6. What Really Happens When You Cross The Streams?
“There's something very important I forgot to tell you. Don't cross the streams… Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.” – Dr. Egon Spengler
Throughout the first Ghostbusters film, we’re aware that the unlicensed particle accelerators on their backs are not toys, and that crossing two particle streams would be extraordinarily bad news for the Ghostbusters concerned and possibly for the universe in general.
However, at the climax of the film, that’s exactly what they’re driven to do: cross the streams in order to reverse the particle flow through the extradimensional gate and remove Gozer and Zuul and Vinz Clortho from their world. There’s an almighty explosion… but it works, and covered in marshmallow goo, our heroes descend to the street once more to bask in the adulation of New York.
Orrrr… the proton packs do exactly what Ray and Egon had always said they would. Total protonic reversal. The Ghostbusters die… but they’re unable to move on, and so the film’s celebratory coda and subsequent sequel (which seemed to follow the plot of the first film without really acknowledging that the climax of that film had even taken place) occur in a kind of post-mortal limbo state akin to purgatory.
Presumably they’d remain in that state until something changed in themselves… a little like Groundhog Day, directed by Harold ‘Egon’ Ramis and starring Bill ‘Peter’ Murray. You think they’re trying to tell us something?