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Headscratchers: Ghostbusters
  • What sets off the events of the first movie? According to the history we're given, Ivo Shandor and his cult decide that humanity should be destroyed, and that Gozer is the best way to accomplish this. So Shandor constructs the doorway to bring Gozer through. He and his followers perform rituals designed to summon Gozer. Only . . . it doesn't work. Shandor dies, and we're given no information about what happened to them (not that the Ghostbusters would necessarily have been able to locate such data anyway). Whether they disbanded or moved elsewhere is unknown. So why, sixty-odd years after their attempt, does Gozer happen to find its way into our world? Does it just move reeeeealy slowly in its own reality? One day, Dana's place is haunted, and we have no idea why.
    • IIRC, it's mentioned that Gozer likes to just pop up in our dimension from time to time. Perhaps It can only do so when a Keymaster + Gatekeeper are present?
      • Good point, actually. I'd forgotten that possessed!Lewis mentions that the Traveler has been here before. Which just creates another question: Why are we still here? Gozer's been to our world at least twice before, why not destroy it then?
      • The game indirectly answers this for us; Gozer is incompetent. There must've been mystics around in the Ye Ancient Thymes Gozer originally appeared at who served the same function as the Ghostbusters do in the present. The museum level in the game goes into detail about Gozer worshipers and Tiamat worshipers warring with one another, that they would do so with supernatural means isn't much of a stretch. Shandor must've thought that with the world so much more banal than it was back then (after all, people are quite willing to believe the Ghostbusters are frauds even AFTER the first movie,) Gozer would have no opposition. He was wrong, hence Gozer's latest defeat after a series of defeats.
      • The last time Gozer visited, humans may not even have been around yet. Gozer did wipe out races like the shubs and and the zulls during the meketrex supplicants.
      • I assumed that Gozer has never been to this dimension, or has only appeared in a 'shadowy' sense (i.e. enough to establish his existence to believers but not enough to actually do anything), and that the shubs and the meketrex supplicants were weird races in other dimensions that he has actually visited and conquered.
    • Another possibility is that old favorite of fairy tales: Time moves differently in the dimension Gozer resides in. He showed up when he finally received the message that someone had been calling him.
      • It's also very possible that, even if time moves the same in his dimension, Gozer still perceives it differently, being thousands, if not millions of years old.
      • As we get older, our perception of time broadens. Remember being five or six and a half-hour was an eternity, but as adults, that's barely enough time to get anything accomplished? If Gozer is millions of years old, what's another sixty years?
    • Egon said in the jailhouse scene that the building's designed as a giant PKE antenna and that it's been quietly gathering spiritual energy for 60-some years. I'd say it just took that long for the building to gather enough energy to crack the portal open a little and bring the Keymaster and Gatekeeper to Earth. As for Gozer's prior appearances, apparently Gozer wipes out human civilization, but not humanity itself. Its arrival just marks the end of an age, and the survivors go on to build a new civilization (until Gozer gets summoned to destroy that one too).
      • Shandor's planning reveals that he was ready for the long haul here. In the game, it is stated that Shandor and other members of his cult set up deals to gain power after death. This suggests that he was fully aware that it'd take longer than he'd live to gather enough energy to bring Gozer and wanted to be there when the time came. Sucks for him that the time came right as the only guys capable of stopping it opened for business.although he does get to be a powerful boss in the game
    • Unless Gozer has a guarantee in his ritual summoning brochure, I don't think he's obligated to bring about the apocalypse the same day you preform your sacrifice.
      • Or your money back.
    • I wouldn't exactly call Slavitza Jovan an Eldritch Abomination...
      • She's just the form Gozer takes; "It can be anything it wants to be." Chances are, Gozer more naturally looks like a quivering mass of tentacles or something.
  • Was anybody else ever bothered by the spiritual ramifications of what the Ghostbusters do? Think about it - if the creatures they are fighting are the actual spirits/souls of dead people, rather than demons or some other form of Eldritch Abomination, then aren't the Ghostbuster's effectively binding souls in such as way as to prevent them from moving on to whatever awaits them in the afterlife whenever they trap a ghost and put it in the containment unit?
    • I don't think any proof is ever offered in the first movie outside of human speculation that the spirits you see are actually dead humans. They usually manifest themselves more like demons, or creatures than the spirits of lost relatives.
      • the notes for slimer in the game suggest that several and/or most of the ghosts they deal with are manifestations of common emotions or impressions rather than belonging to a single individual.
    • Do you also complain when cops catch crooks? The Ghostbusters do the same thing, only, the crooks they catch are already dead. (BTW, I think this would've been an excellent rebuttal for Neil Anderson when April complains about the exact same thing in Return of the Ghostbusters)
    • Doesn't the fact that the ghost exist imply that the spirit/soul of the dead person was NOT going to move on? The first ghost they see is the one in the library. And it seemed to be implied that it was haunting the place for a number of decades. More than likely, the 'free' spiritual options were exhausted before anyone bothered to call up the Ghostbusters to pay them ($5k+) to take care of the problem.
      • Granting that there probably are some troublemakers who have been actively avoiding moving on to Hell or some other unpleasant parallel dimension, I can't help but be disturbed at the thought of some kindly old grandfather who stayed behind to watch his family winding up in the supernatural equivalent of jail because Venkman started thinking about profit margins instead of helping people move on.
      • Grandpa would have to be doing something more than simply "watching his family" to even come to the attention of the family, and makes sense that it would have to be something unpleasant for the family for them to call in the Ghostbusters and pony up that kind of money.
