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Encyclopedia > The Frighteners
The Frighteners

Theatrical poster for The Frighteners
Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by Robert Zemeckis
Written by Fran Walsh
Peter Jackson
Starring Michael J. Fox
Trini Alvarado
John Astin
Jeffrey Combs
Dee Wallace-Stone
Jake Busey
Chi McBride
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography John Blick
Alun Bollinger
Editing by Jamie Selkirk
Distributed by MCA
Universal Pictures
Release date(s) July 19, 1996
Running time Theatrical:
110 min.
Director's Cut:
122 min.
Country New Zealand
U.S.
Language English
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

The Frighteners is a 1996 comedy/horror film directed by Peter Jackson about a psychic private detective who stands in the way of a murderous Grim Reaper-like creature. As with his later films, Jackson filmed the movie in his home country, New Zealand on location in Lyttelton and Governor's Bay. Released on July 19, 1996, the film earned $16 million at the U.S. box office. The Frighteners (not to be confused with the film of the same title) is a 1989 spy novel by Donald Hamilton, continuing the adventures of his creation, assassin Matt Helm. ... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ... Robert Lee Bob Zemeckis (born May 14, 1952) is an Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning American movie director, producer and writer. ... Fran Walsh and her husband Peter Jackson Frances Walsh MNZM is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and film producer and also a musician. ... For other persons named Michael Fox, see Michael Fox (disambiguation). ... Trini Alvarado (born 10 January 1967 in New York, New York) is an American actress best known for her role as Meg March in the 1994 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcotts novel, Little Women. Her father is Spaniard and her mother is Puerto Rican. ... John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is an Oscar nominated American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, but is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family television series and similarly eccentric comedic characters. ... Jeffrey Alan Combs (born September 9, 1954 in Oxnard, California) is an American character actor best known for his horror film roles and his appearances playing a number of characters in the Star Trek franchise. ... Dee Wallace-Stone (born Deanna Bowers on December 14, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri) is an U.S. motion picture and television actress who is best remembered for her role as Elliots divorced mother in the Steven Spielberg film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and as Karen White... Jake Busey (born June 15, 1971 in Los Angeles, California), is an American Actor/Film producer. ... Chi McBride (right) on Boston Public Chi McBride (born September 23, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actor. ... Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California) is an American musician who led the rock band Oingo Boingo as singer / songwriter from 1976 until its breakup in 1995, and has composed film scores extensively since 1985s Pee-wees Big Adventure. ... Jamie Selkirk is a film editor and producer most prominently known for his work on the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. ... The Music Corporation of America was a United States based corporation in the music business. ... Universal Pictures is the main motion picture production/distribution arm of Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. ... is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The year 1996 in film involved some significant events. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The year 1996 in film involved some significant events. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... “Horror Movie” redirects here. ... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ... Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945) was one of the best-known American psychics of the 20th century and made many highly publicized predictions. ... A private investigator, or PI, is a person who undertakes investigations. ... Grim Reaper redirects here. ... Lyttelton on a sunny day Lyttelton (43. ... is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... The term box office can refer to either: A place where tickets are sold to the public for admission to a venue The amount of business a particular production, such as a movie or theatre show, does. ...


In 1998, Jackson commissioned Universal Studios home video to release a laserdisc special edition of the film (with a 4 1/2 hour documentary) as well as a standard edition DVD. Some collectors spent up to $500 to get a copy of the out-of-print laserdisc special edition on eBay. This article is about the American media conglomerate. ... Not to be confused with disk laser, a type of solid-state laser in a flat configuration. ... Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to document reality. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... Not to be confused with disk laser, a type of solid-state laser in a flat configuration. ... This article is about the online auction center. ...


