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The Frighteners (1996)

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After a tragic car accident kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, 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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1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Patricia Ann Bradley (as Dee Wallace-Stone)
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Julianna McCarthy ...
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Debra Bannister
Desmond Kelly ...
Harry Sinclair
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Storyline

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 <hypersonic91@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Your number's up! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

19 July 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Robert Zemeckis Presents: The Frighteners  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,565,000, 21 July 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,759,216

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

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| (director's cut)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeffrey Combs is playing a character named Milton Dammers. This could be considered as a reference to Jeffrey Dahmer, who is also the name of one of the most notorious serial killers of all time. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Judge: When a man's jawbone drops off it's time to reassess the situation.
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Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Ghost Fever (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Superstar
Written by Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell
Performed by Sonic Youth
Courtesy of DCG Records
By Arrangement with MCA Special Markets and Products
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Weird, but Entertaining and Original
8 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

After the traumatic experience of losing his beloved wife Debra (Angela Bloomfield) in a car accident, the architect Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) acquires the ability of seeing ghosts. He quits his profession; abandons the construction of his dream house to live with Debra and becomes a con man, using the ghosts Cyrus (Chi McBride), Stuart (Jim Fyfe) and The Judge (John Astin) to haunt houses and then charging the dwellers to exorcise their homes.

Dr. Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvarado) visits the reclusive Patricia Ann Bradley (Dee Wallace-Stone), who was a former delinquent and girlfriend of the serial–killer Johnny Bartlett (Jake Busey) that lives with her mother, she notes that Patricia has bruises. Lucy returns home and together with her husband Ray Lynskey (Peter Dobson), they are haunted by a poltergeist. She calls Frank and soon Ray has a heart attack. Lucy meets Frank in a restaurant and he realizes that Soul Collector is marking numbers in the forehead of his victims before killing them. Frank becomes prime suspect of the police due to his knowledge about the murders and he is arrested. Meanwhile the psychotic FBI agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs) comes to the city to investigate the murder cases. When Frank finds that Lucy will be the next victim of the Reaper, he takes the ultimate decision to fight the entity to save her.

"The Frighteners" is a weird, but entertaining and original film by Peter Jackson. The story is too violent for comedy and too silly for horror; therefore the genre is indeed a combination of comedy, romance, horror and fantasy. The special effects are excellent and state-of-art for a 1996 movie. Michael J. Fox shines in the role of the psychic Frank Bannister and Trini Alvarado is perfect in the role of his romantic pair Dr. Lucy Lynskey. All the characters are interesting and peculiar, and the cast has great performances independently of the special effects. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Espíritos" ("The Spirits")


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