    • They're also all batshit insane. The cartoon touched on this more than once, the idea that ghosts who don't actively cause trouble aren't actual targets for the Ghostbusters, and I'd wager a guess it's the same in movie canon, it's just that nearly all the ghosts we see on-screen are completely anti-social psychopaths who are capable of influencing the physical world enough so that they can easily kill people. The presentation is just family-friendly enough to avoid any direct discussion of this topic, but it's plainly obvious that these things are, at best, interested in nothing more than interfering with the living, and at worst, complete monsters. William Atherton, playing Walter Peck, came close to suffering serious injuries when they dumped the fake marshmallow goo on him. Now put this in the context of the fiction; a lot of ghosts don't show any human behavior, they just rampage about wrecking stuff, which has the side-effect of putting living people in harm's way. If you're comparing the containment unit to a jail, then there's absolutely no reason not to compare the ghosts they throw in there to criminals, who have never shown signs of being capable of rehabilitation. Whatever was human about them is gone, assuming they weren't crazy to begin with like the Spiderwitch. Compare to Eleanor Twitty; they never went back to the library after her once they had ghost traps and proton packs, there was no need. She was just a kindly old lady keeping her books arranged from young, careless whippersnappers. Why does this change in the game, where they go back to get her, years later? She's animating books into goloms and flying bats that attack people. Slimer? Not in the containment unit either. They mention he's made a past time out of staring into the containment unit's viewer, which means they also let him out of his cage in the lobby, too, just not always since he's prone to making a fuss. When he does make a fuss, he only poses a threat to people who get in the way of any food he sees. Look at the drawings left by the schoolchildren who took a field trip to the firehouse; some of them were obviously pleased as all get-out that they got to feed Slimer, so there's some plain-as-day established facts here they do take a ghost's behavior into consideration. It's not at all a stretch to imagine that in the grandfather example above, they would actively refuse the job in movie-canon just like in the cartoon (where Venkman wasn't really any less of a jerk,) instead taking on the task of explaining to the family what's going on in such a way that they accept it, and/or helping the ghost let go and move on. I think it's safe to say that morality isn't absent here, it just doesn't get any screentime since it's not a terribly philosophical setting.
      • In addition to that, what else could the Ghostbusters do to the entities they catch? Ghosts are indestructible on their own, so the only option is to remove them. As the movies have shown, the GBs don't know of any way to force a ghost to cross over if it doesn't want to and any attempts at reasoning with violent ghosts are met with nothing but attacks. True, shoving a bad ghost into the same place as evil gods might seem harsh, but there's really nothing else to be done. The choices are either the Containment Unit or leaving an immortal, invincible psychopath out where they can do harm.
      • The comics actually mention this several times. They talk about the ghost of a little boy who they were sent to bust by the family currently living there. But they realized he just wanted to use the family's TV, so they agreed to let him stay as long as he didn't cause any trouble. There's also another example where the ghost of Major-General Anthony Wayne is preparing to invade Canada because he believes that one last victory will finally allow him to move on. Winston, being a former military man himself, tells him that it's not a good idea, and convinces him to get into the trap voluntarily because it's the closest thing to the peace he seeks that they can give him.
    • The cartoon also goes into how ghosts are sort of a PKE impression people sometimes leave behind when they die, and not the actual person. It's not always consistent with itself (especially in the later seasons), but enough episodes have revolved around a massive PKE surge taking on the shape of some nearby psychic impression and becoming a ghost (for example, the ghostbusters' PKE-infused original jumpsuits, or Murray the Mantis, or the Scoleri Brothers being created by the mood slime in Ghostbusters 2) to suggest that ghosts are The Heartless rather than human souls.
      • Agreed. They are made of ectoplasm, a spiritual substance formed from powerful emotions. Much like the constructs from Green Lantern, most of the ghosts can be thought of as just wild animals formed from concentrations of emotions in an area. Given that they are made of powerful emotions, they probably act to increase powerful emotions in the area in order to feed. And what's a powerful emotion? Fear.
      • Some are otherworldly beings while others are merely inhuman collections of PKE, but the more humaniod ones appear to actually BE the human that they once were. The main reason we don't see many good (sane) ghosts around is because most good people don't actually BECOME ghosts without outside interference.
      • "The more humaniod ones appear to actually BE the human that they once were." They may appear to be, sure. There is no evidence (and certainly not in the films) that they actually are. The films are very much rooted in the modern parapsychological view of spectral activity, which very much refuses to view ghosts as souls. In such views they're more like residue left by living beings than the actual beings themselves.
      • There is one episode that may cover this, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Ghost. They get called to bust a ghost by a ghost who doesn't realize they died. Comments are made this isn't the first time, and the ghost moves on after their business is finished. I believe the same thing happened in Citizen Ghost when they found the sled.
    • All of the above notwithstanding, several episodes involve the Ghostbusters dealing with the actual spirits of several famous dead people (Harry Houdini, Casey Jones, and an Expy of Agatha Christie) who are causing problems for the living. How do the Ghostbusters get rid of them? Simply by helping them complete their Unfinished Business. They help Harry Houdini catch the guy who had stolen his tricks, they help Casey Jones prevent a train crash, and they solve Agatha Christie's unfinished mystery novel. The Ghostbusters are effectively "busting" them without needing to use their proton packs or traps.
    • A quote from Egon's notes in the video game (PS2 version, which has Egon's spirit guide commentary as one of its admittedly few selling points): "Her name was Eleanor Twitty. With all the havoc manifestations cause, it's easy to forget that a lot of them originally came from the psychic imprints of human beings. I don't believe that there's much of anything left of a 'soul' or whatever at this point, but it's still an unnerving concept to ponder if you let your rational guard down." Admittedly, Egon's a rationalist who likely doesn't believe in souls at all; Ray would probably have a different take on ghosts and whether they used to be people, or they're just based on people.
    • The only ghosts that are even based on once-living people in the films are the Scolari brothers, and it's more probable that, given the properties of the pink slime in the courtroom scene, they were a psychic manifestation tied to the judge that sentenced them rather than the brothers' actual souls. Everything else is usually just some kind of violent, inhuman spirit. That ghost from the library is obviously a shape-shifter, so its librarian form could have very well been a mimic of a living person that it just saw the week before.
      • the game has you deal with the librarian as a boss and the notes( and subsequent boss battle) state she was alive 50 years ago but was killed protecting a rare tome from a demigod known as the collector (the aforementioned boss) wether her existence is typical or a result of irritating a level 5 demigod is unknown.
      • What about the Titanic and its passengers?
      • How do we know it's the real Titanic? The ship itself never made it to New York, so why should it be activated by the pink slime? The disaster was famous, so it's very likely the Titanic that pulls into port is recreated by the malevolent slime feeding on peoples' subconscious knowledge of the event to freak them out.
      • Given the occasional (if inconsistent) remarks in the franchise about ghosts being energy impressions rather than real souls, Our Ghosts Are Different is probably the simplest and safest explanation for this IJBM. However, if you need to theory that works with the more traditional view, there's nothing to say ghosts can't "move on" from inside the containment unit. It might even provide extra motivation to do so.
