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The Frighteners (1996)

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After a tragic car accident that 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.

Director:

Peter Jackson
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Popularity
3,270 ( 294)
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Stars: Danny Mulheron, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Julianna McCarthy ... Old Lady Bradley
R. Lee Ermey ... Sgt. Hiles
Elizabeth Hawthorne ... Magda Rees-Jones
Angela Bloomfield ... Debra Bannister
Desmond Kelly 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:

Frightening, isn't it? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

New Zealand | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Robert Zemeckis Presents: The Frighteners See more »

Filming Locations:

Oklahoma, USA See more »

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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 »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Cruise and Matthew Broderick were considered for the part of Frank Bannister if Michael J. Fox turned down the part. See more »

Goofs

When Frank goes to the Lynskey house he said it was 'spontaneous recurrent psychokinesis', but when he goes to another case he calls it 'recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis'. Since he's a con man, he has no use for consistency. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Hiles: Ho-lee Jesus! Frank Bannister!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The director's cut, until recently seen only on laserdisc, now also available on DVD, contains 14 minutes of additional footage; it includes additional screen time for Judge (John Astin), extra scenes at Frank's home with Stuart and Cyrus, two extra scenes at the jail featuring Stuart, Cyrus and Dammers and additional dialogue for Dammers as he recalls some of his horrific undercover assignments. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: All About Steve (2005) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fun and frenetic
5 September 2013 | by januaryman-1See all my reviews

The Frighteners is a fun little movie from the mid-90s. It has an pleasing mix of stars who hit their stride in the 80s (Fox,Wallace, and Ermey) and others who count this as among their first works (Alvarado, Busey, McBride). It is an odd mix of horror and humor from Peter Jackson and had state-of-the-art special effects for the time.

The Frighteners, filmed and produced in New Zealand, was the biggest special effects movie made at that time outside the Hollywood movie base. It made extensive use of blue screens and had over 400 computer-enhanced special effects. Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh wrote the script and Jackson directed and produced the film.

The Frighteners has an overall tone of whimsy but also has some impressive horror movie moments. The Danny Elfman score fits the movie perfectly. Frank Bannister, played by Fox, is a widowed psychic investigator exploring supernatural goings on in a placid rural town. Newcomer Alvarado plays his romantic interest. Veteran actor John Astin plays a ghost called The Judge who has seen his better days. Ermey plays drill instructor (go figure), Sgt Hiles, who is in charge of the local cemetery. He has several lines and a general demeanor that pays homage or satirizes (depending on your viewpoint) his character in 1987's Full Metal Jacket. Jake Busey plays a good bad man, and McBride plays a funny role as Bannister's ghostly aide.

The Frighteners is amusing, frightening, entertaining, and a bit exhausting. It is a great Fall or Halloween movie.


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