Filmsite Movie 

Ghostbusters (1984)
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Plot Synopsis (continued)

Ghostly Apparitions Elsewhere in New York City:

Meanwhile, at 550 Central Park West in a huge, ominous-looking, art-deco residential building known as the Ivo Shandor Building (with statues of scary growling dog-like, gargoyle creatures on the perimeter of its roof), one of its residents, classical concert cellist Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) had returned via taxi to her 22nd floor apartment. While arriving with groceries on her floor's hallway via the elevator, she was forced to avoid her nerdy, over-solicitous, health-nut neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), who was annoyingly interested in her romantically.

He mentioned how he had been exercising for 10 minutes to a sped-up 20 minute video-tape workout, and then invited her in for a drink of low-sodium mineral water. She declined, but he continued to ignore her disinterest by mentioning that he was also hosting a 4th anniversary work party as an accountant. While trying to brush him off and dodge his invitations, he told her that her TV had been left on at a high-volume, and he had tried to help by trying to disconnect her cable. A running joke was that he kept locking himself out of his apartment.

Finally after entering her own apartment across the hall, Dana happened to be in her living room, where she listened to a TV commercial from the newly-established trio of "Ghostbusters" advertising their services in blue coats in front of a firehouse:

Venkman: Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night?
Spengler: Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?
Venkman: Have you or any of your family ever seen a spook, specter or ghost?
Ray: If the answer is yes, then don't wait another minute. Pick up your phone and call the professionals.
All: Ghostbusters!
Venkman: Our courteous and efficient staff is on call twenty-four hours a day to serve all your supernatural elimination needs.
All: We're ready to believe you!

In the kitchen as she was unpacking a bag of groceries onto the counter (a bag of Stay Puft Marshmallows - a foreshadowing - and a carton of eggs), Dana noticed that her egg carton opened up, and the eggs trembled, lept out, , broke open and fried themselves on her countertop. She also heard a loud dog-like growl coming from her refrigerator - she opened it, saw bright-light emanating from an "other-worldly" floating spiritual temple and a small demonic dog-creature (in close-up) that growled a single-word: "ZUUL" (voice of director Reitman). She reacted by slamming the refrigerator door shut and screaming.

Dana's Visit to the Ghostbusters' HQ for Help:

Two days later at the firehouse (emblazoned with a GHOSTBUSTERS banner header), the new Ghostbuster HQ, Ray drove up in a dark blue 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance (later dubbed ECTO-1, its license plate) that he had purchased for $4,800 as their business car, although he rattled off a long list of needed repairs: "...suspension work; and shocks, and brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end...And maybe new rings, also mufflers, a little wiring." Secretary and receptionist Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts) had been hired to answer the phones and do clerical work, although business was non-existent - no calls, no messages, and no customers, and Venkman criticized her "bug-eyes" and how she wasn't typing but reading PEOPLE Magazine. She struck up an immediate flirtation with white-jacketed Spengler (who strangely appeared from under her desk), as he mused: "Print is dead," and claimed that he preferred safe lab work: "I collect spores, molds and fungus."

When Dana arrived shortly later at the Ghostbusters' HQ to seek help, Venkman was immediately smitten by her. He led her into their laboratory and hooked her up with electrodes to an examination machine (that turned her head into different colors). The group listened to her explanation of the "unusual" events in her kitchen two days earlier. She had fled from her apartment and had not yet returned, and firmly told them: "If I knew what it was, I wouldn't be here." She insisted she was telling the truth: "Who would make up a story like that?" Ray speculated about her condition: "Past-life experience intruding on present time," while Spengler theorized: "Could be erased memories stored in the collective unconscious. I wouldn't rule out clairvoyance or telepathic contact, either." She ruled out their explanations as dubious. Ray proposed visiting the Hall of Records to check out the structural details in the building, and find out if the building had "a history of psychic turbulence," while Spengler suggested researching the name "Zuul" in Spates Catalog or Tobin's Spirit l Guide. To impress Dana, Venkman eagerly volunteered to accompany her back to her apartment to "check her out."