      • Most of what the Ghostbusters do is deal with unpleasant ghosts. If kindly old Aunt Agnes likes to manifest and chat from time to time, there's no real reason to call someone and pay them exorbitant amounts of money to get rid of her.
      • Yeah, you'll notice that we never see them bust Fiorella LaGuardia. All he did was show up and have a long chat with the current mayor. He wasn't into wreaking havoc, and as a result we never hear of him being contested.
  • Why don't the Ghostbusters put more research into a permanent way to get rid of ghosts? The Containment Unit has been proven to be a massive liability as every single ghost to get near the firehouse outside a trap tries to take a swipe at it. Seeing as they have demons, evil gods, and who knows how many plain vanilla ghosts just itching to cause Armageddon and able to wait thousands of years for it, you'd think they'd be spend at least a few weekends in trying to find a way to force them into a less fragile plane of existence than ours.
    • Quite simple really, by the time the containment unit is forced to explode or open by outside forces the ghost free warranties they've given out have expired. Also it would probably cost a lot more to find a way to shove ghosts into another dimension or otherwise permanently remove them than it would be to simply capture them again(for a fee of course). If the good people of New York were willing to fund that endeavor I'm sure the Ghostbusters would turn a good portion of their research to it. The Ghostbusters are a company like an insurance company, not a charity.
      • True, but it cannot be a good idea to risk having so many powerful beings with a grudge against humanity in general and you specifically loose at once.
      • No one ever claimed that men who strap nuclear reactors to their back for a living had any common sense.
      • Might be worth noting here that Mankind also hasn't figured out how to dispose safely of hazardous waste materials from nuclear reactors which also last several thousand years or so. It doesn't stop society at large (a) generating further such waste products or (b) storing it with the best technology available at the time. Granted, it's not the same thing as chaining down Eddie Munster's vengeful spirit for all eternity, but it was also The Eighties.
      • Who says they don't try? Maybe they just can't do it with present technology.
      • The cartoon says they do. Egon's soul was sucked out and replaced by a demon while looking into other dimensions. Slimer was put into a giant centrifuge device that was supposed to destroy ghosts. Given Extreme Ghostbusters, they never found a workable alternative in 20 years.
      • In "Robo-Buster", Egon says outright that it's not possible to destroy ghosts; attempting to do so would merely scatter their PKE energy, and it'll just come back later as something else. That would also explain why the Slimer example above would still be a legitimate concern while still maintaining the premise that only containment is viable; Slimer could be destroyed by the centrifuge, but his PKE energy would just come back again later, and whatever it comes back as would probably no longer have the personality and morality that made Slimer an ally instead of an enemy.
      • Might be they were trying to tell us something.
      • If you have to wonder if they were trying to tell you something rather than it being blindingly obvious to everyone that they were, it wasn't an anvil.
    • What bothers me more about it isn't that someone with a grudge can shut the containment unit down, it's the the containment unit isn't a passive system and as such will inevitably, perhaps much later then sooner, but inevitably fail on it's own without outside tampering. If another "they did it in the cartoon" is still worth some speculative value instead of being a cop-out at this point, they...well, did this in the cartoon with an episode having Egon make a portal to the Netherworld, actually saying that the containment unit would one day run out of space. It didn't go well, but the issue was never brought up again. Of course, the solution to that seems to be quite simple and would effectively be started in any hypothetical spinoff to the game; build another containment unit.
      • Besides that, the ghosts in the Containment Unit will presumably last for eternity. The neither the unit nor the Ghostbusters as a company will. This means that the Ghostbusters are essentially leaving an army of madness and evil locked up in a manner that could prove hazardous to humanity for eons.
      • If we use the cartoon to fill in the gaps (and since I love the cartoon and think the JMS seasons were very faithful to the movie's mythology, that works for me!), they were working on a permanent solution. A rival businessman even tried to compete with them when he thought he'd come up with the answer (of course, it turned out he was dangerously wrong and they had to clean up his mess). I'd chalk up the lack of onscreen worrying to Rule of Drama: watching Ray and Egon having a technobabble debate while Peter and Winston watch TV in the background would just be boring. At least, it would in theory - I'd pay good money to see that...
    • At least as far as the original films go, long-term safety considerations were likely not taken into account because these are films where people who stop dangerous supernatural entities for cash are heroes, private businesses automatically are morally superior to the government, and the EPA is the bad guy. Including any indication that Ghostbusters should have felt responsible for the accumulating waste-product of their particular industry would have interfered with the first film's ability to be a rags-to-riches lovesong to good old fashioned capitalism, and second film's ability to be a rehash of one.
    • The Ghostbusters never say in the films that the containment system they currently have has to be a permanent solution, only that SIMPLY shutting it off would be catastrophic. The presence of the word "simply" indicates that they have indeed considered the long term and have a safer alternative should the need arise.
  • Has anyone ever considered the fact that, in spite of the happy ending to the second Ghostbusters film, they are probably going to be out of business again within a few months? Think about it. In the first film, the ghosts only start popping up en masse because of Gozer. Once Gozer is banished, the large scale appearance of ghosts ceased, and people were eventually convinced it was some kind of hoax. Then, several years later, we get Vigo, another powerful ghost who, on the verge of resurrecting himself, also causes a huge amount of ghostly activity. With his defeat, surely the ghosts will go away again, and people aren't going to need the Ghostbusters anymore.
    • The game handwaves this problem; while major paranormal events do draw so many ghosts that the Ghostbusters are overworked and solving the problem at large (Gozer, Vigo, Shandor the Architect) drastically brings the number down, ghosts don't completely vanish. The city is paying the Ghostbusters to keep New York COMPLETELY ghost-free after the second movie, so they'll always have some amount of work, and at the end of the game, their solution to the "off-season" is to start selling franchises in cities that aren't having a break at the time.
    • I did think it would probably happen, and their defeat of Vigo was more of a final hurrah that allowed them to retire with dignity rather than a return to dedicated business for years to come.
    • As Egon said in the videogame: "People die every day." No matter what happens, there will still be new ghosts. They might not be a prevalent as they were before, but they don't just disappear.
    • And even if, worst case scenario, they were forced to close up shop and retire after the whole Vigo business, they've all successfully salvaged their professional reputations. Surely they could all move on to other successful careers. Maybe even get their old jobs back at the university that kicked them out in the first film.
