In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to make a sequel to “Ghostbusters,” which was one of those rare movies that worked despite a myriad of factors going against it. You can’t fault the studio for pressing their luck with a follow-up, but such a feat would require a really good idea or concept to pull it off.
Instead, “Ghostbusters II” opts for a bizarre story revolving around mood slime and an evil painting, neither of which come close to matching the excitement, fun, and danger of the original’s Gozer and Marshmallow Man. As the big bad, Vigo the Carpathian lacks the visual punch of Gozer and, despite a few creepy scenes early on, Wilhelm von Homburg’s golden locks fail to evoke much terror. Plus the whole “take over baby Oscar in order to destroy the world” plot is far too cliché to take seriously, and ultimately resolves itself in the most anticlimactic way imaginable — the people of New York gather to sing “Auld Lang Syne,” and their positivity vanquishes Vigo. Ugh.
At this point, the “Ghostbusters” franchise had become quite popular with kids thanks to “The Real Ghostbusters,” and there’s a discernible effort in “Ghostbusters II” to tone down the sex, horror and adult humor found in part one. Hence, the goofy, kid-friendly finale and Vigo’s not-too-scary schtick — a peculiar case of a spin-off negatively impacting the original story.