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The Frighteners
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The Frighteners (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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The Frighteners -- A psychic private detective who consorts with deceased souls becomes engaged in a mystery as members of the town community begin dying mysteriously.
The Frighteners -- Post


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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Fran Walsh (written by) &
Peter Jackson (written by)
View company contact information for The Frighteners on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 July 1996 (USA) See more »
Something has put the fear of death in the living and sent the dead running for their lives. See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
This looks like one tough business! See more (219 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Michael J. Fox ... Frank Bannister

Trini Alvarado ... Dr. Lucy Lynskey

Peter Dobson ... Ray Lynskey

John Astin ... The Judge

Jeffrey Combs ... Milton Dammers

Dee Wallace ... Patricia Ann Bradley (as Dee Wallace-Stone)

Jake Busey ... Johnny Bartlett

Chi McBride ... Cyrus
Jim Fyfe ... Stuart, Bannister's Ghostly Assistant

Troy Evans ... Sheriff Walt Perry
Julianna McCarthy ... Old Lady Bradley

R. Lee Ermey ... Sgt. Hiles

Elizabeth Hawthorne ... Magda Rees-Jones
Angela Bloomfield ... Debra Bannister
Desmond Kelly ... Harry Sinclair
Jonathan Blick ... Steve Bayliss

Todd Rippon ... Deputy

John Sumner ... Deputy
Michael Robinson ... Deputy

Jim McLarty ... Deputy

Anthony Ray Parker ... Deputy
Paul Yates ... Deputy

Melanie Lynskey ... Deputy
John Leigh ... Bryce Campbell
Nicola Cliff ... Young Patricia
Ken Blackburn ... Dr. Kammins
Stuart Devenie ... Museum Curator
Genevieve Westcott ... TV Presenter
K.C. Kelly ... Doctor
Leslie Wing ... Mrs. Waterhouse
Leslie Klein ... Sylvia
Frank Edwards ... Resuscitating Man
Alan O'Leary ... The Waiter
Danny Lineham ... Barry
Charlie McClellan ... Reporter
William Pomeroy ... Jacob Platz
George Port ... Orderly
Billy Jackson ... Baby in Bouncer
Sophie Watkins ... Nursery Baby
Taea Hartwell ... Nursery Baby
Max Grover ... Nursery Baby
George Grover ... Nursery Baby
Tony Hopkins ... Hospital Patient
Lewis Martin ... Hospital Patient
Clay Nelson ... Passerby
Matthew Chamberlain ... Passerby
Vivienne Kaplan ... Nun
Liz Mullane ... Nun
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grant Aldridge ... Funeral Photographer (uncredited)
Michael Elsworth ... Undertaker (uncredited)

Peter Jackson ... Man with Piercings (uncredited)
Jeff Slaven ... Police Mechanic (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Jackson 
Writing credits
Fran Walsh (written by) &
Peter Jackson (written by)

