With news that Ghostbusters 3 is in a stand-still, I thought I’d offer up my idea for the plot. Not just the premise, but a start, middle, and ending. It does introduce a new group of Ghostbusters, but I couldn’t assign them names or character traits. This is highly derivative of the first film.
This is just a rough story outline. Not quite a short story, not quite a script outline. It doesn’t dwell on characterization or action sequences for the most part. It is poorly-written and breaks the 4th wall often, but I enjoyed writing it. It’s fun to exercise my creative writing skills once in a while, no matter how horrendous. Here goes (4700 words, fair warning):
Peter Venkman decides he is done being a Ghostbuster, and starts a company called Ghobo Inc., which sells Roomba-like devices (also called Ghobos) that work as both ghost detectors and traps. The device makes Peter rich and the Ghostbusters redundant. So much so they closed down the Firehouse and released all the ghosts they caught, which are quickly scooped up by thousands of Ghobos throughout New York City.
When a Ghobo catches a ghost, it has a removable cartridge which is then be dropped in the mail Netflix-style. It is then sent to a massive containment unit in Japan, where the ghosts’ ecto properties are converted into a clean energy source.
The film would open with a scary ghost sequence (think Paranormal Activity) that is ultimately foiled by a Ghobo. Film would then jump to a cheesy commercial featuring Venkman who is promoting Ghobos, all the while taking shots at his old buddies “Who you gonna call? 1-800-1-4-GHOBO that’s who. Ghostbusters are costly and messy. Look what they did to this hotel…”
Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz are now professors at NYU, where they also oversee a research department. Joining them is Slimer and several other ghosts they are friends with (these would be talkative historical figures, for a ‘Frighteners-like‘ atmosphere). However Ray and Egon try to keep the ghosts a secret from staff and students.
Winston Zeddemore hits the media circuit for appearances on History Television and Syfy where he gives his take on the occult. He also makes appearances at comic conventions. He keeps the fledgling Ghostbusters brand alive in the media. He is on the road most of the year but calls New York home.
Winston, Ray, and Egon get along just fine and reminisce about the old days. Winston passes along a cut of the royalties from his speaking engagements to Ray and Egon to help pay for their research. However the three are not on speaking terms with Peter, who left them high and dry and without so much as a penny from his Ghobo empire.
Ray and Egon are hard at work on two projects: they are trying to figure out how one becomes a ghost, with the hopes of successfully turning everyone into a (non-hostile) ghost when they die as a form of immortality. They are also hard at work on a power containment unit similar to Japan, but one that is friendlier to ghosts (Slimer swears the containment units are cruel). The projects are being done with students and a bit of feedback help from their ghost pals.
Many of the students are huge Ghostbusters fans, and pepper Ray and Egon (and whenever he stops by Winston as well) with questions like “About that Statue of Liberty incident…did that really happen?” as well as requests for autographs. It’s fan worship but it grates the three at times. Their days of Ghostbusting are long gone.
The research projects run into funding trouble, so the students brainstorm a few ways to raise money. Being such Ghostbuster fans they propose a few methods: an online store selling Ghostbusters T-Shirts and merchandise, and a special tour where people can be a Ghostbuster for a day.
The tour plan allows for people to dress-up as a Ghostbuster and ride the Ecto-1 and actually catch a ghost. Ray and Egon then reveal (or they are found out) that they know a few ghosts who would be willing to play along. Slimer and the other ghosts agree to be caught and released by fans over and over again, but only if the proton beams were rendered harmless. The tour is then run by “The New Ghostbusters”, a quartet of students taking the place of Egon, Ray, and Winston (NOTE: these students are the new protagonists. I just haven’t fleshed out their names and back story yet).
These tours start off well but one excursion is interrupted by an evil ghost, much to the alarm and panic of the New Ghostbusters. Desperate, they try to volley a bunch of Ghobos and a few ghost traps to catch the ghost, which the ghost easily swats away. They manage to outrun and dodge the ghost long enough for Winston to appear with a working proton pack. He weakens the ghost enough to be trapped. The person being given the tour stomps away vowing to get a refund (or could be really excited by the whole ordeal – this treatment is not set in stone).
The New Ghostbusters and Winston return to NYU with their trapped prize, not knowing what to do with it (they usually release their catches). Ray and Egon release the evil ghost into their ghost-friendly containment unit, where they can actually communicate with the ghost (with a bit of help from Slimer and the other ghosts).
The evil ghost then reveals, much to the shock and dismay of Egon and Ray, that GOZER is coming back, and is nearly ready to strike. Egon then says that’s impossible, Gozer was banished back to its own dimension, the door is sealed shut. It is then revealed that Gozer was disintegrated into billions of ghostly apparitions, scattered all over earth. It made sense, as Gozer was standing outside the door when the explosion happened.
