Terror Dogs are a vicious breed of demonic hellhounds found in the Ghostbusters franchise dating back to the original film.
Terror Dogs are large and bulky monsters vaguely resembling actual dogs but have horns and glowing red eyes as well as a degree of intelligence and can possess human beings as vessels. Although rarely seen, there seems to be more than one type of Terror Dog, with a much larger breed being briefly seen in the cartoon series.
- 1 History
- 2 Primary Canon History
- 3 Secondary Canon History
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Appearances
- 6 See Also
- 7 References
- 8 Gallery
Primary Canon History
The Terror Dogs are two horned, dog-like, demonic monsters with blazing red eyes and powerful dark-colored bodies. They are Zuul The Gatekeeper & Vinz Clortho The Keymaster, loyal minions of Gozer the Gozerian. Zuul & Vinz Clortho manifested from Terror Dog statues on the roof of Dana's apartment building. Zuul stalked Dana Barrett and first appeared inside her refrigerator and later possessed her body in her kitchen. Vinz then appeared in Louis Tully's apartment in the middle of a party and chased him down in Central Park before it took possession of his body. After possessing both tenants the Terror Dogs changed their personality radically. Dana, her body now possessed by Zuul, became hypersexualized. She aggressively seduced Peter Venkman when he arrived for their previously scheduled date, later exhibiting further signs of her demonic Terror Dog possession when she levitated off her bed and growling inhumanly when Peter rejected her advances. Then Louis, became an even clumsier version of his non-possessed self. First stumbling around Central Park, confusing The Gatekeeper for a carriage horse, then presenting his signs of possession by flaring his eyes red and growling at a coachman when he offered him a ride, which gets him arrested and dropped off at the Ghostbusters' headquarters.
Both Terror Dogs later sought each other out, seizing the opportunity caused by the explosion at the Ghostbusters' Firehouse. Zuul and Vinz finally met inside Dana's apartment, kissing passionately and immediately headed for the building rooftop to complete their ritual union. After completing their mating ritual, the two possessed beings were struck by lightning which they used to open the temple door to secure Gozer's arrival then, with the doorway fully open, Zuul and Vinz completed their transformation from Dana and Louis' human forms to their original demonic, Terror Dog bodies. With their transformation complete, they took their places besides Gozer. Later, they become charred statues of their demonic bodies once Gozer was defeated, trapping Dana and Louis inside of them until the Ghostbusters broke them free.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Secondary Canon History
The Real Ghostbusters
Not much is known about the creatures as they are not shown much in the animated series. Though Terror Dogs do make cameo appearances in the episodes "Egon's Ghost", as well as "Copycat" and even in the second intro.
During an experiment with an alternative form of paranormal storage, Egon and Ray opened a Transdimensional Portal into the Nether World. A Terror Dog was lured but was held back by the Portal's safety field. However, during a lockdown, Egon confronted the Copycat and accidentally shot the Portal. The Terror Dog crossed over into the Firehouse. The Ghostbusters used their four blast streams to force it back through the portal. The Ghost Governor owns a pair of giant Terror Dogs and used them to chase after the Ghostbusters as they attempted to (and successfully) escaped Ghostworld.
The Real Ghostbusters UK
After purchasing a new refrigerator for the Firehouse from Zuulusi, the Appliance of Supernatural Science, Janine Melnitz turned it on and encountered Gozer, Zuul and Vinz Clortho. Janine ran out the kitchen and closed the door but the Terror Dogs grabbed her through the door and pulled her back inside. Janine simply tricked the Terror Dogs by playing fetch with a wooden spoon. She threw it into the refrigerator. They took the bait and ran after it.
As a protracted civil war between the Autobots and Decepticons came to an end on Cybertron when the former left the planet. The Decepticons were unable to pursue them due to the presence of Gozer, Zuul, and Vinz Clortho. Zuul and Vinz' took on robotic forms. 1000 years ago, give or take, in 1984, they took on similar but organic-like forms. The Terror Dogs appeared at Gozer's side when he induced telepathic contact with Ray during the Tiamat incident.
Ghostbusters (2016 Movie)
Briefly in the Portal, a Terror dog statue can be seen floating.
- The Keymaster-Gatekeeper concept was a struggle during production and was finalized very late into it.
- Zuul was originally a generic term for the other-dimensional creature that would later evolve into the Terror Dogs.
