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Ghostbusters Honors... The Mask (1994)

 By Paul Rudoff on Aug. 18, 2023 at 3:00 PM , Categories: Filming Locations, The 2016 Parody Remake, References , Tags:
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The 1994 theatrical film The Mask starring Jim Carrey - and not a deformed Eric Stoltz - is a love letter to the animated classics of Tex Avery and Looney Tunes. It also has some interesting connections to Ghostbusters. Read on to find out more...

The most obvious connection is the filming location of Fire Station #23 in Los Angeles, California, which was used as the interior of Ghostbusters headquarters in the original two Ghostbusters films. In The Mask, the garage bay and exterior of the building portrays Ripley's Auto Finishing. The Ripley brothers are your stereotypical crooked auto mechanics, so later when he's transformed into The Mask, Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) tears the place apart, and literally tears the brothers a new one.

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On the 1996 audio commentary track, when this scene comes up, director Chuck Russell talks about the firehouse: "This is the building that was used in Ghostbusters as the Ghostbusters' garage. When you're on a limited budget, you've gotta find the most fascinating locations available, and go with them. Sometimes it seems like a coincidence, but really isn't. There's only certain period buildings in L.A. that are this unusual."

The film's music score was composed by Randy Edelman, who also scored Ghostbusters II. Speaking of music...

In one of the film's most iconic scenes, The Mask is surrounded by cops with seemingly no way out. Being that he's a live-action cartoon, he opts to do what most classic cartoon characters would do: he makes his adversaries act sing and dance... to Jim Carrey's rendition of "Cuban Pete".

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Paul Feig decided to rip off honor this scene in his 2016 Ghostbusters film by having the Rowan-possessed Kevin use his magical powers to make the police and military dance in Times Square. After he filmed it, Feig realized that this idea wouldn't work in a "Ghostbusters" film, so he deleted it from the theatrical cut of the film. Then he reinstated it in the Extended Cut of the film...

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The difference between the two films is that the idea makes sense in The Mask. In Ghostbusters, it completely defies all logic. If Rowan really wanted to achieve world domination, like all poorly-written clich├ęd villains, he would have used his control over the police and military to have them use their pistols and assault rifles to massacre the four mortal Ghostbusters, and then kill each other, leaving no one to stand in his way. I guess he really didn't want to take over the world after all. Perhaps the only living he wanted to pester was the viewing audience.

The Mask contains one final connection with Ghostbusters, and it gives us a bit of a mystery. Near the end of the end credits, the very last name in the "Special Thanks To" section is Harold Ramis; right after Frank Darabont (the director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile). Why is Harold's name here? After I first saw the film on VHS in the mid-1990s, I thought that he helped the filmmakers get the use of the Los Angeles firehouse. I don't see that being the case, as lots of other films and TV shows filmed there, and I doubt they needed Harold's help.

Perhaps Harold had a scene in the film which was deleted from the final cut. That's is, on occasion, the reason for a "special thanks" credit. Only two deleted scenes have ever appeared on home video, and he's not in either of them. It's also possible that director Chuck Russell was giving a shout-out to a friend. If Chuck Russell is on social media, perhaps someone could ask him.

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That's all The Mask has to offer in relation to Ghostbusters. Not much, but enough to write a brief article about. If you'd like to own a copy of the movie, it is available on Blu-ray and DVD. There is currently no 4K UHD release :-(

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