The Frighteners: A Forgotten Treat At Halloween

MOV_5a27532d_bIn My Humble Opinion:  The 1996 film The Frighteners is a generally forgotten film when it comes to horror movies.  Granted, it’s far from the scariest movie out there, but it’s a truly entertaining picture that successfully blends both the horror and comedy genre together.  The 1996 film written & directed by Peter Jackson was the last film he wrote, produced, and directed before descending upon Middle Earth and becoming a household name for his Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit trilogies.  The film stars a young Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, a psychic paranormal investigator who is haunted by the loss of his wife, who died in a car accident years prior.  Plagued with grief, Bannister now uses his ability to see and interact with ghosts to con people out of money in order to make ends meet.  Low and behold his abilities and integrity are put the test when the “Grim Reaper” turns up in the small town Bannister inhabits to continue a murder spree that was put in motion many years earlier (I’m trying to avoid spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet so I’ll end the description here).

Considering the movie was released in 1996 the special effects are surprisingly impressive.  The “ghosts” embody what I imagine we all typically envision when we think of what ghosts would look like if they existed in real life.  The “Grim Reaper” is a digitally created nightmare that, despite the movies comedy chops, instantly reminds you why the film is considered horror as well.  The New Zealand – American film was a moderate success grossing $29.3 million at the box office compared to its $26 million budget.  The film earned Saturn nominations for writing, directing, special effects, music, and certainly put Peter Jackson on the map with regards to his writing and directing abilities.  If you haven’t seen the film yet I strongly encourage you to check it out, especially with Halloween approaching.  If you have seen it, make some time to break out of the repetitive viewing of other classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare and Elm Street, and re-discover this commonly overlooked horror classic.

With Halloween Just Around The Corner…Some Scary Movies To Consider

In My Humble Opinion:  The horror movie genre has the most B and C rate movies of all time.  I don’t mean this in a bad way. I just feel that it’s the one genre out there that a group of friends/filmmakers can get together and make a decent movie that can really gain a fan base or “cult” following.  I came to this conclusion while searching for a movie to watch on Netflix one day.  I know what you’re thinking, “Sean, Halloween is right around the corner, so of course there are lots of horror movies to choose from.”  Normally I would say you have a point, but this happened a couple of months ago.  I guess filmmakers with limited budgets and resources decide horror is the way to go as opposed to making a drama, action, or comedy.  That’s not to say they aren’t out there, but the ratio of horror movies to say comedies has got to be one-sided.  That being said, I figured I would throw out the titles of some of my favorite horror movies.  I will be up front and say that I’m not most die-hard horror movie fan but do enjoy a good scare every now and then.  The problem is, like I pointed out above, its hard to sift through all the horror movies that come out and find that one gem that offers up scare after scare…without gratuitous gore.  I swear, maybe it’s just me, but gore doesn’t necessarily translate into scary.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind gore, I can look at gore all day it’s just that when it comes to being scary the movie is either scary or it’s not.  Adding gallons of blood won’t change that.  I equate it to a stand up comedian.  He’s either funny or he’s not, adding a bunch of profanity won’t change that (and again, I’m not against profanity at all, just saying).  Anyway, please feel free to comment and leave some of your favorites as well.  Here are some of mine off the top of my head and in no particular order.

  • Halloween…Original John Carpenter version, no offense to Rob but the remake sucked.
  • Paranormal Activity…though I do think the studio is starting to milk it now, enough is enough.
  • Blair Witch Project…first time I saw this it was scary, but when I watched it a couple of weeks ago…not so much.
  • Insidious…Hope they can make a plausible sequel that lives up to the first one.
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre…Original!  When I first saw Leatherface jump out and grab his first victim…I almost soiled myself.
  • Dawn of the Dead…Remake (to be fair, I haven’t seen the original…I know I know, I plan on watching it soon)
  • 28 Days Later…I remember it being pretty damn freaky.
  • Stephen King’s Silver Bullet…I put this on here because I saw it when I was younger and it scared the shit outta me.
  • Saw…The original, I watched a few of the sequels but honestly I couldn’t get invested…first one rules!

Like I said, these are just a few off the top of my head, there are so many classics I need to watch.  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!