Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: The Frighteners (1996)

"Shut up! That Russian cannibal creep is telling everyone he did 50 plus. That reflects badly on both of us, Patty. This record should be held by an American." - Johnny Bartlet

"Get back in the goddamn ground you unorganized grab-asstic gob of teleplasmic shit!" - Sgt. Hiles

"By the power invested in me by the president of the United States,I am telling you to get the hell out of this room." - Dammers

This is one of those flicks that just totally passed me by. It seems whenever I ask anyone about it, they immediately know what I'm talking about. I think I missed it because it has such a generic horror name like PHANTOMS, or, THINNER. I got all those mixed up when they were coming out. But check the lineup! Michael J. Fox, Jeffrey Combs (RE-ANIMATOR, CASTLE FREAK), Jake Busey, and Lee Ermey and directed by Peter Jackson with a soundtrack by Danny Elfman?! How could I have missed THE FRIGHTENERS?!!!

So Michael J. Fox has developed some kind of combination of psychic and telepathic powers that allow him to communicate with the dead. We learn that he acquired these abilities after his wife died for which he was under suspicion of murder for some time. I can't remember but I'm pretty sure no explains why he doesn't just have conversations with his wife? She's dead. Maybe it was that he couldn't speak with all spirits, just spirits that were lingering around for some reason. Either way, a bit of shoddy writing there if you ask me. So he teams up with three ghosts and has them haunt people and then scams them out of money. One of them is a nerd, One of them is a gangster, and one is an old man named "The Judge". So they basically prey on the stupid. But, even though he's really doing this, people in town think/"know" he's a con man. The thing is, if they know he's a con man, do they believe in ghosts, or is he just piss poor at executing his job? So pretty soon he goes to "exercise" the house of this asshole and his hot wife. 
Suddenly days later, the asshole turns up dead and comes looking for M.J. Also a bunch of people in town start dying and M.J. sees numbers on the dead people's heads. Furthermore he realizes that the numbers mean those people are about to be killed by this mega ghost who has escaped Hell and is coming after people in their town Grim Reaper style. M.J. and the other ghosts are the only ones who can see him. He figures out that whoever killed his wife is killing these people because she had the same number on her forehead. So he starts trying to tell everyone to look out because they're going to die and tries to save a lady and then when she dies everyone suspects him of being involved with the killings. The asshole tries to get M.J. to talk to his wife for him but M.J. starts putting the moves on her! 
The chick's name is Lucy and she starts investigating and decides she believes M.J. The cops call the Feds on M.J. and they bring in FBI agent Dammers (Combs) a complete freak who is convinced that M.J. did it, who will stop at nothing to bring him to justice. Lucy goes to see M.J. in jail and the Grim Reaper decides he's going to kill her, but M.J.'s ghost buddies help him escape but they get (re)killed in the process. Also Lee Ermey is in this flick basically playing the ghost of himself from FULL METAL JACKET. He doesn't like M.J. and wants him to stay away from the graveyard. Meanwhile M.J. comes up with a plan. He's going to kill himself so he can get to the Grim Reaper before he kills again. But Lucy tells him she'll freeze him and slow his heart down so he "sort of" dies, but only to the point to where they can bring him back. While he's a ghost he finds out that the "reaper" is the ghost of this dude Johnny Bartlett (Busey) who worshipped the devil with his girlfriend and killed 12 people back in the day. 
Lucy and M.J. visit Johnny's ex girlfriend and decide that her mother is a real bitch. She's a freak and keeps the girl locked up. But for good reason! Because after a while we learn that the girlfriend really has been worshipping Satan all the time and she has Johnny's ashes, not her father's (or whoever's) in her room and she becomes a psycho and tries to kill them all after they try to help her. Anyway, there's a big showdown at the end between Johnny and his girl, Dammers, Lucy and M.J. Should you see this one? Yeah, its an unexpected good little flick. Check it out.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gerald Abernethy