In 2009, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler are parapsychologists at Seaview University investigating the paranormal. Ray spends most of his time in the field, interviewing people on paranormal encounters and collecting samples, Egon works mostly in the lab, studying the samples collected by Ray and conducting experiments. Peter spends most of his time on the campus conducting interviews and experiments on the psychic potential of students, though this seems to mostly have been utilized as a means to score with beautiful young women as all of his male test subjects were regularly flushed out in the early stages of his interviews.
Ray had been monitoring the spectral activity at the Star City library when, one day, a very weak and minor spectre suddenly manifested into what Dr. Stantz documented as a "Free-Roaming, Vaporous, Full Torso Apparition" bearing the likeness of Eleanor Twitty, a former Head Librarian who had gone missing while documenting a large collection of materials supposedly on the occult which also turned up missing the same night as Twitty. Eager to investigate this using his partner's full range of abilities, Stantz quickly returned to the university to enlist the aid of Dr. Venkman and Dr. Spengler. The parapsychologists observed a number of other paranormal occurrences in the library before being scared off by the haunting spirit of Eleanor Twitty.
The three were fired from the university shortly after this incident (due to Venkman having plagiarized some papers in order to secure additional grant money), but they had yet to submit their findings and readings from the library to the university. Egon was confident that the data he had collected in the library, combined with Ray's technical ability, may allow them to devise a means to trap such entities for safer study. Of course, both Ray and Egon were stymied by how exactly to pay for the required gear and facilities. When Peter overheard this, he devised his own plan: opening a supernatural pest control operation - catching ghosts for profit. They convert a disused firehouse in Saulk, cobble together experimental equipment to capture and contain ghosts, and convert an old combination car into the "Ectomobile" to support their business.
Seeing the Ghostbuster's first television ad, a skeptical Dana Barrett is dismissive of the trio, regarding them as frauds. But she reluctantly calls them after a paranormal encounter in her kitchen moments later. Recounting the event, she describes opening her refrigerator and seeing a creature that utters a single word: "Zuul." While Ray and Egon are invested in their first client and research her claims, Peter is much more interested in her romantically. Peter crashes and burns while hitting on her while supposedly examining her apartment for occult activity, prompting Dana to tell him to leave.
The business remains slow for quite some time until they are hired to remove a ghost from the Bering Arms Hotel. This is not their first successful job, but it's their most high profile work to date, gaining them much more business. Soon their business booms as paranormal activity seems to be increasing all over Star City. To cope with the high demand, they hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore. Unlike the other three, Zeddemore has no doctorate. He's just in it for a paycheck.
Egon warns the team the increase in supernatural activity is becoming dangerously high, despite their efforts. His research suggests that the sudden spike seems to have begun on the same day that Dana had her paranormal event. Peter volunteers to go meet with her and share the research which Egon and Ray have found.
Hell on Earth
Peter ambushes Dana at work and there shares that Zuul was a demon worshiped as a servant to an archdemon named "Gozer the Gozerian" who posed as a shape-shifting god of destruction thousands of years ago. Peter convinces Dana to discuss her case further over dinner.
However, when Dana returns home from speaking with Peter, she is assaulted and possessed by Zuul. In another apartment at Dillin Tower, a nearly identical entity manifests, then chases and possesses Dana's neighbor, Louis Tully. Peter arrives for the dinner date and finds the possessed Dana/Zuul claiming to be "the Gatekeeper." Louis, also possessed, is found by police officers and claims he is "Vinz Clortho, the Keymaster of Gozer." Uncertain of what to do about this guy, the police bring Tully to Egon and Ray. They determine that Dana and Tully both have certain markers in their auras which make them ideal candidates for this form of possession. They alert Peter, who shares the news about Dana, and they agree to keep the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper apart.
However, as all this is going down, Inspector Peck returns with a warrant to search the premises and seize the Ghostbusters' property. While this argument is going on, Vinz Clortho's possession finalizes, clearing his head of the fugue it had earlier. The demon slips down to the Ghostbuster's basement and shuts down the containment unit which causes an explosion and releases a surge of supernatural energy which Vinz Clortho absorbs into his body.