As he entered Dana's apartment with her, Venkman feigned bravado ("That's right boys, it's Dr. Venkman"). He conducted a very haphazard investigation with a Ghost Sniffer (a device to sample the air for ghosts), and explained: "It's technical, one of our toys," but was mostly interested in flirtatiously seducing her, or asking her for a date. When he made a suggestive comment about her bedroom, she suspected his professionalism: ("You don't act like a scientist...You're more like a game show host"). He saw nothing out of the ordinary in the various rooms of her apartment, except for the eggs on the counter in the kitchen that had cooked themselves. He stated the obvious: "Are these the eggs?" When he looked into her refrigerator, he found everything to be normal except for "all the junk food." She claimed she had seen a horrifying sight:

There was a space, and there was a building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures riding around and they were growling and snarling! And there were flames! And I heard a voice say Zuul! It was right here!

She worried that she was possibly seeing things and going crazy: "Either there's a monster in my kitchen or I'm completely crazy." When he tried to reassure her that she was OK, and that he was romantically attracted to her: "I'm gonna go for broke. I am madly in love with you," she ordered him out of her apartment and pushed him toward the door. Venkman narrated in the third-person about what had just occurred: "And then she threw me out of her life. She thought I was a creep, she thought I was a geek, and she probably wasn't the first...," and then he pledged to solve the case and win her affection: "I'll prove myself to you!...I'll solve your little problem...And then you'll say, 'Pete Venkman's a guy who can get things done!'"

The Ghostbusters' Second Ghost-Extermination Job - At the Sedgewick Hotel:

That night in the firehouse, the Ghostbusters celebrated their first client-customer Dana by dining on Chinese take-out food and cans of soda and Budweiser beer, using the last of their business' petty cash. Their business venture was quickly failing. Secretary Janine answered an urgent phone call, complaining about a ghost during a haunting. After hanging up, she screamed out: "WE GOT ONE!" and rang the fire-alarm to alert the others.

The three Ghostbusters slid down the fire-pole, dressed up in their exterminator uniforms (carrying PKE meters and portable proton-pack particle accelerators on their backs), and raced to their destination in their newly-painted, white ECTO-1 license-plated vehicle (with the Ghostbuster logo painted on the door) - to the tune of "Cleanin' Up the Town" performed by the Bus Boys. They pulled up in front of the upscale Sedgewick Hotel and met the nervous manager (Michael Ensign) in the front lobby who informed them that the hotel's gluttonous resident ghost named Slimer was on the 12th floor: ("But it's been quiet for years! Up until two weeks ago. It was never, ever this bad, though!"). [Note: Slimer was modeled after John Belushi's character in Animal House (1978).] He was concerned that the problem had to be solved quietly that night, without disturbing the guests.

At the elevator, a guest (Murray Rubin) was astonished by Venkman's other-worldly gear, thinking he was a "cosmonaut." Venkman explained: "We're exterminators. Someone saw a cockroach up on twelve," and the man quipped in reply: "That's gotta be some cockroach." He declined to ride in their elevator ("I'll take the next one"). As the group rode up in the elevator, Ray worried about their untested equipment, including the unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs: "We haven't had a completely successful test of this equipment," but then shrugged and ignored the problem: "No sense worrying about it now. Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back."

When they exited the elevator on the 12th floor, they mistakenly zapped a chambermaid's (Frances E. Nealy) cart in the hallway and almost killed her with their charged proton pack weapons - Venkman apologized: "We thought you were someone else. Successful test." Ray suggested that they split up to search more effectively, and Venkman agreed: "Yeah, we can do more damage that way." Ray was the first to locate the slimy, fat green phantom in one of the hallways, where it was feeding its face from a food-service cart. Ray tried to zap it with his charged proton pack gun but missed. Then, Venkman came face to face in another hallway with the creature and fearfully but calmly radioed Ray ("It's right here, Ray. He's looking at me"). When Ray was overheard calling Slimer an "ugly little spud," Slimer vengefully and aggressively attacked and covered Venkman in dripping ectoplasm. On the floor, he delivered a one-liner exclamation to Ray after being covered in slime:

He slimed me!

Ray was jubilant: "That's great! Actual physical contact! Can you move?"

