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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighten me!
Just before doing "Lord of the Rings," director Peter Jackson (who can be seen in a cameo as "Man with Piercings") made an off-kilter horror/comedy movie called "The Frighteners," the tale of the undead and the guy who makes a living off of them. Though "Frighteners" was barely in theaters at all, this cult flick is funny, creepy,...
Published on 1 Jan 2006 by E. A Solinas

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Two or three movies in one
The director's cut of The Frighteners doesn't help the film's awkward shifts of tone much, but then this always seemed like two or three good ideas that never really gelled into the same movie. The idea of Michael J. Fox's paranormal investigator running a scam with a trio of real ghosts who haunt the houses he charges to exorcise is never given enough of a comic workout,...
Published on 22 Dec 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighten me!, 1 Jan 2006
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] (DVD)
Just before doing "Lord of the Rings," director Peter Jackson (who can be seen in a cameo as "Man with Piercings") made an off-kilter horror/comedy movie called "The Frighteners," the tale of the undead and the guy who makes a living off of them. Though "Frighteners" was barely in theaters at all, this cult flick is funny, creepy, well-acted and wonderfully directed.

Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) has seen spirits and apparitions ever since the car crash that killed his wife. Now he operates an amateur "ghostbusting" operation that is supposed to exorcise ghosts from people's houses -- the problem is that the ghosts who haunt those houses are in league with him (Chi McBride as the opinioated afro-ed Cyrus, Jim Fyfe as the nerdy Stuart, and most of John Astin as what is left of The Judge).

Frank's business certainly isn't hurt by the fact that for years after a serial killer's murderous spree, people have died mysteriously of heart attacks. Then Frank starts seeing fiery numbers emblazoned on the foreheads of people who will die, including the husband of doctor Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvarado). As if trying to stop a specter of death weren't hard enough, crazed FBI agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs) believes that Frank is the one murdering people. But the evil specter is still killing -- and Lucy is the next victim.

Peter Jackson once said that he has a "moronic" sense of humor, and it shows up in all its glory here -- from bug spray dissolving a ghost's face to a piece of talking oily sludge to a drill sargeant ghost with submachine guns, this is weird and absolutely hilarious. It's the perfect blend of comedy and horror.

But he's also good during the more serious moments, such as Bannister's flashbacks to his wife's death, or the eerie sight of homicidal young lovers dancing with a gun. The opening shot is pure Jackson, with the camera swooping through a window, past fluttering curtains, and though a hole in the attic floor to a screaming woman below.

Jackson also takes the opportunity to poke a bit of fun at more conventional ghost movies: the big Gothic house, crazy old lady, ghost in '70s clothes, and Fox's hilarious turn as a ghostbuster. Nothing horrific is sacred. "There ain't nothing worse than a bunch of pissed-off brothers... that's ALREADY DEAD!" Cyrus yells at one point.

Does it have a flaw? Yes -- the opening scene doesn't seem to make much sense later on in the movie. But Jackson makes up for that with a surprisingly tight, coherent plot, and a satisfying finale that makes more sense than most other horror movies do.

The cast is brilliant, whether it's the twitchy, wild-eyed FBI agent, or the three weird ghosts. Michael J. Fox does an excellent job as Frank, with the right combination of cockiness and pathos, while Alvarado is solid as the idealistic young doctor. But the scenes are reallystolen by Dee Wallace-Stone and freaky-eyed Jake Busey, as homicidal young lovers.

