Ghostbusting in the Late Anthropocene
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Keywords | Nøgleord

Popular culture, nuclearism, Anthropocene Epoch, landscapes, ecocide

Citation/Eksport

Saunders, Robert A. 2022. “Ghostbusting in the Late Anthropocene: The 1980s, (Un)Conscious Climate Culture, and Our Holocene Afterlives”. Academic Quarter | Akademisk Kvarter, nr. 25 (december):64-78. https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/ak/article/view/7636.

Abstract | Abstract

This paper examines the latent ecocriticism of the horror-comedy Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) against its original source material in the context of climate catastrophe culture. As a sequel to the Ghostbusters films (1984, 1989), Afterlife shifts the setting: (geo)physically, from metropolitan New York City to a ‘dirt farm’ in Summerville, Oklahoma, and generationally, from the original middle-aged, male ghost-catchers to the teenaged grandchildren of the brightest among them. While the original antagonist – the (fictive) Sumerian god Gozer – returns once more to end the world, the Anthropo(s)cenic landscapes of Afterlife establish the film as a geopolitical intervention in the debate on the already-in-progress environmental apocalypse. In its (partial) rejection of the values of its 1980s-era source material, which is critically assessed herein, I argue that Afterlife speaks to humanity’s emergence as a geological agent defined by geopolitical cultures rooted in human exploitation, hydrocarbon extraction, agro-industrialisation, and nuclearism. Indeed, the decade of Reaganism haunts the film, serving as a ghostly reminder of how we arrived at our current Anthropocene predicament through white heteropatriarchal triumphalism, neoliberal excess, and ecocide.

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