    • They may be out of business, but they're still The Ghostbusters. Merchandising, commercial appearances, cameos, book deals, maybe even their own TV show.
    • I'd think that they use the "off-season" to design and build the next batch of fancy new gadgets in preparation for the next big crossrip.
    • I don't recall exactly how much time went by during the first film, but there's a scene in which Ray and Winston talk about how busy they've been lately, and how it could be a sign of bad things to come. That implies that they started their business during a "down time" and the increased activity leading up to the Gozer incident began afterward. So it's less like a gardener who loses all work during the winter, and more like an accountant who works regularly year round but has to do double time when tax season comes.
    • The cartoon actually had an episode when the Ghostbusters had no work due to a shortage of ghosts. They somehow retooled their equipment for crime prevention purposes and became the Crimebusters. At the end of the episode they took down a major organized crime figure, only to realize that by doing so, they had just put themselves out of work again. Then Janine got a phone call reporting a ghost...
    • If nothing else, they presumably now know, after the experience of the first movie, that their business is highly cyclical, and that they should therefore save as much as possible of the money they made during the fat years.
  • Exactly what else should Ray have "chosen" as the Form of the Destructor? The other Ghostbusters immediately get on his case for thinking of something before they'd all agreed on it. (i.e. "What did you DO, Ray?") Ray's logic was perfectly sound, he chose an image from his childhood, something that he thought wouldn't hurt them. Since whatever he chose was likely to be 60 feet tall and capable of ripping buildings from their foundations, what difference does it make if it was a 60 foot marshmallow man, a 60 foot cuddly puppy, or a 60 foot rhododendron? While we're on the subject, since the first thing that they THOUGHT OF was going to be the Form of the Destructor, how would they all agree on something "harmless" without thinking of anything? Gah.
    • I thought they were supposed to think of nothing at all and were hoping Gozer would get bored and go away. It wasn't the best of plans. I haven't watched it in awhile so correct me if I'm wrong.
    • They didn't have a plan at all - they didn't have time. Gozer springs on them without warning: "The next time any of you thinks of anything, the world will end." They reacted the natural way: "Think of nothing! Think of nothing!"
    • Yeah, and they don't really blame Ray that much: they panic and take it out on him when he first admits it, but they let it go as soon as they actually see Staypuff on the horizon. One bit of Fridge Brilliance I love is that, though it catches them by surprise when it happens, Vinz did tell Egon about it. The way he said it just didn't make any sense until later...
      Vinz Clortho/Louis: Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the Rectification of the Vuldrini, the Traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the Third Reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!
      • Now if only we knew what a large and moving Torg was...
      • Isn't he that doof with the lop-eared rabbit?
      • "I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something that I loved from my childhood. Something that would never ever possibly destroy us."
      • Except he was talking about Gozer, not the Destructor. Gozer was the woman who tells them whatever they think of will be the form of the Destructor.
      • Gozer was "whatever it wants to be." The Destructor is simply Gozer's title: Gozer the Destructor. First it appeared in the form of a woman, then in the form of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
    • The thing is, if they all thought of 'nothing', Gozer may have just come in the form of a massive nothing. Say, a giant black hole? With arms and legs?
      • There's a big difference between thinking of 'nothing' as a commodity and thinking of 'nothing' as in not thinking of anything. The latter is what they were trying to do.
      • You guys are taking the expression "think of nothing" too literally. Their plan was not to mentally *select* anything, and that's what Ray semi-accidentally did. When he said, "I couldn't help it; it just popped in there," he's just sort of making excuses. Remember that a moment later he admits that he was *trying* to think of something.
      • There's another relevant quote from Egon's PS2 research notes in the Ghostbusters video game: "In retrospect, we shouldn't have been so hard on [Ray]. Gozer would have probably scanned further for a suitable form, or chose nothingness itself to be its destructor form, which could have potentially engulfed the whole city in a void." Personally, I always thought Gozer would've just kept waiting until one of them thought of something.
      • When Venkman was explaining the trick, why didn't Gozer come in the shape of a 60 foot J. Edgar Hoover? Surely there is some sort of specific mental process that distinguishes any thinking and choosing. Ergo, Ray must have thought something to the effect of "I choose Mr. Stay-Puft."
      • Venkman didn't imagine a picture of J. Edgar Hoover, he just came up with a random famous person's name to explain the trick. Most likely, Gozer needs you to clearly imagine a form for it to take rather than a name that probably means nothing to it.
      • I figured this, too. Ray's thinking was probably "Don't think of anything. Don't think of anything. Although something like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man would be harmless. Unless he was a giant... I wonder, is he just a really pale creature or is he made entirely out of marshmallows? Probably the marshm—" "THE CHOICE IS MADE!" "Oh shi—".
      • I tried, it was actually pretty hard to think of something that can't be misinterpreted. I eventually settled on a single sock chained to the roof of the building.
      • Great. Now you guys have got me thinking about how it bugs me that they didn't have a giant sock puppet or 300-foot J. Edgar Hoover attack the city!
      • I always just assumed Ray thought of Mr. Stay-Puft instantly, and was pretending he hadn't while everyone else was prattling about Hoover.
    • Inadvertently or not, and regardless of the form he chose, Ray had just made it possible for an interdimensional Eldritch Abomination to cause The End of the World as We Know It. Why wouldn't they be pissed at him and get on his case, at least for a minute?
  • This may be because I'm black, but it bothers me that in many of the "group" shots, Zeddemore is off screen. However, it's not just him. There seems to be a lot of trouble in capturing several characters across the screen.
    • I haven't watched the widescreen version in a long while, but I think this might be a pan & scan problem. I noticed on the network TV versions, they do this awkwardly jerking slow pan, or just outright cut out some of the characters. Winston definitely gets chopped off the picture a lot during the Gozer fight, and Peter ends up having conversations with himself sometimes because the pan & scan shot didn't including Ray or Egon.
      • Harold Ramis points this out in the DVD commentary. The pan & scan keeps cutting him out of shots.
    • I know that originally, Winston was going to be appear sooner, and be the most competent member- basically a 'Nam veteran and expert in twenty fields. He was also going to be played by Eddie Murphy. However, they rewrote the script- I think to fix pacing problems- and changed Winston to a blue-collar guy, who could provide a more down-to-earth viewpoint as opposed to, say, Ray.
