Written by Scotty
It is difficult to find a horror movie that can withstand the test of time from your childhood to adulthood and The Frighteners has done just that for me over the years. Trying to make sure to watch this movie at least once every couple of years has been a goal of mine as it seems to deliver a different message every time I view it. With a couple of different story lines to choose from, this is one that can go down as one of the better horror movies of the day.
With Frank Bannister trying to find a way to make a living after the tragic loss of his wife five years ago, he has discovered that he has the ability to see and speak with ghosts. With his life being over as an architect, Frank now works around town as a paranormal investigator. Frank is good at his job and is able to rid the homes of the ghostly encounters, mainly because his ghost buddies are the ones causing the disturbances.
Not being able to pull his normal tricks on the Lynskey couple, Frank has met his match with Ray not thinking that any of these accounts are real. Lucy however believes in the afterlife and is willing to do anything to quiet the occurrences around their house. When Ray meets a premature death, Lucy has to turn to Frank for help and support in communicating with her dead husband. During their time together, Lucy and Frank find that there is so much more between them than previously thought and will have to find safety from each other to survive.
In an all but abandoned asylum, Patricia Ann Bradley is being held prisoner by her mother for her own safety. Being part of one of the most horrific killing sprees in American history, Patricia is not mentally stable to stay on her own and is under house arrest until they find her fit to enter the world once again. With her love, Johnny Charles Bartlett being executed for the murder of twelve people years before, Patricia is looking for a way to reconnect with him...and she has succeeded.
Johnny Bartlett has returned to the land of the living, if only in ghost form but he has discovered that he has the power to kill. Being able to suck the life out of the living, Johnny is numbering his victims and killing them at his own pace. Trying to become the most prolific serial killer in American history once again, he needs to keep track of his body count. Without being able to kill the dead, Bartlett cannot be stopped during his new spree and will soon become the most notorious killer in history, dead or alive.
Milton Dammers, a FBI agent that has several issues is on the heels of Frank Bannister. Believing that the man in a fraud, Agent Dammers is following Frank’s every step. Trying to pin down Frank as a murderer, Dammers finds every explanation that Frank gives, or that anyone else tells him with a grain of salt. Not believing in the afterlife, Dammers is set on one thing only and that is to destroy everything Frank has set up for himself since the death of his wife five years ago. Being afraid of almost everything, but mainly being yelled at by women, Dammers has his own challenges to has to overcome before Frank can be stopped in his deceiving ways.
Ghosts Cyrus and Stuart steal the show and are by far my favorite characters. Trying to get what they deserve from Frank since they have been in his "employment" for five years and helping to expand his business. Adding plenty of levity to the situations at hand, the two are the only ones that really understand what is on the horizon with the return of Johnny Bartlett. With help from their old friend, The Judge who is the oldest of the group, they have to devise a plan to help keep Frank alive long enough to end the rampage of Bartlett before he is killed as well.
With several different aspects of the story being covered, it is hard to decide on which one is the best to follow, but overall the story follows Frank Bannister as he is the only one that can see and work with the dead. Being privy to seeing something that no other living person can, strange numbers start to appear on the foreheads of unknowing victims and there needs to be a reason for it. As the movie plays on, you find out that during Johnny Bartlett’s murderous spree, there were numbers carved into all of the victims foreheads. Knowing that there is a very dangerous game being played between the living and the dead, Frank Bannister has to find a way to stop the dead killer before he claims the life of his next love interest. With help from his ghostly friends, Bannister is not alone, but finds out that this new threat is much more powerful than any force he has encountered before.
One of my favorite horror movies from my youth and for good reason. With all of the different storylines that are highlighted in in this film, it is hard for it to get old. With good special effects and some of the darkest humor that I am ashamed to have laughed at, I love how there is always something new when you watch it. You can choose to focus on one story line and come up with a new take on the movie, or you can choose to watch the movie as a whole and come back with countless questions of what you might have missed. Either way, it's a fascinating look at death and how we deal with it, whether we be alive or in the afterlife. Stay Scared.