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Frighteners, the

Michael J. Fox , Trini Alvarado , Peter Jackson    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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One movie lover's nightmare is another's raucous joyride, and this special effects-laden horror comedy is bound to split both camps right down the middle. (Or, as Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide puts it, "definitely not for all tastes but a wild time for those who get into it.") Michael J. Fox plays a psychic investigator who can actually see ghosts, and lives with a trio of undead spirits who scare people to promote Fox's ghost-busting business. In a town infamous for serial killings, a new series of deaths prompts Fox to induce his own out-of-body experience so he can battle death in a spirit-plagued netherworld where evil reigns supreme--or something like that. So much happens in this chaotic film that you might feel like you're watching several movies at once--a slasher pic, a supernatural thriller, and a black comedy all rolled into a nonstop showcase for grisly makeup and a dozen varieties of special effects. It's an odd but wildly inventive film from New Zealand director Peter Jackson, who earned critical acclaim for his previous film Heavenly Creatures and would later create the ingenious pseudo-documentary Forgotten Silver. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A well thought out horror/comedy June 3 2004
This is one of those well done movies that balances several genres into a single story. On the one hand, you have Bannister's (Fox) tragic character who never fully got over the death of his wife. And his grief has made him pretty self destructive, so he's fallen from a successful and wealthy architect to a con-man living in his own, half-finished masterpiece. On the flipside of this are his partners in crime, the ghosts who scare Bannister's potential clients into hiring him in the first place. The humor gets pretty bizarre at times, but actually balances very well with the other story elements. Things go from grim, to funny, and back again just when they should. The third angle is the almost gothic and equally bizarre horror element to the story, where the ghost of a dead serial killer shows up as the bad guy. Bannister, the broken down wreck who can barely keep himself together is the only one who can see the killer. Yet even he's powerless to stop his enemy. Even worse, the wonderfully played FBI agent (Jeffrey Combs) has pegged Bannister as the "wacko" killer, though it's clear that the agent is the most deranged of all. Trini Alvarado does an excellent job as his potential love interest. She's a little naive, but strong willed.
If you like well thought out, thinking man's horror (instead of just the slash'em up variety) and have a dark (or even twisted) sense of humor, you'll like this movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy Good Fun! June 3 2004
Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) had pretty much given up on life since his wife died in a freak car accident. He was an up and coming architect before the wreak, but ever since he watched his wife die before his eyes, whispers have followed him around town that he murdered her in cold blood. Frank's erratic behavior since the car accident don't help matters any and its not like most people believe that he can really see ghosts, even though he can. Something about being so close to death opened his eyes and Frank found himself a new line of work as a kind of ghost buster. Frank supposedly gets rid of poltergeists and haunting ghosts, but he really sends his three friends, The Judge (John Astin), the afro sporting, disco wearing Cyrus (Chi McBride) and the nerdy Stuart (Jim Fyfe), all of whom happen to be dead, into homes to terrorize innocent people until they pay his outrageous fees. Frank made a pretty good living from it, too, except people have starting dying from freak heart attacks all over town - and Frank can see numbers engraved in their foreheads. Numbers that show Frank who will be taken next...
As Frank struggles to save the people marked for death, he finds himself falling in love with Dr. Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvarado), a very recent widow whose husband was killed by whatever thing is stalking the town. But Lucy has her own problems to deal with as she tries to help the reclusive Patricia Ann Bradley (Dee Wallace-Stone), who lives in an old Gothic mansion on the edge of town with her crazy mother (Julianna McCarthy). Lucy is convinced that Patricia is being abused and wants to help her, but she doesn't quite know how.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Now that P.J. is famous................... Nov. 2 2003
Well, now that Peter Jackson is a household name, maybe more people will finally see this movie. I saw a Laserdisc version (years ago) that had extra footage, and an incredible amount of extras......This is the version that should be seen, but for now this DVD will do. An underated movie that somehow got lost back in 1996...delightfully different....with that Peter Jackson twist that makes it extra special. Great storytelling, and great visuals, effects, and camerawork, along with perfect casting makes for a wild ride. More people should see this movie!! The extended version I remember seeing was way better....but impossible to find, and only on Laserdisc. We need a nice new DVD version (like the Laserdisc, with over 4 hrs. of extras, and 10-15 min. more footage in the film) , and now that Mr. Jackson is on top of the world, we might get it! I'm waiting!!!! May as well put out another version of "Forgotten Silver" too...another lost, underrated Peter Jackson film that deserves to be seen by more people.....
Great storytelling!
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By momazon
Michael J. Fox stars as Frank Bannister, a hearse-chaser who sees spirits who help him fake out exorcisms (a prospector from the Old West and a 1970s ladies man are among them.) At one point, a spirit out of his control starts murdering right and left, leaving numbers etched on the bodies' foreheads. Frank, a widower himself, is falling in love with Lucy, a young widow.
The movie flashes back to 1991 (with Fox in a mullet -- ha ha!) and depicts the unfortunate demise of his young wife and how it turned him into the bitter man he is now, and when the spirits entered his life.) The plot also centers around a disturbed woman who is trapped in her house by her mother, and Lucy seeks to help her. Frank can see the numbers etched onto foreheads BEFORE their demise, and it looks like Lucy is next. He has to stop being a con artist and figure out how to save her and the rest of the town that doesn't trust him.
Great original movie, but it lives up to its name -- it can be pretty frightening!!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nothing bad to say the dvd works perfectly
Published 23 days ago by Mÿ©lanie Lÿ©onard
5.0 out of 5 stars so great
one of the first Peter Jackson's movie and one of the last Michael J. Fox last. verry good story, the only bad commentary i have is for Peter Jackson for re editing director's cut... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rick
5.0 out of 5 stars A Peter Jackson film
I remembered seeing it in the theater a long time ago and really enjoyed it, however at that time I didn't know who directed it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Richard Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars super
C'est un très bon film avec Michael J.Fox, on reconnait son talent d'acteur et son humour avec un supçon de fantasie...
Published 8 months ago by Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!
Seen this movie a long time ago and loved it....still do! Great horror/comedy that still stands the test of time.
Published 9 months ago by Birdie
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie at Halloween
Great quality picture and sound. The movie is a little frightening and violent for small kids, but a great story and acted very well. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nancy
4.0 out of 5 stars Practically unknown, it deserves more attention
Great horror/action/comedy that really needs to be seen by more people. Sadly the effects don't quite hold up, and some of the comedy shows its age. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Derek
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally memorable!
I found the concepts in this film to be very unique to the Hollywood industry. I found the story very heart-wrenching and touching, while also actually finding myself scared at... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Samantha K Krewulak
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant
Première qualitée pour du usagée.
Livraison très rapide par la poste.
J'ai trouvé ce que je recherchais facilement et rapidement.
Published 16 months ago by Stéphane Rhéaume
5.0 out of 5 stars Un must dans votre collection ;)
À la fois comédie et horreur (peu), ce film de fantôme est un must pour tous ceux qui aiment Michael J. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Eric Arsenault
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