Study Guide

Ghostbusters Summary

Ghostbusters Summary

After losing their cushy fellowship at Columbia University, paranormal investigators Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler decide to go into business for themselves.

As Ghostbusters.

Their first case is trying to help the beautiful cellist Dana Barrett figure out why there's a terror dog demigod named Zuul in her fridge. But the case stalls when Peter finds a dogless fridge in Dana's apartment and gets the boot for making a pass at her. 

Yeah, things are looking bleak for the Ghostbustersuntil they get a call from a fancy hotel where they bust a green, food-binging ghost named Slimer. After that, business starts booming, and the guys become ghostbusting celebrities. ("Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!")

Our boys are getting so overworked that a fourth Ghostbuster, Winston Zeddemore, is hired, and the Ghostbusters' new notoriety earns them the unwanted attention of EPA agent Walter Peck, who Peter manages to infuriate. Meanwhile, Pete's love life improves when he finally scores a date with Dana… though the date doesn't go as planned when he finds her possessed by Zuul.

Don't you hate when that happens?

Dana's geeky neighbor Louis is possessed by another terror dog named Vinz Clortho (who knew there were so many possessed pups running around?), and a possessed Louis ends up in the Ghostbusters' custody. Things come to a head when Walter Peck breaks into Ghostbusters' HQ and shuts down the ecto-containment unit, causing a massive explosion and the release of all the ghosts the guys have caught so far.


While the Ghostbusters cool their heels in jail, Zuul and Vinz Clortho unite and prepare for the coming of their master, Gozer, a Sumerian god of chaos bent on coming to Earth and destroying everything in its path. 


Due to the ghostly chaos in the city, the Ghostbusters manage to convince the mayor that Peck is a jerk, and the mayor releases them to go fight the growing paranormal threat.

The guys square off with Gozer on top of Dana's apartment building, where the god takes the form of the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to destroy them and the city. If you've never seen the movie...please watch that scene. It's just...guys. It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

