Film / Ghostbusters II

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ghostbusters2.jpg
Shit Happens, someone's gotta deal with it, and Who Ya Gonna Call?

WE'RE THE BEST, WE'RE THE BEAUTIFUL, WE'RE THE ONLY...GHOSTBUSTERS!
Peter Venkman.

Ghostbusters II is the 1989 sequel to the original Ghostbusters movie.

Less than five years later, the City of New York somehow decided the events of the first film were all just some kind of con game (as Peck had described) and sued the heroes, who went bankrupt and have gone on to more mundane jobs: Ray Stanz owns an occult bookstore, Winston Zeddmore (along with Ray) performs in his Ghostbusters uniform for birthday parties, Peter Venkman is a cable TV host discussing the paranormal, and Egon Spengler is doing sociology research. But the ghosts start returning, and soon the Ghostbusters are back in business. Top of their list is investigating a strange river of slime in an abandoned subway tunnel that seems to thrive on negative emotions and produce new ghost hauntings.

Meanwhile, at the museum where Dana works, her boss becomes a Renfield for the ghost of Vigo the Carpathian, an ancient tyrant magically preserved in a painting. Vigo has Dana's infant son Oscar kidnapped, intending to take over the child's body. note 

When the Ghostbusters finally figure things out and arrive on scene, the museum is cocooned by the slime they were investigating and maintained as a physical manifestation of the negative emotions of New Yorkers. The Ghostbusters fight Vigo on the inside, aided by the spirit of New Yorkers (and the holiday spirit) on the outside to save the day.

Tropes:

  • Adult Fear: Just about anything involving Oscar. Poor Dana nearly had a heart attack after everything she witnessed.
  • The Alleged Car: The sad fate of Ecto-1.
  • As You Know: Zed's infodump to Ray explaining how the Ghostbusters went out of business after the first movie.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: The film takes place in the lead up to New Year's Eve.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Statue of Liberty.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Inverted. Vigo uses Dana's son as a vessel in order to revive himself.
  • Baby Carriage: In the opening scene of the second film, with a more ghostly version used in a later scene.
  • Badass Boast:
    Venkman: We're the best … we're the beautiful … we're the only … Ghostbusters!
    • Vigo's decapitated head also supposedly proclaimed "Death is but a door, time is but a window - I'll be back!" after an extensive execution centuries ago.
  • Batman Gambit: Vigo and Janosz pull one when they decide to abduct Dana too, by having Janosz kidnap Oscar, knowing Dana would come to the museum to get him. Once she was inside, Vigo had the slime seal off the building.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Ghostbusters are able to charge the slime with positive energy, making it an effective weapon against Vigo. And as a bonus, bring the Statue of Liberty to life to rally the New Yorkers.
  • Berserk Button: Venkman meets a security guard who is a fan of his TV show World of the Psychic, and adds that his other favorite TV show is Bassmasters. This greatly offends Venkman for some reason.
  • Big Applesauce: Mocked near the end by Venkman, who asks why any being would want to return in 1980s New York, rather than sunny Southern California.
  • Big Bad: Vigo the Carpathian, a 16th Century tyrant who was executed in a violent revolution.
  • Big Blackout: Ray accidentally causes one in the second film.
  • Body Surf: Vigo's goal. He attempts to take over Oscar's body, but once foiled, he decides Ray works just as well. Cue sliming.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The slime blowers expend far more slime than the tanks could be reasonably said to carry. Possibly justified by the fact that the evil version of the slime demonstrates itself to be self-replicating in the courtroom scene, so the good version could do the same. (The [canon] video game confirms this).
  • Brooklyn Rage: The source of the Big Bad's power.
    • And what is the best way to overcome Brooklyn Rage? The spirit of goodwill brought on by New Years Eve and the spirit of patriotism as symbolized by the Statue of Liberty.
  • The Cameo: Bobby Brown, who provided the movie's theme song "On Our Own", appears in a minor role as the Mayor's doorman.