  • After Pete has his meetcute with Zuul!Dana, the next time you see him, he's talking to Egon, telling him he's "whacked her" with 300 cc's of Thorazine. This raises some issues:
    • Pete tells Peck that he's a doctor of "parapsychology and psychology." Psychologists can't prescribe, only psychiatrists can.
    • 300 cc's of Thorazine? A standard disposable plastic bag of saline is 500 ccs. Even if we call that one carelessness and say that they really meant 30 ccs, we're left with...
    • Venkman. Went to Dana's apartment. With a syringe of thorazine.
      • They did so much research on the rest of the stuff that I'd guess they did mean 300 cc's, with the implication being that Zuul!Dana is so super-charged that it took that much just to have an effect (I wonder how he got her to stand still for two or three injections, though). Considering they're wearing unlicensed nuclear accelerators and Peck's problem with them is that haven't registered the containment unit with the city, I wouldn't put it past the Ghostbusters to have their own stock of tranquilizers and such (Egon probably has the medical credentials for it). As for why Peter brought that with him on a date... for my own peace of mind, I'll say it was already in the car, maybe specifically for knocking out Demonic Possession victims without hurting them. Yeah, that's it.
      • Let's say that he had it in case there really was a monster haunting her refrigerator. He did go up there to "check her out" but he had already seen the librarian's ghost so he would have wanted to have a back door in case he needed it. Ray and Egon would have wanted the creature alive for research purposes, and the way you deal with a large, dangerous animal you don't want to kill is by tranquilizing it, so he might have thought it useful to bring such a weapon (in his pocket or something) in case there really was a danger. Yeah, that's it. And it shouldn't be hard for a psychologist to obtain medicine unethically/illegally.
      • Word of God states that "Ghostbusters" is Peter's story arc, in which he evolves from a jaded cynic into a true believer. Maybe this is one step in that ascent, where he takes a woman's plea for help seriously enough to bring a backup plan with him in case his theories are right. —ADDENDUM, 12/10/12: What if the Thorazine was Dana's? Demons in the fridge, a conductor you'd love to strangle, Louis Tully...Thorazine might come in handy. So, "300 cc's" was the point at which Peter finally got Dana!Zuul to calm down a bit.—
      • The fact that Venkman resists Dana even when she's clearly throwing herself at him with lust because she's clearly not herself suggests (to me at least) that he's also not the kind of man who's going to drug or dope a woman in order to date-rape her. In which case, I'm going with either (a) the thorazine is Dana's for whatever reason or (b) he brought it for another reason.
      • We have a trope for that. Above the Influence.
      • Couldn't that have just been because he was too afraid to try, given his reactions to the other ghosts?
    • Venkman says they get a lot of crazies at one point. Whether or not it was true at that point, by the time they were extremely popular they definitely would have been getting a lot of disturbed individuals... people that could freak out and get violent if you told them there was not, in fact, a ghost in their house. All the Ghostbusters may carry syringes and some thorazine with them so that if they're assaulted by someone they can knock their assailant out.
      • Korsakov K5 with Thorazine-coated darts.
    • One possible explanation: There was a psychiatrist that heard the ruckus when Vince wrecked Louis' party (It's not unheard of for doctors to live in the affluent Central Park West), that was a party guest themselves, or that was called by someone there to counsel those in a state of shock. Venkman left Dana's apartment, intending to make for the firehouse, and ran into said psychiatrist. He/She and Venkman were acquainted, and he obtained the Thorazine from the psychiatrist, which he/she ordered to administer to Louis' traumatized clients.
    • Interestingly enough, the novelization implies that he drugged Dana with Valium that he found in her medicine cabinet, not Thorazine. For that matter, who's to say Venkman wasn't comically exaggerating the amount of Thorazine he gave her?
  • Doesn't Walter Peck kind of have a point? Granted, he's a Flat Earth Atheist with a personal agenda, but his stated concern is that the city knows nothing about the Ghostbusters' technology, and the containment unit could pose a huge environmental risk to the city. And he's not exactly wrong - when the grid's shut down, it hits, in Egon's own words, like "dropping a bomb on the city". On the one hand, the Ghostbusters are working with technology that no current government agency or regulation has the rules to cope with (what kind of a hazard does "so many ghosts it'd make a 35-foot Twinkie" count as?). But on the other, they really are breaking all kinds of rules, and though they had the bad luck of getting Obstructive Bureaucrat Walter Peck as their EPA inspector, someone was bound to come knocking sooner or later.
    • Yeah, he kinda had a point in the beginning. But when Venkman asks Peck the very legitimate question of why he wants to see the storage facility (remember, at this point Peck did NOT have a warrant to search the premises) Peck goes from zero to asshole in the space of five seconds. "I wanna know more about what you do here! Frankly, I've heard alot of wild stories in the media and we want to assess any possibility of dangerous and possibly hazardous waste chemicals in your basement." Then he threatens to go get a court order if Venkman doesn't let him see the storage facility, to which Venkman quite rightly counters by threatening to sue for wrongful prosecution. Imagine if instead of flipping out, Peck had come to Venkman like this: "We realize you boys are doing good work, but the city government has some environmental concerns about the specifics of your operation. Would you mind giving us a tour of your facilities?" Probably would've made all the difference, don't you think? But Peck doesn't do that. Why? Because the guy isn't interested in keeping the city safe. He just wants to lord it over people and throw his weight around. Venkman did nothing wrong by refusing to be intimidated by this abusive and aggressive bureaucrat. He also keeps referring to Peter and "Mister Venkman" rather than "Doctor Venkman" despite Peter have two PhDs, which is two more than he has.
      • Yes. Peck is basing his search and seizure on nothing but admitted wild stories from the media and pure rumors mixed with his own spite and cynical disbelief. He has no evidence of any actual "flagrant violation of the Environmental Protection Act" whatsoever, which is ironic considering that the guys he's prosecuting are going around wearing packs that, completely unbeknowst to him, are unlicensed nuclear accelerators. (Which leads to another thing worthy of an "it just bugs me" entry:)
      • BTW: No judge, even in New York, is going to issue a warrant or a commercial desist order based on media stories. I was TEN when the movie came out and I spotted that. (Although I still played hooky from 7th grade to spend the day watching it on VHS— four times— a few years later.)
