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Fright Night Made Use Of A Scrapped Monster Design From Ghostbusters

While 1984's "Ghostbusters" is often remembered as a comedy classic, some fans may sleep on how truly spooky the film actually was. If you were a kid seeing it for the first time, the library ghost, the rotten corpse cabby, or Gozer the Gozerian probably frightened you a little bit. Well, the frights could have been a whole lot scarier if an early design for a featured ghost made it into the film.

The ghost designs in the film were done by Richard Edlund ("Poltergeist") and his team, which included genre special effects heavyweights such as Steve Johnson ("Species") and Randall William Cook ("The Gate"). With Edlund delegating tasks to his team, it was Johnson who was put in charge of creating such memorable ghosts in the film as Slimer, or "Onionhead" as he was first known. He also worked on another ghost that was deemed too scary for the film, but would later be repurposed for the 1985 film, "Fright Night."

Hot off the success of "Ghostbusters," Columbia Pictures dug in on another effects-heavy monster movie called "Fright Night." Columbia took a chance, giving "Psycho 2" writer Tom Holland an opportunity to direct his first feature film which would be a "Rear Window" type of story in which a horror fan witnesses his new neighbor engaging in vampiric activities and enlists the help of his favorite TV horror host to help put a stop to the vampire before he drains the whole neighborhood.

In order to ensure the first-time filmmaker's success, the studio would also enlist the entire effects team who'd just completed work on "Ghostbusters" to bring the fright film's ghouls to life. When the FX team needed a monster for the film's finale, they had exactly the right monster design left over from their previous project.

The original scarier library ghost from Ghostbusters is Jerry's bat skeleton in Fright Night

A member of Richard Edlund's "Ghostbusters" special effects team, Steve Johnson, along with puppeteer Mark Bryan Wilson ("Men in Black"), created the library ghost from the film. Appearing in the first act of the movie, the library ghost transforms into a terrifying specter after her peaceful presence is disturbed by the Ghostbusters. The scary visage was almost even scarier, based on Johnson and Wilson's original designs. When its original look was deemed too scary for the PG-rated film, it was changed to what was seen in the final film.

For the film's climactic final battle, the effects team of "Fright Night," which was ported over from "Ghostbusters," needed a bat-like creature for not-so-friendly neighborhood vampire Jerry Dandrige's (Chris Sarandon) skeleton. After Dandrige is melted by the sun after facing off against his adversaries, his true form as a skeleton is revealed. The FX team used the leftover original design for the "Ghostbusters" library ghost as the bat monster underneath Dandrige's skin. The effect is spectacular and horrifying, leaving audiences with a monster burned into their brains long after the credits rolled.

"Fright Night" director Tom Holland told Dread Central about Richard Edlund and his FX team in a retrospective for the classic horror film, sharing, "They had made all of their mistakes ... and everything on 'Ghostbusters,' with their huge budget, so they really knew how to do [the special effects] as inexpensively and efficiently as it could be done at the time." Recycling a monster in the way they did is definitely an efficient way to cut FX costs, and the special effects team got to show off something they worked so hard to create.