  • Canon Immigrant: In a recursive sort of way. Slimer was in the first movie, but wasn't given a name and he was basically a bad guy caught by the Ghostbusters. He was turned into a good guy regular character and given a name in the cartoon series, which is where he becomes a Canon Immigrant in the second movie: the first time we see Slimer in the sequel, he's hanging around inside the Fire Station headquarters chowing down on some food, implying that even the live-action guys have adopted him. The only other scene we see him in, he's shown helping Louis, which again implies that Movie Slimer, like Cartoon Slimer, is now a Team Pet.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Vigo the Carpathian, the Scourge of Carpathia, the Sorrow of Moldovia: "Now is the dawning of the season of evil" and etc.
  • Care-Bear Stare: The good mood slime is charged with positive emotions. It's harmful to evil ghosts and if turned on humans it turns them into love freaks.
  • The Cassandra: Milton Angland, the author who appears on Peter's show at the beginning of the second movie and predicted the world would end on New Year's Eve that year. That almost comes true, though nobody ever sees or speaks of him again.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • "Higher and Higher" in the second movie. Ray and Egon show us that the slime happens to really like Jackie Wilson's version of the song early on in the movie. A cover version is used later on in the movie to empower the slime, thus mobilizing Libby.
    • Egon is first seen in the movie conducting an experiment on whether negative emotions could have an impact on the surrounding environment. Enter "mood slime"… And then see the mood slime itself take control of a major landmark.
    • The psychic Venkman was interviewing predicting the world would end on New Year's Eve.
    • The evil stare that Vigo gives Ray plants the seed for Vigo to temporarily possess Ray towards the end of the film.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Tully is pressed into representing the Ghostbusters when they're put on trial after blacking out New York. Tully protests that he's a tax lawyer who got his degree at night school.
    Ray: That's fine, Louis. We got arrested at night. [Face Desk]
  • Combined Energy Attack: When the 'busters use the collective goodwill of New York to break through the slime shield on the museum.
  • Creepily Long Arms: One arm, at least, used by the nanny-Janosz to snatch Oscar from the ledge.
  • Damsel in Distress: Dana spends most of the movie being threatened by Vigo and Janosz.
  • Darker and Edgier/Sequel Escalation: The horror got ramped up, compared to the first one. It wasn't enough that Oscar was stolen away, for example - it had to be on a building ledge, at Venkman's apartment after they were attacked in their own home.
    • The spirits themselves were genuinely terrifying (the Ghost Train in particular), and then imagine what prolonged exposure to the Mood Slime does...
  • Dated History: When the Titanic is shown arriving in port, it has a huge hole in the prow. And is in one piece rather than having split in half. note 
  • Demonic Possession: Janosz Poha, Ray Stantz, and (almost) Oscar.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Vigo paralyzes the Ghostbusters with a blast of energy, then steps past them to take Oscar. Lacking any other options, Venkman crawls toward Vigo and starts mocking and insulting him.
  • The Dreaded: Vigo's titles when he was alive included "Vigo the Cruel", "Vigo the Despised", "Vigo the Torturer", and "Vigo the Unholy".
    Venkman: Wasn't he also "Vigo the Butch"?
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: The Ghostbusters saved the world, but five years later, they're thought of as "two-bit frauds and publicity hounds." They also apparently got shafted when it was time to clean up Gozer's mess. Ray and later Peter comment on this.
    TV Producer: No respected psychic will come on the show, they think you're a fraud.
    Venkman: I AM a fraud!
  • Emotion Eater: Vigo feeds on hate in order to strengthen himself. The Ghostbusters counter this by bringing the Statue of Liberty to life to inspire the spirit of patriotism in the New Yorkers.
  • Entitled Bastard: The judge demeans the Ghostbusters and throws them the guilty verdict, calling them frauds. When the ghosts of a pair of death row convicts appear and wreck havoc on the courtroom, the judge demands that the Ghostbusters do something. Egon spitefully suggests the judge tell them he doesn't believe in ghosts.
  • Extra-Strength Masquerade: The giant demonic marshmallow man and plague of ghosts from five years ago everyone remembers and even had physical evidence of was all the world's most elaborate hoax. Obviously. Though there is a great deal of truth in this, after all, people will often only believe what they ''want'' to believe.
  • Expospeak Gag: This exchange:
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Hey Egon, how's school? I bet those science chicks really dig that large cranium of yours?