The defeated Gozer was too powerless to re-materialize after being surprised by the crossing of the streams. And then it hits Egon: Gozer is currently being reassembled within the giant containment unit in Japan. All the Ghobos are catching bits and pieces of Gozer on a worldwide scale.
Desperate, Ray and Egon head to Peter’s Central Park penthouse, hoping to convince him to put a stop to the Ghobo collection of ghosts, and to prepare for Gozer’s return. Peter then dismisses their scheme, calling it a jealous ploy. He then tries to assure them the containment unit is 100% safe, but they aren’t convinced. A brief argument ensues which goes nowhere. Ray and Egon then leave, voicing their disappointment in Peter and what he has become – everything they used to fight against.
Sure enough a breach occurs in Japan, and a woman emerges from the destroyed containment unit – Gozer. Aiding her escape was a giant creature that barely resembles the Stay-Puft marshmallow man, its appearance charred and grotesque. The creature then falls to the ground dead. Gozer is clearly in a weakened state, she quickly bolts away from the area in a beam of light.
The Ghostbusters (both new and old) analyze the footage of her escape. Egon and Ray surmise that Gozer had enough power to conjure up a new ‘Destructor’, the creature that helped her escape, but didn’t have enough energy for anything beyond that. Everyone starts to guess what her next move will be, and how she can regain her power.
Ray thinks Gozer will try to reopen the portal above 55 Central Park West, allowing her world to spill over and destroy earth once and for all. Winston believes she’ll be out for revenge. Egon reminds everyone her power came from human worship, even if the humans were possessed/unwilling accomplices. They all try to anticipate Gozer’s plan with numerous theories.
It is then agreed that the New Ghostbusters will be trained to become official Ghostbusters. With Ray and Egon in the war room, Winston takes the students under his wing. This is made even more crucial by the increase of ghost activity due to Gozer’s return. This training session would be a fun sequence, perhaps enlisting a montage (Woo-hoo!).
Ray believes it would be a good idea to round up Dana Barrett and Louis Tully as a precautionary measure, because the two were enlisted by Gozer previously. A student would then ask why the two were chosen – were they weak-minded, prone to Jedi mind tricks? Ray says they were chosen because they lived at 55 Central Park West. This realization causes Ray to scramble and call the police to get the building evacuated (Dana and Louis could be incorporated into the story, but for now they just get a mention, sorry).
With the New Ghostbusters being trained and catching many ghosts, the containment unit at NYU quickly reaches capacity. It is decided to re-open the Firehouse and make use of the old containment unit there. The New Ghostbusters are overcome with ‘fanboy’ elation.
The ghost activity continues to escalate, and things are made by worse by Peter’s decision to recall Ghobos and stop selling Ghobo replacement cartridges. He cites the lack of a containment unit, which renders Ghobo Inc. incapable of taking on any traps sent their way. Ray and Egon offer to accept Ghobo cartridges with their containment unit, but Peter declines this offer, believing they are trying to steal his business (Peter doesn’t want to share Ghobo tech). Peter says a new containment unit will be operational within several months, but in the meantime he has to deal with the recall and angry shareholders. Despite repeated attempts, Peter flat-out refuses to help in any way, which frustrates Ray and Egon to no end.
The New Ghostbusters are becoming more and more adept at catching ghosts. They incorporate new tech tools to aid them (such as night-vision goggles, fiber optic cameras, and smartphones for communication), much to the chagrin of Zeddemore. The students even upgrade the proton packs with a laser sight that is only seen by their goggles. Their headgear even has a location radar to pinpoint team members and any detected ghosts. The Old Ghostbusters are (jokingly) dismayed that the kids are turning their ‘fine art’ of Ghostbusting into a video game.
Back at the Firehouse, Egon is busy formulating a new plan for Gozer. He predicts Gozer would anticipate a “crossing of the streams” maneuver (much like the bad guy from Karate Kid II saw the crane kick coming). He also remembers they couldn’t touch Gozer with a proton beam, and that Gozer would likely protect any new doorway from proton beams this time.
He then shows the whole team the Ecto-2, a large SUV truck painted like Ecto-1. Some of the New Ghostbusters are initially hostile to Ecto-2, professing their undying love for Ecto-1. Egon assures them if all goes well, they’ll only need to use Ecto-2 once. Egon then presses a remote and two large bay doors open on the top of the vehicle. Everyone shrugs. “It’s a giant ghost trap.” Egon explains, and then they all clue in. Egon then opens the back of the truck, which reveals a large spool of wire “You’ll need to plug this into the city’s power grid to make this work. Once the trap is open it should grab every ghost within a four-block radius, Gozer included.” Egon then warns Slimer and the other ghost friendlies to stay clear of Ecto-2, as they won’t be able to free them from the trap without releasing Gozer too.
