Released June 8, 1984
This Ain't Ghostbusters XXX
• Throughout most of the shooting the film didn't have a name. They actually considered Ghoststoppers before finally settling on the far more satisfying Ghostbusters. The producers then discovered that there had been a 1975 live action Saturday morning show called The Ghost Busters, produced by Filmation Studios. Fortunately Columbia worked out a deal with Filmation.
After the film became a huge hit, Filmation produced an animated version of The Ghost Busters with the incredibly inventive new title of Filmation's Ghostbusters. Not to be outdone, in 1986 Columbia countered with their own animated version of the film called The Real Ghostbusters. Confusing!
• Did you know Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd played dual roles in the first cut
of Ghostbusters? The two played homeless men who witness Louis being chased through Central Park by one of the terror dogs. This scene was removed from the final cut because little was done to disguise their identities, and the filmmakers feared the audience would be confused by seeing Murray and Aykroyd playing other characters.
In recent months a new Ghostbusters film with an all female team has been announced.
An unsuccessful inventor buys his son Billy a strange creature in a Chinatown shop. The creature, called a Mogwai, comes with three strict instructions: Keep it out of bright light, never get it wet, and never, ever feed it after midnight.
Of course it doesn't take long for Billy to violate all three rules, and the cute and cuddly Mogwai mutates and grows into an army of destructive monsters that wreak havoc in the peaceful town of Bedford Falls, er, I mean Kingston Falls.
• The term "gremlin" supposedly originated in WWII, as pilots blamed mechanical failures on the unseen, mischievous creatures.
• I'm told that "Mogwai" is Cantonese for "hairy monster."
The Last Starfighter
• A large number of the film's cast starred in the various Star Trek TV series, including Wil Wheaton, Marc Alaimo, Barbara Bosson, Meg Wyllie and Kay E. Kuter.
Wil Wheaton's small part was virtually eliminated from the film during editing. He would go on to play Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Meg Wyllie, who plays Granny Gordon in the film, is probably best known as the Keeper in the first Star Trek pilot!
Dan O'Herlihy, who plays the alien Grig, went on to star as The Old Man in 1987's Robocop.
• In 2004, the film was adapted into an off-Broadway musical. We live in strange times.
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
• The rope bridge in the film was real; it was built by a group of British engineers over a two hundred foot deep gorge. Spieberg was terrified of it and would drive a couple of miles out of his way in order not to cross it. Ford had no such misgivings, and would run across it at full speed.
• Amrish Puri, who played Mola Ram, shaved his head for the role and kept it shaved afterward, as he then went on to quite a successful career playing villains in Indian films.
• Jonathan Ke Quan accompanied his brother to the audition for Short Round in order to provide moral support. Spielberg saw Quan bossing his brother around before the audition and cast him on the spot.
An intelligent computer called Skynet sends a murderous cyborg back in time to 1984, to kill a woman named Sara Conner. Skynet knows that Conner will one day give birth to a freedom fighter who will lead a revolution that will destroy it. Wibbly wobbly, timey whimey.
• Writer-director James Cameron's original script included two Terminators being sent back in time. One was a humanoid cyborg, while the other was made of liquid metal.
There was no way to realistically film the liquid metal Terminator in 1984, so the idea was scrapped. It was of course reused in the 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
• Lance Henriksen was originally cast as the Terminator, because Cameron thought he should be able to blend into a crowd. When that concept was changed, he gave Henriksen the part of Detective Vukovich.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally going to play human time traveller Kyle Reese, while O.J. Simpson was to play the Terminator (!). Ultimately Simpson was dropped as Cameron thought he was too nice to be believable as a merciless killing machine (!!!). I think the Irony-O-Meter just exploded.
• Arnold has a total of 18 lines in the film, amounting to less than 100 words.
• Police frontman Sting was considered for the role of Kyle Reese.
• Geena Davis, Debra Winger, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane and Carrie Fisher (among many, many others) all auditioned for the part of Sarah Conner.
• The iconic line "I'll be back!" almost didn't make it into the film. Schwarzenegger didn't want to say it, because he had difficulty pronouncing the word "I'll." He wanted to say the more formal, "I will be back," but Cameron refused. It's amazing when you read things like this to think how different film history could be.
• The low budget, unassuming little film created a franchise and merchandising empire. To date there have been three sequels or prequels or whatever the hell they were, with a fifth film scheduled for 2015.
• Sci-fi writer Harlan Ellison claimed that The Terminator stole his screenplay for Soldier, an episode of The Outer Limits. This was nothing new, as Ellison has made a second career out of suing anything that moves for plagiarism. Ellison must have had better lawyers than Orion Studios though, because they ended up paying him a cash settlement, and all subsequent prints of the film include a "Story by Harlan Ellison" credit.
The Karate Kid
Skinny kid Daniel LaRusso and his mother move from New Jersey to Reseda, California. Daniel gets sand kicked in his face by a local martial arts asshole. Mr. Miyagi, the handyman of Daniel's building, takes pity on him and teaches him to defend himself.
• Like many of the movies that came out in 1984, this one spawned a film franchise and a ton of merchandise. There are four films in the series, plus a remake that apparently didn't understand its own title, as it's set in China, where Kung Fu originated.
• The studio originally wanted Mr. Miyagi to be played by Toshiro Mifune or Mako. They were leery of casting Pat Morita, because they saw him as a comedic actor (having played Arnold on the Happy Days TV series) and felt he wouldn't be able to handle a dramatic role. Morita ended up being nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film. So suck on that, studio execs!
Why is it that studio executives seem to be so consistently wrong about everything? How do they manage to rise to such positions of power?
• Mr. Miyagi is named after Chogun Miyagi, an Okinawan who created his own style of karate.
Morita's based his portrayal of Miyagi on karate master Fumio Demura, copying his attitude, mannerisms and speech. Demura doubled Morita in many of the fight scenes.
• In true Hollywood fashion, the teenaged Daniel LaRusso was played by the 22 year old Ralph Macchio (although Macchio did look much younger). Charlie Sheen was considered for the role but turned it down (thank the Maker!).
• In the film Mr. Miyagi gets drunk and reminisces about serving in the 442nd regimental Combat Team in WWII. This was a real regiment, composed of mostly Japanese-Americans (many of whom had been in internment camps) who fought in Europe and became the most highly decorated unit in the history of America's military.
During this scene Daniel sees Mr. Miyagi's Medal Of Honor. Unfortunately that's a mistake. Due to racism among the Army upper brass, no Japanese-Americans were awarded the Medal Of Honor in WWII, instead receiving lesser awards. This unfortunate oversight was finally corrected after an investigation in 2000. Whoops!
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
However, Nimoy enjoyed filming Wrath so much that he decided he wanted to return, paving the way for this film and no doubt causing studio executives to wish he'd make up his damned mind.
• This was Nimoy's first stint as a director. He went on to direct Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Three Men And A Baby, among others.
• The original script cast the underused Romulans as the villains, but Nimoy insisted they be changed to Klingons.
Apparently someone forgot to do a search and replace on the script, because the "Bird Of Prey" class of ship, which had always been a Romulan thing, remained unchanged and was now also assigned to the Klingons. The design of the Bird Of Prey also looks more Romulan than Klingon, complete with stylized feathers on the ship's "wings."
• Kirstie Alley, who played Lt. Saavik in The Wrath Of Khan, reportedly demanded an excessive salary increase to appear in this film. She was promptly replaced by Robin Curtis.