    Dr. Egon Spengler: I think they're more interested in my Epididymis
  • Failed a Spot Check: Dana. She misses that the water for a bath has suddenly gone silent.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
    • The number of people in the movie who claim not to believe in the supernatural a mere five years after a prehistoric deity marched through downtown Manhattan is staggering.
    • The movie tries to justify this claiming that Peck convinced everyone that the Stay Puft Man was a marketing ploy, and the explosion that closed the portal was the Ghostbusters misusing pyrotechnics, leaving them on the hook for all the damages caused by saving the world.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The psychic predicting the end of the world on New Years at the beginning of the movie.
    • When Vigo is brainwashing Janosz, his portrait changes to shows the old subway tunnel with mood slime flowing down the support pillars.
  • Funny Foreigner: Janosz Poha. Except not really.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Johnny...where in the hell are you from anyway?
    Dr. Janosz Poha: (with Slavic accent) De Upper Vest side...?
  • Fur and Loathing: A woman is attacked by her haunted coat.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Egon's remark about co-eds being more interested in his "epididymis" than his brain means exactly what Venkman suspects it does.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: A side effect of being doused with positively charged mood slime.
  • Giggling Villain: The Scoleri brothers.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Egon stops Winston and Ray from fighting by convincing them to take off their outerwear, which is soaked with negatively-charged slime. In the original script, it was Ray who'd be tugged towards the slime river by the measuring cable, but he'd have removed his belt to escape being dragged in.
  • Going Commando: When the Ghostbusters are looking at the Statue of Liberty
    Peter: Kinda makes you wonder.
    Winston: Wonder what?
    Peter: Whether she's naked under that toga. [beat] She's French, you know that.
  • Hanging Judge: Stephen "The Hammer" Wexler. Not only does he have a very unprofessional rant (which any competent lawyer not named Tully would use on appeal to have the conviction thrown out) about how he wishes it were still legal to have people burned at the stake but he doesn't seem to have been too concerned with whether or not the Scoleri brothers were actually guilty.
  • He Knows Too Much: When Ray and Egon were analyzing photos of Vigo's painting and discover his connection to the river of slime, he telekinetically locks the door before setting the room on fire.
  • Historical In-Joke:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Ghostbusters analyze and co-opt Vigo's evil mood slime by using a positively-charged version of the slime to animate the Statue of Liberty, which allows them to bypass the slime barrier surrounding the Manhattan Museum of Modern Art. The slime blowers are then key to incapacitating Janosz and the possessed Ray without hurting them. When Vigo is forced back into the painting, the slime blowers are the only weapon that visibly hurt him.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: After discovering Vigo's life history, Ray asks Egon if he thinks there's a connection between him and the mood slime.
    Egon: Is the atomic weight of Cobalt 58.9?
  • Jerkass: Egon with his hilariously cruel experiments, including fooling a couple into thinking they are there for marriage counseling and watching them from behind a two-way mirror, then making them wait for hours and slowly pushing up the temperature.
    • Hardemeyer is an arrogant Amoral Attorney who abuses his position of working with the mayor and gets the Ghostbusters committed out of spite.
  • Just Train Wrong: Egon identifies the ghost train that "runs over" Winston in the subway tunnel as one that derailed in 1920, despite it looking much more like a train from fifty years before that.
  • Large Ham:
    • The judge, especially during his "BURNED AT THE STAKE!!!!" rant.
    • Janosz.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Judge who launches into an extremely unprofessional and sadistic rant against the Ghostbusters after he initially finds them guilty — the bad karma this creates within the vicinity of the "mood slime" results in bringing back the Scolari Brothers, sibling criminals he tried and sentenced to death for murder. He is then forced to rescind the order to get the Ghostbusters to help him.
    • The Prosecutor (played by the late Janet Margolin) as well, given her rude treatment of the main characters during the trial, which results in her getting hauled out upside down by the Scolari Brothers.
  • Live Mink Coat: During the scene where the evil slime terrorizes the city, there's a freaky moment where a lady in a fur coat steps into the slime and the coat comes alive, turning into a pack of pissed off minks.
  • Magic Skirt: The prosecuting attorney is lifted by her leg by a ghost, but her skirt stays up the entire time. (The novelisation of the movie says that she was struggling to keep her skirt from rolling over.)
