Movie Reviews from The Fox Hole – The Frighteners (1996)

Hidey-ho neighborinos! Yeah, I know the Pup and I have been missing for *pauses to check calender* HOLY SHIT! It’s been over a month. Damn, real life is always trying to take away me and Pup’s fun. 😦 But that’s okay with a swift kick in our ass from our beloved blog mistress (okay, I know it was a reminder, but a kick is more dramatic) we sat down and dusted off one of our favorite cross-genre movies. *glares at the Pup* Don’t look at me like that. I said CROSS-GENRE not CROSS-DRESSER. No worries, Pup, your secret is safe with me. I think you look lovely in that glittery purple feather boa…damn…did I say that aloud? I did…didn’t I?

*head desk*

Okay, let’s all forget that conversation happened. Besides we’re here for the MOVIE REVIEW!! *tosses confetti*

The Frighteners (1996)

The Frighteners (1996)

Trailer HERE

CAST: Michael J. Fox, Trina Alvarado, Peter Dobson, John Astin, Dee Wallace Stone, Jeffrey Combs, Jake Busey, and Chi McBride

Review –

Ghostbusters was probably the first mainstream movie to mix comedy and the paranormal. Yeah, sure we had the Abbot and Costello black & white flicks of the 40’s involving the Mummy, Dracula, and even Frankenstein’s monster, but off the top of my head I can’t quite think of another movie that did it quite the same way that Ghostbusters did it. All this talk of Ghostbusters probably has you thinking you read the title of this post wrong—well, you didn’t folks.

Most days I have a tendency to babble, this post is indicative of how that usually goes. Have you ever had the distinct feeling that you’re going senile? Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, I decided to review a movie this time that is funny, weird, and has scares enough to make even me jump.

Long ago and far away in the verdant land of New Zealand there was a curly-haired jolly fellow known as Peter Jackson. Although, we know him quite well now for his epic trip through the land of Hobbits, in 1996 Mr. Jackson was just beginning to capture the world’s attention. In this case, he caught the attention of the legendary Robert Zemeckis with a story that rides a fine line between comedy and horror.

Michael J. Fox (Spin City, Back to the Future) plays industrious con-man Frank Bannister, psychic investigator and ghost buster for hire in the quaint seaside town of Fairwater. There’s one thing though that no one knows about Frank. His con cleansing houses of the ghosts—the ghosts actually work for him. Contrary to what the townspeople believe, Frank is an honest to God psychic that can see and communicate with the spirits of the dead. His cohorts in crime are Cyrus (Chi McBride, Human Target; Pushing Daisies) a militant African-American who died in the 1970’s with a taste for cigars; Stuart (Jim Fyfe, The X-Files; The Lone Gunmen) a geek from the 1950’s and The Judge (John Astin, The Addams Family; Brisco County, Jr.) a 19th century gunman followed in death by his beloved bloodhound.

Bannister lives along with his ghostly cohorts in what we soon learn was to be his dream house. The house though now sets unfinished, draped in plastic sheeting on the side of a lonely hill overlooking the town. There is more to Frank Bannister and the town of Fairwater than meets the eye.

It seems the town of Fairwater has an epidemic on their hands, a series of deaths with no scientific explanation. Healthy young people dropping dead from what appears to be heart attacks. There’s only one problem, an unseen force, not clogged arteries, crushed their hearts. Rattled by the series of deaths Frank and his ragtag team of ghosts play on the town’s grief earning him a place on the local paper’s target list.

During one of his ghost busting gigs, Frank meets Dr. Lucy Lynsky who works at the local clinic. Her husband Ray is snide self-centered pain who doesn’t believe a thing that Frank says or does. While wrapping up the job Frank sees a fiery number carved in Ray’s forehead that then fades away. At first, he believes it’s a prank created by one of his ghost buddies. Soon we learn why the number affects Frank the way it does. Three years before Frank was a successful architect, married, and a bit of a self-centered ass when he and his wife are in an accident, his wife dies, and he walks away with no memory of what happened and the sudden ability to communicate with the dead. A good portion of the town believes he killed his wife because her body when discovered yards away from the car had the number 13 engraved in her forehead.

After Lucy’s husband is the next to die, she and Frank find themselves caught up in a terrifying game of cat and mouse with the evil entity responsible for the deaths in Fairwater. Standing in their way are the local police and a nutty FBI agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs, The 4400; The House on Haunted Hill) who specializes in paranormal crimes (think Fox Mulder on crack with a huge helping of Renfield). Not only that, but the deaths seem to have a link to a hospital murder spree from the past involving the hospital administrators daughter (Dee Wallace-Stone). What they uncover is a plot that comes straight from the grave and Frank Barrister is the only one that can stop it.

As I’ve learned from watching Peter Jackson’s movies, the man is huge on visuals. Now, nearly fifteen years later, the special effects appear dated, but in 1996, they were state of the art. Jackson is not afraid of treading that line that makes the movie watcher nervous—the crossover of genres. In Hollywood where everything is forced to bagged, tagged, and categorized (thank you, again, Mulder) Jackson has the unerring ability to mix comedy, drama, and horror in a perfect balance that leaves the watcher feeling satisfied in the end. For those of you who are fans of the CW series Supernatural I can tell you that Jackson’s work on this movie is without a doubt on Eric Kripke’s list of inspirations.