- During preproduction, dozens of designs were drawn up for the Terror Dogs. A spiny hammerhead creature was designed by John Daveikis to accompany Dan Aykroyd's original script. A lumbering dim-witted creature was conceived by Thom Enriquez. A Robert Kline concept had the Terror Dog look like a dragon. It was a constant debate if the design should be humorous, horrific or both.
- One of Robert Kline's designs was for a svelt Terror Dog would become Dana and a short lumpy one become Louis.
- Ultimately, Thom Enriquez designed the approved look, Kurt Connor made the preliminary sculpture from the sketch, and the concept was refined by Randall William Cook, sculptor and stop-motion animator.
- Randall William Cook worked on a small sculpture while the crew in the 'ghost shop' made a full size scale sculpt. When both were finished, they were sectioned off for plastic molds to be made.
- The stop motion version of the Terror Dog was created by using a miniature armature positioned inside its plaster mold prior to injection of the foam latex.
- In earlier drafts, the Terror Dogs were sympathetic creatures from another dimension trying to escape from Gozer. They sought help from the Ghostbusters in the form of humans. In terms of design, they began as rotting dead dogs dug up from the grave then evolved into the final look. Despite not looking canine, the name 'Terror Dog' stuck.
- In early storyboards, the Terror Dogs were clumsy. Vinz Clortho would have slid into Louis' wall then caused his bookselves to collapse in one gag that was omitted.
- When encountered by humans, one such creature has been mistaken for the following:
- In the Temple of Gozer scene, stop motion Terror Dogs scaled the stairs and full-size figures rested on the pedestals.
- Stuart Ziff, from the shop that built the Terror Dogs, was paranoid about the figures being broken on set and was vehement on telling everyone not to touch it. On the first day of shooting at the Temple of Gozer, Bill Murray petted one of the Terror Dogs. One of its horns fell and shattered.
- The Terror Dogs at the Temple of Gozer were only capable of limited movement because the fully articulated ones weren't finished yet.
- After the Ghostbusters crossed the streams, the initial plan was have the Terror Dogs simply transform back into Dana and Louis but Ivan Reitman came up with the idea of the charred bodies to create suspense for Peter Venkman and the audience.
- The charred Terror Dogs were made from a very lightweight and fragile foam material.
- For unknown reasons, J. Michael Straczynski was told to avoid using the Terror Dogs in The Real Ghostbusters (but they still appeared eventually).
- In the Ghostbusters II August 5, 1988 draft, Ray mentioned the Terror Dogs on page 5 at the birthday party.
- In the Ghostbusters II August 5, 1988 draft, page 83, Peter alluded to the Terror Dogs when talking to the Mayor.
- In the Ghostbusters II deleted scene Dana's Curse, Peter mentions how Dana was turned into a Terror Dog.
- In Ghostbusters: The Computer Game (David Crane), the computer versions, the NES, and Sega Master System versions have Terror Dogs at the top of Zuul/Zule building. The NES and Master System versions have them spawning small energy balls to shoot at the player.
- NECA Toys created action figures based on Zuul and Vinz Clortho. Diamond Select Toys also created a Terror Dog figure with interchangeable horns for Series 5, as well as a Minimates mini-figure and a light-up statue.
- A Terror Dog is seen in What in Samhain Just Happened?! on page 22. It is among the audience watching Sam Hain perform.
- A Terror Dog appears on the Second Printing cover of Ghostbusters Issue #2.
- On page 23 of Ghostbusters Issue #3, File #F390, the Tolaysian Terror Dogs are noted to be larger than the Gozerian variety and are accounted for in Tobin's Spirit Guide (2nd Edition, 1937). The Gozerian Terror Dogs are covered in File #F002 A & B.
- On page 13 of Ghostbusters Issue #11, a Gozerian Terror Dog appears in Ecto-1a's window behind Peter.
- MPC's VFX crew hid a Terror Dog statue in the vortex destroying the Mercado Hotel near the end of Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) as an easter egg.
- On page 5 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #1, in panel 1, in the left middle, the four legged hairy ghost is one of Bernie Wrightson's Terror Dog concepts seen in Making Ghostbusters page 116.
- On page 2 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #3, Dana alludes to when she saw the Terror Dogs in her refrigerator in Chapter 6: Spook Central.
- As statues
- As Vinz Clortho and Zuul
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions)
- Ghostbusters: The Computer Game (David Crane) All version except the Atari 2600 version
- The Real Ghostbusters
- "Adventures in Slime and Space"
- Appears in the Introduction Title Sequence for seasons four to seven
- "Egon's Ghost"
- As the larger Tholesian Terror Dog
- Winston notes they haven't seen a Terror Dog in a long time.
