THE FRIGHTENERS [welcome to heck]

T H E   F R I G H T E N E R S

A psychic con-man who uses his otherworldly connections to first haunt homes, then exorcise them (for a fee), comes under suspicion when a malevolent spirit that may be the Grim Reaper starts killing off his clients and associates - and might even have caused his wife's death.

Here's another fun one. This is a big crazy supernatural mystery, with just a few too many pratfalls, perhaps. The Frighteners actually manages to drum up some real dread, though; from its durable, eerie Grim Reaper design (which speaks to the quality of the computer animation, especially for 1996), to its last half being filled to the brim with eerie mansions and abandoned hospitals, it's an ode to classic horror. Consider the casting of Dee Wallace (who, until doing some research, I didn't realize was arguably the most important genre actress of all time) and Jeffrey Combs (who you may know as Herbert West, and if you don't - time to watch Re-Animator). There is a deep, abiding love of the material on display; and despite the first half being a bit mired in ghost buffoonery, when it gets humming, it's an incredibly compelling adventure film.
(Interestingly: this is roughly tied for the most expensive film on this list, adjusted for inflation, alongside A Cure for Wellness and The Thing - all of which cost approximately $40 million in 2019 money.)

Director: Peter Jackson (Dead Alive, Heavenly Creatures)
Cast: Michael J. Fox (Class of 1984, Stuart Little)
Trini Alvarado (Stella, Little Women)
Dee Wallace (The Hills Have Eyes, The Howling, Cujo,
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Critters, The Lords of Salem)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak)
Jake Busey (Contact, Starship Troopers, The Hitcher II)

CONTENT (spoilered; highlight for warnings)
violence against women, abuse of a corpse, serial murder, horny ghosts, fascist / cult tattoos, misogyny, car crashes, shotgun decapitations

CAREER STATS [on a scale from 1 (least) to 10 (most)]
FUN: 9
Maybe leans a little hard on this, but balances nicely.
Light on scares, but extremely creepy when it wants to be.
Nobody's safe from the Grim Reaper, I mean, c'mon.
one of my absolute favorite films, but not for everyone.

Dead Alive, Army of Darkness, Tremors, Re-Animator

the alchemist cookbook


the babadook

basket case

the changeling

child's play

creep 2

a cure for wellness

a dark song

les diaboliques

the evil dead /
evil dead 2

the exorcist III

friday the 13th part VI: jason lives

the frighteners


hostel: pt 2

house (1977)

house (1986)

house of the devil


the curse




stir of echoes

the taking of deborah logan

the texas chainsaw massacre

the thing

we are still here

the witch

the wicker man