In the end, the boys are triumphant as they zap Gozer back into its alternate dimension and rescue Dana and Louis. As the crowds cheer their heroes, Pete plants one on Dana before riding away in triumph.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • Creepy music plays as a librarian at the NY Public Library makes her way into the bowels of the building.
    • Books start flying off the shelves on their own, and the cards of a card catalogue fly into the librarian's face.
    • The librarian screams as something wicked her way comes.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • The title pops up along with that oh-so-catchy theme song.
    • In a Columbia University office, Dr. Peter Venkman conducts an experiment, which he says is designed to test the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP.
    • Really, it seems designed to shock a young college dude subject with electricity, while seducing a pretty girl.
    • Dr. Ray Stantz interrupts Venkman's seduction attempt, excited that Egon has confirmed the presence of a ghost at the Public Library.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Entering the library, Venkman talks smack to Ray about all the paranormal research that he and Egon have been doing.
    • Venkman and Ray find Dr. Egon Spengler listening to a table with a weird stethoscope thing in the library reading room.
    • Peter keeps naysaying the whole thing as the three explore the library, even when they find a big mess downstairs… and also some goop, which Egon and Ray say is ectoplasm.
    • Egon and Ray are proven right when they find the ghost of an old lady librarian.
    • Peter tries talking to her, but she doesn't seem interested and shushes them.
    • After that, Ray leads them all in trying to tackle her.
    • That doesn't go too well either as she turns into a crazy skull-thing and scares them away.
    • The would-be Ghostbusters make a hasty retreat down the front steps of the library.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Egon and Ray are super excited about the ghost; with the new readings they recorded they now think they can develop the technology to trap other ghosts.
    • The boys' excitement is quickly squashed when a university dean kicks them out of their lab at Columbia, saying their research—particularly Venkman's—is a bunch of hooey.
    • Ray is super bummed about losing the university's support, but Peter comes up with a new idea.
    • It's time to start a ghostbusting business.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • They take out a mortgage on a house that Ray's parents left him and buy a rundown old firehouse.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • Dana Barett hauls some groceries and her cello down the hall of her apartment building.
    • She's hounded by her geeky accountant neighbor, Louis Tully, who obviously has a crush on her.
    • He invites her to a party he's having, but she doesn't seem all that into it.
    • Louis tells Dana that her TV mysteriously came on while she was gone.
    • Dana ditches Louis and sees a cheesy commercial for the Ghostbusters playing on her TV.
    • Suddenly, eggs start popping from a carton and frying on the counter.
    • Dan hears growling in her fridge.
    • (Never a good sign.)
    • She opens the door and looks into what appears to be a hellish portal to another dimension.
    • There's a big glowing pyramid and a weird dog thing with horns, which seems to be what's doing the growling.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • At the firehouse, Venkman oversees the hanging of a Ghostbuster's sign, and Ray rolls up with an overpriced used ambulance.
    • Inside, the surly secretary Janine tells Peter that there's been no business of any kind.
    • Janine does a little flirting with Egon, who doesn't seem all that into it.
    • Dana Barett shows up, and Peter instantly starts flirting with her.
    • Ray, Egon, and Venkman hear Dana's story and decide to help her.
    • She heard the dog thing say the name Zuul, so Egon is going to research it.
    • Ray is going to research the structural history of the building.
    • Venkman is going check her out... err... check out her apartment.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Venkman inspects Dana's apartment including the fridge, but everything's totally normal.
    • He tries to put the moves on her, but she gives him the boot.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Back at the Ghostbusters HQ, the boys eat Chinese food and bemoan the fact that they're out of cash.
    • Just then, Janine gets a call from a new client.
    • The boys blast out of the firehouse in the newly remodeled Ecto 1, which used to be the run-down old ambulance.
    • They streak through the streets of NYC with their siren blaring.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • At the high class Sedgewick Hotel, the Ghostbusters assure a nervous concierge that they'll handle the hotel's ghost problem discreetly.
    • As they head up in the elevator, Ray worries about the fact that they haven't tested the new equipment.
    • Their equipment consists of "proton packs, " which look like backpacks with a sort of hose-gun attached.
    • Oh, also the proton packs are nuclear accelerators.
    • Freaked out, the boys almost incinerate a maid with their proton packs.
    • They spot a green slime ball ghost (Slimer).
    • Slimer manages to get away from them, but not without covering Venkman with slime.
    • Egon radios to say that the ghost is in a ballroom.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • The boys assure the hotel manger that they have everything under control and shut the doors of the ballroom.
    • They spot Slimer flying around a chandelier, which they quickly demolish with their proton packs.
    • Egon warns Peter and Ray not to cross the streams of the proton packs; otherwise, they might all be destroyed.
