#MLM-207 The Curse of Frank Black
Frank Black faces an eerie night full of unsettling coincidences when he takes Jordan to the streets of Seattle for some Halloween Trick-or-Treating. Are these coincidences the result of simple chance, or is someone -- or something -- trying to give Frank a powerful message?
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Edited by Chris Willingham, A.C.E.
Lance Henriksen as Frank Black
Megan Gallagher as Catherine Black
Dean Winters as Mr Crocell
A.J. Adamson as 5-year-old Frank
Kett Turton as Ghost Storyteller
Lachlan Murdoch as Hobo
Shaun Toplass as 14-year-old Frank
Simon Farrar as ACTS Security Officer
"Do you ever find yourself talking with the dead? Since Willie's death, I catch myself every day, involuntarily talking with him as if he were with me." - Abraham Lincoln (upon the death of his son)
Promotional Episode Tagline
This Halloween, Frank Black meets his darkest fear... face to face.
Seasonal Episode Tagline
this is ... who we are ... the time is near
Please note that this is the original Fox synopsis and occasionally this may differ from the events that were actually filmed. Please also view the The Curse of Frank Black episode transcript which has been painstakingly checked for accuracy against the actual episode.
On Halloween night, Frank puts the finishing touches on a hand carved Jack- O'-Lantern and lights the candle inside. Suddenly, the candle extinguishes. Frank checks his watch, and realizing he is scheduled to take his daughter trick or treating, makes his way to the front doorway. As he peers across the street, he sees a devil-figure, the "Gehenna devil," staring back at him. A few moments later, the figure is gone. As Frank drives off to pick up his daughter, the candle inside the pumpkin inexplicably reignites.
Later that night, Frank accompanies his daughter, who is dressed as Marge Simpson, through the neighborhood. Jordan senses evil inside one of the homes and decides to pass by. She tells her father there "are ghosts in that house." Frank dismisses the notion, but a few moments later, he relives a moment from his childhood. In flashback, five-year-old Frank Black and three of his childhood buddies approach a creepy old house on Halloween. On a dare from his friends, Frank knocks on the front door of the old home. A man named Mr. Crocell answers the door and invites the young boy inside. Crocell explains the meaning of Halloween, and how, on this night, the spirits of the dead return to visit the living. A veteran of World War II who lost many a friend in battle, Crocell asks the young Frank if such a thing is possible. Young Frank responds that there are no such things as ghosts. Crocell nods, slipping further into depression.
Later that night, while driving home, Frank's Jeep stalls out on a darkened street. Though Frank doesn't notice, the vehicle's odometer, as well as his watch, all contain the numbers "2-6-8" (numbers which turn up again and again throughout the episode). Frank makes his way to a nearby neighborhood--only to come upon the abandoned Yellow House as it is being egged by two teenage boys. Frank chases the pair away and makes his way inside. There he experiences memories of happier times... of Catherine... and Jordan. Frank makes his way to the basement, following indiscernible whispers. As he listens from the shadows, a teenage boy tours the basement with a group of friends. He describes how Bletcher met his grisly fate, and how his ghost has roamed the house, "waiting for the curse of Frank Black to be lifted." Frank lets his presence be known, and the terrified teenagers run off into the night. Afterward, Frank recalls his friends' reactions when Crocell--the victim of a suicide--was discovered by authorities. As Frank leaves the house, he scoops up a Bible, only to momentarily glimpse the book title. Outside, he notices the teenagers' egg carton on the sidewalk. He picks up the surviving egg and tosses it at his old house. When Frank returns home, he is surprised by the sight of the lit candle inside the Jack-'O-Lantern. He then pursues the mail, mainly of the junk variety. Though Frank doesn't realize it, the envelopes all contain the accentuated letters, "A-C-T." Then, as he watches television, the numbers "2-6-8" again appear in various combinations. Frank realizes Crocell's address was "268." He also remembers seeing the Bible at the Yellow House, and the book's title: "ACTs of the Apostles." He searches through his Bible until he reaches Chapter 26, Verse 8. There he finds the sentence, "Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?"
