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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.

Director:

Peter Jackson
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Popularity
3,337 ( 18)
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

When your number's up, its up. 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 »

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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

Charles Starkweather, the real-life killer referenced in the movie, killed eleven people (and two dogs) during a nearly two month killing spree. His fourteen-year-old girlfriend (Caril Ann Fugate) accompanied him for and participated in most of the killings. He was caught, tried, convicted, and executed (by electric chair), in a seventeen month span. Caril Ann Fugate was not executed but sentenced to a life term in prison. She was paroled after serving seventeen years. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 40 mins) When Frank and Lucy are hidden behind the shelf from Patricia, a wire can be spotted on the back of her dress, as she run past the screen to the left. See more »

Quotes

Frank Bannister: I'm just trying to make a living.
Magda Rees-Jones: Living? Not a word you'd know a lot about. Is it Mr. 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

References Heavenly Creatures (1994) 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

 
Weird, but Entertaining and Original
8 November 2017 | by claudio_carvalhoSee 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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