Some of the New Ghostbusters would like to use Ecto-2 right now, and all over New York City (they’re pretty exhausted), but Egon declines — it’s for Gozer, she can’t see this coming. The New Ghostbusters are about to head out to resume their duties, when a lawyer walks into the Firehouse.
The Lawyer is representing Ghobo Inc., and is serving the Ghostbusters a Cease and Desist notice. Ray and Egon are irate. Winston points a proton blaster at the Lawyer “We’ll just as soon vaporize you before we shutdown the containment unit again!”. The Lawyer explains that for safety reasons, a containment shutdown is not being sought. However all Ghost-catching will cease effective immediately, as that is the proprietary domain of Ghobo Inc. A large security detail is outside to ensure no ghost-catching materials leave the premises.
Ray, Egon, and Winston storm off to see Peter. On the way there Egon asks Ray “I thought you patented this technology!” to which Ray responds “Actually…Peter…did all the patent work…”
The trio arrive at Peter’s upscale penthouse apartment. Peter is expecting them, he waves his security guards away to let them pass. The trio begin to tear into Peter for his selfish behavior. After several insults were lobbed, Egon tries to clear the air by reminding Peter of the impending danger they’re in from Gozer. Ray then pleads for Peter to help.
“You’re right, my company made a mess and has blocked you at every turn.” Peter concedes. He then continued “And with good reason. I am Gozer.”
Suddenly the sunlight pouring in from the windows disappears, and complete darkness consumes them. A few moments later the lights turn on in the apartment. The floor begins to disappear under a blanket of thick white fog. A fireplace then erupts with bright white fire. Peter walks towards the bar and pours himself a drink. “Would you boys like anything? I can sure make a mean martini. Oh, I wouldn’t do that.” The trio were headed to the door when a familiar dog-like creature with burning red eyes appears in the doorway. It used to be one of the security guards.
Gozer then starts to monologue, explaining that he’s been Peter for about 15 years. Their first encounter did leave Gozer powerless, it took several years to gather enough power to possess one human. And when that time came, he chose Peter Venkman. “You see, I’m immortal — I should’ve been more patient. Last time, I just came in here, not knowing much about earth. I musta seemed crazy with that whole ‘gatekeeper’ thing.” Peter laughed and took a sip “But this time I did my homework, and I learned I can get a lot more done using corporate might.”
Gozer then explained how he set in motion to rebuild himself. “After being Peter for a few months I noticed you guys were catching remnants of me. I needed a more global means to fully rebuild myself, hence the Ghobo Inc. operation. I was running the show here as Peter, while in Japan all my power was accumulating. That escape with the monster and the girl was just a show to throw you guys off, but make no mistake my power has returned to me.” With a quick point Gozer made everyone sit down on some chairs in the living room.
He then pointed outside to the darkness. “You’ll remember I too have a Central Park address, so moving the doorway to my dimension wasn’t difficult.” Gozer then took another sip, and swirled the glass. “Oh, WHERE are my manners?! Welcome to my home.”
Ray was somewhat confused “It’s a nice apartment, we know…” to which Gozer interrupted “No, you don’t understand. You are in my dimension now. The doorway has consumed the whole building, right down to the ground floor.”
It is quite a sight. The entire building appears to be enveloped in gigantic tornado funnel extending down from the sky. It is dark and twirls around slowly. Lightning emanates from it, striking neighboring buildings. What appears to be debris caught in the funnel is in fact hundreds of thousands of ghosts encircling the massive tornado.
The New Ghostbusters have their own problems back at the Firehouse. The lawyer and the security guards have turned into the dog creatures (when the lawyer morphs into one, someone would quip ‘I knew it!’). The kids are under siege. One jumps inside the Ecto-2, a few others head into the basement entrance, where they are holed-up with their backs against the door. The last one desperately scrambles up a fire pole. He makes it fifteen feet but cannot go any higher. He’s clamped onto the pole tight, but is slowly sliding downward. The dogs are jumping up at him, hungrily.
All the dogs are focused on the Ghostbuster on the fire pole. Slimer attempts to help by grabbing his hands, but makes things worse by getting slime on the pole, causing him to slip even more. “NOT. HELPING.” He exclaims. The jaws of the dogs snap nearer and nearer.
