Why the New Ghostbusters ECTO-1 Makes More Sense Than the Original

By  · Published on July 8th, 2015

Paul Feig/Columbia Pictures

Immediately following my first look at the new ECTO-1 this evening, I got my first look at a complaint. “It looks terrible,” tweeted one diehard Ghostbusters fan directly at writer-director Paul Feig, who’d posted the photos (and retweeted that criticism). “Horrible,” said another, telling Feig he should have shared concept art first to let everyone weigh in before he “wasted money.” As if rebooting beloved movie classics is a democratic affair or should be. But never mind the fact that a lot of people are apparently up in arms about the slightly faithful but also very different vehicle. The thing is that all those complainers are welcome to their opinion, but their opinion on this particular matter is totally wrong.

Columbia Pictures

Yes, the ECTO-1 of the original 1984 Ghostbusters (seen above for comparison) is iconic. And because it’s a 1959 Cadillac, it has that sleek tailfin style. It’s a beautiful movie car and is a perfect blend of gloss, practicality and clunkiness that suited the team of ghost-busting science nerds. But this new one, created out of a 1983 Caddy hearse, fits the profession even more. Ironically, that it’s a hearse is one of the problems for fans, yet the original car was a model used for both ambulatory and funeral purpose, and it just happened that the Ghostbusters made theirs look more like an ambulance. The ’83 model is strictly for carting the dead, and that’s proper. This is a company dealing with the dead, putting them to rest, not trying to save them.

The new ECTO-1 doesn’t make us think of an ambulance, even with a light and siren on top. Yet a company looking to be embraced isn’t going to go full with the typical associations with a hearse – specifically a black color, curtained windows, etc. – because that’s a turn off. Hence the white and red hearse, fun and friendly no-ghosts logo and, completely new for the reboot, another cartoonish ghost (Slimer?) for a hood ornament. At least it’s not pink because this is the “lady Ghostbusters,” right?

Check out two more pics via Feig:

Paul Feig/Columbia Pictures

Paul Feig/Columbia Pictures

Ghostbusters hits theaters on July 22, 2016.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.