In response to the explosion, Peck orders the Ghostbusters arrested, including Peter who arrives after seeing the explosion from down the street. Vinz manages to escape in the confusion and is drawn to Zuul who has taken Peter's car. The pair head over to Dillin Tower and ascend to the rooftop where a number of occultists with the Order of Ancient Mysteries are waiting for them. The current grandmaster of the Order of Ancient Mysteries, Albert Davis, welcomes the demons to the event. Vinz Clortho uses the energy taken from the containment unit to fashion "the key" and then begins an infernal ritual with Zuul with the occultists in attendance, including a smirking Edward Nygma... whose eyes almost look yellow in the dim lighting.
In jail, Ray and Egon reveal that Dana's building is the true source of the supernatural increase. The building was originally known as the Shandor Building and its architect, Ivo Shandor, was a genius and a grandmaster within the Order of Ancient Mysteries who designed the building to channel ghosts for the purpose of summoning demons.
On the apartment building roof, Zuul and Vinz Clortho open the gate between dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth. Dark energy bolts into the sky from the rooftop, impregnating the clouds above with infernal essence. After a hauntingly quiet minute, dark lightning breaks from the clouds and bombards the city below. Wherever the energy blasts strike, there is an explosion and a tear in time and space. Before the dust and debris can settle, demons are already flooding out of these gates.
Seeing this from his office, Mayor Oliver Queen tells an aid to get him the Ghostbusters. That is when Mayor Queen is told that Agent Peck arrested the Ghostbusters. Queen demands to speak with both Peck and the Ghostbusters immediately. In the quick meeting that follows, Mayor Queen hears Peck's protests but orders that the Ghostbusters be released immediately. When Peck continues to argue, Mayor Queen has SCPD arrest Agent Peck. Mayor Queen tells the Ghostbusters that some people very close to him live in Dillin Tower and asks the Ghostbusters if their protons packs can work on demons. Everyone looks to Egon, who says he thinks he can make some quick modification. Mayor Queen says that's enough for him and asks what they need to stop the infernal storm ravaging the city. They tell him they need the streets cleared. Mayor Queen says the police are already swamped, but he knows some people who can help with that.
Cut to the Ghostbusters barreling Ecto-1 down the streets of Star City, following an armored riot control vehicle smashing through the abandoned and destroyed vehicles on the road, driven by Wild Dog and Guardian, while Ragman and Animal Man soar ahead, warning everyone to get off the street. Atop the armored vehicle, in a turret rigged with a spare proton pack, Speedy (Artemis Crock) blasts any demons that get too close to Ecto-1 while Arrowette and Felicity play spotter for her.
The Ghostbusters arrive, but find the building surrounded by a powerful spell. Ragman is able to counter the spell enough to get the Ghostbusters in and allow a number of residents to flee, including Walter Steele, Laurel Lance, and Quentin Lance - all residents of the same building. Albert Davis and other occultists slip out during this as well, they, however, are just as scared as everyone else as they did not expect their ritual to have this effect. The rest of Team Arrow is busy keeping the swarms of demons at bay. The Ghostbusters quickly get to the rooftop and en route encounter Edward Nygma who appears confused as to where he is. They tell him he's in Star City, to which he seems surprised. They leave him to his confusion, but he grabs Zeddemore and tells them that he remembers something: "Gozer brought this destruction. Stop Gozer, stop the storm."
When the Ghostbusters reach the rooftop, they are met by Zuul and Vinz Clortho now present in demonic form. As the Ghostbusters power up their packs, they demand that the demonic duo release Dana and Louis, but before they can get an answer, Gozer arrives from an infernal gate on the rooftop, looking like a beautiful woman.
