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The Frighteners


Added Wed, 04/05/2022
Release date
Original title
The Frighteners

"Scarecrows" (English: "The Frighteners") is a comedy horror film released in 1996.

The film takes place in the small town of Fairwater. Strange events are happening in the town. A wave of unexplained deaths has swept through – people are dying from the fact that their hearts seem to have been squeezed with monstrous force.

1990. Frank Bannister, a young successful architect, having lost his wife Deborah in a car accident, experienced a severe shock. Since then, he began to see the spirits of the deceased. As a result of mental trauma, Frank can no longer do construction. He quits his profession, and his "dream house" remains unfinished. In order to somehow feed himself, he enters into a "gentleman's agreement" with three ghosts: a Judge who looks like a Western hero, a dark-skinned street gangster from the 1970s Cyrus and a skinny bespectacled Stuart. According to this agreement, the spirits arrange a debacle in the apartments of Bannister's future clients, imitating the phenomenon of a poltergeist. Frank then "chases" the demons away for a fee. Bannister is often seen at cemeteries during funerals – there he distributes his business cards to the relatives of the deceased.

Business is neither shaky nor loose, because perfumes are not distinguished by punctuality and commitment. Frank's fame as a fraudster and a charlatan, parasitizing on people's grief, is firmly entrenched. The editor of the local newspaper, Magda Rhys-Jones, even vowed to bring Frank to the surface.

Shortly after Frank has a conflict with local resident Ray Lynskey and his doctor wife Lucy, Ray dies of a heart attack. Frank discovers that people are being killed by a ghostly creature in the guise of a Grim Reaper. Before the murder, it leaves burning numbers on the foreheads of the victims, as if carved with a knife, which only Frank sees. He remembers that the same number was on Debra's body.

Frank's ability to predict murders arouses the suspicion of the police and FBI agent Milton Dammers, who is convinced of the psychic's involvement in the crimes. Soon Frank is arrested for the murder of editor Magda Rhys-Jones, who actively criticized his activities. In fact, she was killed by the Grim Reaper, which Frank unsuccessfully tried to prevent.

Lucy, investigating the murders, becomes the creature's new target and is attacked while visiting Frank in prison, but Cyrus and Stuart save her at the cost of their own ghostly lives. Frank wants to commit suicide, believing that this will help stop the Grim Reaper. Lucy helps Frank fall into a near-death state by stopping his heart with hypothermia and barbiturates. Dammers kidnaps Lucy and reveals that in 1969 he was a victim of Charles Manson and his "Family".

In his ghostly form, Frank confronts the Grim Reaper and discovers that he is the psychiatric hospital orderly Johnny Bartlett, who was electrocuted for the murder of twelve people in 1964. According to newspaper reports, his greatest desire was to become the most prolific serial killer ever; having killed 12 people, he was proud of his victory over his contemporary Charles Starkweather. Fifteen-year-old Patricia Bradley was then accused of complicity, but because of her age she escaped the death penalty and was currently considered a quiet, crazy girl.

Lucy resuscitates Frank, and together they visit Patricia. They do not know that she still loves Bartlett and is in a friendly and deadly relationship with his ghost. During the visit, Patricia kills her own mother, the former head of a psychiatric hospital, who was watching her behavior. Lucy and Frank lock Bartlett's spirit in an urn with his ashes, which Patricia kept. The couple heads to the chapel of the now abandoned psychiatric hospital, hoping to send Bartlett's ghost to hell.

Patricia and Dammers begin the hunt for Frank and Lucy among the ruins of the hospital. Dammers throws the ashes out of the urn and releases Bartlett's ghost, but soon dies at the hands of Patricia. Bartlett and his sweetheart track down Frank and Lucy. Frank realizes that it is the ghost of a serial killer with the participation of Patricia who is responsible for the death of his wife, and that even after his death he is trying to increase the number of his victims and sinister fame (currently competing with Andrei Chikatilo).

In the absence of bullets, Patricia strangles Frank, but in retaliation, he tears her soul out of her body in a ghostly form and forces Barlett to follow them through a tunnel with a light at the end. Frank goes to heaven, where he meets Debra and Cyrus with Stuart. The spirits of Bartlett and Patricia are about to return to Earth and continue collecting victims, but the portal to Heaven quickly takes on a demonic appearance, and they are both dragged to hell by a giant worm-like creature.

Frank's time has not come yet, Debra wishes him to "be happy", and he returns to his body. Frank and Lucy fall in love with each other; it turns out that Lucy can now see ghosts too. Later, Frank begins to demolish the unfinished "dream house" and build a life together with Lucy, while the gloomy ghost of Dammers drives around in the sheriff's car.

Phenomena in artwork: Ghost

The ghosts are the restless souls of dead people and animals who, for one reason or another, did not want to go to another world through the portal. As a rule, such souls live in a cemetery, on the territory of their own grave, but they can escape from it. Most often, this is done by the souls of children and teenagers who arrange a poltergeist in homes or scare people.

For ordinary people, ghosts are invisible; only small children and people with psychic abilities can see them. For those who see them, the ghosts look like translucent figures surrounded by a light bluish glow. Their appearance corresponds to the current state of the corpse (with the degrees of decomposition inherent in the physical shell). Due to the fact that bodies decompose, ghosts secrete ectoplasm (sometimes they vomit). The presence of such secretions is a measure of life for them: their cessation means that the body has dried up, and the ghost begins to fall apart. Of the ghosts shown in the film, only the appearance of a maniac whose body was cremated and does not decompose does not change over time.

If desired, ghosts can change clothes, other accessories, and their entire appearance: for example, a former military man who considers himself a cemetery caretaker changes into a boxing suit or takes out machine guns to shoot at the enemy; and a homicidal maniac takes the form of a Dark Reaper with a scythe.

Ghosts can fly and interact with objects of the surrounding world, causing poltergeist phenomena. They can even get damaged from interactions with real objects (crumble when they collide with a car, deform under wheels, etc.), but this does not cause them significant harm, and they quickly restore their original shape. A ghost can be damaged by shooting from a ghostly weapon. You can "kill" a ghost with the scythe of a Dark Priest – after that, he leaves through a portal to another world without the possibility of returning.

Ghosts, like people, feel certain desires: they dream of smoking a cigar again, feel sexual attraction, etc.

A ghostly homicidal maniac attacks people, squeezes their hearts and causes them to stop. At the same time, people first feel fear and an oppressive feeling, then they feel the compression of the heart, and after that they quickly die.

Phenomena in artwork: Poltergeist

Ghosts are able to interact with objects. Since ghosts are invisible to most people, these actions are perceived by them as poltergeist phenomena (spontaneous movement and hanging of objects).

Phenomena in artwork: Parallel world

The film shows portals to other worlds (heaven and hell) that appear at the moment of a person's death. If the spirit of the deceased did not use his portal, then he appears a year later, on the anniversary of his death. The portal draws in nearby souls, and the spirit can use the portal that opened after the death of another person.

The portal to paradise looks like a glowing pillar leading to the clouds or a tunnel with a dazzling light at the end. The portal to hell is like the esophagus of a giant snake, covered with many small snakes and worms piercing the spirits in it.

Phenomena in artwork: Extrasensory perception

The characters of the film, after severe mental injuries received as a result of accidents (an accident, an attack by a maniac), acquire superpowers. They begin to see ghosts, as well as speak and (if desired) interact tactilely with them (they usually pass through spirits, but can touch them if necessary). They also begin to see portals through which the souls of the deceased leave our world.

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