The two Ghostbusters in the basement entrance open the door to peek. They see the dogs jumping at their friend. They have proton packs in the basement, but they were outnumbered and their friends are in the crossfire. The Ghostbuster in Ecto-2 waves to get their attention and then throws the power cable towards the duo. One quickly sneaks-out and grabs it, and starts to walk it back to the basement, but a few dogs notice and lunge. He barely gets back inside the door. Both turn their backs against the door again to keep the dogs out. After a few moments one exclaims that the Ecto-2 has to be plugged in now, or their friend is dog food.
The cable is fed under the door. She (the one girl Ghostbuster) picks up the cable and quickly runs downstairs, leaving the other behind to strain against the force applied by the dogs.
In the basement she was about to plug the cable into the industrial outlet when she remembered and called out “SLIMER!”. He appeared immediately. “Get the others, I need you guys in there.” she pointed at a ghost trap. He sped off. A few moments later the whole ghost gang was there, and she got them into the trap. She then plugged Ecto-2 into an outlet.
Ecto-2 made a number of sounds indicating it was powering-up. The Ghostbuster inside Ecto-2 pressed a button, and a moment later the room was filled with white light, and sounds of dogs yelping. After a few moments, the light ceased, and the bay doors on Ecto-2 closed. The Ghostbuster stranded on the pole looked down to see the Lawyer and the security men strewn about the floor, somewhat dazed. He slid down, and the other three Ghostbusters emerged. One asked if the guys will turn into dogs again, and suddenly the Ecto-2 shook. The men were just possessed by the dog creatures.
Gozer looked up from his glass and solemnly announced. “There appears to be a disturbance in the force.” He laughed, then quickly turned serious “Seems I’ll have to deal with your Ghostbusters after all.”
The New Ghostbusters quickly collect themselves. They realized this was an ambush and their friends were likely walking into a trap at Peter’s.
They found themselves in a quandary “Um, guys, did Egon show you how to empty this?” one asked while pointing at Ecto-2. No one knew how. That was a fail-safe measure: a trap couldn’t be opened with a ghost inside. The Ecto-2 was now useless.
They loaded up Ecto-1 with gear. One came running up from the smoking trap holding Slimer and company “How can we get them out?” after a momentary pause, one Ghostbuster grabbed the trap, swung it around using the foot cable, and smashed it onto the ground. A hail of sparks erupted and a small fire broke out. The Ghosts slowly rose up, unaffected by the ordeal. “Well, that’s one way.” someone remarked. The group then headed out of the garage, with sirens blazing from Ecto-1. Slimer and the ghosts followed closely behind.
As they neared Peter’s building they saw the spectacle. An impenetrable dark swirling mass stood where a building once used to be. The group decided to weigh their options.
They figured Ecto-2 probably wouldn’t have done much, that dark cloud seemed more like an impenetrable wall. Unfortunately there didn’t appear to be a way inside. The lightning discharge was also keeping everyone far away.
“Last time they crossed the streams inside the doorway to Gozer’s dimension, right? We just need to do that again.” One Ghostbuster declared.
“We can’t get inside the building to get a shot at the doorway opening” another replied.
“I have an idea.” One Ghostbuster said. He then pointed at the sky above the building, where the funnel started. “We get above the dimensional doorway and blast it there. We destroy the door frame, should rip the door apart too.”
“But that’s a few thousand feet up! How do we get up there??” Another countered.
The Ghostbuster with the original idea now had another, and turned to Slimer and the ghosts “Can you fly us up there?” the ghosts conferred for a moment. They could affect physical matter, but this seemed daunting. After a brief scrum they announced they can only hoist two of the four up into the sky.
Back inside, Ray asked Gozer what he planned to do. “I could take you further into my dimensional home, and see how you like being torn up into a billion pieces, but I doubt you’ll survive that. Instead, I’ll consume the earth from here. Sort of like a ‘hostile acquisition’ — my favorite business term.”
Gozer then walked over to a window and made a ‘parting’ gesture with his hands. An opening in the dark swirling cloud appeared, and daylight crept in. Gozer gestured for his guests to come over, and they did. They looked down on Central Park below. Peter then made a ‘pushing’ gesture with his hands and the dark cloud started to spread from the bottom of the building they were in, and began to envelop Central Park and other buildings nearby. “It’ll be slow-going, but the entire planet will be consumed and made anew.” Gozer said matter-of-factually.
Gozer then saw Ecto-1 parked in the distance. He smiled and said “I have a gift for your friends.”
The New Ghostbusters saw the funnel spread, and now all the ghosts that encircled it were breaking off and heading directly towards them. It looked like a cloud of locusts, but it glowed spectral green and purple.
