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The Frighteners (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  19 July 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 65,200 users  
Reviews: 217 user | 115 critic

After a tragic car accident that killed his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people but when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patricia Ann Bradley (as Dee Wallace-Stone)
Jim Fyfe ...
Stuart, Bannister's Ghostly Assistant
Julianna McCarthy ...
Angela Bloomfield ...
Desmond Kelly ...


After a car accident in which his wife, Debra, was killed and he was injured, Frank Bannister develops psychic abilities allowing him to see, hear, and communicate with ghosts. After losing his wife, he then gave up his job as an architect, letting his unfinished "dream house" sit incomplete for years, and put these skills to use by befriending a few ghosts and getting them to haunt houses in the area to drum up work for his ghostbusting business; Then Frank proceeds to "exorcise" the houses for a fee. But when he discovers that an entity resembling the Grim Reaper is killing people, marking numbers on their forehead beforehand, Frank tries to help the people whom the Reaper is after! Written by Anthony Pereyra <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dead yet? See more »


Comedy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

19 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert Zemeckis Presents: The Frighteners  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,565,000 (USA) (19 July 1996)


DEM 26,052 (Germany) (2 January 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was not released to theaters in Tasmania. The Port Arthur Massacre rather spookily mirrored the film's content and it happened not long before the film's release. It was released on video and subsequently broadcast. See more »


When the eyes of Jeffrey Combs (Dammers) are shown in extreme close-ups, the edges of his contact lenses (which were probably used to make the actor's eyes darker) are clearly visible. See more »


Dr. Lucy Lynskey: Tell me,why is it that you can see Ray and I can't?
Frank Bannister: I was in an accident.A car accident... about five years ago.I don't know they say that sometimes when you have a traumatic experience that it can alter your perception.
See more »


References Mod Squad (1968) See more »


Written by Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell
Performed by Sonic Youth
Courtesy of DCG Records
By Arrangement with MCA Special Markets and Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Excellent, Underrated, Fantasy/Horror/Comedy film.
6 July 2005 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Frank Bannister (Micheal J. Fox) is been seeing Ghosts after he was in a car accident with his wife (Angela Bloomfield), who died in the accident. Frank for years is been conning people as a Ghostbuster with the help of two wise cracking ghosts (Chi McBride & Jim Fyfe). When a mysterious ghost disguise himself as the Grim Reaper is been killing humans for pleasure. With the help of a local doctor (Trini Alvarado), she willing to help Frank stop this menacing ghost but stopping them in a way is a Freaked Out FBI Agent (Jeffery Combs).

Directed by Three Time Oscar-Winner:Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Brain Dead, King Kong-2005). Jackson made an very entertaining film that mixes it with Supernatural, Comedy, Thriller and Horror very well. This was a Box Office Disappointment in the Summer of 1996. The film plays better on Video and Television. But it was a must see in the theater, for it's amazing Digital Effects. Fox gives one of his best roles, Combs steals the show in the film. The movie's supporting cast are:Peter Dobson, John Astin, Dee Wallace Stone, Jake Busey, Troy Evens and R.Lee Ermey.

This Review is the Director's Cut for new DVD. Which the film is now 14 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. DVD has an sharp anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an strong-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD has an entertaining commentary track from the director from the original 1998 Director's Cut Laserdisc. This new DVD has the same features from the Laserdisc, including the original 4 and ½ hours documentary. Which the documentary also has deleted scenes, outtakes, interviews with the cast and more. The problem with this DVD is a flip-side disc, which one side is the film and other side of the disc is the documentary.

The documentary is been trimmed down for the DVD but side A does have the 45 minute long storyboard scenes with commentary by the director. Which is not on side B on the documentary of the DVD. Although be careful with this DVD, since it's a flip-side disc and it could get scratches easily. This Director's Cut adds some funny moments and some character development (especially from Combs character). This is a one of a kind film from the increasingly talented filmmaker-Peter Jackson. Don't miss it. Executive Produced by Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future Trilogy). Written by Fran Walsh and the Director. Nice music score by Danny Elfman (Batman, Nightbreed, Red Dragon). Watch for Jackson in a Cameo. Super 35. (**** ½/*****).

32 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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I'm confused about Patricia + Johnny calia386
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