For this week’s selection I returned to another Halloween favorite, ghosts. (To be honest, I was going call this haunted houses but the ghosts are only limited to a single house)

Halloween Double Feature - Ghost Stories Frighteners

In the first film on my list, Peter Jackson’s Frighteners, Micheal J Fox plays Frank, a “psychic investigator”. Who runs a scam apparently driving away ghosts creating havoc in the houses of people who have received his business card. In reality Frank isn’t a complete fraud. He really can see ghosts. In fact he has a couple of ghosts helping him with his shakedowns. However, when people in town are start dying of mysterious causes he finds himself forced to investigate.

This was Jackson’s first big film after Heavenly Creatures. All I knew about it was it was one of the stumbling points in his career. Having heard that, I didn’t have that much of a problem with it. It was mostsly cheesy, but in a fun way, with pretty good effect courtesy of a young Studio Wetta. 

My only big problem with it was I found the rules of the paranormal were inconsistent. For example it made it clear that Ghosts remained on earth due to unfinished business. However there were several scenes when spirits who definitely had unfinished business are dragged kicking and screaming up the tunnel of light after dying. 

Halloween Double Feature - Ghost Stories house

Next on my list, Steve Miner’s House, tells the story of Roger Cobb, a successful horror writer who moves back to his childhood home after his aunt dies. Things haven’t been going well for Roger. His young son disappeared five years ago which led to getting divorced. On top of that he’s getting flashbacks from his time in Vietnam and he has a bad case of writer’s block. It’s almost a relief that the house is haunted. Now, when it’s not trying to kill him, it’s driving him crazy.

This was another movie on the “Meh” list. While the makeup and effects were okay It really didn’t impress me. The best thing I found about it was George Wendt’s performance as Harold, Roger’s well-meaning neighbor who thinks he’s going crazy.