Two of them jumped in the car “We’ll lure them away, you two get up there and destroy the doorway.” The sirens blazed and the car spun around and sped away. The remaining two and the ghosts ducked out of sight, watching in awe the massive cloud of ghosts race past.
After a few minutes, the two fliers look at Slimer and the group of ghosts and declare “We’re ready”. The ghosts disappeared, and the two Ghostbusters were left confused. Where did they go? Moments later they got their answer, as they two began to ooze slime all over themselves “They’re inside us. GROSS.” After a few seconds of complaining, they realized they were floating in the air (cool sequence for 3D?).
They were quickly descending up. They saw the black cloud spreading from the funnel in all directions. The funnel now looked like a bridge between two dark horizons. Soon, it would be hard to tell which way was up. As they neared the building lightning threatened to hit them, but they moved quickly, darting to evade the strikes. “Do you think Gozer knows we’re up here?” one asked. The other only shrugged.
The Ecto-1 raced down the street quickly. The cloud of ghosts were gaining. One Ghostbuster began to climb out the driver’s seat window “Where are you going?!” the driver asked. No answer. She proceeded to hop on the top of the car, and opened a panel. After pressing a button, a proton cannon emerged, along with a seat. She sat down and grabbed the cannon by both handles. She then screamed down to the driver “LINCOLN TUNNEL!”. He made a hard screeching left. The Ghosts closed in faster. She was tempted to fire now, but she had to hold off.
Not a moment too soon, they were inside the tunnel. The screams of the ghosts and the siren echoing inside was deafening. The ghost numbers were so great, it looked like a massive green ball of fire was chasing them inside the tunnel. She took a deep breath, then fired. The blast cut through all the ghosts, thanks in part to the proton stream grabbing the edge of the tunnel like a conductor. Very few ghosts went unscathed. They all screamed and retreated, coating the tunnel in slime. Both Ghostbusters on the Ecto-1 breathed a sigh of relief.
She told the driver to turn around, he complied. She threw a dozen ghost traps over the edge of the car and tied them to a siren light, which made for a familiar sight. “We married now?” The driver chirped. “Just get us back there!” She groaned, and then opened all the traps. The many weakened ghosts in the tunnel would make for quite the catch.
It was cold in the sky, and the slime that covered them appeared to be crystallizing at the surface. They can make out the building, and what appeared to be the top of the funnel. “We need to get directly above the funnel and shoot straight down, and then eventually get the beams to cross.” one said.
They were in position, and took aim. The laser sights were extremely helpful here. They fired. The expanding dark mass quickly stopped, and began to retreat back to the tower, as though it were quickly breathing in after a long exhale. The funnel then exposed the lower half of the building, as the mass began to concentrate directly below the proton blast — it was trying to counter. And it appeared to be working, as the top of the funnel grew wider, and was heading towards them as it pushed back. “CROSS THE STREAMS!” One yelled, and they did. A huge ball of white appeared where the streams met, and an explosion was imminent. The black funnel then swallowed the white ball with a large blanket of black smoke, and then comically it expanded as though it just burped. It continued to push back. One of the them remarked their proton packs are just about out of power.
Suddenly from the street below, two proton shots were fired into the exposed doorway in the sky underneath the funnel. The beams crossed, the door then disintegrated in a massive explosion. The airborne Ghostbusters looked down to see Ecto-1 had returned, its two passengers holding their proton blasters above their heads, cheering.
Gozer groaned as he looked up from the penthouse. He then turned to his captives and said “You still have me to contend with.”
“Do your worst.” Egon said, “You just spent all of your energy.” He pointed at the security guards nearby, which were no longer in dog form. They were lying on the ground, unconscious.
“You have no weapons.” Gozer bluffed back. His smiled waned when two slime-covered Ghostbusters landed on the patio outside. They pointed their proton blasters at Gozer, who made himself a target by flashing fiery red eyes.
Ray stepped forward “Give us back Peter and you can have a 5-minute head start.”
Gozer looked around, weighed his options, and then closed his eyes. Peter then slumped to the ground. A red light smashed through a window and roared into the sky.
The elevator opened bringing the remaining Ghostbusters to the party. They all gathered around Peter and within a few moments he came to. He stared blankly at the group and said “What took you guys so long??” he joked, “I was a hostage for 15 years! You guys are terrible.”
Peter looked over the New Ghostbusters and said “They’ll do.” and then turned to Egon, Winston, and Ray, sheepishly trying to apologize but Ray would hear none of it.
After a few awkward moments Peter asked “Who wants a hug? I could sure use one!”
Slimer then raced forward.