A Director's Cut Edition DVD was released in December 2005, to coincide with the release of Jackson's film King Kong. This edition included the 4 1/2 hour documentary and feature commentary of the laserdisc version, as well as a short introduction by Jackson recorded for the DVD. The Director's Cut DVD set is available in Regions 1, 2, 4, and 5. A HD DVD edition of the Director's Cut was also made available prior to the ending of HD DVD production and has been made available in the fire sales with exactly the same features as the Director's Cut DVD. A directors cut is a specially edited version of a film, and less often TV series, music video, commercials or video games, that is supposed to represent the directors own approved edit. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... King Kong is a 2005 remake of the 1933 King Kong film about a fictional giant ape called Kong. ... A major selling point of DVD video is that its storage capacity allows for a wide variety of extra features in addition to the feature film itself. ... Not to be confused with disk laser, a type of solid-state laser in a flat configuration. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... A directors cut is a specially edited version of a film, and less often TV series, music video, commercials or video games, that is supposed to represent the directors own approved edit. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... DVD is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for storing data, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... HD-DVD disc HD DVD (for High Density Digital Versatile Disc) is a digital optical media format which is being developed as one standard for high-definition DVD. HD DVD is similar to the competing Blu-ray Disc, which also uses the same CD sized (120 mm diameter) optical data...

Contents

Filming

The film's digital special effects were innovative at the time of its release. The seawater creature in The Abyss marked CGIs acceptance in the visual effects industry. ... Special effects (also called SPFX or SFX) are used in the film, television, and entertainment industry to realize scenes that cannot be achieved by live action or normal means. ...


The museum in the film was, at that time, the National Museum of New Zealand. For other uses, see Museum (disambiguation). ...


One of the ghost characters is played by John Astin, whose son, Sean Astin, stars in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as Samwise Gamgee. In his book There and Back Again: An Actor's Tale, Sean Astin cites his father's enthusiasm for working with Peter Jackson as the chief reason for his auditioning for the role. John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is an Oscar nominated American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, but is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family television series and similarly eccentric comedic characters. ... Sean Astin (born Sean Patrick Duke[1] on February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California) is a film actor, director, and Oscar-nominated producer best known for his film roles as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... This article is about the Peter Jackson films. ... Samwise Gamgee, later known as Samwise Gardner[2] or Samwise the Brave and commonly known as Sam, is a fictional character in J.R.R. Tolkiens Middle-earth legendarium. ... Sean Astin (born Sean Patrick Duke[1] on February 25, 1971 in Santa Monica, California) is a film actor, director, and Oscar-nominated producer best known for his film roles as Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ...


R. Lee Ermey, playing the ghost of Sergeant Hiles, virtually reprises (not for the first time) his role from Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is a former U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor and later Golden Globe-nominated actor, often playing the roles of authority figures, such as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning and Sheriff Hoyt... Kubrick redirects here. ... For the type of ammunition, see Full metal jacket bullet. ...


Ratings controversy

Despite numerous attempts by Peter Jackson to achieve a PG-13 rating, the MPAA granted The Frighteners an R rating for terror violence. The MPAA was particularly perplexed by the film's shift in tone from wild comedy to gory thriller. Jackson felt this decision was unfair, as he always intended the film to be a PG-13. Because of this, the film lost much of its potential audience. The MPAA film rating system is a system used in the United States and instituted by the Motion Picture Association of America to rate a movie based on its content. ... The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is a non-profit trade association formed to advance the interests of movie studios. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Box office and critical response

The film's box office response was disappointing. The majority of people involved felt this was due to the film's rating, even though it was generally billed as a youth-friendly supernatural comedy in the vein of Beetlejuice or Ghostbusters. Despite this, the film garnered mostly positive reviews, maintaining a 68% Fresh Rating on rottentomatoes.com. It has gone on to gain considerable success on Laserdisc, VHS and later DVD due to a cult following amongst horror enthusiasts and Peter Jackson fans. This article is about the film. ... For other uses, see Ghostbusters (disambiguation). ...


