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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
3,197 ( 601)
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:

Something has put the fear of death in the living and sent the dead running for their lives. 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

Chi McBride agreed to be in this movie after seeing Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (1994). See more »

Goofs

When Frank is having breakfast talking to his ghost buddies early in the film, the background (Lyttelton, New Zealand) shows the location at sunset, not sunrise. See more »

Quotes

Dammers: My body is a roadmap of pain. And pain has its valves
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

Spoofs Skin Game (1971) 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

"Death ain't no way to make a living."
15 January 2003 | by Backlash007See all my reviews

The Frighteners is a textbook example of how to do a horror/comedy. Peter Jackson once again proves he can handle the genre masterfully. With Psychic Investigator Frank Bannister, Michael J. Fox adds another great character to his pantheon of heroes. The rest of the cast is top notch as well. Horror icon Dee Wallace Stone is great in this. John Astin is great in this. R. Lee Ermey is great in this. Even Jake Busey is great in this. Everyone is great in this. The actors and actresses do a wonderful job of handling the humor and the scares. But the actor that really shines here is genre veteran Jeffrey Combs. His portrayal of F.B.I. Special Agent Milton Dammers is one of his most memorable in long career of genre roles. Only the best went into this movie: Rick Baker was brought in to handle some of the visual effects and Danny Elfman composed the score. I don't know that it's my favorite, but this may be Jackson's best horror offering thus far in his career. That's a bold statement considering he's no stranger to horror.

Note for genre buffs: Peter Jackson cameos as the pierced passerby.


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