Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days of Halloween - Day 10: The Frightners

For the last few years I always do a 31 days of Halloween month. The past few years I re-read all the original Goosebumps books and before that I'd watch 31 horror movies. However I realized every single time I watched 31 Horror movies I exclusively picked ones I enjoyed. I decided to do something slightly different. I composed a list of every horror movie I owned and put them in alphabetical order. Then using a random number generator I generated 31 numbers and watched the movies that corresponded with those numbers. Some are great films and others… well… are less than fun let's say. I hope you enjoy!

Day 10: The Frighteners (Movie #194)

Of all the movies in the world, there is a handful that I probably could review without rewatching. The Frighteners is one of those films. I have loved and been obsessed with this film for years. I'm always said that Scream was the movie that made me love horror movies and that it was my "first horror movie". This is a mostly true statement.

When I was a kid I was a huge pussy when it came to blood and gore and scary stuff in general. So while I had no problem watching stuff like Anaconda and Monster Squad I flat out refused to watch any R rated horror movies. That all changed because of Frighteners. I was such a Michael J. Fox fan and the trailer was so funny that I assumed I would be fine watching the movie (and I was). It was this film that gave me the courage to watch Scream when my cousin asked me if I wanted to watch it with him.

The Frighteners tells the story of Frank Bannister a psychic and a  con man who hires the ghosts that he can see and communicate to haunt the houses of rich individuals so he can make money acting as a ghostbuster. However when a specter in the guise of the Grim Reaper starts offing people (almost exclusively when Frank is around) he finds himself as the number one suspect of murder by a crazed FBI agent (Jeffery Combs).

As a kid (I'm talking about 11 or 12) I was completely obsessed with this film. Every moment of it is gorgeously shot, the comedy hits almost every mark, the scares work and the performances are solid. It's tough to pick a favorite Peter Jackson film given that so many of them exist in such surreal worlds (specifically the first 4-5) that it's easy for your favorite to change depending on your mood but for years it's been no contest for me. Frighteners all the way.

If you have a friend who doesn't like horror, or scares easily. This is one of the best "starter" films for them. So go and make a new Horror Fan out of someone!

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon. He also loves it when people surprise him with purchases from his Amazon Wishlist… just saying.

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