Peter attempts to reason with Gozer. When this fails, Gozer attacks, forcing the Ghostbusters to attempt to trap her, but she brushes off their proton streams with ease. She then sends Zuul and Vinz Clortho to kill the Ghostbusters as she settles into a chair to watch. After a fierce battle between the Ghostbusters and the demons, the Ghostbusters are nearly exhausted and each has several injuries. They are outmatched as they don't want to use their proton packs on the demons as doing so would likely kill Dana and Louis. However, in the course of the fight, Ray goes looking for something to tie down the demons and discovers a utility shed where an unconscious Dana and Louis are found. Realizing that Zuul and Vinz Clortho are now in their own bodies and not a transformed version of their hosts, Ray lets loose with his proton pack and blows Zuul apart. Peter is horrified by this, believing Dana to be killed, but Ray does the same to Vinz Clortho before he tells the team about what he saw in the utility shed.
Seeing the power possessed by Ray, Gozer reappears and agrees to quell the storm if the Ghostbusters can defeat her champion. Gozer demands the Ghostbusters choose the form their champion will take. Ray inadvertently recalls a beloved corporate mascot from his childhood, and Gozer summons forth the remaining essence in the clouds and uses it to materialize the "Stay Puft" Marshmallow Man. The Ghostbusters watch in horror as the Marshmallow Man lays waste to the city, smashing buildings and seemingly unharmed by the actions of the police, Team Arrow, and other responding heroes. The Ghostbusters notice Gozer still beside them, cackling with delight at the carnage. The Ghostbusters demand that Gozer bring the Marshmallow Man to them so they can end this. Gozer declines at first, enjoying the show too much, but Egon turns a proton pack on some key points in the building's esoteric design, causing harm to the building's occult conductivity. Gozer demands he stop but the other Ghostbusters follow suit. Gozer snaps their fingers and the Marshmallow Man turns toward the building.
Egon tells the team to ignore the advancing Marshmallow Man and instead tells them to ignore his earlier advice about never crossing the streams of their proton packs. Egon insists that they need to cross their proton energy streams at Gozer. With not much else to lose, the Ghostbusters rally up and confront Gozer directly. The archdemon laughs it off as the Ghostbusters fire their streams at her again. She appears to be absorbing the energy and possibly becoming supercharged by it. She taunts them, telling them they are wasting their time. At Egon's signal, they cross their streams and get to see Gozer's reaction as the energy she was absorbing suddenly shifts polarity. The resulting explosion destroys Gozer's physical form, banishing her from this dimension, and causes Stay Puft to explode into a sticky, delicious paste that scatters over nine city blocks.
The Ghostbusters survive the explosion on the rooftop. With the help of Guardian and Team Arrow, they rescue Dana and Louis from the wreckage as well. As Peter is busy making out with Dana, Egon and Ray talk to Louis about his experience as he claims to have his brainwaves still tuned to "demon radio," and Winston goes to look out on the city. Guardian joins Winston as they look at the destruction and see the sun rising after a long, long night.
After a brief conversation about Albert Davis, the Riddler, and the need to clear the remaining infernal infestation out of the city, Guardian says "But that's it? Right? A few loose ends are all that's left? You guys killed the big bad here?"
Winston smiles and is about to answer when the building trembles and quakes. A surge of occult energy reverberates through the building one last time. Instead of firing into the clouds though, this energy works its way down the building and then travels through the ground to the park the building overlooks. A blood-red glow forms on the park's walkways as the other Ghostbusters walk over to watch. Ray points out that from this vantage point you can see the park's walkways are laid out in a pattern of some sort of occult symbol. Egon says he's seen it before in the lore. But just can't remember the significance.
"Try, Egon," says Peter.
Egon smiles and snaps his fingers. "That's it, Peter! You genius! That's the symbol of..."
Egon is interrupted as a blast throws them all to their backs. When they get back to their feet, they see a massive red-skinned demon rising from a portal the size of the entire park, easily exceeding the size of Stay Puft. The six-eyed demon lets out a loud roar.
"Trigon," says Egon.
Winston looks to Guardian. "Uh, to answer your question, pal, I think that's the big bad..."