Produced by
Peter Jackson .... producer
Tim Sanders .... co-producer
Jamie Selkirk .... producer
Fran Walsh .... associate producer
Robert Zemeckis .... executive producer
Original Music by
Danny Elfman 
Cinematography by
John Blick 
Alun Bollinger 
Film Editing by
Jamie Selkirk 
Casting by
Victoria Burrows 
Vivienne Kaplan 
Production Design by
Grant Major 
Art Direction by
Dan Hennah 
Costume Design by
Barbara Darragh 
Makeup Department
Brent Baker .... special makeup effects
Rick Baker .... special makeup artist: The Judge
Roger Borelli .... special makeup effects
Mitch Devane .... special makeup effects
Marjory Hamlin .... makeup supervisor
Vance Hartwell .... special makeup effects artist
Jurgen Heimann .... special makeup effects
Todd Heindel .... special makeup effects
Gabrielle Jones .... makeup assistant
Denise Leibee .... special makeup effects
James McLoughlin .... special makeup effects (as Jim McLoughlin)
Cheryl Newton .... wig maker: principals
Jane O'Kane .... hair stylist
Jane O'Kane .... makeup artist
Gary Pawlowski .... special makeup effects
Brian Penikas .... special makeup effects
Bron Roylance .... makeup artist: Mr. Fox
Mark Setrakian .... special makeup effects
Joseph Yuss Simon .... makeup effects
Bill Sturgeon .... special makeup effects
Gail Wilson .... hair stylist
Production Management
Bridget Bourke .... production manager
Andrew Hampton .... unit manager
Rick Porras .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
John Blick .... second unit director
Carey Carter .... first assistant director: second unit
Michele Priest .... second assistant director
Chris Short .... first assistant director
Martin Walsh .... third assistant director
Art Department
Karl Anton .... carpenter
Jean-Paul Beckhoudt .... art department assistant
Neil Blannin .... carpenter
Brett Blenkin .... carpenter
Simon Bright .... art department assistant
Anton Buys .... carpenter
Tanea Chapman .... art department assistant
Kirsty Clayton .... property buyer
Jill Cormack .... set dresser
Richard Dolan .... artist and sculptor
Richard Dolan .... technician
Kerry Dunn .... set finisher
Scott Harens .... property maker
Mark Hawthorne .... art department assistant
Mike Heffernan .... carpenter
Chris Hennah .... art department coordinator
Mark Hill .... scenic artist
Brian Massey .... greensman
Matthew Mellor .... property maker
Brad Mill .... stand-by props
Chris Morrison .... carpenter
Johno Morton .... carpenter
Ed Mulholand .... construction manager
Roger Murray .... mechanical prop builder
William Pomeroy .... art department advisor: USA
Dave Richards .... carpenter
Stephen Ruscoe .... miniatures
Graeme Sang .... carpenter
Troy Stephens .... scenic artist
David Turner .... property assistant
Ken Turner .... greensman
Bryan Wakelin .... carpenter
Norman Willerton .... construction foreman
Sound Department
Phil Benson .... supervising sound editor
Steve Boeddeker .... sound effects editor
John Boswell .... assistant sound re-recording mixer
David Boulton .... adr mixer
Brent Burge .... sound effects editor
Chris Burt .... adr mixer
Ross A. Chambers .... dialogue editor
Gethin Creagh .... sound re-recording mixer
Corrin Ellingford .... boom operator
Jeremy P. Geor .... sound assistant
Scott Guitteau .... assistant sound designer
Michael Hedges .... sound re-recording mixer
Mike Hopkins .... supervising sound editor
Richard Hymns .... adr supervisor
Mike Jones .... sound effects editor
Helen Luttrell .... foley recordist
Peter Mills .... sound assistant
Sam Negri .... sound technical advisor
John Neill .... sound manager
John Neill .... sound re-recording mixer
Hammond Peek .... sound recordist
Tim Prebble .... sound effects editor
Charleen Richards .... adr mixer
Janet Roddick .... sound coordinator
Susan Sanford .... assistant sound designer
Kim Shaw-Williams .... boom operator
Brian Shennan .... sound mixer
