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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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1,537 ( 664)
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:

Dead yet? 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:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Weta Digital, Ltd., Peter Jackson's visual effects company, had to expand their capacity from one to thirty-five computers, in order to meet the visual effects demands for this movie. They had good use for them afterwards as their next project was the special effects-heavy trilogy The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). See more »

Goofs

When Frank is at Ray and Lucy's house, he opens the refrigerator and freezer to squirt holy water inside. No light comes on when either door is opened. See more »

Quotes

[about to have sex with a mummy]
Judge: There's a reason they call me the "hanging judge".
See more »

Alternate Versions

When Peter Jackson learned during post-production that the MPAA was going to give the movie an R-rating (despite many efforts to go for a PG-13 rating), he made Milton Dammers' death scene more gruesome by blowing up his head, instead of just having him shot in the chest and blown through the chapel doors. This caused problems with the BBFC, who cut the one continuous shot into two shots, minus the bullet blowing up the head. This censored Region 2 DVD was released throughout Europe. The U.S. television version uses the take where Dammers is blown through the chapel doors. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: The Flash (TV) (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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Far more fantasy than horror but still enjoyable
3 September 2013 | by kannibalcorpsegrinderSee all my reviews

Accused of murder, a small-town psychic charlatan learns that his skills in dealing with the deceased are put to the test for real when the murder spree continues despite everything he can do to stop it and must keep the spirit from harming his friends.

This here turned out to be quite an infuriating and quite troubling if somewhat interesting effort. Most of this is due to the fact that the film is far more of a fantasy effort that a straight-forward horror effort which is strange considering the subject matter at hand. This is mainly found in the finale at the hospital about the subject being sent into a heavenly arena and all the different after-effects on the body being adjusted to life back on Earth, all this just makes for a rather confusing time being that the main purpose is to stop the rampage of the ghostly figure throughout the town that only he can see and believe, so the sudden influx of mystical elements that this does at the very end makes for a confusing time. As well, the fact that these scenes force the film along far longer than it really should as the lengthy running time here really kills this one in that last section, not only with the sudden influx of fantasy but the mindless need to pay off far more plot- threads than it needed. Overall, this really could've used a few minutes shaved off here by deciding to abandon a few of these plots. That said, there's a lot to like here especially the scenes of the hooded ghostly menace in action, most notably the kinetic sequence in the holding cell where the good ghosts go fight the hooded ghost and take the fight between the walls and they good barreling through the different sections of the room as the humans watch and wait for them to appear and disappear, as well as a couple stellar attacks on a moving car that look absolutely amazing, an ambush in a graveyard and finally the hospital confrontation that makes for a lot of fun, so as an action film and horror film it definitely works wonders. As well, the CGI used is actually well-done and doesn't look cheap or fake at all, and gives the ghosts a fluidity that actually comes off nicely and makes up for some of the other flaws.

Rated R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.


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