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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
3,433 ( 856)
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:

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:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The revolver Milton Dammer uses is a Charter Arm's Bulldog. See more »

Goofs

When Lucy is freezing Frank down, the dial she turns is color-coded light blue to dark blue (cold to colder). Moments later, when Dammers turns up, the dial is on a previously non-existent red setting. See more »

Quotes

Stuart, Bannister's Ghostly Assistant: Come on. You're out of your mind. You're talking about a mythical figure. A pseudo-religious icon from the 12th century.
Judge: Save your pea brain prattle for the classroom,boy. That was the soul collector and he's been taking people out since time began. He's been going about some dark business here in Fairwater and we ain't nothing but worm bait. When your number's up, that's it.
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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 »


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

 
Expertly Crafter
27 December 1998 | by DaveKerrSee all my reviews

The Frighteners is an excellent horror-comedy-drama in which Michael J. Fox plays ex-architect and now psychic scamster Frank Bannister. The film revolves around the premise that Frank, after being involved in an accident which resulted in the death of his wife, can now see disembodied spirits and runs a scam in which the ghouls haunt houses under the order of Frank and then he 'exorcises' them for a fee. However, a series of murders begin in Frank's town and it becomes achingly clear that these murders have something to do with his wife's death. The romantic involvement comes in the form of Trini Alvarado (Little Women) who plays a doctor who's husband was killed by the evil forces at work. This film achieves many things, it manages to create a comic atmosphere at times whilst being able to make us feel real sympathy for the character of Frank and his tragic circumstances. This is a truly under-rated film and it is well worth watching.


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