Nigel Stone .... adr mixer
Randy Thom .... sound designer
Randy Thom .... supervising sound re-recording mixer
Craig Tomlinson .... sound effects editor
Beth Tredray .... foley artist
Chris Ward .... foley editor
Katy Wood .... sound assistant
Special Effects by
David Backler .... special effects
Mike Elizalde .... mechanical designer
Blair Foord .... special effects assistant
Clint Ingram .... special effects assistant
Steve Ingram .... special effects supervisor
Carol Koch .... cosmetic finisher
Darryl Richards .... special effects assistant
Visual Effects by
Andrew Adamson .... digital effects supervisor
Matt Aitken .... CG supervisor
Simon Allen .... digital compositor
Karen Ansel .... lead technical director: Weta Digital
Peter Bailey .... digital effects artist
Nick Booth .... runner
Lee Bramwell .... digital compositor
Tim Capper .... video compositor
Lynne Cartwright .... character animator
Buckley Collum .... technical director
Jeanmarc Furio .... technical director: Weta FX
Matt Holmes .... visual effects coordinator
Gray Horsfield .... visual effects
Sandy Houston .... digital paint artist
Laurent Hugueniot .... technical director: Weta Digital
Mel James .... digital artist: Weta Digital
Janice Jones .... digital compositor
Scott Kilburn .... digital artist
Dale McBeath .... character animator
Charlie McClellan .... digital effects producer
Paul McGhee .... scanning and recording supervisor
Stephen Regelous .... digital artist
Wendy Rogers .... digital artist
Brian Scadden .... opticals
John Sheils .... CG supervisor
Paul Story .... rotoscope artist
Mark Tait .... technical director
Wes Takahashi .... visual effects supervisor
Richard Taylor .... creature and miniature effects
Tim Trumble .... film recording technician
Kara Vandeleur .... rotoscope artist
Robert Weaver .... digital artist
Frank Wegerhoff .... digital effects artist
Joyce Young .... rotoscope artist
Matthew Paulson .... modeler (uncredited)
Bruce Brown .... stunt coordinator
Charles Croughwell .... stunt double: Michael J. Fox (as Charlie Croughwell)
Steve Doherty .... stunts
Jenny Harris .... stunts
Aaron Lupton .... stunts
Mark Prowse .... stunts
Joanne Strong .... stunts
Camera and Electrical Department
Rick Allender .... Steadicam operator
Ben Bell .... assistant grip
Richard Bluck .... Steadicam operator
Richard Bluck .... camera operator
Alun Bollinger .... camera operator
Neil Cervin .... camera operator (additional camera operator)
Adam Clark .... clapper loader
Aaron Cowan .... electrician
Roland Ebbing .... electrician
Ants Farrell .... electrician
Harry Harrison .... key grip
Simon Higgins .... best boy
Brett Jarman .... gaffer
Terry Joosten .... assistant grip
Rob Kerr .... electrician
Ian McCarroll .... assistant camera
Helen McNamara .... assistant grip
Mark Newnham .... electrician
Ian Nicholls .... electrician
Andy Reid .... dolly grip
Richard Scott .... camera operator
Andrew Stroud .... assistant camera
Andrew Stroud .... clapper loader
Bryce Swainson .... video split operator
Gerry Vasbenter .... focus puller
Hansel Verkerk .... electrician
Pierre Vinet .... still photographer
Keith Watkins .... assistant grip
Roydon Johnson .... camera operator: second unit (uncredited)
Animation Department
Paul Hunt .... animator
Dale McBeath .... animator
Casting Department
Liz Mullane .... casting: New Zealand
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rachael Broad .... costume assistant
Emma Harre .... stand-by wardrobe
Jane Holland .... assistant costume designer
Sarah Hope .... wardrobe assistant
Marion Olsen .... costume cutter
Peter Rigby .... costume cutter
Editorial Department
Cindy Bowles .... re-sync editor
Eric De Beus .... assistant editor
John Gilbert .... associate editor
Emma Haughton .... first assistant editor
Mark Herman .... re-sync editor
Josie McClutchie .... assistant editor (as Josie McClutcher)
Jo Priest .... assistant editor
