WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, now playing in theaters.
As Ghostbusters: Afterlife rolls on, there are many Easter eggs and nods to the old Ghostbusters films, as well as some more direct and larger connective tissue linking both generations. At the heart of it all is the legacy of Harold Ramis' Egon Spengler as it's his family who's leading the charge to stop the rise of Gozer again in Summerville, Oklahoma. With that in mind, let's dissect how the Terror Dogs, a key aspect of Gozer's reign from the 1984 film, manages to return.
What Are The Terror Dogs in Ghostbusters?
In the original Ghostbusters, two Terror Dogs existed as Gozer's familiars: Zuul, the Gatekeeper, and Vinz Clortho, the Keymaster. Once released from their demonic dimension, these spirits possessed the bodies of Dana Barrett and Louis Tully. These vessels were then used to complete a ritual that would ultimately summon the Sumerian goddess to wreak havoc in the Big Apple.
However, they really didn't do much in the way of hunting the heroes. Following Gozer's defeat, Zuul and Vinz Clortho were turned into statues, although there have been different versions of the Terror Dogs in various comics, video games and animated series set in the Ghostbusters universe. The toys for this film even teased the Sentinel Terror Dogs as bipedal monsters rather than beings on all-fours, although they don't really become corporeal here.
How Do The Terror Dogs Return in Ghostbusters: Afterlife?
Before his death, Egon trapped the spirits, but Paul Rudd's Gary, a bumbling science teacher, decides to open the trap that Podcast and Phoebe (Egon's granddaughter) find at the Ghostbusters' farm. She's desperate to learn more about Egon's past, while Gary throws caution to the wind as he's a nerd who loved the heroes from the '80s.
Sadly, this reckless abandon in the parking lot proves to be disastrous as Gary charges the trap with the school bus battery, opening it. This releases the hellhounds, which seek out new hosts. The kids are scared and decide to find answers by scouring through Egon's things, with the Proton Pack being their go-to weapon. Unfortunately, Gary shirks responsibility, hiding how he's liable for this mistake from the town, and especially from his romantic interest in Egon's daughter and Phoebe's mom, Callie.
Who Do The Terror Dogs Possess in Ghostbusters: Afterlife?
Karma ends up befalling Gary, though, as one of the dogs chases after him at Walmart before cornering him in his car. Vinz Clortho possesses him while Zuul takes over Callie's body at home. The former ends up destroying Egon's trap in the temple that Ivo Shandor wanted to use to bring Gozer to life. Callie/Zuul later finds and copulates with Gary/Vinz Clortho, which culminates in their human forms being turned to their demonic canine forms.
They've achieved their purpose as this ritual in the temple allows Gozer to return to this mortal plane. This leaves Phoebe and Podcast desperate to fix things, eventually using a mobile trap to free Callie. However, Gary remains in his beast form to attack them at Egon's farm as they try to send Gozer back. He's helped once more by an escaped Zuul, who takes over the body of Lucky, the teen Ghostbuster that Trevor, Phoebe's brother, likes. This creates an emotional finale as Phoebe, Podcast, Trevor and Callie try to save their loved ones, only to be outmatched by Gozer and her powerful hounds.
To see the Terror Dogs in action again, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in theaters now.
KEEP READING: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Includes Unintended Commentary on Modern Science Skepticism
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