      • Which, if that is true, would still not be as much of a problem if Peck could either (a) lie about his sources, or (b) use Venkman's refusal to let them search the grounds as an indication that they clearly had something to hide to a judge who would agree with that, who dislikes the Ghostbusters to begin with, or who knows and trusts Walter Peck. I wouldn't put any of it past him.
      • Peck would never get away with lying about his sources. He'd have to verify his sources in order to justify the warrant. As for the possibility of a corrupt judge, that might have worked, but it's a pretty big stretch. Any judge who granted a search warrant based on lies and innuendo would quickly find himself impeached and removed from the bench, and even the most corrupt judge in the world would logically care more about keeping his job than about fucking up the Ghostbusters' business.
      • Peck's behavior becomes slightly more plausible if you keep in mind that he doesn't believe in ghosts and honestly thinks the GBs are complete frauds who drug their clients into hallucinating supernatural events. Presumably he figures the last thing they'd want to do is stand up in court and defend their commercial or civil rights, because that could expose their "fraud". He's still a complete jackass, but a bit less unbelievably-so.
      • Here's the thing: Even if he thinks the Ghostbusters are frauds, that's not his responsibility to do anything about. He works for the EPA... his job is safeguarding the environment. His accusation that they might be storing/using environmentally unsafe substances is pretty clearly just an excuse to allow him to get involved. He should be making sure companies aren't dumping chemicals in the river, not investigating whether small businessmen are bilking customers. Peck's basically abusing his position because he knows he has the power to get away with it, and it doesn't really matter what his viewpoint is because it's not his job, nor his responsibility, nor his authority to get involved in the matter.
    • And even if he had a point in the beginning, he's definitely stopped having one when the Con-Ed guy — who presumably knows a metric fuckton more about complicated electronic systems than a pen-pushing bureaucrat like Peck — nervously informs him that he's never seen a set-up like this as if to say 'maybe we shouldn't be too hasty about this' before only for Peck to shout "I'm not interested in your opinion!" That's informed advice he's shouting down there. For all his high-and-mighty act, it should be pretty clear by then that Peck's just on a power-trip.
    • Honestly, the most implausible part of the whole Peck affair was that this movie was set in 1984. Does anyone think the EPA was this aggressive under Reagan?
  • How, exactly, do the Ghostbusters not get radiation sickness from repeated exposure to beams fired out of nuclear accelerators? I mean, after a few weeks you'd think their skin would be peeling off, their hair falling out, their teeth blackened to a crisp...
    • Is it actually a nuclear accelerator? Venkman says it is, but he's not exactly the finest scientist around (and he may have just been making a joke).
    • The reference to "particle streams" seems to confirm that they're using particle accelerators, and most of the official diagrams of the proton packs show that they're basically modified, portable cyclotrons (or at least, the children's "Ghostbuster's Official Manual" book I had as a kid did! :)). The only answer I can come up with for the radiation is that the beams just aren't enough strong enough to generate high-energy photons in their wake. They might ionize the air enough to create alpha and beta particles, but they can be stopped by the jumpsuits. It's still a health risk, but probably no riskier than smoking or drinking (which they do plenty of, so it's probably an acceptable one to them).
    • Not all radiation is dangerous. They're firing proton beams, and protons just aren't very dangerous; they are large, massive, charged particles, so they aren't going to penetrate very much. The really dangerous radiation is high-energy neutron radiation, or high-frequency electromagnetic radiation.
  • In both movies, but especially the second, the ghostbusters are accused of being a farce, and yet they're scientists. Wasn't there something in science called peer review? Why don't any of the research scientist/inventor ghostbusters suggest having an independent group of scientists look at their projects to confirm their legitimacy? The most blatant example in the second movie is the river of slime. Here's an idea: Send someone else down there. Give Ray a camera before you send him. Invite James Randi over and collect your cool million. I can understand the immediate threats, but there are long stretches where they could have allowed a scientific investigation to allay suspicions.
    • In regard to the river of slime, even if they had convinced the authorities of its existence, what could they have been done at that point, other than put more lives in danger? Vigo was already so powerful that he could have sent dangerous monsters and other manifestations to hinder any efforts to block or control the river by the authorities, just like he did when the ghostbusters themselves went down there. Teams of sewer workers would probably end up driven mad, possessed or killed by Vigo's minions. If they had alerted the authorities about the painting (and convinced them to its threat), Vigo would just blast anyone who attempted to move it or destroy it, and order Janosz Poha to move it to a more secure location. Only the ghost busters alone could stand any chance of stopping him.
    • The Ghostbusters were kicked out of the University because they were lousy scientists. "Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable. You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman." They went into business for themselves with proprietary technology they invented, using methods they want to keep secret from others. No way are they letting anybody else break their monopoly.
    • Considering the subject of their theories (i.e. GHOSTS), it's probable that they couldn't get anybody to take them seriously enough for an effective peer review before the movies. As for what happened after the movies, I can only imagine that the importance of the Ghostbusters' discoveries (new nuclear models, micro sized fission reactors, possible confirmation of the afterlife) is downplayed because the writers don't want to deal with the messy implications of their work. There is a precedent for such things, after all.
    • And besides, according to the J-REF themselves many people can't force themselves to wade their way through the sometimes year or two of red tape involved before they can so much as sit down and actually have the million dollar challenge test. Yes, even if it involves simply going somewhere else, there's still a lot of legalities involved with that much money. It's a long and arduous process and New York would be long since doomed by Vigo by the end of it.
  • I know Ray Stantz said to Peter Venkman, "Don't move it won't hurt you.", when staring at Slimer. But why didn't Peter Venkman RUN when Slimer came after him? Ray's advice be damned. Peter wasn't exactly trapped in a Dead End and could have easily turned the corner right behind him. Taking a few steps back then just standing there screaming is not exactly escaping a slime bath.
    • He was paralyzed with fear. Apart from the librarian, that was the first ghost Peter had ever seen, and this time he was all alone with it. He just lucked out in that the ghost happened to be, well, Slimer.
    • Run where? Slimer is clearly faster than any human being and can pass right through solid matter. Where could Venkman possibly hide from him?