    • After completely wrecking the ballroom, Peter and Egon finally manage to catch the ghost with the energy streams coming from their proton pacts, while Ray slides a trap underneath that sucks Slimer into it.
    • When the concierge doesn't want to pay the $5,000 the boys want for their services, they threaten to release the ghost… and the concierge quickly pays up.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • We get a montage of things going well for the Ghostbusters.
    • There's lots of paranormal activity going on, and they steadily get more and more famous.
    • Dana Barett sees the Ghostbusters on TV and smiles.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • Overstressed and overworked, the boys hire a new Ghostbuster, Winston Zeddemore, who says he'll believe in anything they say as long as there's a steady paycheck involved.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Walking out of Lincoln center with a fellow instrumentalist, Dana notices Venkman hopping around on one foot in the plaza.
    • Flirty as ever, Peter tells her that Zuul is a servant of Gozer, a violent god of ancient Sumeria.
    • Dana wants to know why Zuul is in her fridge.
    • Venkman suggests they talk more about it on Thursday night at nine, maybe over dinner.
    • Charmed despite herself, Dana agrees to the date.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • In the basement of Ghostbusters HQ, Ray shows Winston how to empty a ghost from a trap into their big metal containment unit.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • An uptight EPA guy, Walter Peck, comes and demands for Peter to show him the storage facility in the basement.
    • He threatens to come back with a court order, but Venkman blows him off.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • In the basement, Egon worries that the containment unit is getting too full.
    • It's extra worrisome because paranormal activity is steadily increasing.
    • Egon says that if the regular amount of psychokinetic energy in the area is a Twinkie, the amount right now is a Twinkie that's 35 feet long and weighing 600 pounds.
    • Something big is on its way.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • We get a wideshot of Dana's apartment building with creepy music playing.
    • On top of Dana's building, two statues of terror dogs with horns suddenly crack open, revealing real live horned demon dogs.
    • Inside, Dana tries to tiptoe past Louis's apartment, where his party is going on.
    • He miraculously hears her anyway and is disappointed when she tells him that she has a date and can't come.
    • Dana relaxes for a moment in her apartment as an eerie light begins to glow in her kitchen.
    • Clawed hands rip out of her chair and grab her.
    • Her kitchen door flies open to reveal the demon dog.
    • Her chair slides toward the roaring creature.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • Louis's kinda-lame party is rudely interrupted when another terror dog bursts through the bedroom door.
    • The monster chases Louis through Central Park.
    • Louis bangs on the windows of a fancy restaurant, begging for someone to help.
    • The people ignore him as the demon dog takes him.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • Venkman shows up to the apartment building with flowers.
    • Outside, police investigate what they think was a cougar attack at the party.
    • Peter knocks on Dana's apartment door; when she answers she looks seriously different.
    • She's wearing a slinky red thing and seems spaced out.
    • In a seductive voice, she asks Venkman if he's the Keymaster and tells him that she is Zuul, the Gatekeeper.
    • Peter asks Dana/Zuul what she's up to this evening, and she says she's preparing for the coming of Gozer, the Destructor.
    • After that, she tries to have sex with Venkman, and he (somewhat miraculously) refuses, saying he tries not to have sex with possessed people.
    • Peter tries to get Zuul to let him talk to Dana, but Zuul instead decides to float in the air and growl.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • A possessed Louis now runs around the park telling everybody—including a horse—that he's the Keymaster, and he's looking for the Gatekeeper.
    • A policeman drops off Louis at Ghostbuster's HQ.
    • Egon asks him what his name is, and Louis says he's Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer.
    • Janine makes passes at Egon, while Vinz/Louis talks about Gozer returning to Earth every so often in various forms to wreak as much havoc as possible.
    • Venkman calls, and he and Egon compare notes on the whole Gatekeeper/Keymaster situation.
    • Peter heads off, leaving Zuul/Dana knocked out on a bunch of thorazine.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • In the Ecto 1, Winston asks Ray if he believes in God, but Ray says he's never met Him.
    • Ray seems more interested in the plans for Dana's apartment building, which have some weirdness going on.
    • Winston starts talking about how the book of Revelations says that near Judgment Day the dead will rise again.
    • He theorizes that that's why the Ghostbusters have been so busy lately.
    • This freaks Ray out a little bit, so he turns on some music.
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    • Walter Peck, the local mean EPA agent, shows up at the firehouse with a court order, cops, and a confused Con Ed guy.
    • Egon and Venkman warn him that this is a terrible idea, but Peck insists on cutting the power to the containment grid.
    • The Con Ed guy shuts off the power, and the whole place explodes.
    • Everybody runs into the street.
    • Ghost stream from the building.
    • Vinz/Louis sniffs the chaos for the Gatekeeper.
    • Back in her apartment, Zuul/Dana comes awake.
    • Egon and Peck get in a fight on the street, and all the Ghostbusters are arrested.
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24