- Proton Pack & Proton Wand: Designed in 2010 by Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz, the Proton Pack can negate the essence which ghosts and other entities are made of with a Proton Stream, a stream of charged ions which can stall or bind a ghost. The Proton Stream is very dangerous as the proton packs are nuclear powered and require "specialized precision handling" to control. The exact construction of these devices is a guarded secret which the Ghostbusters claim as proprietary technology. What is known is that the technology consists of a hand-held wand known as a "Wand" (also called a Proton Gun or Particle Thrower) connected to what appears to be a backpack-sized particle accelerator. The Proton Pack functions by using a miniature cyclotron to concentrate protons by channeling through a "positron collider" and then to the wand, emitting a way-fire positronic ionized stream of proton energy that polarizes with the corpora of ghosts (or other essence-rich entities). The resulting feedback generated by the immense energy colliding with the essence causes such beings to be in the stream of positronic energy as they are forced to fluctuate out of phase with reality. In practical terms, the Proton Gun fires a stream of energy that allows a wielder to snare a ghost. The stream reacts to ghost energy and uses that energy to hold the ghost in place so it can be positioned above a Muon Trap for capture (though for weaker entities, sustained exposure to positronic streams might cause the entity's essence to outright rupture, effectively dissipating the entity entirely). Even if a ghost becomes invisible or intangible, their energy still exists in that defined location, though it is slightly out of phase with normal reality. The positronic stream can neutralize their invisibility or phase shift ability if enough power is directed into the stream. Sustained exposure to the stream weakens entities, allowing them to be captured. For more powerful beings, the use of multiple proton packs seems to be the recommended tactic. However, when delivering multiple streams to the same entity, it is recommended that the users practice extreme caution not to "cross the streams."
- Muon Trap: The Muon Trap (or "Ghost Capture Trap" or "Ghost Trap" - or GCT) is a sealed container that allows the Ghostbusters to transport the spirits to the Containment Unit, where they would be released into the Ghostbusters' specialized containment grid. It is unclear what happens to the trap once placed inside the grid, though I theorize that when a captured ghost is put into the Containment Unit, the entity is pumped out of the trap cartridge so it can be used again. To my understanding, once a trap has captured a ghost and has closed, it cannot be re-opened without releasing the ghost contained within. For this reason, the Ghostbusters must each carry several traps. They must empty each trap once it is used, though I have heard that they have been conducting recent field tests on traps which may incorporate some sort of cylindric rotating ghost trap cartridges that allow the storage of multiple, low-power entities. While Proton Streams are usually used in conjunction with the trap to position a ghost for capture, it is not always necessary. Thanks to the unstable particles used in the traps' construction, traps appear to have some sort of singularity effect contained which allows it to pull entities inside it when in close range.
- Ecto-1: The classic vehicle of choice of the Ghostbusters is a heavily modified and refurbished 1959 Cadillac combination car. It was purchased for $4800 by Dr. Ray Stantz shortly after the purchase of the Ghostbusters' Firehouse was finalized. After necessary repairs were completed, the vehicle had quite a unique look and it became a well-recognized symbol for the Ghostbusters franchise as a whole, even before their popularity took off. The vehicle has enough room in it to store six Proton Packs, along with Ecto Goggles, P.K.E. Meters, and a dozen Muon Trap. In addition to this storage, an upgraded engine, and seating for a driver and three passengers, the Ecto-1 has the following additional modifications:
- Encrypted "Ecto-Radio" Transmitter and Receiver, with direct communication to the Firehouse, the Ghostbusters' personal radios, and the other vehicles in the Ghostbuster fleet. These radios are specifically designed to not be compromised by proximity to latent paranormal forces, however, they can still be affected by entities and persons with the conscious ability to directly interfere with technology. The Firehouse can relay cellular calls or emergency services transmission through the Ecto-Radio to communicate with the Ecto-1.
- Containment Unit Monitor, this device remotely monitors the status of the Firehouse's containment unit, alerting the Ghostbusters with an alarm if the main containment unit is compromised.
- Psychic dampeners prevent the occupants from being influenced by external psychic phenomena.
- The rear storage bay also contains a well-stocked first aid kit and a portable research lab.
- Various other equipment including a long-range PKE scanner, GPS, a built-in high-performance laptop computer, and years of ectoplasmic residue build-up which actually makes the frame and body of the car more resilient than it appears to be.
