Ghostbusters’ Slimer Has Several Terrible Origin Stories

He’s either a dead king or a mutilated gangster, depending on who you ask
Ghostbusters’ Slimer Has Several Terrible Origin Stories

The new Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire is unsurprisingly crammed full of ‘80s nostalgia bait — from the return of the original, aged crew, to the repeated use of Ray Parker Jr.’s classic (yet disquietingly pervy) theme song. And while I don’t want to spoil too much, let’s just say that Ghostbusters-branded cereal (made by a literal dog food company) is now canon.

Frozen Empire also brought back one Ghostbusters star who filmmakers could be sure wouldn’t try to hock his vodka company during filming: Slimer. Apparently, everybody’s favorite “class 5 full roaming vapor” spent the past three decades in the Ghostbusters’ firehouse, eating chips and living in a literal trash heap. Come to think of it, Slimer just might be the most relatable character in the entire franchise.

But what is Slimer the ghost exactly? Confusingly, some ghosts in the Ghostbusters-verse just look like regular humans under a blacklight, while others, like Slimer, look like off-brand Muppets on crystal meth. Well, it turns out that the series has attempted to answer this question several times over the years, and the answers have been uniformly terrible.

The first Slimer origin story came in an issue of Marvel’s Real Ghostbusters comic book, in which Peter Venkman is accidentally sent back in time to merry Old England. He ends up befriending a King named “Remils,” which eagle-eyed fans may have noticed is “Slimer” spelled backwards. 

Yup, the Ghostbusters’ pizza-loving pet is really a 500-year-old monarch, which is pretty weird when you think about it. But thanks to Venkman’s friendship, King Remils starts looking after his health, which then causes Slimer to disappear, Marty McFly-style. Thankfully, the Ghostbusters accidentally kill the King, and everything goes back to normal at the end of this comic that was supposedly for children.

For the 2016 Kristen Wiig-starring reboot, the filmmakers apparently weren’t happy with the whole “gluttonous orange-eyed King” explanation, but still endeavored to provide a backstory for the character absolutely nobody needed a backstory for. Per director Paul Feig, the original plan was to show that Slimer was once a “big, giant” mobster who was executed for murdering a waiter, and who then came back as a ghost “raid” the restaurant. 

But his ghost was originally human-like — that is until the Ghostbusters attempted to capture him using untested equipment. “The proton beams are too hot,” explained Feig, “so it blows his legs off. Then it turns him green. He starts to distort, and so he becomes Slimer.”

Thankfully, the scene in which the Ghostbusters mutilate a dead gangster was ultimately scrapped. It also would have contradicted the film’s tie-in book, Tobin's Spirit Guide by Eric Burnham, which suggested that Slimer was likely a “hungry spirit” that had been conjured by the cult of Gozer at the Sedgewick Hotel (where he was first spotted) back in the 1920s. 

To be honest, most kids who grew up with Ghostbusters probably didn’t give a crap about where Slimer came from — or even if he was human — they were just happy to get a taste of his sweet, sweet ectoplasm juice.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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