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FRIGHTENERS, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Frank Bannister is a psychic swindler with the perfect business partners. They work cheap - they’re dedicated - and they’re dead. (Deadicated?) Possessed with a genuine ability to communicate with the dead, Bannister earns a stiff living by setting up spirit clearance scams with his trio of ghostly cronies. But Frank may not be the only one in the small town of Fairwater working the paranormal side of the street. A series of inexplicable deaths and bizarre occurrences suggests the presence of a malevolent poltergeist. Bannister tries to unravel the mystery by venturing into a real where all fears are realised - and true evil does not die.

Review by Adam Lazar:
Peter Jackson does a great job of making the scary ghosts scary and the funny ghosts funny. The ghosts are like cartoon characters in this movie; physical decay hasn't been this hysterical since An American Werewolf in London. The mystery plot is no great mystery, but at least it makes sense. It starts out as a comedy, with Michael J. Fox, a rather lightweight leading man, as Frank Bannister, a con man with an original line in conning. He seems to enjoy an unexplained rapport with a trio of noisy ghosts; they terrorise gullible householders, he arrives flashing his credentials as a psychic investigator and exorcises his pals from the houses. Everyone's happy. That is until creepier things start happening. As the frights get more frightening, the film acquires a darker shade. Notably, all the effects – of which there are more than in the ghost story Casper – were created at Weat, Jackson’s New Zealand digilab - a sort of Industrial Light & Magic of New Zealand.



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THE FRIGHTENERS ( R )
New Zealand

CAST: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Dee Wallace-Stone, Jeffrey Combs, Jake Busey, Troy Evans, Jim Fyfe, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Chi McBride, Julianna McCarthy, R. Lee Ermey, Angela Bloomfield, Desmond Kelly, Johnathan Blick

DIRECTOR: Peter Jackson

WRITERS: Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh

PRODUCER: Jamie Selkirk, Peter Jackson, Frances Walsh (associate)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Robert Zemeckis

CINEMTOGRAPHERS: Alun Bollinger, John Blick

CREATURE & MINIATURE FX: Richard Taylor

EDITOR: Jamie Selkirk

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Grant Major

COSTUME DESIGN: Barbara Darragh

RUNNING TIME: 106 MINUTES

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 13, 1997

 

 

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