    • Montage time!
    • Ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city.
    • A zombie cab driver crashes into traffic.
    • Slimer gorges on hotdogs.
    • Vinz/Louis makes his way to the Gatekeeper.
    • Zuul/Dana blows an entire wall out of the apartment and stares out at the chaos.
  • Scene 25

    Scene 25

    • In jail, other prisoners crowd around the Ghostbusters as they examine the blueprints of Dana's building.
    • (Good thing they brought those along, huh?)
    • Ray explains that the whole building was built to be a conductor for spiritual activity, and Dana's apartment is at the center of it.
    • Egon adds that the architect who originally built it was named Ivo Shandor, and he was the head of a cult of Gozer.
    • Shandor and his cronies used to do rituals on the roof designed to summon the Sumerian god.
    • The cult felt like humanity was too sick and depraved to survive and wanted Gozer to come destroy the world.
    • A cop comes and summons the Ghostbusters to the mayor's office.
  • Scene 26

    Scene 26

    • Back in Dana's blasted-out apartment, the Gatekeeper and Keymaster finally get together.
    • Zuul/Dana dips Vinz/Louis and plants a big kiss on him.
    • Together, they make their way up a set of misty glowing stairs.
  • Scene 27

    Scene 27

    • In the Mayor's office, Peck tries to convince the Mayor that the Ghostbusters are phonies and that they're also the ones who caused the explosion.
    • The Fire Chief and the Bishop both say that everything going on is the real deal.
    • Winston tells the Mayor that he hasn't been with the company long, but that all this ghost stuff is real.
    • The boys convince the Mayor that a disaster of Biblical proportions is going to happen if he doesn't let them go and deal with it.
    • The Mayor kicks Peck out of his office and sets the Ghostbusters up with a police escort to Dana's building.
    • Crowds cheer the Ghostbusters as they roll down the street.
  • Scene 28

    Scene 28

    • Venkman hams it up for the crowd outside of Dana's apartment building.
    • Crazy lightning crackles at the top of the building, and the street cracks open, swallowing our heroes.
    • The crowd cheers again as the Ghostbusters triumphantly crawl from the smoking hole in the ground.
  • Scene 29

    Scene 29

    • Inside the apartment building, the boys pant as they walk up flight after flight of stairs.
    • On the roof, the Gatekeeper and Keymaster stare up at blue lightning.
    • The Ghostbusters enter Dana's blasted-out apartment and walk up the misty stairs.
    • The boys get to roof just in time to see Zuul/Dana and Vinz/Louis be transformed into terror dogs by the blue lightning.
    • The demon dogs run through what seems to be a portal into another dimension and sit at the base of a glowing pyramid.
    • The Ghostbusters watch as Gozer emerges from the top of the pyramid in the form of a woman a tight white shiny outfit.
    • (Guess Gozer knows what's in style in the 80's.)
    • Gozer zaps the boys with pink lighting, almost blasting them off the building.
    • The Ghostbusters fight back with their proton packs, but Gozer keeps teleporting out of the way.
    • For a second, it seems like Gozer is defeated, but then the god's creepy voice comes out of a cloud and tells the boys to choose the form of their destruction.
    • Venkman pieces it together and tells everybody to not think of anything; that way Gozer won't have any destructive form to take.
    • Unfortunately, Ray can't clear his mind and thinks of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who's kind of like the Pilsbury Doughboy of marshmallows.
    • Something as adorable as that can't bring destruction, right?
    • Wrong.
    • Gozer clomps down the streets of NYC in the form of a gigantic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
    • After the giant stomps on a church, the boys zap it with their proton packs.
    • It catches on fire and crawls up the side of the building.
    • Egon suggests they cross the streams of their proton packs to blast the Gozer back through the portal.
    • They do just that and a huge explosion rocks the top of the building as Gozer is banished.
  • Scene 30

    Scene 30

    • Covered in marshmallow gunk, the Ghostbusters emerge intact from the rubble.
    • Venkman is sad to find what seems to be the charred corpse of the terror dog that was once Dana.
    • But then she crawls her way out of the body as if it's a hollow statue made of clay.
    • Oh, and Louis makes it out of his demon dog corpse too, so that's nice.
    • Crowds cheer the Ghostbusters as they emerge from the building.
    • Peter dips Dana and gives her a big kiss in front of the crowd.
    • Credits roll.