"Frighteners" might not make you believe in ghosts, but it will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even shed a tear or two. Wildly funny, weird, gross, and sometimes really peculiar, this is Jackson's splatter-gore at its best.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This deserved to do so much better, 22 Dec 2002
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This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
You would never guess by watching this film that it was a bit of a flop at the box office. It has a big star name, bundles of laughs, state of the art special effects, and Peter Jackson at the realm as director, a name who is currently synonymous with raking in megabucks at the big screen. More than that though, this is essentially a great film. Original in its humour, and with a great storyline, this is a film that works as a feelgood movie and a horror flick at the same time, similar in vein therefore to Jacksons previous movies such as Braindead, or Sam Raimis Evil Dead trilogy.
This is one title that it is difficult not to commend highly to anyone from any background. It has something in it for everyone and really deserves much more recognition and praise than it has so far received.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant underated film, 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
i have to agree with all the other reviews, this simply is one of the best films i have ever seen, michael j fox is on top form and really makes this film, the story is a real gem and has a great ending. jake busey is particularly good as the nasty villian back from hell to wreck havoc, as are the rest of the cast. looking at the film you would never guess it was made in new zealand the production quality is so good! peter jackson has made a fine job at the helm as well as writing the very witty script. one of the best parts about watching the film is spotting all the shortland street characters who play cameo parts in the film as well as fox's dead wife! bravo, top film although no one is likely to see it! please buy it you will not be dissapointed.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, impressive Blu Ray., 28 Oct 2011
By 
Cb1306 "CJB" (South Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
I remember seeing this at the cinema as consolation for the fact that the film we wanted to see had sold out. Turned out to be one of my favourite films.
Directed by Peter Jackson between his low budget slasher pics (Bad Taste & Braindead) and his big budget adventures with Frodo & co what starts out as a kooky comedy turns into a horror without missing a beat.
A great cast, beautiful locations & some good (but dated) CGI make this one of the most enjoyable & under-rated films ever.
The Blu Ray picture and sound is an improvement on the DVD and also includes the theatrical (109mins) & directors cut (122mins), an introduction by Peter Jackson (which I believe was made for the 10th Anniversary dvd edition), The Making of (an immense 3hrs 45mins in total), which includes everything you'll ever need to know about this film and its production.
Enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best horror-comedy out there..., 15 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
Peter Jackson, the non-appologetic purveyor of bad taste and graphic violence (see "Braindead" and "Bad Taste" for proof) comes to America in fine style with this spooky visual treat. Michael J Fox (in his best role yet) plays Frank Bannister, a psychic ghostbuster who is in cahoots with the ghoulies he is supposedly exorcising. When the mysterious ethreal "Soul Collector" begins a killing spree in Frank's hometown, there begins a race against time to stop the killings and get the girl. "The Frighteners" has some of the best special effects around, a fact which is of particular note in this pristine DVD release. Every drop of blood and ectoplasm is immaculately rendered for the gore conisseurs out there. The movie manages one of the most difficult filmic tricks, to be both frightening and funny. The cowled Soul Collector is a fearsome sight as it flies through the night squeezing peoples' hearts until they explode. But as the revelations pile up, and Jackson's gleefully anarchic sense of humour comes to the fore, it is impossible not to be carried away by this joyful, occasionally gruesome, blcak comedy classic. As an added bonus for fans of the genre, there is an appearance by everyone's favourite "Re-Animator", Jeffery Combs, as a woman hating FBI investigator. Too weird to describe successfully, this is a must see, and a must own.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Director's Cut on DVD at long last!, 11 Jan 2006
By 
Neal Vincent (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] (DVD)
I'd just about given up on this ever getting released on DVD! When the first Lord of the Rings film cleaned up at the box-office and director Peter Jackson became a household name I was convinced that the Director's Cut of The Frighteners was a dead cert for a DVD release. 5 more years later, and the entire LOTR trilogy out on DVD twice over, there was still no sign ... and I'd lost faith. But here it is, finally! Better late than never, Universal!
Let's get to the good stuff... Most important of all as far as I was concerned, the UK release is NOT CUT this time around! When I saw The Frighteners in the cinema, one bit in particular made everybody in the place sit up and go "Whoa!" So imagine my disgust when the UK home release of the theatrical version turned out to have emasculated this very sequence by inserting a spurious shot of M J Fox falling, right in the middle of the shot, splitting it into two and virtually completely removing the exploding head. If the idea was to "lessen the intensity" of the sequence, then it worked. Sadly I thought I'd bought the same intense film I'd seen at the cinema! Needless to say, I got shot of my UK version and got the uncut US version instead. Happily, the UK DVD release of the Director's Cut contains the sequence uncut and is identical to the US version.
In fact this UK release - in a rare reversal of the norm - is actually superior to the US release for a couple of reasons. The UK version offers DD5.1 and DTS5.1 soundtracks in addition to the director commentary, whereas the US version doesn't have DTS. And the UK version comes on 3 separate DVDs (one for the film and two discs for the incredibly extensive extras) whereas the US version is a single-disc release, cramming the same content onto one of those horrible double-sided DVDs that you hardly dare handle. And don't be misled by the US version stating that the film is extended by 14 minutes where the UK version claims 12 - that's due to the slight timing difference between US and UK TV systems and the content is identical.
The Frighteners is now ripe for rediscovery. The additional material is not just a load of exposition and reinsertion of deleted scenes better left out - a surprising amount of it is FX stuff you'll be surprised wasn't in the film all along. And for those interested in the process of film-making, the 4 hours of extras form one of the most in-depth "making of" documentaries ever seen - Peter Jackson set out to deliver the kind of behind-the-scenes material he always wanted to see as a budding film-maker, and it shows. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under-rated and frighteningly good !, 29 Dec 2005
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] (DVD)
An early undiscovered gem from the writing team that later brought the world The Lord Of The Rings and King Kong.
Peter Jackson(along with Fran Walsh) created this great horror- comedy-thriller almost ten years ago before they became known worldwide and in it they tell the story of Frank Bannister as played by Michael J. Fox who is a small-town "ghost-buster" in league with the very spirits he is supposeed to be exorcising.
This scam works well until a dangerous and powerful spirit goes on a murderous rampage thus forcing Frank to stop him in any way neccesary.
This director's cut DVD is also packed with an introduction by Jackson along with an audio commentary originally recorderd for the Laserdisc and also has an extensive making-of documentary which is over 4 hours!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent blu ray, 13 Nov 2011
By 
Chinatown Blue "cthulhoid" (S-O-T, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I won't go into much detail about the actual film here, since most people checking out the blu ray will have already seen it; all I will say is that it is a superb horror-comedy, which deserves much wider attention than it gets. But as regards the blu ray edition, this is one of the best I've had. My old dvd only had the theatrical cut and no extras on it. This has both the theatrical and director's cut versions, as well as a making of documentary, blooper reel, interview with Danny Elfman who provided the music, storyboarding and trailer, and a commentary by Peter Jackson. It has English and French audio, and subtitles in English, Latin American Spanish and Canadian French (I quote there from the box). The blu ray transfer is superb, magnificent picture quality and sound. And the director's cut version is terrific, lots of material I'd never seen before, some of which explains a problem with the opening scene - in the theatrical version this scene doesn't appear to fit the denouement, but when you see the director's cut it does make sense. I really enjoyed this as much as if I'd never seen it before, and I highly recommend it even if you have the dvd; well worth purchasing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hidden gem!, 17 Nov 2007
I feel that this is a hugely under-rated film. Prior to Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson just wanted to have fun and that's what The Frighteners is...fun. The Director's Cut is definitely the version to watch taking it a little over two hours. There are occasional slow moments but, for the most part, it keeps a great pace.