Plot

The film starts with a panicked girl named Patricia Bradley running from a ghost seen through the shape of walls. She is saved when her mother appears and shoots at the Grim Reaper-like ghost. The movie then shifts to the story of Frank Bannister. After losing his wife, Bannister (Michael J. Fox) gave up his job as an architect, letting his unfinished "dream house" sit incomplete for years. Following his wife's death, Banister gains the power to see ghosts and puts this skill to use by befriending two ghosts named Cyrus and Stewart and getting them to haunt houses in the area to drum up work for his ghostbusting business; Frank then 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. His motivation was that his wife was found dead after the car crash with a similar (lower) number carved into her forehead. Sure that they are connected, Frank decides to hunt down and discover the identity of the killer. Death, personified is an anthropomorphic figure or a fictional character who has existed in mythology and popular culture since the earliest days of storytelling. ... For other persons named Michael Fox, see Michael Fox (disambiguation). ...


After two people are killed, Frank discovers that the killer is the ghost of Johnny Bartlett. In life, Bartlett was crazy about being a prolific serial killer and murdered twelve people in a mental hospital with the assistance of Patricia, who was Bartlett's underaged girlfriend and daughter of the Director of the Hospital. The two were arrested and tried: Patricia was sent to prison on suspicion despite maintaining her innocence, but eventually released to live with her overbearing mother under careful observation, while Bartlett received the electric chair, just after shouting that he killed "one more than Starkweather." Charles Starkweather (November 24, 1938 – June 25, 1959) was a spree killer who murdered 11 victims in Nebraska and Wyoming during a road trip with his underage girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate. ...


Because he can see the numbers ahead of time, Frank can foretell the murders, but this puts him under suspicion by the police, and an eccentric FBI agent named Milton Dammers. He tries to stop the murders, helped by Dr. Lucy Lynskey, whose house was "exorcised" by Frank before her husband was killed, and his three ghostly friends. After learning the identity of the Reaper, Lucy worries that Patricia will become one of Johnny's targets. She enters the house, however makes a terrifying discovery: Patricia, who did aid Bartlett in the original murders, is still working with Bartlett's ghost. Patricia kills her mother and tries to kill Lucy, but Frank saves her and the two flee, stealing Bartlett's ashes from Patricia's room. Hoping to take the ashes to holy ground, they run for the chapel of an abandoned hospital to send Bartlett to Hell. Frank's powers help him realise that this was the hospital where the original crimes were committed through visions from the past. Unfortunately, the ashes are released by Dammers (whose is subsequently blasted with a shotgun by Patricia). Bartlett and Patricia hunt down Frank and Lucy. It is then that Frank makes sense of his repressed memories about the car crash that killed his wife. Bartlett, it seems, drove the two off the road and killed Frank's wife, Debra, then Patricia used Frank's box knife to cut the number into her forehead. The two kill Frank by strangling him, however, Frank's ghost seizes Patricia's spirit and drags her up towards Heaven with him, with Bartlett in hot pursuit. When they arrive, both Bartlett and Patricia are sent down to Hell, while Frank, after meeting Debra's spirit, is told it is not yet his time and is sent back to earth. He and Lucy fall in love. After this, due to the traumatic experience the two went through, it is revealed that Lucy can see the ghosts too- including a very displeased Dammers, evidently assigned as a guardian angel to the local sheriff - and Frank goes back to being an architect, demolishing the dream house that he never finished for his wife and building a life with Lucy. This article is about the theological or philosophical afterlife. ... a Stanley 99E fully retracted A utility knife (also called a box cutter, a razor blade knife, a carpet knife, or a stationery knife) is a common tool used in various trades and crafts for a variety of purposes. ...