- "Victor the Happy Ghost"
- Peter references the Terror Dog.
- "The Copycat"
- The Governor's giant Terror Dogs
- IDW Publishing
- "What in Samhain Just Happened?!"
- Gozerian Terror Dog among crowd watching Sam Hain
- Ongoing Series
- Transformers/Ghostbusters: Ghosts of Cybertron
- Ghostbusters Year One
- "What in Samhain Just Happened?!"
- Insight Editions
- Tobin's Spirit Guide
- Section V: Gozer
- Page 82-83
- Section V: Gozer
- Tobin's Spirit Guide
- IDW Comics
- Marsha Goodman (1987). Episode Call Sheet and SAG Report - "The Copycat" (1987).
- Marsha Goodman (1989). Episode Call Sheet and SAG Report - "Jailbusters" (1989).
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 12. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Ivan Reitman says: "The whole Keymaster-Gatekeeper idea came very late, and we struggled with it all the way."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 125 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "In Dan Aykroyd's original script, the root of New York's widespread psychic disturbances lay in the fact that a 'Zuul' -- a generic term for the other-dimensional creature which would later evolve into the Terror Dogs -- had somehow strayed out of its rightful time and place and was being held captive by the Ghostbusters' employer, himself a transdimensional being. Unfortunately, the Zuul happened to be a favored pet of the all-powerful Gozer -- absolute ruler of the sixth dimension -- who, it seemed, would stop at nothing to recover it. When this concept was superseded in subsequent drafts, Zuul became a given name for the female Terror Dog, which -- along with her like companion Vinz Clortho -- is seeking refuge from the Gozer in New York."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 116 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "During preproduction, several artists were engaged to generate literally dozens of widely divergent proposals for the Terror Dogs' appearance, only sketchily described in the script. Among them were a spiny hammerhead creature -- designed by John Daveikis to accompany Dan Aykroyd's original script -- and a lumbering dim-witted creature conceived by Thom Enriquez."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 116 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Whether to make the creatures humorous or horrific was a matter of considerable debate -- with some concepts (such as Berni Wrightson's below) attempting to do both."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 117 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "A later Kline concept began to take on the appearance of a dragon."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 117 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "A few of the early renderings took a literal approach to the Terror Dogs -- depicting them as partially decomposed canines returned from the grave. Robert Kline went so far as to devise separate concepts -- one rather svelte creature which would transform into Dana, played by an as yet unspecified actress; and a short dumpy one which would become Louis, played by John Candy."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 117 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Thom Enriquez prepared the final Terror Dog drawing which was okayed by Ivan Reitman. From the approved sketch, a preliminary sculpture was rendered by Kurt Conner. Even at this point, however, the filmmakers realized that the concept needed considerable refinement."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 118 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "After the basic concept was approved, it was delivered to sculptor and stop-motion animator Randall William Cook, who modified and refined it into workable form."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 118 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "While Cook worked on the small sculpture, other members of the 'ghost shop' were busy scaling up the creature so it could also be produced in full size. Once completed, the clay sculptures -- both large and small -- were sectioned off so that plaster molds could be made."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 119 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "A miniature Terror Dog armature positioned inside its plaster mold prior to injection of the foam latex used to produce the final stop-motion puppet."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 114 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Michael Gross says: "The concept of the Terror Dogs changed considerably -- both in the way they fit into the story and in their design. In earlier drafts, they were sympathetic creatures from another dimension -- sort of 'strangers in a strange land' -- who were terrified of Gozer and trying to escape him. They took the form of human beings and went to the Ghostbusters seeking help. By the time the script reached its final form, however, that idea had been completely reversed. Design-wise, they began as rotting, dead dogs -- creatures that had been dug up from the grave. We began to realize, though, that we didn't have to be literal, or 'earthbound,' in the design. As with the ghosts, the Terror Dogs could be anything we wanted them to be. Ultimately, they evolved into creatures that are not particularly canine, but the name 'Terror Dog' seemed to stick."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 120 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The clumsiness of the Terror Dogs was emphasized in some of the early boards, although many of the gags -- including a shot of it sliding into the wall and causing Louis' bookshelves to collapse -- were omitted prior to photography."
- Louis Tully (1999).Ghostbusters (1999) (DVD ts. 54:48). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Louis Tully says: "Nice doggy."