Everyone turns in a great performance, it's nice to see Michael J. Fox in a slightly different role as he doesn't play it directly as a comedy but is still funny and likeable. Trini Alvarado is a good female lead and works well with Fox. Frank's ghostly chums are all played fairly over the top but are entertaining and don't wear out their welcome and Dee Wallace Stone is fantastic in a very different role than usual. It is Jeffrey Combs, however, playing the crazed FBI agent Milton Dammers, that steals the entire movie. His screen time is fairly limited but what he gets, he absolutely makes the most of. Every line, every mannerism is hysterical while still remaining unnerving. It's such a multi-layered performance and is an absolute joy to watch.

Danny Elfman provides a wonderfully haunting score and Peter Jacksn's directing is as appropriate as ever. Often manic and busy, you can definitely see the makings of an Oscar winner. The CGI effects are impressive for the time although they may seem a little dated now. The one gripe I have about this movie is that the beginning doesn't make a whole lot of sense once you've seen the entire movie.

Overall, this is a movie that never fails to cheer me up. It makes me laugh and it works well as a 'horror' movie too in a mad-capped kinda way. As for the DVD, I recommend the 4 disc set that comes with a documentary over 2 discs that goes into extreme detail. Jackson's commentary is also well-worth a listen. A must for fans of the quirky, Michael J. Fox and especially Jeffrey Combs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jackson does it again, 21 Feb 2003
This review is from: The Frighteners [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
I bought this film purely because its directed by Peter Jackson and he did not disappoint one bit. The man is pure genius an I love every one of his films. Hopefully becoming a household name due to lord of the rings wont affect him and turn him into another hollywood luvvy.
Although the plot (serial killer continues his murders from beyond the grave) may not be totally original, the style and humour with which its done lifts it above the rest.
Another great plus for this film was Michael J Fox. His performance was great, by far the best i've seen from him. The rest of the cast do a decent job, nice to see Mr Combs again too!
This film really does deserve more exposure cus its brill. when I find films like this I feel like running up to people in the street and telling them to go and buy it and see what a decent film is like!
In closing I'd like to say once again that this film is great, you will not be disappointed if you buy it (which I strongly urge you to do)
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