  • In Hungarian, the letter "s" makes an "sh" sound, and the letters "sz" make an "s" sound. Janosz is supposedly Hungarian, but everybody pronounces his name exactly wrong. I mean, if you're going to have a Hungarian character and you want his name to sound foreign, at least do the research and spell his name right.
    • Who said he's Hungarian? Janosz is apparently a native-born New Yorker (from the Upper West Side) and the nationality of his family is never stated, he just has a strange, vaguely Eastern European-sounding accent. If anything the made-up name was supposed to add to the impossibility of accurately pinning a nationality on him.
    • I don't remember the character you are talking about, but if he pronounces his own name, that is the correct pronunciation. Admittedly, there could be an original pronunciation. I had a friend with a last name that had an American pronunciation and an original.
  • Why does the Ghostbusters building have five beds in the video game if Venkman has his own apartment?
    • Maybe Venkman fell on hard times and had to move back into the firehouse.
    • Or maybe there's some nights he has to work late and doesn't feel like going back home. Especially considering ghosts seem to like the night more than the daytime. I work as a reporter, and after some late meetings have decided to stay some place closer to my beat than trudging all the way back home at midnight.
    • There's also a reason why firehouses have those beds, even though most firefighters presumably have their own homes — sometimes they work really long (as in on-call-for-upwards-of-twenty-four-hours long) shifts. Assuming theories suggested above about how the Ghostbusters have periods of intense amounts of work surrounding some kind of major supernatural incident (like how they were completely swept off their feet in the first movie) are correct, and considering there's usually only four of them, it makes sense that even with his own apartment Venkman would probably keep some kind of bed at the station so that he could just crash there for a brief recharge during quiet moments when he's on call for a long shift without having to go home and back. In any case, the building probably just had five beds by default for the firefighters when the Ghostbusters bought it and they just never bothered to get rid of them all, assuming they'd have more people work for them.
  • The filmmakers said that they way they thought about the Ghostbusters when they made the movie was that the group was like a single entity, Ray being the heart, Egon the brain, and Venkman the mouth (voice). Where, then, does Winston fit in? What part of the entity is he? The soul...?
    • I hate to say this, but apparently he's the spleen.
    • I'd say the arms/body or something similar. At least in the first movie, he's not a scientist like the others, but he's a hard worker and the everyman.
    • Or maybe the eyes, since he's the Audience Surrogate who brings an outside perspective to the group and keeps them grounded in practical reality. That especially fits with Peter being the mouth: Peter takes the Ghostbusters' POV out to the world, while Winston brings the rest of the world's POV to the Ghostbusters.
      • The cartoon makes it clear that he's the hands. He does almost all the driving, is stated to be the best shot with the proton pack, and is often seen helping Ray and Egon with their various projects and inventions when he's not doing basic repairs on more mundane things.
      • Louis is the appendix. He's a part of the team, but no-one's quite sure why.
  • One for the video game: Since they went out of their way to justify having the player character be nameless and voiceless, why not provide any way to customize the character model?
    • My guess is, there wasn't enough space, what with the physics engine, the destroyable scenery, the transparent ghosts, other environmental effects, CG cutscenes, voice acting...
      • The reason is because of the cutscenes. They were not scripted sequences happening in real time, they were video files.
  • Why does the video game include the painting of Vigo with his spirit still in it, when he was apparently destroyed at the end of the second movie and the painting went through a drastic physical change?
    • Wild guess: it was probably changed back by the ectoplasmic energy wave at the beginning of the game.
    • I have a theory on that one: Vigo has the power to alter the painting at will. He chose to make it looks like the Ghostbusters at the end of the second movie so they'd take it back to the firehouse with them, then he shifted back to his more comfortable natural form at a later date. Ray and Egon did a scan or something, found out he couldn't do much, and not having the option of throwing the painting in the Containment Unit figured it was fine just sitting there.
  • When Venkman and Peck first meet, why didn't Venkman just show Peck the containment facility? If it was just Peck and Venkman, no cops or electricians, Venkman could have just bullshat his way through explaining that it was safe and Peck would have a much harder time convincing anyone else that he had probable cause to prosecute.
    • Because while Peck might have a point about his concerns about the containment facility, Peter also has a point that this guy has no right — legal or general — to suddenly appear in his life and start arrogantly throwing his weight around making demands and threats. Plus, considering how Peck later shouted down the Con-Ed guy who was also making noises about how it might not be safe to shut it down, chances are showing Peck around might have strengthened his convictions to get everything shut down; he's not exactly an open-minded guy.
    • The novelization states that Peter was exhausted from multiple shifts of ghostbusting and lost his temper.
  • The question always bothered me: how did Vinz Clortho know "the signal" would have been the release of the ghosts from Ghostbusters central. Could he read the future ?!?
    • No, you're misunderstanding it completely. He didn't know, in advance, that the signal would be that exact event. He was waiting for a signal, any signal, which would mean Gozer was returning. I'd say the huge plume of ghosts exploding out of one place and going on to rampage throughout the city can be pretty easily interpreted as such a signal.
    • When he's talking to the horse, he says something like, "Soon all our prisoners will be released," which could only refer to the containment unit. Maybe if Peck hadn't shut it down, the ghosts would have escaped soon anyway.
    • Maybe he could read the future. However incompetent Gozer may have been (his servants certainly were—judging from Vinz's antics with the horse and at the firehouse, and that Zuul didn't even seem to recognize Peter was the same man who'd just said he wasn't the Keymaster or understand what he was doing since she (?) let Peter inject Dana, they had the intelligence of dogs or less as well as the appearance), he was still a god. Deities tend to have divinatory powers, and one who was summoned periodically to destroy a world would need to be able to see the future to know when the time was right and all prophecies/rituals had been fulfilled.
      • To be fair, the fact that Zuul can't tell that Peter is the same guy who just said he wasn't the Keymaster may not indicate incompetence so much as foreignness. Remember, Zuul is some sort of demon-dog from another dimension. When they were still in dog form, could you tell the difference between Zuul and Vinz Clortho? They probably can't tell the difference between human beings either. They may also have a different sense of time, so from Zuul's perspective, the fact that sometime after a human who said he wasn't the Keymaster left, another human who said he was the Keymaster arrived. Did they look alike? Well, all humans look alike to them. How much time passed? Hard to say, time passes differently here. They also might not exactly know who the dominant species on our world is. The horse was larger and in front, so maybe Vinz just assumed that he must be the one in charge.