The ghost Slimer was then tracked by Spengler to the hotel's ballroom during the set-up for a special midnight buffet event, where it was searching for more food. During a showdown with the ghostly creature, while all three Ghostbusters were in the midst of firing wildly at it with their unstable beams as it flew along the ballroom's ceiling, they destroyed the room's gigantic chandelier. After the fact, Spengler cautiously warned that crossing the energy streams of their proton pack weapons might have catastrophic, explosive consequences:

Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you....Don't cross the streams...It would be bad...Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Ray: Total protonic reversal.

The next time they had a clear shot at the creature, they carefully fired at the screaming and fleeing Slimer without crossing their beams, but all three of them missed and caused extensive damage. With a new strategy designed to only capture Slimer, Spengler and Venkman were ordered by Ray to hit the creature with a "containment stream" (of positively-charged ions), to bring the ghost down from the ceiling and contain it in their trap box positioned in the center of the room. The now harnessed and contained creature had finally been vanquished, as Venkman victoriously, proudly, gleefully and triumphantly bragged to the Hotel Manager by paraphrasing a famous Latin phrase:

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass.

Ray also boasted to the Hotel Manager about capturing their first deadly ghost in a containment box: "Sir, what you have there is what we refer to as a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, or a Class Five full roaming vapor. Real nasty one, too!" However, the manager refused to pay Venkman's specially-offered price of $5,000, including charges for entrapment ($4,000) and proton-charging and eco-containment storage of the beast ($1,000). After he was threatened with the ghost's release back into the hotel, the manager quickly acquiesed.

The Growing Fame of the Ghostbusters - A Montage Sequence:

News reporters, interviewers, and DJs (including Roger Grimsby, Joe Franklin, Larry King, and Casey Kasem, as Themselves) described how there was growing spectral activity and the brisk need for the Ghostbusters' services:

  • Roger Grimsby: "Today the entire eastern seaboard is alive with talk of incidents of paranormal activity. Alleged ghost sightings and related supernatural occurrences have been reported across the entire tri-state area."
  • Joe Franklin: "Well, everybody's heard ghost stories around the campfire. Heck, my grandma used to spin yarns about a spectral locomotive that would rocket past the farm where she grew up! But now, as if some unperceived authority..."

Supernatural activity rapidly increased across the city and the Ghostbusters became an overnight success as they fought off pesky poltergeists. During a montage sequence, set to the title tune "Ghostbusters," a series of parody covers of various magazines and newspapers (USA Today, The New York Post, Time Magazine, Omni, the Atlantic, the Globe) proclaimed their heroic fame.

  • Larry King: "The phone-in topic today: ghosts and ghostbusting. The controversy builds, more sightings are reported. Some maintain that these professional paranormal eliminators in New York are the cause of it all."
  • Casey Kasem: "Still making headlines all across the country, the Ghostbusters are at it again, this time at the fashionable dance club, The Rose. The boys in gray slugged it out with a pretty pesky poltergeist, then stayed on to dance the night away with some of the lovely ladies who witnessed the disturbance. This is Casey Kasem! Now on with the countdown."

Venkman confidently spoke to reporters: "Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week! No job is too big! No fee is too big!" During a fantasy dream sequence, Ray was awakened one night by a sexy, semi-invisible Dream Ghost (Kymberly Herrin) that mysteriously hovered above him in bed, unbuckled his belt and unzipped his fly. He crossed his eyes with pleasure as it was implied that he received oral sex.

Due to the demand for ghost-extermination and their huge workload, they were forced to look for a fourth member. Janine interviewed African-American Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), a blue-collar worker, at her busy office desk. Her initial questioning was extensive although he was promptly hired:

Janine: Do you believe in UFOs, astral projection, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trans-mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?
Winston: If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

Peter briefly met with Dana after she had exited from an orchestral practice outside of Carnegie Hall - she congratulated him on becoming "a big celebrity." He provided her with information on her case - about his discovery that the name Zuul referred to a demi-god worshipped around 6000 BC by the Hittites, the Mesopotamians and the Sumerians. Zuul was the minion (or servant) of the ancient, shape-shifting Sumerian god of destruction, Gozer the Gozerian. She asked quizzically: "What's he doing in my icebox?" After flattering her, he coerced her to agree to a Thursday evening date, and promised he would provide more detailed information over dinner.

