Monday, July 21, 2008

The Frighteners (1996)

Oh Michael J. Fox, how good you look in tight jeans. No, this isn't just another opportunity to show off the Foxy package (right?). It's actually a horror-comedy creation presented by Robert Zemeckis, directed by Peter Jackson and with a score by Danny Elfman. Damn, those are some high-profile names, so why no love from the audiences? For one, I have absolutely no idea which audience Jackson is actually trying to reach...Apparently the film was originally scripted to be a Tales of the Crypt episode (that shit is sick [and not in the good way]!), but Zemeckis just thought it was so high-larious, it had to hit the big screen. It certainly seems like a comedy (flying babies anyone?) and one the kids might enjoy (walking mummies?), but then it's rated R for terror/violence (I guess all that necrophilia, heads exploding, creepy psycho-killer stuff took its toll. Or are they just talking about the fact that Jake Busey's in it? Man, he's ugly!). I mean, the use of paranormal and ghastly themes (it took 35+ computers!) is always tricky, and if you start adding comedic, crude, belligerent, and often 'inside' jokes, 70's inspired ghosts, creepy cult-tainted Feds, and heaven and hell, it's probably pretty difficult to get "artistically-minded," "drama-oriented," "discerning movie critic" adults into the theater seats. Without the teenagers, what's left? I guess maybe we hadn't quite reached that "that's where the money's at," "I'll let you have as much cash as you want because I feel guilty that I can't spend more time with you," "tween saturation point" by 1996. Because now, if you're making an rated-R movie (have you seen how many are coming out?...practically none!), you better have a pretty good fucking reason for throwing up your middle finger at the million dollar generation. On the other hand, I thought it was pretty fracking brilliant. It's like Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice meets Grosse Pointe Blank (which actually came out a year later) Natural Born Killers and Casper (live-action of course), and that is definitely not a bad thing.

Final Verdict: "Classically Contagious!"

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