  • Medium Awareness:
    • The updated Ghostbusters sign with the ghost giving the "two" sign. The movie revolved around their comeback after five years of inactivity, so a redesigned logo might seem fitting. It was also their second run as ecto-exterminators. Furthermore, the "two" sign is better known as the V-Sign, "V for Victory," from World War II. So the logo is the Ghostbusters' Take That! to the authorities that shut them down after the first movie. The fact that it is holding up two fingers is coincidental (at least from the story point of view). Combining these two, V is the Roman numeral for 5.
  • Monumental Damage: After the positive slime wears out, the Statue of Liberty can be seen collapsed on the street. However, the credits show the Statue restored to its original state (with the Twin Towers dominating the background.)
    • The junior novelization adds a bit of dialogue during the latter scene that claims the statute isn't exactly in its original state at the end - the torch and book are now being held in the opposite hands.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Dana spends a LOT of time in various states of undress in this thing.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Invoked by Vigo when his head died: "Death is but a door. Time is but a window. I'll be back."
    • From the novelization:
    Peter: "I'll be back"?? That's all this guy had to say after a hundred and five years?
    Ray: (shrugs) It's a rough translation from the Moldavian...
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If the Scoleri Brothers hadn't appeared, the Ghostbusters wouldn't have been released from their restraining order and be able to restart their business. In fact, just before their interference, the Ghostbusters were about to go to jail.
  • No Kill Like Over Kill: When Vigo's subjects rebelled against him, they went to the extreme with his execution: poison, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.
    Peter: Ouch.
    • Of course, this was possibly justified, as Vigo was insanely powerful even in life, to the point that he lived for over a hundred years, and possibly would've lasted longer before the rebellion.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: As the judge is passing sentence, Ray sees the slime bubbling in response to the judge's angry ranting. Each of Ghostbusters makes an attempt to point this out to the judge, which only pisses him off further, causing the slime to bubble more and more. When they see the slime overflow the beaker, they hide under the table juuust before it explodes, summoning the Scoleri Brothers.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Ghostbusters while posing as construction workers.
  • Obviously Evil: Vigo's painting would likely be described as dark and menacing even if it wasn't inhabited by his malignant spirit.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: Averted and lampshaded. Louis Tully specifically warns the main quartet that he doesn't know criminal law. Sure enough, he botches the defense and the judge rules against them. It's only the timely appearance of ghosts (thereby proving to the disbelieving judge that ghosts are real) that get the Ghostbusters off the hook. To his credit, Tully does help play legal hardball at that moment to force the judge to rescind the restraining order.
  • One Thing Led to Another: And the next thing Louis knew, he and Janine were having sex!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Louis takes the guys their gear and tells them about what's happened when they're released from Parkview. While Ray and Egon are talking about Vigo possessing Oscar, Peter looks dead serious, is totally silent, and has his jumpsuit and elbowpads on before the others have even finished zipping up. And when they're walking out, he's a good six feet in front of them.
  • Pair the Spares: Janine, who spent most of her screen time in the first film fruitlessly flirting with Egon, hooks up in this film with Louis.
  • Papa Wolf: Venkman develops a fondness for Baby Oscar as the film progresses; when the plot to have Vigo possess Oscar is revealed, this trope comes out in full force, as mentioned in O.O.C. Is Serious Business.
  • Posters Always Lie: Those cool, dark gray uniforms the 'Busters wear on the poster? In the film, they only appear in them for a few seconds as part of a montage.
  • The Power of Rock: The Ghostbusters use the positive emotions evoked by good ole rhythm 'n blues to power the slime.
  • The Precarious Ledge: Dana checks on Oscar, only to discover that her baby is outside the window, some distance away on a narrow ledge.
  • Primal Fear: The sheer number of things Dana has to go through as Oscar is repeatedly manipulated, snatched away, and almost possessed…
  • Rasputinian Death: The team recounts the death of Vigo the Carpathian:
    Egon: Vigo the Carpathian. Born 1505, died 1610.
    Peter: 105 years old, he hung in there, didn't he?
    Ray: He didn't die of old age, either. He was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.
    Peter: Ouch.