Problems With Ghost-Storage at HQ:

All of the newly-captured phantasms (including Slimer) were stored in the ecto-containment system unit located under the firehouse at Ghostbusters' HQ. Ray showed Winston the storage facility's ecto-containment unit where the traps were unloaded and cleaned and the ghosts were stored after capture:

This is where we put all the vapors and entities and slimers that we trap. Quite simple, really. Load a trap here, open, unlock the system. Insert the trap, release, close, lock the system. Set your entry grid, neutralize your field and the light is green, the trap is clean. The ghost is incarcerated here in a custom-made storage facility.

Simultaneously in Venkman's office area, skeptical and pompous EPA agent Walter Peck (William Atherton) arrived and treated Dr. Venkman with condescension, prompting him to brag to Peck about his PhD. in parapsychology and psychology. He expressed his suspicions about how the Ghostbusters had established an unlicensed storage facility for captured ghosts. Peck finally admitted what he was there to investigate - the dangerous environmental impact of the ghost-catching business and their limited, custom-built storage facility:

Frankly, there have been a lot of wild stories in the media and we want to assess any possible environmental impact from your operation! For instance, the presence of noxious, possibly hazardous waste chemicals in your basement! Now you either show me what is down there or I come back with a court order.

Venkman threw Peck out as he dared him to get a court order, and threatened to counter-sue him for unlawful prosecution. At the same time, Spengler expressed his worried concern to Ray about how the capacity of their ghost-containment unit wasn't enough to handle the surging influx of supernatural, paranormal captures. He illustrated his worries by speaking about his research that compared the growth of paranormal activity to a Twinkie:

It's getting crowded in there. And all my recent data points to something big on the horizon...Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. According to this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Winston calmly reacted: "That's a big Twinkie," as Spengler bit into the Twinkie he was holding up, and Ray also speculated: "We could be on the verge of a fourfold crossrip! A PKE surge of incredible, even dangerous proportions!" Venkman happened to join them after his discussion with Peck, and asked: "How's the grid holdin' up?" Spengler responded: "Not good," while Winston suggested: "Tell him about the Twinkie." Venkman memorably asked:

What about the Twinkie?

Further Paranormal Happenings at Dana's and Louis' Apartment Building - Two Ghostly Possessions:

With a startling transition, lightning struck the top of the Ivo Shandor Building where Dana lived. The statuesque dog-like gargoyle creatures on the rooftop had crumbled - opening up the stones' surfaces to reveal real-life terror dogs. Dana returned to her apartment and was met in the hallway by Louis, who invited her to his "classic party" in-progress, but she told him she had a date (with Venkman) and lied that she might attend later with him. After undressing and seated talking on the phone with her mother, she heard strange growling sounds from her kitchen.

Suddenly, she was attacked by three clawed arms grabbing her in her chair and covering her mouth. As she screamed, she was dragged (still in her chair) into her kitchen where one of the Terror-Dogs (with glowing red eyes and a mouthful of teeth) from the roof was growling at her. (A quick view of the rooftop revealed that the statues of dog-gargoyles or hounds of hell had crumbled into pieces and whatever was inside them had been set free.)

During Louis' party, he annoyingly bragged to one of his "client"-guests (Patty Dworkin) that he had exercised "good financial sense" in his purchase of cheaper aspirin, and that the smoked salmon for his party was also bought inexpensively so that he could write off the whole promotional event as a tax deduction. When two more guests arrived, Ted and Annette Fleming (Paul Trafas and Cheryl Birchenfield), Louis divulged all of their private financial situation as he tossed their coats into the closet where a Terror-Dog was seated. The creature burst out of the closet, collapsed the coffee table covered with food for the guests, and crashed through the front door to assault Louis as he raced into the hallway. He was pursued by the growling Terror-Dog as he fled to the elevator and ran from his apartment into nearby Central Park. Louis was finally cornered and possessed by the Terror-Dog outside the ritzy restaurant Tavern-on-the-Green.

