31 Days of Horror: “The Frighteners” (1996)

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This is definitely my favorite Peter Jackson, uh….special effects movie. Or however you would even say that. I would love to write a review based mostly of off quotes from the movie. The humor in this movie really works for me and it feels good to laugh and smile as much as I do while watching it.

Micheal J. Fox is perfect as Frank Banister, a guy who after a tragic accident has been able to communicate/see the dead. His ghost-partners in crime are gory and funny- beautifully done. They are non-malevolent spirits who are participating in scams with Frank to promote his fake ghost-busting business. He meets Ray and Lucy (played by the gentle and pretty Trini Alvarado), a married couple he tricks into believing their house is possessed by a poltergeist. Reluctantly, Ray agrees to allow Frank into the home to rid them of the apparent poltergeist (a great scene), and all scams aside, Frank sees something disturbing and unseen to the common eye- the number “37” burning into Ray’s forehead. Tragically (but not without comedy for us), Frank soon realizes these numbers stand for something sinister about to happen to the poor souls bearing them. Thus begins Frank and Lucy’s adventure to solve the mystery of and put a stop to the terrible spirit of a local sanatorium worker/deranged killer who has returned from the dead to claim more victims, a role Jake Busey was no doubt born to play.

Comprised of some off-beat humor, a couple of genuinely creepy and intense moments, as well as some silly warm-fuzzies (all these qualities accompanied by some pretty stunning Peter Jackson-esque effects), this movie is a really fun, clever, feel-good demented horror comedy.

–Catherine Kincannon