If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, (it’s probably you and your dog). Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! If you need a name, because your choices aren’t so good, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Ok, really though, you’re not calling anyone. You’re looking on the Internet, which is probably why you’re here — it’s also why we’re here: to help! As far as cult classic comedies go, there are few held in higher regard than the Ghostbusters series and for good reason (although do you really need any more than Murray, Aykroyd, and Moranis all in one place?). On top of that, there is a considerable wealth of fantastic names that will undoubtedly help your dog stand out but also make you easily identifiable as a fellow Ghostbusters fan.
Ghostbusters Dog Names in Pop Culture
To be fair, Zuul the Gatekeeper and Vinz Clortho the Keymaster aren’t technically dogs, they’re demons, but that doesn’t mean that the bodies they possess for most of the first Ghostbusters film aren’t creepy as all get-out. Next to the likes of Cujo, the Zombie Doberman Pinschers of Resident Evil fame, and the infected dogs of I Am Legend, they likely rank near the top in terms of spine-chilling canines in modern cinema.
While neither Zuul or Vinz Clortho resemble real breeds outside of maybe Pit Bull hellhounds on steroids, they also didn’t have the advantage of a real dog like Cujo had, nor did they have the benefit of modern special effects like in I Am Legend or Resident Evil — they achieved their unsettling status with technology of the mid ‘80s, which means stop motion and puppets.
For their use in the original Ghostbusters film, sculptor and special effects wizard Randy Cook had to develop two separate sets of terror dogs, one set of full-sized puppets, the other set a series of maquettes for their use in stop motion. The puppets themselves were as big and life-like and they seem in the movie. One puppet had an almost fully-controllable body with actors having to move the arms, legs, and head (in which it still took another nearly 20 animators to pull levers to get the full effect of coordinated movement), while the other was considerably more focused on articulating facial motions — creating the fantastically creepy moments when the door in Dana’s apartment opens and Zuul growls at her with glowing red eyes and incisors like steak knives before dragging her through the threshold and when Louis Tully is pinned against the glass of the upscale restaurant window and is forced to look Vinz Clortho in his toothy, glistening face before being possessed.
The maquettes, on the other hand, were just as life-like, but were created to be around 1/4 scale to allow the animators to easily manipulate them and create the illusion of movement. Notable scenes they were used in was when Clortho the Terror Dog burst through Tully’s apartment door on his way in, crashing into the hallway wall on the way out, and the chase scene that ensues up to the point of possession, as well as the fantastic rooftop scenes.
All in all, Cook and the special effects team not only did a fantastic job of creating a real, supernatural creep to crawl up the spines of the audience, but in the process cemented some of the most unsettling dog-like creatures of the era and beyond.
Ghostbusters Dog Name Considerations
Unless you have a Chinese Crested and want to name it Zuul or a Corgie you want to name Twinkie, chances are you’ll likely be basing your dog’s name more off of their personality than their looks, but that’s OK, because quirks and personality are excellent starting points.
For instance, if your dog is a troublemaker and tends to slobber a lot, Slimer would be a perfect fit, even more so if they also frequently end up green with grass stains. If they’re a bit destructive or are prone to terrorizing other people or dogs, then Zuul, Vinz, Clortho, and Terror would all make appropriate names. If your dog happens to be a jokester or a womanizer, Venkman would be a great choice. If they’re awkward and skittish, then Louis and Tully would be excellent choices. If they’re supremely evil like Vigo, well, you should probably worry about calling an exorcist before giving them a name.
Whatever you decide to go with, spend some time re-watching the films (and TV series or reading the comics if you like additional backstory) and see if anything in particular jumps out to you about a character, event, or even a line of dialogue. If you’ve still got nothing, then maybe it IS time to call the Ghostbusters. Or maybe a friend for some ideas.