Lynne Seaman .... color timer
Hamiora Williams .... assistant editor
Music Department
Steve Bartek .... orchestrator
Tom Boyd .... oboe
Zachary Cahn .... assistant music editor
Artie Kane .... conductor
Mark McKenzie .... additional orchestrator
Shawn Murphy .... score mixer
Ellen Segal .... music editor
Edgardo Simone .... additional orchestrator
James Thatcher .... musician: french horn
Patti Zimmitti .... music contractor
Frank Macchia .... music preparation (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Robin Allen .... vehicle wrangler
Spencer Faulkner .... unit driver
Paul Fleming .... assistant vehicle wrangler
Other crew
Mark Ashworth .... set manager
David Backler .... stand-in
Stephen Bayliss .... assistant accountant
Michael Beaudin .... assistant accountant (as Mike Beaudin)
David Bertram .... stand-in
Jan Blenkin .... production assistant
Brigitte Boys .... machinist
Astrid Breach .... stand-in
Shane Broadbent .... stand-in
Tom Burstall .... risk manager
Dean Buttar .... security: Mr. Fox
Brian Campbell .... assistant set finisher
Bryce Campbell .... location manager
Grant Campbell .... laboratory liaison
Alice Capper-Starr .... stand-in
Karyn Childs .... production coordinator
Chris Clapp .... stand-in
Dave Cleary .... assistant set finisher (as David Cleary)
Robb Conner .... stand-in: Michael J Fox
Augie Davis .... safety officer
Erina Fox .... unit assistant
Aaron Gibson .... unit assistant
Eleanor Gibson .... cast runner
Reg Gibson .... unit assistant
Tim Haigh .... production runner
Lee Harris .... extras coordinator
Phil Harris .... stand-in
Vance Hartwell .... puppeteer
Grant Hickman .... stand-in
Chrissy Hill .... stand-in
Trish Jacobson .... stand-in
Vivienne Kaplan .... assistant: Mr. Jackson
Steve Keig .... stand-in
Linda Klein-Nixon .... production accountant
Ross Lane .... stand-in
Josie Leckie .... cast runner
Valentine Maher .... assistant set finisher
Matthew Martin .... production runner
Deannah Mayhew .... stand-in
Liz McGregor .... machinist
Danny Milne .... set runner
Liz Mullane .... assistant: Mr. Fox
Ben Northrop .... stand-in
Denise O'Connell .... stand-in
Jamie Oliver .... stand-in
Shelley Parker .... production assistant
Jon Paske .... stand-in
Tim Pearson .... stand-in
Jeremy Peet .... assistant unit publicist
Leslie Pomeroy .... dialogue coach
Chris Ramsay .... assistant set finisher
Christian Rivers .... conceptual illustrator
Sue Rogers .... unit publicist
Merrin Ruck .... script supervisor
Damon Selkirk .... unit assistant
Clayton Sheridan .... assistant set finisher
Matthew Spicer .... stand-in
Jolyon Stewart .... stand-in
Jeanne Stuart .... production assistant
Alex Sutherland .... unit assistant
Graham Thompson .... location manager
Colin Tyler .... laboratory liaison
John Van Der Ryden .... rushes transfer
Andy Wickens .... laboratory technician
Jacqui Wood .... production coordinator
Daniel Wheatcroft .... studio executive (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Robert Zemeckis Presents: The Frighteners" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Rated R for terror/violence
110 min | USA:123 min (director's cut)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:Atp (DVD rating) (special edition) | Argentina:13 (original rating) | Australia:M | Brazil:16 | Chile:14 | Finland:K-15 (2005) (uncut) (DVD) (director's cut) | Finland:K-16 (2000) (DVD) (cut) | Finland:K-16 (1997) (video) (uncut) | France:-12 | Germany:18 (DVD rating) | Germany:16 (director's cut) | Germany:18 (nf) | Iceland:14 | Iceland:16 (video rating) | Italy:VM14 | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:M | Norway:11 | Peru:14 | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:15 | Spain:13 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 (cut) | UK:15 (uncut director's edition) | UK:15 (re-rating) (2005) (uncut) | USA:R (certificate #34656)