When Venkman arrived for his date with Dana at the Ivo Shandor Building, he found it surrounded by police cars. A Police Captain (Joe Cirillo) told him that "some moron brought a cougar to a party and it went berserk." The Doorman (Lenny Del Genio) allowed Venkman to enter and take the elevator to Dana's 22nd floor, where he saw police questioning some of Louis' partygoers. After knocking on Dana's apartment door, she answered in a slinky reddish-orange dress with wild hair, and he was astonished at her crazed appearance:

That's a different look for you, isn't it?

After she asked: "Are you the Keymaster?" and he answered negatively, she slammed the door on him. In order to gain entry, he answered a second time that he was the 'Keymaster.' He realized that she had become possessed by the demonic Zuul, also known as "The Gatekeeper." She told him that she had to prepare for the coming of Gozer, the Destructor, as she climbed onto her bed and gave him a wanton look. He asked non-chalantly: "Are we still going out?"

She aggressively advanced on him by writhing around on top of her bed as she asked: "Do you want this body?...Take me now, subcreature." When he politely declined, she grabbed him and tossed him onto the bed: "I make it a rule never to get involved with possessed people. Actually, it's more of a guideline than a rule." She insisted: "I want you inside me," but he again rejected her: "No, I can't - it sounds like you got at least two people in there already. It might be a little crowded." He attempted to restrain her and have her lie back and relax in order to talk to the real Dana, but she angrily told him twice with increasing intensity: "There is no Dana. There is only Zuul." As he counted to three to get her to talk normally to him, she began to roll her eyes, pant and growl like a wild animal, and then in frustration started to rise and levitate above her bed.

Meanwhile, her neighbor Louis had also become similarly possessed by 'The Keymaster' (aka Vinz Clortho), and with flaring reddish eyes, he was rambling, ranting and raving as he ran back through the park. He stumbled toward an approaching horse and Coachman (Danny Stone): "I am the Keymaster! The Destructor will come, the Traveler! The Destroyer!...I am Vinz. Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer, Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia." He claimed he was looking for "The Gatekeeper" - Dana's new entity, and confusingly thought the carriage horse was the Gatekeeper.

Off-screen, an NYPD Police Captain had apprehended Louis, put him in a straitjacket, and brought him in a van to the Ghostbusters HQs. He had been rejected by both Bellevue's psych ward and the local jail: ("Bellevue doesn't want him and I'm afraid to put him in the lock-up"). Spengler and Janine accepted the delivery, measured his high PKE level, and suspected that the strange-acting Louis wasn't even human when he claimed he was: "Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer."

They learned his real identity was Louis Tully who lived in an apartment in Central Park West, but he remained delirious as he described Gozer's history and how the god had assumed many transformative forms as it targeted civilization's destruction:

Gozer the Traveler! He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the Rectification of the Vuldronaii, the Traveler came as a large and moving Torb! Then, during the Third Reconciliation of the Last of the Meketrex Supplicants, they chose a new form for him, that of a giant Sloar! Many Shubs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of a Sloar that day, I can tell you!

Venkman phoned from Dana's apartment with "news from the world of Gozer," and explained to Spengler how Dana had become possessed by Zuul, but that he had sedated her: "It seems that the Goz' has been putting some moves on my would-be girlfriend!...I think we can get her a guest shot on Wild Kingdom. I just whacked her up with about 300 cc's of thorazine. She's gonna take a little nap now. But, uh, he says she's the Gatekeeper, does that make any sense to you?" Spengler explained how they had just examined 'The Keymaster' and they were keeping him in their custody. The two Ghostbusters decided it might be wise to keep the pair separated to avoid something "extraordinarily dangerous."

While Winston was driving Ray in the Ecto-1 back to HQ across the Brooklyn Bridge, he asked whether Ray believed in God. At the same time in the passenger seat, Ray was examining the "very strange" blueprints "for the structural ironwork for Dana Barrett's apartment building." Both of them discussed prophetic statements regarding the cataclysmic "Judgment Day" in the Book of Revelation 7:12, and speculated that their uptick in business foretold the upcoming "end of the world." Winston mused that maybe all the religious myths about the apocalypse weren't just myths: "Has it ever occurred to you that maybe the reason we've been so busy lately is because the dead have been rising from the grave?"

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