Cast

For other persons named Michael Fox, see Michael Fox (disambiguation). ... Trini Alvarado (born 10 January 1967 in New York, New York) is an American actress best known for her role as Meg March in the 1994 film adaptation of Louisa May Alcotts novel, Little Women. Her father is Spaniard and her mother is Puerto Rican. ... Peter Dobson is an American actor who has appeared in Drowning Mona, The Frighteners, The Poseidon Adventure, and the film adaptation of Last Exit to Brooklyn. ... John Allen Astin (born March 30, 1930) is an Oscar nominated American actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows, but is best known for the role of Gomez Addams on The Addams Family television series and similarly eccentric comedic characters. ... Jeffrey Alan Combs (born September 9, 1954 in Oxnard, California) is an American character actor best known for his horror film roles and his appearances playing a number of characters in the Star Trek franchise. ... Dee Wallace-Stone (born Deanna Bowers on December 14, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri) is an U.S. motion picture and television actress who is best remembered for her role as Elliots divorced mother in the Steven Spielberg film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and as Karen White... Jake Busey (born June 15, 1971 in Los Angeles, California), is an American Actor/Film producer. ... Chi McBride (right) on Boston Public Chi McBride (born September 23, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American actor. ... Troy Evans (b. ... Julianna McCarthy (born August 17, 1929 in Erie, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American actress. ... Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is a former U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor and later Golden Globe-nominated actor, often playing the roles of authority figures, such as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, Mayor Tilman in the Alan Parker film Mississippi Burning and Sheriff Hoyt... Angela Bloomfield is a New Zealand actor and director. ... Desmond Kelly is the well known Ceylonese musician who has entertained generations of music lovers in Sri Lanka and in Australia. ...

Trivia

  • At one point, Johnny Bartlett mentions a man in Russia killing over fifty people, a reference to infamous Russian serial killer Andrei Chikatilo.
  • While filming scenes with the Judge (John Astin), Michael J. Fox would occasionally call him "Doc" by accident, referring to Doctor Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future trilogy, in which Fox portrayed Marty McFly. These films were also made by Universal and directed by Frighteners producer, Robert Zemeckis.
  • The Frighteners' initial cinema release was banned in Tasmania, Australia as the film's content bears a resemblance to the Port Arthur massacre which occurred in the same year. This included a similarity in appearance between the film's antagonist and Martin Bryant, and was not released because of sensitivity of the nature of the recent events. However, the film was later released on VHS and DVD, and has been televised.
  • Peter Jackson has a cameo in this movie, appearing as the pierced, biker jacket-wearing person with whom Frank collides while storming out of the newspaper office.
  • In the brief tussle between Lucy and Patricia, actress Trini Alvarado nearly broke her finger in the bedroom door.
  • A creature known as the Gatekeeper was conceptualized by Jackson for the movie. It was putto-like in appearance and extremely obese. Jackson went so far during production to have a suit built for an actor to perform in, but the character was eventually removed from the storyline. Footage of the Gatekeeper can be seen on the supplemental material on the special edition Laserdisc/DVD.
  • During script reading at Peter Jackson's house, Jackson didn't have a tape recorder to document the readings, and instead used a video camera which he set on the floor by the actor's feet.
  • The production team originally attempted to use physical means to create the Reaper, ie: a stuntman in a Reaper suit, a rod-puppet Reaper and an all cloth Reaper.
  • When the film was given an R-Rating, Peter Jackson decided to reshoot Dammers' death. Originally, Dammers is simply shot in the chest by a shotgun and flies through a set of doors. The film now features a gruesome close-up of Dammers' head exploding.
  • The song that plays over the credits is Blue Oyster Cult's (Don't Fear) The Reaper, covered by The Mutton Birds.
  • The novelization of the film is based on a very early screenplay draft, and bears only passing resemblance to the film.

Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Russians (Русские - Russkie) are an ethnic group of East Slavic people, which live primarily in Russia and neighboring countries. ... Serial killers are individuals who have a history of multiple slayings of victims who were usually unknown to them beforehand. ... Andrei Romanovich Chikatilo (Russian: ) (October 16, 1936 – February 14, 1994) Russian serial killer, nicknamed the Butcher of Rostov and The Red Ripper. ... Doctor Emmett Lathrop Doc Brown is a fictional character, one of the lead characters in the Back to the Future motion picture trilogy, played by actor Christopher Lloyd in the three films and the live action sequences of the animated series. ... The Back to the Future trilogy is a science fiction film trilogy written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, directed by Zemeckis and distributed by Universal Pictures. ... Martin Seamus Marty McFly is a fictional character and the main protagonist in the Back to the Future motion picture trilogy, played by actor Michael J. Fox in the three films and voiced by David Kaufman in the animated series. ... Universal Pictures is the main motion picture production/distribution arm of Universal Studios, a subsidiary of NBC Universal. ... Slogan or Nickname: Island of Inspiration; The Apple Isle; Holiday Isle Motto(s): Ubertas et Fidelitas (Fertility and Faithfulness) Other Australian states and territories Capital Hobart Government Constitutional monarchy Governor William Cox Premier Paul Lennon (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 5  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product... For the 1894 massacre in Lüshunkou, see Port Arthur massacre (China). ... Martin John Bryant (born 7 May 1967) murdered 35 people and injured 37 others in the Port Arthur massacre, a killing spree in Tasmania in 1996. ... Bottom view of VHS cassette with magnetic tape exposed Top view of VHS cassette with front casing removed The Video Home System, better known by its abbreviation VHS, is a recording and playing standard. ... DVD (also known as Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is a popular optical disc storage media format. ... A cameo role or cameo appearance (often shortened to just cameo) is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television. ... sculpted putto The putto is a figure of a pudgy baby, almost always male, often naked and having wings, found especially in Italian Renaissance art. ... Blue Öyster Cult is a psychedelic/heavy metal band probably best known for their 1976 single (Dont Fear) The Reaper from Agents Of Fortune, 1981 single Burning For You from Fire of Unknown Origin, and appearing on the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack with Veteran of the Psychic Wars which... (Dont Fear) The Reaper is a song by the hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult from their 1976 album, Agents of Fortune. ... The Mutton Birds are a band from New Zealand formed in 1991 by Don McGlashan, Ross Burge, and David Long. ...

External links

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ... Bad Taste is a low-budget 1987 cult film, one of the first directed by Peter Jackson, in which aliens invade the fictional New Zealand village of Kaihoro (population 78) in order to harvest human beings for their intergalactic fast food franchise but are repelled by a four-man paramilitary... Meet The Feebles (1989) is a black comedy film by director Peter Jackson. ... Braindead (New Zealand 1992), released as Dead Alive in North America, is an extreme zombie horror-comedy directed by Peter Jackson. ... Heavenly Creatures is a 1994 fantasy thriller film directed by Peter Jackson and written with his partner Fran Walsh. ... Forgotten Silver (1995) is a New Zealand film mockumentary that purports to tell the story of a pioneering New Zealand filmmaker. ... This article is about the Peter Jackson films. ... The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a film, released on Wednesday, December 19, 2001, directed by Peter Jackson with a runtime of 178 minutes (2 hours, 58 minutes). ... This title can refer to either: The Two Towers (book), the second part of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... King Kong is a 2005 remake of the 1933 King Kong film about a fictional giant ape called Kong. ... The Lovely Bones is a film adaptation of the 2002 American novel The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, currently scheduled to be released on March 13, 2009. ... The Untitled Tintin Project is an announced film project of three back-to-back features that are going to be based on The Adventures of Tintin, a series of comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Remi, better known by his pen name, Hergé. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Classic-Horror Review of The Frighteners (1996) (856 words)
The remainder of The Frighteners focuses on the source of the other spook activity, Bannister's connection to it, if any, and his small community's attempt to rid themselves of it.
At heart, though, The Frighteners is very Ghostbusters-ish (which certainly isn't a bad thing to be), and will probably appeal most to fans of that film.
The Frighteners is very well balanced--no element is overbearing, including the effects, which could have easily been the case.
TBHL | Peter Jackson | The Works | The Frighteners (272 words)
Jackson wrote 'The Frighteners' when RZ saw the script, he saw the potential of it being made into a full length feature film.
Also, 'The Frighteners' is the first PJ movie that Peter Dasent didn't write the music for, the Executive Producer employing Danny Elfman (The Simpsons, Batman, MIB etc.) instead.
'The Frighteners' is the fifth film in which Peter Jackson plays a part, (being famed for his cameo appearences!).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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