- Ecto-2: Also known as Mobile Containment Unit, the Ecto-2 is a modified recreational vehicle based on Mystery Incorporated's own Mystery Machine. The Ghostbusters use it as portable headquarters when operating away from Star City or when conducting long-term assignments. The rest of Ecto-2 contains the standard features of an RV: bathroom, shower, dining area, microwave, kitchen, upper and lower collapsible bunk beds, sofa bed, den, and TV area. However, the rear interior of Ecto-2 also contains a cache of Ghostbuster-specific equipment, including a Proton Pack Dock with charging station, a Portable Containment Unit, wardrobe with the various Ghostbusters' jumpsuits, and an arsenal of other equipment, including prototype devices for field testing in unpopulated areas. The idea behind the Ecto-2 is that traveling in an RV reduces the theoretical risk of hauling the Ghostbusters' equipment in an airplane and enduring various drops in air pressure. It features all of the same modifications as the Ecto-1, though it lacks the ectoplasmic armor. Its newest addition is a roof-mounted supercharged Muon Trap directly tied into its Portable Containment Unit, allowing the Ghostbusters to directly capture entities that come within close proximity of the vehicle.
- Ecto-3: This utility van is used for covert work or when discretion is required. It looks like a nondescript white van with its own distinguishing feature being its yellow "Ecto-3" license plate. Its rear cargo area contains all of the same functions and capabilities as the Ecto-1, except with expanded portable research capabilities. It also can seat a driver, a front-seat passenger, and four passengers in the rear. The only function it lacks is the emergency siren and light bars that the Ecto-1 and Ecto-2 possess.
- Ecto-4: The armored, all-terrain transport of the Ghostbusters is a modified armored truck. It lacks the familiar white and red paint job of the other vehicles, in favor of a metallic gray with dark red highlights. It was built to be used in case of another "Hell on Earth" event and has all of the same capabilities of the Ecto-1, but due to its more "militarized" appearance, the Ecto-4 is usually only used by at the Ghostbusters for public appearances when the Ecto-1 is unavailable. The "Junior Team" often uses the Ecto-4 on their training assignments either after sundown or when out of town (when it's less-visible). In addition to the basic abilities of the Ecto-1, the Ecto-4 also has a powerful winch, run-flat tires, atmospheric seal, and a small portable containment unit (with approximately a quarter of the containment capacity as the Ecto-2).
- Ecto-Bikes: Designated as Ecto-5 and Ecto-6, the Ecto-Bikes are military motorcycles used for small two-person jobs or when the Ecto-1 is out of commission for repairs, inspections, or public appearances. The Ecto-Bikes are fitted with a sidecar with a Proton Pack dock for two packs and an Ecto-Radio. The saddlebags of the bikes are able to hold two Muon traps. The sidecars can easily be detached to allow for more rapid deployment.
- Ecto-7: Though not technically owned by the Ghostbusters, Star City Police Department has outfitted one of its police helicopters with an Ecto-Radio and will take on the designation of "Ecto-7" whenever operating in assistance to the Ghostbusters' efforts. The Ecto-7 will often make arrangements to pick up one or two Ghostbusters to assist in such coordination efforts, such as providing aerial surveillance for a ground team, monitoring any ongoing supernatural events of considerable scale, or when conducting monthly citywide PKE scans (to locate areas susceptible to dimensional rifts).
Trivia and Notes
- Ray took out a mortgage to fund the Ghostbusters.
- Jillian Holtzmann almost became a founding member of the Ghostbusters. Ray offered her a chance, but she declined because she was sure they were going to crash and burn within six months (and she still thought Egon was weird).
- Their phone number is 555-2368.
- The Ghostbusters developed the CDI System to classify the paranormal entities they face.
- They have a restraining order after animating the statue of Lady Artemis to combat Stay Puft.
- Ghostbusters is a team from the Ghostbusters films and its related media.
- In the movie they operated in New York City and they animated the Statue of Liberty.
- The ads feature Ghostbusters in different colored uniforms:
- The beige color in the first ad is a nod to the first movie.
- Different colors in the second ad are a nod to The Real Ghostbusters animated series.
- The dark uniforms in the third ad are a nod to the second movie.
- The firehouse's address comes from the IDW Ghostbusters comics.