Real Name: Frank Bannister
Identity/Class: Human altered by mystic near-death experience
Occupation: former architect; later fake exorcist / psychic investigator
Affiliations: The Judge, Cyrus, Stuart (ghostly partners); Dr.Lucy Lynskey
Enemies: The Soul Taker (Johnny Charles Bartlett); Patricia Ann Bradley; Milton Dammers
Known Relatives: Debra (wife, deceased)
Aliases: None known
Base of Operations: Fairweather, New England
First Appearance: The Frighteners (1996)
Powers/Abilities: Able to see ghosts and interact with them.
History: Frank Bannister was a successful architect until he accidentally drove his car off the road while drunk. His wife was in the car with him, and when police found them both hours later, she was dead. They presumed the crash killed her, but in fact the truth was much more sinister.
Although Frank would blot out the memories of what he saw for the next five years, what had actually occurred was that ghostly sixties serial killer Johnny Bartlett and his still-living girlfriend Patricia Ann Bradley came across the two of them lying near their car. Not spotting Frank, Patricia watched as her undead boyfriend reached inside Debra's body and squeezed her heart, killing her. Then Patricia cut the number 13 onto Debra's forehead. Johnny had murdered 12 people with his girlfriend's help back in 1964 before being sent to the chair; now that Debra had brought him back with a seance, the two planned to start right back up again. Luckily for Frank, they never realised he had seen them in action.
As a result of the experience, Frank discovered he now had the ability to see ghosts, the spirits of people who did not enter the tunnel of light offered to them when they initially died. This combined with his loss drove him to the depths of despair. He quit his job, and when his money eventually ran out, he talked three amiable ghosts, The Judge (the spirit of a Western gunslinger, now so lacking in ectoplasm he was falling apart), Stuart (a geek) and Cyrus (an Afro-haired left-over from the seventies), into helping him set up a fake exorcism business. The ghosts would haunt someone, Frank would be called in, and after a bit of theatrics, remove the "poltergeists" plaguing his marks.
This went on for five years. Meanwhile Johnny grew in strength, masking his appearance with the form of the Grim Reaper, or Soul Taker as the Judge would term him. Bartlett's killing spree grew and sped up. While bilking his latest client, Frank saw the number 37 on their forehead in burning letters; it was only the next day when he encountered the man's ghost did he realise the significance of this. The new ghost asked Frank to help him contact his widow, Lucy Lynskey, but grew angry when he realised that Lucy had been about to leave him anyway, and that there was clearly a spark between her and Frank. Needing a break, Frank went to the rest room, only to witness Bartlett in action, slaying his next victim.
When the police arrived, they accused Frank of being the murderer, an attitude not helped when Frank spotted yet another person with numbers on their head and the Soul Taker moving in. While his ghosts provided distraction, Frank grabbed the unwilling target and tried to save her. The Judge fell to the Soul Taker, who then chased down Frank's car, driving him off the road at the same spot where he had crashed five years earlier. Once again Frank had to witness the death of an innocent.
Surrendering to custody, Frank found any chance of reasoning with the police destroyed by the arrival of an insane FBI agent, Milton Dammers. Dammers was convinced of Frank's guilt no matter what he said, and Frank resigned himself to incarceration...until Lucy arrived to visit him in his cell, and Frank saw numbers glowing on her forehead. With the assistance of Lucy and his remaining two spirit friends, Frank escaped, but both Stuart and Cyrus met their ends, sliced by the Soul Taker's scythe.
Reasoning that it takes a ghost to catch a ghost, Frank had Lucy use medical equipment to temporarily freeze him, entering a death-like state. In this form, Frank confronted the Soul Taker in the local cemetery and stripped him of his mask. Before he could end Bartlett though, his spirit was whisked back to his body as Lucy revived him. Now they knew who their enemy was, the two crusaders went to warn his girlfriend Patricia, little realising she was still in love with her murderous partner. Facing two murderous foes, Frank and Lucy hid in Patricia's closet during a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, and chance upon Bartlett's ashes stored within.
They decided to try and exorcise the ghoul by emptying his ashes on consecrated ground, in the chapel of the abandoned asylum adjacent to the house they were in - the same asylum where Bartlett and Patricia had carried out their original killing spree. Patricia, Johnny pursued them in., followed moments later by Milton Dammers. As Frank was subjected to flashbacks to the fateful events in 1964, Dammers caught up with them, shot Frank and emptied out the ashes too early. The FBI agent had his head blown off by Patricia for his trouble. Frank, once more at death's door, grabbed Patricia in his spirit form and ripped her soul from her body. Simultaneously the tunnel of light formed to take him to the next world. Frank started to rise heavenward, dragging Patricia's ghost with him. Bartlett, unwilling to give up his lover, followed, but by so doing, he attracted the attention of some higher power. The tunnel transformed into a gaping maw full of tentacles, which snatched both the murderers and dragged them away screaming. Then it changed back and Frank reached his destination, apparently Heaven. He was greeted by Stuart and Cyrus, and also by his wife Debra. She told him it was not his time yet, and to be happy. Then Frank awoke, back in his own body.
Frank and Lucy became lovers, and he began to get his life back together. And Lucy, thanks to her own near death experience, gained the same power to see ghosts that Frank had.
Comments: Created by Frances Walsh and Peter Jackson. Played by Michael J. Fox.
John Astin, best known as Gomez in the original Addams Family series, played his ally the Judge, Chi McBride played Cyrus, and Jim Fyfe was Stuart.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
The Ghostbusters, who also remove unwanted spooks
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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