Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Overlooked Movies: The Frighteners

"I'm very proud of that movie. I thought it was incredible, incredible, incredible. It was exactly what Peter wanted to do. He wanted it to start out sort of a benign, pleasant movie and then just take you down into a hole of hell. Pretty disturbing, but I don't think it was disturbing enough….It's so weird--they do these movies and then they do these tests. They don't even target their audience. You get 45-year-old women going, "Well, I thought that was just too much," and then they take it out and the "patient" dies." ~Jeffrey Combs on The Frighteners

A psychic private detective who consorts with deceased souls becomes engaged in a mystery as members of the town community begin dying mysteriously. While investigating, he is aided by a friendly doctor who believes in his psychic abilities and is hindered by a crazed G-Man, a woman involved in an old serial killing, and what may be the spirit of Death itself.

No Rest for the Wicked.
Dead yet?
Your number's up!
Frightening, isn't it?
When your number's up, its up.
Death is no way to make a living!

Fun Trivia:
Michael J. Fox repeatedly blew his lines by calling John Astin's character "Doc" - the name of Christopher Lloyd's character in the Back to the Future (1985) movies.

Click here to watch Michael J. Fox mess up:

A figurine depicting Elvis Presley is visible in Ray (Peter Dobson) and Lucy's bedroom. Dobson played Presley in Forrest Gump.

The museum in the film was at that time the National Museum of New Zealand.

Was originally planned as a Tales from the Crypt feature, but producer Robert Zemeckis liked the script so much, he decided it should stand on its own and not be part of a series.

It was Jeffrey Combs who suggested the Hitler-inspired haircut for his character, to show Milton Dammers extreme sense of nationalism after serving his country for so long. Combs also suggested two ear appliances, which made his ears stick out quite comically, and several of Dammers' chest tattoos.

The planned six month shoot for The Frighteners was the longest Universal has ever green-lit.

One of the floating babies in the scene where Stuart and Cyrus are haunting a house is played by Billy Jackson, Peter Jackson's then-three month old son.

When Peter Jackson learned during post-production that the MPAA was going to give the movie an R-rating (despite many efforts to go for a PG-13 rating), he made Milton Dammers' death scene more gruesome by blowing up his head, instead of just having him shot in the chest and blown through the chapel doors. This caused a lot of problems with the European censors, who cut the one continuous shot into two shots, minus the bullet blowing up the head. The U.S. television version uses the take where Dammers is blown through the chapel doors.

Danny Elfman was so impressed with Peter Jackson's previous movie, Heavenly Creatures, that he offered to do the score for one of Jackson's next movies without even knowing what it was about.

Click here to watch a featurette about Danny Elfman scoring The Frighteners:

Fun Quotes:
Dammers: My body is a roadmap of pain.

Dammers: Sheriff! You are violating my territorial bubble.

Johnny Charles Bartlett: 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.

Judge: When a man's jawbone drops off it's time to reassess the situation.

Jeffrey Combs on the movie's unfortunate release date:
"The original plan was Halloween. Then they started seeing dailies and started seeing some of the computer-generated images that those guys were doing early on. It was great stuff and they got really excited and Universal said, "We got half of Twister, we got Nutty Professor--we don't know what that's going to do--and then we got nothing; let's move [The Frighteners] up so we can compete. So they moved it up without really thinking it through."

1 comment:

Blackwing Rose said...

This movie is both delightfully funny and extremely creepy. It's a shame it's so unsung.