  • At the end of the first movie the Ghosbusters send back Gozer to his hellish reign. That means that any ghosts who infested New York would vanishes (he was just Gozer's doing who created the Mandala if the ghosts started plaguing the city). Nevertheless Slimer doesn't vanish, in fact you can see him floating towards the camera before the credits, and he stays at New York until Vigo's return. WHY ?!?
    • The building didn't create the ghosts or summon them from the afterlife, it just attracted them to New York.
  • Why can't you look directly in the trap?
    • Maybe it's just a safety precaution, due to a few uncertainties about how it works. At one point Egon goes "I looked in the trap, Ray!" and he seems to be fine afterwards.
    • Alternatively, the "Return of the Ghostbusters" fan film gives the explanation that Ray theorized that the eyes were literally the "window to the soul" and that a person looking into the trap while it's closing will cause the trap to pull that person's soul into it.
    • It's really really bright and could hurt your eyes.
    • LOL! On that note, perhaps the trap is as dangerous to the eyes as looking at the sun/a solar eclipse. Or, since Egon seemed just fine afterward, either he didn't look long enough or it's not quite as bad as that, but close.
  • Why do the ghosts run from the particle beams? Even Gozer avoids them as powerful as it is. Did they know that it could catch them before the Ghostbusters did? Just doesn't make sense to me as to why they would run and try to avoid the beams when nothing else has been able to touch them up to this point. Or maybe the Busters are just really, really bad shots after all. The only ghost we see that really doesn't result in massive damage(When beams are involved) in its capture is Vigo, but they don't really capture him in a trap or anything.
    • Why do people duck or run when someone fires a gun at them? Preservation instinct. Presumably, the ghosts do sense that the beams are in some way harmful or debilitating to them. Regarding the 'Busters being bad shots, to be fair whenever you see them firing the particle beams they're clearly struggling with them; they're obviously not easy to direct or control.
      • The beam from a proton pack seems incapable of shooting in a straight line, explaining the Ghostbusters' bad shooting.
      • As Dan Aykroyd said in a documentary, it's "a thousand times more powerful than a fire hose."
  • Why do Zuul and Vinz Clortho need to possess anyone when they clearly already have physical bodies?
    • The whole "Gatekeeper/Keymaster" thing is clearly a metaphor for sex. From this it can be inferred that some sort of magic ritual needs to be performed by Zuul and Vinz Clortho to summon Gozer and having sex while inhabiting a pair of host bodies is part of that ritual.
      • Yet oddly, Dana told Louis that they didn't have sex. Was she lying because she didn't want to get his hopes up, lying because she wanted to forget having been with him, or did she not remember because she was possessed at the time?
      • Probably a mix between the first and second, considering how quickly and insistently (and specifically) she shoots him down.
      • A variation on the second option is that she's trying to distance herself from the things Zuul did in her body. She and Louis didn't have sex; Zuul and Vinz did.
    • It would also seem to make sense that this ritual would need to be performed at least in part by entities which are native to the universe Gozer is planning on invading, which neither Zuul nor Vinz Clortho are.
    • Makes sense. Presumably the rituals being performed by Shandor and his followers also included sexual elements, but either way, it was the fact denizens of our world were doing the rituals that allowed the building to start charging energy and draw Gozer and his servants here in the first place.
  • Why exactly was Dana!Zuul having her freakout from Venkman's poor keymaster performance? Maybe Zuul was preparing himself for the ritual by storing up energy, but then had to release it else-how when he realized they were not getting into smexy-action. Or was he just trying to impress and scare Peter?
    • Zuul is the extra-dimensional servant of a Cthulloid monstrosity from beyond the veil of reality. Doing weird shit for no apparent reason is entirely in character for her/him/it.
  • One thing about Ghostbusters 2 that bugs me is that the Ghostbusters are considered frauds in their belief on ghost and that ghost doesn't exist. Despite the fact that all of New York saw what wend down during The Ghostbuster's encounter with Gozer and the appearance of The Destructor. That should have open their eyes when it comes to the existence of ghost.
    • People find it very easy to rationalize things after the event. Particularly in the modern western world, people are more inclined to decide that things they can't easily explain have some sort of rational, grounded explanation, even if they don't know what it is. For example, if you go to see a really good magician perform, at the time you might be convinced that the illusions s/he is creating are actually real, but once the show's over you're more likely to accept that it was probably done with mirrors or something rather than consider the possibility that the magician actually has control over real, genuine magic. Considering that what was left after the events was basically a burnt-out apartment building and a huge mound of marshmallow — i.e. nothing explicitly 'supernatural' — it wouldn't be too hard for skeptics to start claiming that it was all just a big con, and for everyone else to eventually accept it because, well, it seems rational.
  • What is the time frame of the movie after Winston joins? Based on my last viewing it looks like he was a Ghostbuster for a day. He was hired on the same day that Peck came to the firehouse, Dana and Louis got possessed that night, the policeman brought Louis to the firehouse, and Ray and Winston were out driving late at night. The next day is when Peck has the containment unit shut down, and the final fight is later that same day. So Winston's first outing as a Ghostbuster was against Gozer?
    • Winston tells the mayor he'd only been 'with the company' for a few weeks. It might have taken Peck that long to get proper paperwork.
  • Why do Zuul and Vinz just stand on their pedestals during the confrontation with Gozer? Why don't they attack the 'Busters, particularly when the foursome start zapping the gateway?
    • Gozer is basically a god. I daresay Zuul and Vinz think he/she can handle him/herself.
  • One thing that's bothered me since I was a kid: how do the busters avoid crossing the streams? Have you seen those things? I'm not even sure how they aim with the beams lashing every which way.
    • Judging by how much effort the Ghostbusters visibly have to put into crossing the streams at the end, it seems to me like the streams naturally repel from each other (sort of like how a magnet repels from another magnet), so they don't have to worry much about accidentally crossing the streams; what Egon is cautioning about is deliberately forcing the streams to cross as they did at the end.
      • This actually makes perfect sense. Their devices produce streams of protons, which are by definition positively charged particles. Identical charges repel one another. Crossing the streams would have likely caused a repulsion effect which would collapse all stream integrity, throwing protons in all directions at even greater velocities than normal proton radiation, causing... Bad Stuff.

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