The ending to the original 1984 Ghostbusters is one of the most famous in Hollywood’s history. It features a memorable quartet of unusual heroes, two humans turned into giant monster dogs, a skyscraper-sized evil marshmallow man, and a god from another dimension, all coming to blows high above the most famous city in the world, New York. But would it have been even better if that scene had taken place at a location even more famous—or rather infamous—like at the literal gates of Hell? Because that’s apparently where the fellas wound up in an early draft of the script. These many years later, we have an idea of what that might have looked like.
This unused concept art for the movie, which we found at Slashfilm, was created by longtime artist Bernie Wrightson, who was commissioned to design some ideas of what the gates of Hell might look like, as well as the road leading up to them. We wouldn’t change anything about that original movie (well, maybe that scene of Ray in bed with the ghost), but we can’t deny this would have been pretty incredible to see on the big screen. There is a natural menace and unease to these illustrations.
There had long been talk about the Ghostbusters visiting Hell, possibly even for a third film that was never made with the original cast, so this idea didn’t die with the first movie, and we can see why. While always dealing with the supernatural, the films never addressed the nature of the afterlife, of whether there is a Heaven and a Hell, or of what happens normally to human spirits—why some haunt the living and some don’t. So sending the Ghosbusters to Hell would have opened up a lot of opportunities to go further with the story. At the very least it would have been more interesting than an evil painting.
In addition to his unused Hell art, we also get to see some of Wrightson’s designs for the librarian ghost, which made it into the film, and a peek at some very different designs for the terror dogs.
Those first terror dogs don’t scream terror so much as Looney Tunes, but that second one is pretty damn terrifying.
The video above and the focus on Wrightson’s work is part of a Kickstarter from artist and owner of Nakatomi, Tim Doyle, who is trying to fund the release of a “limited edition fine-art portfolio of Bernie Wrightson’s illustrations from Cycle of the Werewolf written by Stephen King.” You can learn more about it, and Wrightson’s illustrious career as an artist, in this accompanying video.
The Kickstarter’s goal of $12,000 has already been met and more, with over 380 backers committing almost $70,000 already. If you’d like to join there is still a week left to go in the campaign. The original Ghostbusters never did go to Hell, which is too bad because it would have been a great storyline to explore, and now we know it would have looked really cool too.
What do you think of this concept art? Do you think this would have made for a better or worse story? Don’t be afraid of our comments section below, tell us what you think.
Featured Image: Columbia Pictures
Images: Bernie Wrightson/Tim Doyle