- Louis Tully (1999).Ghostbusters (1999) (DVD ts. 53:57). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Louis Tully says: "Help! There's a bear loose in my apartment!"
- Police Investigator (1999).Ghostbusters (1999) (DVD ts. 55:15-55:18). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Policeman Investigator says: "Some moron brought a cougar to a party, and it went berserk."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 169 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "Though the transformation was achieved via stop-motion animation, full-size figures - operated from beneath the set - were employed once the creatures took their positions on the staircase."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 169 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Michael Gross says: "Stuart Ziff - whose shop was responsible for building the Terror Dogs - was always paranoid whenever his creatures were on the set. He'd had bad experiences on other projects with things being broken and shooting being stopped for repairs, and he was always warning all of us to stay away from them. Once we got the Terror Dogs on their pedastals, I assured Stuart that I'd keep everyone away. But the first day we had them on the set, Bill Murray walked up to one of them - who's going to tell Bill Murray not to touch the dogs, right? - and he said, 'Gee, this is neat.' Then he reached out and petted it on the head - and almost as if on cue, one of the horns fell off, dropped to the floor and shattered."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 182 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "The Terror Dogs employed on the full temple set were capable of only limited movement, but were manufactured and installed on the pedestals because the fully-articulated creature - which required considerably more time to produce - would be completed until later in the production schedule."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 197 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Joe Medjuck says: "Originally, we were going to have the Terror Dogs simply transform back into Dana and Louis - just like the first transformation. But Ivan came up with the idea of charred bodies that could be chipped away, revealing Dana and Louis inside. It was a much more imaginative way to bring them back and it created some suspense because, for a moment, Venkman and the audience think Dana is dead."
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 199 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "A fire-blasted Terror Dog - constructed from a very lightweight and fragile foam material - lies atop a mound of rubble in the aftermatch of the temple explosion."
- straczynski Tweet 5/6/19 J. Michael Straczynski says: "That really wasn't much of a problem, Michael and Joe were very gracious and open in letting us do what we wanted. The only conversation related to this that I seem to recall was that we should avoid using the terror dogs for some reason. Maybe they had plans, I dunno."
- Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1988). Ghostbusters II (August 5, 1988 Draft) (Script p. 5). Ray Stantz says: "...so we get up to the very top of the building and, yep, sure enough, there was a huge staircase, just hanging in mid-air, leading up into the middle of nowhere with those two vicious terror dogs I told you about guarding the entrance."
- Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1988). Ghostbusters II (August 5, 1988 Draft) (Script p. 83). Peter Venkman says: "You remember that, I'm sure: ancient Sumerian deity, big lizard dogs, hundred foot marshmallow man?"
- Peter Venkman (2014). Ghostbusters 1 & 2 Gift Set (2014), Ghostbusters II, Dana's Curse (1989) (DVD ts. 00:20-00:25). Columbia Pictures. Peter says: "Look, one time you got turned into some sort of monster Terror Dog and tried to destroy the city."
- Post Perspective "‘Ghostbusters’ VFX: Proton streams and monster Rowan" 9/1/16 Dave Seager says: "Even to the point where we hid, in one of the shots, the statue of the gargoyle that Rick Moranis' character and Sigourney Weaver's character break out of in the first film. It's one of our little Easter eggs that we tossed in there when the building is destroyed and there's giant debris flying around"
- Mayor Lenny (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "Adventures in Slime and Space" (1987) (DVD ts. 11:51-11:55). Time Life Entertainment. Mayor says: "First, Terror Dogs. Then a walking marshmallow. Now this!"
- Winston Zeddemore (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "Egon's Ghost" (1987) (DVD ts. 14:25-14:29). Time Life Entertainment. Winston says: "A Terror Dog. Haven't seen one of those in a long time."
- Peter Venkman (2009).The Real Ghostbusters- "Victor the Happy Ghost" (1986) (DVD ts. 13:18-13:19). Time Life Entertainment.
- Winston Zeddemore (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - "The Copycat" (1987) (DVD ts. 15:57-16:00). Time Life Entertainment. Winston says: "Is that the real Terror Dog or the copycat?"
- Louis Tully (2014). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #15" (2014) (Comic p.20). Louis says: "And don't worry - there's not gonna be any turning into a dog or anything."
- Dana Barrett (2020). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Year One Issue #3" (2020) (Comic p.2). Dana Barrett says: "I never told my doctor about seeing monsters in my fridge."