  • The Renfield: Janosz, who was played by Peter MacNicol, who also played the Renfield in Dracula: Dead And Loving It.
  • Sequel Reset: Peter and Dana have split up, only to rekindle their relationship. The Ghostbusters were sued out of business, only to get it going once again. They are interfered with by an Obstructive Bureaucrat until the Mayor asks for their help. Though it's believable that the people of New York would try to fool themselves into believing it was all a hoax.
    • MAD made a point of underlining this in their spoof of the movie, with Winston asking Egon why it is that they're right back where they started in the first movie even after having saved New York. Egon rightly points out the trope and all the reasons movie sequels do this.
  • Servile Snarker: When Janosz communes with Vigo for the second time, he tries to interrupt his master and tell him to get on with it rather than have to sit through his list of titles a second time.
  • Shout-Out: At a party where Ray and Winston were performing, when they asked Who You Gonna Call?, the kids answered "He-Man".
  • Sinister Subway: Home to an Afterlife Express, which is a Call-Back to an offhand comment in the first film, when a reporter informs viewers that his grandmother used to tell ghost stories about a spectral locomotive.
    • As another example of Shown Their Work, in searching for the source of the supernatural energy spike which caused little Oscar's runaway Baby Carriage at the start of the movie, the Ghostbusters discover the fictional Van Horne station filled by the river of slime. This is a reference to Beach's Pneumatic Railway which was built beneath Broadway and later shut down by Boss Tweed, and the movie depiction even resembles some of Beach's designs with its tile walls and mosaic frescoes. It also has a few elements in common with the City Hall IRT Station, mostly the shape of the vaulted ceiling and buttresses. (Interestingly, while the Manhattan Museum of Art was also fictional, the building used for its facade, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House near Battery Park, is within a mile of the original tunnel's location.)
  • Slasher Smile: When the judge proclaims that he would like to see the Ghostbusters burnt at the stake in a boisterous and unprofessional rant, he sports a malevolent smile just before the mood slime explodes.
  • Square/Cube Law: In spite of the general Rule of Cool and Applied Phlebotinum, the law gets a brief nod during the Statue of Liberty scene…
    Winston: Can't you go any faster?
    Ray: I'm afraid the vibrations would shake her to pieces. We should have padded her feet…
    Egon: I don't think they make Nike's in her size...
    Venkman: Aw, c'mon, she's tough! She's a harbor chick!
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Ray and Winston try to sing the Ghostbusters theme song at a birthday party for "ungrateful little yuppie larvae", but sadly, they're shouted down by their cries for He-Man.
  • Villain Ball: Vigo didn't need Oscar's body to reborn, he just needed the body of a young child, any young child, and there tens if not hundreds of thousands of children in NYC that would have suited. If Janosz and Vigo had switched targets to someone whose mother wasn't on a first name basis with the Ghostbusters, they could have won before the Ghostbusters were in a position to take them down.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The Statue of Liberty.
  • Weirdness Censor: Despite saving the world in the first film, the Ghostbusters are bankrupt and regarded as frauds just five years later, with all the ghost sightings being chalked up to a toxic leak causing mass hallucinations, due to the explosion of the containment system.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mayor Lenny gets understandably furious when Hardemeyer informs him he had the Ghostbusters committed to an asylum while the city was literally going to hell. Despite New York being flooded with ghosts, he claims the Ghostbusters are not needed. Lenny shows the idiot exactly what he thinks about that by promptly firing his ass then demanding the Ghostbusters to be released since they are the only ones who can do anything about what's happening.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Apparently Winston has an aversion to rats.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: After the proton packs fail to make a dent in the slime shell covering the museum.
    Ray: You know, I just can't believe things have gotten so bad in this city that there's no way back. I mean, sure, it's messy, it's crowded, it's polluted, and there are people who would just as soon step on your face as look at you. But come on! There's gotta be a few sparks of sweet humanity left in this burned-out berg. We just gotta find a way to mobilize it!
  • You Have to Believe Me: A certain amount of this helps Hardemeyer in getting the Ghostbusters committed, and in the psychiatrist not believing a word they said. Even Dana, despite the slime covering them, doesn't seem to respond well.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/GhostbustersII