Did You Know?

Chi McBride agreed to be in The Frighteners, after seeing Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (1994).See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: When Ray and Lucy are walking Frank out of their home, we hear the sound of Frank's toy gun being used when it is actually not. Also at that same moment we hear the sound of shoes on a hard floor when Ray and Lucy are wearing socks and walking on carpet.See more »
Frank Bannister:[after seeing the glowing number on her forehead] You're next.
Magda Rees-Jones:Are you threatening me?
See more »
Movie Connections:
Don't Fear The ReaperSee more »


If The Grim Reaper is Johnny Bartlett, why is he terrorising Patricia in the opening scene?
Why was this film rated R in the USA?
What actually happened when Frank and his wife Debra crashed in the car in the flashback?
See more »
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
This looks like one tough business!, 14 April 2006
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.

In a small quiet coastal town of Fairwater, residents are dying in very strange circumstances and Frank Banister makes a living by scamming people of Fairwater with his psychic abilities to rid poltergeists out of their homes. Which, unknowingly for the occupants the trio of spirits that are causing the havoc happen to be part of Frank's scam. Frank manages to communicate and see the dead because of a scarring trauma he had. While, his set-up might be going to plan, the strange deaths keep on rising and Frank starts seeing numbers engraved on peoples' foreheads and one night he encounters a malevolent spirit shaped as the grim reaper who's performing these killings. The town believes Frank has something to do with the murders and a FBI agent is brought on the case and tries at every opportunity to pin the deaths on Frank.

Well, Peter Jackson has made a name for himself with his last four blockbusters, but just before those epic films he made this odd ,comedy-horror caper that was aimed for a mainstream audience, but it sadly went by unnoticed, because it just didn't appeal to everyone's tastes. I've seen it a couple of times and I don't mind it, even if the film's all over the shop. The distinctively, novel film is brimming with creative images, oddball bunch of characters, masterfully constructed CGI effects, deliciously, quirky black humour and spontaneous jolts. So, whats not like!

Well, despite these great aspects the film feels overly convoluted with many ideas and back-stories that makes the tone shift back and forth in such a unsteady rate. You just don't know what it really wants to be and it just feels like the film feels the same way too. The comical humour and ghoulish horror doesn't always gel, with the first half of the flick being more humorous, then suddenly it shifts gear with the second half going for some fast-paced thrills and shocks, but here Jackson never manages connect the two that successfully. That's not to say I didn't find it amusing, because it is. Its an entertaining caper and an ingenious thought, but it throws around so many paths the film could've taken instead of just fleshing one out and going for it. The meaty script is an complete muddle with many scenarios that only scratch the top of the surface and it seems to just go on for too long.

While, the material might have been incoherent, it's Jackson's sharp visual eye that screams at you with the film's stark, Gothic fairytale style. Jackson always makes great use of the scenery and here is no exception with a murky colour palette that has a tonne of atmosphere about it. The twitchy camera-work is always on the move and Danny Elfman's score beats out a spaced out vibe that goes highly strung when the pace picks up. Jackson succeeds in creating around these kinetic aspects, slices of unexpected turns, pumping action and firmly, constructed suspense. But the film's big show stopper is the FX bonanza with it's extravagantly slick effects that shows Jackson demonstrates supreme control in his vision. The glaring getup of the Grim Reaper is the most artistic and forcible of the lot. Though, if you're looking for some gross-out, make-up effects there's none of that to be found and that's the same for any kind of campy nature. This project does seem more colder and distant than that of his previous efforts with the humour side of the things feeding more off the black misery than the goofiness.

The film has a great cast on show with Michael J Fox who fits well as the sympathetic lead Frank. Trini Alvarado as Dr. Lucy Lynskey is good too. Dee Wallace Stone is great as the on edge Patricia. Jake Busey is equally good as her evil-minded boyfriend who's back from the grave committing murders. Chi McBride, John Astin and Jim Fyfe play the ghosts that teamed up with Frank and they add to the humour and so does Peter Dobson as the self-assured Ray. But when in frame its Jeffery Combs who steals the show as the eccentric FBI agent Dammers, who's one real nut! Also there's a amusing cameo from R.Lee Ermey mimicking his performance from "Full Metal Jacket" as a Sgt. Hiles a spirit of a graveyard.

A flawed, but enjoyably agreeable dark comedy-supernatural flick.

p.s. This review is on the theatrical release.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Frighteners (1996)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Ghosts Gotchinezcki
Magda Rees-Jones dan-willi84
Imagine if you JUST turned your TV on, and you see ..... whitehorse88
I'm confused about Patricia + Johnny calia386
Is this intended to be an Autumn film? c_e_martin
Was there a reason why Johnny and Patricia killed the people? mgrad784
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