Comedic horror movie released in 1996. It was directed by Peter Jackson and written by Jackson and Frances Walsh

The stars included: 

The plot focuses on Frank Bannister, a con man and ghost chaser. Years ago, his wife died in a car accident, and Frank somehow acquired the ability to see ghosts. He meets a trio of ghosts -- '70s hipster Cyrus, '50s nerd Stuart, and the Judge, a gunslinger from the Wild West -- and they haunt houses so Frank can exorcise them away for a fee. 

After running into several people with spectral numbers written on their foreheads who all die soon afterwards, Frank realizes there's a supernatural serial killer on the loose, disguising himself as the Grim Reaper and able to attack living people and discorporate ghosts. Frank is suspected of the murders because of his ability to predict the deaths, which leads to encounters with FBI Agent Milton Dammers, who's been driven mostly mad after deep undercover work with dangerous cultists

Frank is helped out of jail by his pet ghosts and Lucy Lynskey, a former client of his exorcism business. She becomes a target of the Grim Reaper and also helps Frank investigate by lowering his body temperature and stopping his heart with drugs, giving him a near-death experience that lets him snoop around as a ghost. 

Will Frank learn the real identity of the Grim Reaper and his secret assistant? Will he be able to stop the spirit's murderous rampage? Or is he doomed to be just another mark on the spectral serial killer's kill streak? 

This is not high art. It's an unapologetic popcorn movie. It's still a whole lot of fun. The actors all seem to be having lots of fun, particularly Jeffrey Combs, who had his own suggestions for how he thought Dammers should look and act. 

The computer effects for the Grim Reaper are also remarkably great, with the ghost crawling underneath carpets and wallpaper, leaping through walls, and jumpscaring the audience more than once. 

And because it's written and directed by Peter Jackson, a guy with a long history in horror and comedy, it's got enough jokes for the comedy fans, enough scares for the horror fans, and a little gore to keep the hardcore gorehounds happy.

This isn't a deep movie, but it's lots of fun, with actors who are enjoying having their share of fun, too. If you're in the mood for a scary movie that brings some laughs along with the thrills, this is one you'll want to watch. 

Judge: Give it up, Frank! Death ain't no way to make a living!


Now that Peter Jackson is riding high on the popularity wave with his gorgeous adaption of the Lord of the Rings, it's perhaps a good idea to node some of his earlier works. In 1996, he directed, produced and co-wrote the film The Frighteners, a horror-comedy starring Michael J. Fox (in his best big screen effort since the Back to the Future series). Not meant to be taken seriously, the movie is full of amusing scenes and events, and shows off some of the talent that enabled Jackson to successfully adapt the Lord of the Rings later on...

The special effects such as the creeping walls and the villain are very nice and help the film really come to life, generating a believable visual experience.


Frank Bannister:
I gotta have an out-of-body-experience, and I gotta have it RIGHT NOW!

Fox plays Frank Barrister, a former architect, who quit after the mysterious death of his wife, and now works a private detective in spiritual/psychic affairs. He makes a living by exorcizing houses his ghostly friends haunted at his request. But when people in the town start mysteriously dying, and only he is able to see a ghostly number on the heads of the next victims, he becomes engaged in a deeper mystery.

While investigating, he is aided by a friendly doctor (Trini Alverado), whose house he exorcised just before her jock-husband died, and hindered by crazed FBI Special Agent Dammers (Jeffrey Combs), who is weirder than Fox Mulder and Agent Cooper combined, and believes it is Bannister who is behind the deaths...

But the truth is stranger than everything Bannister imagined, and it looks like there is only one way to stop the evil ghost behind the killings, and that is to die himself.

Sergeant Hiles: What in the hell are you doing in my graveyard?
You have been told to stay away! Sound off like you've got a pair!
Frank Bannister: Yeah, well, it's a public place, Hiles.
Sergeant Hiles: I do not like you! You cannot bring your spooks here without my permission! Disappear, scumbag!

The movie also features a memorable "appearance" of R. Lee Ermey, who once again revisits his parade role of a drill instructor in this movie, but this time with a larger twist towards the comedic than in other films he appeared in. He appears only in two short scenes, but they are amongst the funniest in the film.

Frank Bannister: Catch you later, Hiles.
Sergeant Hiles: Hey - my tour of duty runs another 85 years! There's a piece of dirt up here with your name on it, Bannister! I'm waitin' for you, you little maggot!

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.