The Frighteners has bigger stars and a major producer. Plus we get WETA special effects. This horror movie combines horror and comedy to tell a solid story. Jackson is on the rise with this one. Join Cory, John and GSM co-founder Darrell as they close out this triple with this solid October horror story.

The Frighteners:

Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) was a successful archetect. He was married and building his dream house until an accident took it all away.  His wife was killed and the trauma gave him the ability to see ghosts. Five years later he is eking out a living as a psychic. He is going to funerals and passing out card. He has rounded up 3 ghosts The Judge (John Astin) a wild west gun slinger, Cyrus (Chi McBride) a 70’s man missing the finer things, and Stuart (Jim Fyfe) his assistant. The ghosts serve as frighteners in homes and force the home owners to call Frank to expel them for money.

Frank has a rough day at a funeral and ends up messing up Ray Lynskey’s (Peter Dobson) yard. He offers to settle up but Ray wants to sue. So later that night Ray and his wife Lucy (Trini Alvarado) have a ghostly encounter. Frank is called and cleans out  the place, in return for the cost of the yard to be dropped. But Ray has a glowing 37 on his forehead, that no one but Frank can see. As Frank leaves a ghostly shape moves in the wall. The next day Ray is dead and his wife is left a widow.  Ray’s ghost finds Frank and asks for help. He was the latest in a string of deaths credited to the Reaper. Frank helps Ray communicate with Lucy. But he makes Ray mad and ends up with wine split on him. In the restroom sees a man with 38 on his head and sees the Reaper kill him. He flees the scene chasing the Reaper and becomes a suspect in several more murders.

Lucy is a doctor and she had to fill in on a home visit.  She binds up the wounds of Patricia Bradley (Dee Wallace) who never leaves the home she shares with her mother. That home is on the grounds of an abandoned sanatorium. She researches and finds out Patricia was implicated and in prisoned, after a killing spree at the sanatorium that left 12 dead. Johnny Bartlett (Jake Busey) was the primary killer, but we learn later that Patricia was a full player in the spree. Johnny was sent to the electric chair. But he became the Reaper.  He and Patricia continued the murder spree after she got out of prison and the first victim was Frank’s wife. They two gleefully continue killing.

Frank is turns himself in to Sheriff Perry (Troy Evans) and FBI Agent Milton Danners (Jeffrey Combs). Danners thinks Frank killed his wife and is killing the others with his mind, becoming the Reaper. Lucy has done her research and knows it is not Frank. She comes to talk to him and Frank see’s she’s the next target. He cannot fight the Reaper and his ghostly companions have been dispatched by the Reaper.  He has to die to get answers.  He has Lucy kill him and finds out the Reaper is Johnny. He has to save Lucy but Danners wants Frank to stay deady. Lucy brings him back.

Frank and Lucy rush to to get Johnny’s ashes to the chapel in the Sanatorium. Between johnny and Patricia attacking and Danners throwing a spanner into the works the task is not easy. The battle is rough and there is only one way to win. Frank is choked to death. He drags Patricia’s spirit into the corridor of light and forces Johnny to follow them.  On the other side Cyrus and Stuart save Frank as Johnny & Patricia are dragged to hell. Frank is sent back to earth by his wife.  When he is back love blooms with Lucy who now has the gift to see ghosts.


The Frighteners is the only one of the three I had seen before, but it has been a longe time. I found the story fun and compelling. I was surprised with the stars in the movie, that Zemeckis helped produce, and that Danny Elfman did the score. I thought it was a very solid movie and should get more credit and play on TV. The movie was well cast and is solid. I think the story of The Frighteners succeeds because Jackson paired with long time production partner and wife Fran Walsh to write the movie. So enjoy the film. Thanks to special guest host Darrell Darnell you can find him over on The Stranger Things Podcast and We Still Believe.

Special Feature:

Info on the ghost special effects and WETA Workshop:

Add It To Your Library:

Get the movie on iTunes
Get the movie from Amazon 


The movie score was done by Danny Elfman. Here is the Main Titles from the score.

You can buy the soundtrack from Amazon or on iTunes.

Name That Movie:

The clue this week was:  Jumping from  “Winters Tale,” with Russel Crowe. Crow stared with Christopher Meloni and Lawrence Fishburn among others in this 2013 third modern iteration of this heroic character’s tale.
Which lead us to the following movie:  The movie is  “Man of Steel.”
The next triple: We will be dissecting the DC cinematic universe as we look forward to the upcoming DC “Justice League” film coming out in mid-November. We will be discussing “Man of Steel,” “Batman vs. Superman, Dawn of Justice,” and “Wonder Woman.” Yes, we’re leaving out “Suicide Squad.” We’ll leave you to your own research on that one.
Send us your feedback now at www.goldenspiralmedia.com/feedback on your impressions of the DC cinematic universe so far and let us know what you expect or hope for “Justice League!”


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