A lonely forest at night. The full moon peaks through the gnarled branches, as the wind whistles a mournful lament. In the distance, a wolf howls… and the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, involuntarily.
It’s October, and that means it’s time for – Halloween Horror Fest!
For the last few years, I’ve spent the month of October watching a load of scary movies. Some spooky; some creepy; some funny – and some shit-your-shoes-off horrifying.
And then I write a little review. Like this…
The Frighteners (1996)
Okay – so The Frighteners isn’t a full-on horror film exactly, but it has plenty of supernatural elements that make it ideal viewing for this time of year. And anyway, we needed to watch something that wouldn’t scare the little ‘un too much, if she overheard it while trying to get to sleep upstairs!
Michael J Fox stars as Frank Bannister, a one time architect turned dodgy psychic investigator. Bannister can actually communicate with spirits, but chooses to employ his ghostly buddies to help him exploit customers with phoney exorcisms.
Except townspeople are dying from fatal heart attacks, and Frank suspects that the ghost of a deranged killer is behind it all. Unable to convince the law that his supernatural powers are genuine, Bannister becomes the chief suspect – and must clear his name and stop the killer.
Directed by Peter Jackson, this film makes a decent attempt at being spooky, funny and entertaining all in one go. Quality performances from Fox and the cast (including a small role for the great John Astin) – combined with the directors flair and skill – keep the film rolling along enjoyably.
The special effects were state of the art in 1996, and still hold up well today – with several creepy moments realised with CGI that is actually tastefully done.
The Frighteners just manages to steer away from becoming silly, and remains good fun. Ideal for a Halloween movie that won’t cause nightmares, it’s like Most Haunted with a plot and (more) laughs.
More macabre movies soon…