The Frighteners: Peter Jackson’s Director’s Cut

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Rating: R

Starring:
Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister
Trini Alvarado as Dr. Lucy Lynskey
Peter Dobson as Ray Lynskey
John Astin as The Judge
Jeffrey Combs as Milton Dammers
Dee Wallace-Stone as Patricia Ann Bradley
Jake Busey as Johnny Charles Bartlett
Chi McBride as Cyrus
Jim Fyfe as Stuart, Bannister’s Ghostly Assistant
Troy Evans as Sheriff Walt Perry
Julianna McCarthy as Old Lady Bradley
R. Lee Ermey as Sgt. Hiles
Elizabeth Hawthorne as Magda Rhys-Jones
Angela Bloomfield as Debra Bannister
Desmond Kelly as Harry Sinclair

Special Features:
Feature Commentary with Director Peter Jackson

The Making of The Frighteners

Storyboards

Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

Synopsis:
This film was originally released in 1996. The following is from the DVD cover:

“From Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson (King Kong, The Lord of the Rings) comes this wicked comedy-thriller.

Michael J. Fox stars as Frank Bannister, a small-town ‘ghostbuster’ in league with the very spirits he’s supposed to be exorcising. The scam works well until a powerful spirit goes on a murderous rampage, forcing Frank to find a way to stop the diabolical ghoul in this special-effects-packed supernatural chiller that’s so fiendishly entertaining, it’s frightening!”

The Frighteners is rated R for terror/violence.

Mini-Review:
I remember seeing this film in 1996 when it was first released. The Frighteners struck me as being a pretty good film, but it didn’t do well at the box office. It was an odd mix of humor, horror, and action. It had great special effects. It also had a great team behind it including Robert Zemeckis, Michael J. Fox, Dee Wallace Stone, Danny Elfman, and more. However, for whatever reason, it seemed to disappear from theaters quickly and I don’t think I ever watched it again. Little did I realize that the director from New Zealand, Peter Jackson, would make such an impact on the world of film years later.

This DVD is the perfect one to get for more recent fans of Peter Jackson. It’s a taste of his early work which many people might not have heard of. It also gives sneak peeks at his style which would be used years later in Lord of the Rings and King Kong. It’s a fun film and one that was probably ahead of its time as far as combining horror, action, and comedy.

But one of the more notable things about this DVD is the extensive bonus material. Peter Jackson was a big laserdisc fan and recorded tons of behind the scenes material for bonus features. He had so much material recorded that he was able to create a 3 hour 43 minute documentary on the making of The Frighteners. There’s so much here that I started having flashbacks to the LOTR Extended Edition DVDs. In the documentary we hear Jackson talk about his own experience seeing a ghost, the writing of the script, the casting of the film, the effects, and more. He even rolls deleted scenes and bloopers into the documentary. The final result is an incredibly extensive look at the making of this otherwise overlooked film. Jackson adds to the bonus features with a 45 minute look at storyboards and his first ever DVD commentary. The film itself is also introduced by the leaner Peter Jackson v2.0 of today and he’s tacked on extra footage for the director’s cut.

In short, if you’re any kind of Peter Jackson fan, then this is a DVD well worth adding to your collection. He gives the movie all the attention that he does Lord of the Rings and you get to see the early days of Weta, Fran Walsh, and everyone else that worked on his classic trilogy.

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