the EPA employee Walter Peck, who harasses Peter Venkman in the original Ghostbusters.

Finally, Sigourney Weaver technically doesn't have a cameo in the actual movie, but she appears in one of the scenes that play during the credits, as Holtzmann's quirky mentor in science.


There Is No Dana, Only Zuul

Those who stuck around after the credits were treated to a scene that teases what might come in the sequel which Sony Pictures already seems committed to make. The new Ghostbusters are working in their lab that is now situated in the old Ghostbusters firehouse, and Patty is listening to a tape reel with headphones. She has an increasingly concerned look on her face and when she takes them off she says, "Hey guys, what's Zuul?"

Zuul is one of the demons in the original Ghostbusters who brings about Gozer the Gozerian to tear apart New York City. It's the demon who possesses Sigourney Weaver's character, and it could foreshadow the direction a Ghostbusters sequel may take.


That's nearly 30 easter eggs and references to the original Ghostbusters. In fact, there's technically even more than that since we lumped some of them together into one. With all those references, I still can't believe that this was situated as a hard reboot of Ghostbusters and not a legacy-quel like TRON Legacy, Jurassic World or even Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Having this many Easter eggs without any narrative ties to the original just feels like too much fan service, especially without any narrative inspiration for them. The new Ghostbusters should have tried much more to differentiate itself from the original movie outside of being more of a blockbuster with a different comedic tone.

Thanks to ScreenCrush and Uproxx for providing some extra inspiration to help round out this list.