Michael J. Fox puts in an intense turn as Frank Bannister, a man who believes he has nothing to live for until he’s forced to face the past he’s been running from. He has an edge that we rarely saw in his earlier rolls and yet he can still make you laugh in the middle of a darkness that permeates The Frighteners. The supporting cast is brilliant ranging from the psychotic to the hilarious and everything in between.

Looking for a fun movie with a dark, edge to it for the upcoming holiday weekend I suggest you get your hands on a copy of Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Final Rating: 4/5 Fox Pups


Ratings System:

5 Fox Pups – Must See/Can’t Miss

4 Fox Pups – Excellent

3 Fox Pups – Good

2 Fox Pups – Passable

1 Fox Pups – Skip It

39 Days of Prayer – Day 38

Day 38 – Freeing the Heart and Mind

You know the desires of my heart better than I, Goddess/God/Spirit

Help me to recognize and separate the things I want from the things I need.

I pray now to be aware and accepting of the things I need

to make my life one lived in happiness, charity and peace.

I pray for the faith and strength to release the things I want

if they do not serve the divine path you have laid for me.

May the wisdom of Goddess/God/Spirit guide me and comfort me.

Blessed be.

All Things Sacred

Monotheistic religions place God outside nature and denigrate all things physical as unspiritual. This has fostered an attitude that material things are traps, unimportant, or there purely to serve our needs. Pagans have a radically different outlook, seeing divinity and nature as connected at the least. For some, nature is the divine made manifest, for others, spirit pervades all things, or Gods are born of nature. The distinctions may seem subtle, but are important. However, what all of these approaches share is a sense that everything matters.

It’s very easy to live a careless life, taking without thought for the consequence, if you see the material world as ‘just stuff’. I assume this is what most people believe, because it makes sense of the way in which we as a species  relate to the planet and its other inhabitants.

What happens if you embrace the idea that all thing, both living and inanimate, are full of spirit and inherently sacred? Not just the idea that temples and trees are sacred, but that there is spirit in the chair you are sitting on, a spark of divinity in your trousers. Look around you. If everything you can see has some kind of awareness and purpose of its own, if everything is connected through the flows of spirit, and you can imagine that, how ought you relate to it? To have such an awareness of the world, creates a need to step lightly, use minimally, give back and treat with respect. To do otherwise becomes painful.

Now, I can’t rationally and scientifically prove that everything has awareness. Our society’s notion of ‘rights’ depends a lot at present on ‘like a human’ – the more like us something can be proved to be, the more inclined we are to take care of it. That is an interesting prejudice. From a certain perspective, it doesn’t matter if everything is actually, objectively, measurably sacred. We ought to treat it that way anyway. Better a life based on respect, tolerance and sustainability than a philosophy of greed that will cost us the earth. So even if you are unable to believe that either god is everywhere, or that everything is equally valuable, consider the idea that there is much merit acting as though it were so anyway and explore what this does to your perspective, and your life.

One line to consider is how this affects sense of self. If all things are infused with spirit and to be treated as sacred, then I too (and you, dear reader) are also infused with spirit and inherently sacred. It is an understanding that makes self respect essential, accepting yourself as part of the magical whole that is existence. What then should you do, as a sacred, spiritual entity? Treating your own body and mind with respect becomes more important. Treating well the environment that nourishes you becomes more important. Seeking a connected, balanced, meaningful place in the world becomes vital. A whole different set of values, duties and creative possibilities emerge when we view ourselves as unique and precious, in a world that consists entirely of unique and precious things. Nothing, and no-one can be written off as worthless. Nothing should be discarded. Everything matters.

Rain …

beans alongside flower beds

After 10 days of dry and hot we had some really good rain last night. The garden is really happy, the scents fantastic and the whole feel is a loss of stress from trying to capture moisture from the dew and reach it in the ground. Nice warm sun now so all the young plants and seedlings lapping it up, they should grow on really well.

There was nearly a disaster though … I’d realised it was going to rain but forgot to bring in the young tomato and pepper plants last night before I went to bed. the gods and my spirit gang were onto me thank goodness :-), they woke me not long afte the rain had started so I galloped (Nah! read staggered 🙂 ) down the stairs and out the French windows to haul them in, first under the porch and then into the kitchen. Got somewhat wet … understatement of the century LOL. I’ll be sooooooooooo glad when the greenhouse is up and they can all live in there … then I’ll be worrying about overheating. The lot of a gardener about rates with that of Gilbert & Sullivan’s policeman :-).

But it is good, the garden is doing very well now I can get out there and I’m loving it. Ate first peas, broad beans and raspberries yesterday – not all in the same dish LOL. The first beetroot was good too over the weekend and the perpetual spinach is living up to its name.

I’d love to get some more fruit trees – plum, peach, cherry, pear and more apples – but where am I going to put them? I need to steal some of John’s field *g*. there are a couple of bits right outside my hedge that he doesn’t use … I wonder ???

Elen Sentier
… behind every gifted woman there’s usually a rather talented cat …
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