Frank hears movement in the attic of his house. He climbs upward, flashlight in hand, seeking out the source of the noise. There he encounters Mr. Crocell, who warns he has been sent to Earth because Frank has become him. He tells Frank to give up the Millennium Group, return to his wife and daughter, and live out the rest of a normal, happy life. After Crocell vanishes, Frank climbs into his Jeep, a bucket and cleaners in hand. He drives to the Yellow House and washes away the yolk stain from the window he defaced earlier. He freezes momentarily at the sight of the "Gehenna" devil, as seen through the window, inside the house. But Frank continues to clean the window-- refusing to become Mr. Crocell.
Background Information and References
When Frank, aged 5 years old, and three friends are trick or treating, he meets Mr Crocell, portrayed by Dean Winters.
Once inside his home, Crocell drinks a shot of liquor and we see a book called L'Age de Raison:
Jean Paul Sartre's novel L'âge de raison (The Age of Reason in English) (1945) is set against the background of the bohemian Paris of the late 1930s. The novel focuses around three days in the life of a philosophy teacher named Mathieu who is seeking to find the money to pay for an abortion for his mistress, Marcelle. In these three days, the motives of various characters and their actions are analyzed and the perceptions and observations of others are taken in account to give the reader a comprehensive picture of the main character.
The novel is concerned with Sartre's conception of freedom as the ultimate aim of human existence. This work seeks to illustrate the existentialist notion of ultimate freedom through presenting a detailed account of the characters' psychologies as they are forced to make significant decisions in their lives. As the novel progresses, character narratives espouse Sartre's view of what it means to be free and how one operates within the framework of society with this philosophy. This novel is a fictional representation of his main philosophical work, Being and Nothingness, where one attains ultimate freedom through nothing, or more precisely, by being nothing.
It is the first part in the trilogy Les chemins de la liberteacute; (The Roads to Freedom).
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A major goal for the season was to give Frank's life the kind of narrative drive absent last season, and many of the episodes dealt with his on-going relationship with Catherine, his estranged father, and his friendship with colleague Peter Watts (Terry O'Quinn). Intertwined with all this was Frank's growing knowledge of the Millennium Group's true nature and the ethical situations their actions forced him to confront. These episodes made for some of the season's strongest story-telling, particularly the extraordinary "The Curse of Frank Black," a surreal, ghostly journey from uncertainty to renewed determination, played out on the silent, wind-blown streets of Frank's neighborhood on Halloween night.
Since Frank is often alone in this episode (which was influenced by the Japanese ghost move KWAIDAN), there is very little dialogue; much of the meaning is conveyed visually. "I didn't want to do any more dialogue," Morgan said. "Lance is so great with looks." The director was Ralph Hemecker, whom Morgan praised highly: "Ralph came up with some beautiful shots, and I really have to credit him with a lot of the episode's tone."
Frank's Halloween journey is as much through his memories as it is through the streets of his neighborhood. At one point, he recalls his Halloween encounter at age six with the neighborhood recluse, Mr. Crocell (OZ's Dean Winters). Crocell is a World War II vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but all Frank and his friends know is that he is a figure of fear to them. Crocell had killed himself, but now he appears as a ghost to challenge Frank to give up his fight against evil, because he can't beat the devil. "Frank's journey is similar to Lara's," Morgan commented. "That's where Frank could go, where he could quit and find a place for himself. He is at the brink--he goes back to his yellow house and throws eggs at it, like kids do at Halloween. He was on the brink of becoming Mr. Crocell. But he's got to go back and clean up the mess; otherwise he would just be giving up. What I liked is that it did seem like a slip-up in his quest."
Source: "TV's Best Kept Secret Improves In Its Sophomore Season" - Cinefantastique Magazine (1998).
When Frank Black is distracted by a big-screen projection television while trick-or-treating he gets a brief glimpse of the opening credits to Glen Morgan and James Wong's The Notorious 7, a television pilot that was rejected by the Fox network before the duo signed on to supervise Millennium.
This episode contains the most blatant of all of Glen Morgan and James Wong's trademark sight gags referencing their work on Space: Above and Beyond. The costumed man that Frank faces on the street is dressed as a Chig, the alien villains of the sci-fi drama series.
Credit: Brian Dixon, The Millennial Abyss
The film shown where the devil keeps laughing every time Frank's TV switches itself on is called The Mascot a.k.a Puppet Love, a.k.a The Devil's Ball made in 1934 by Ladislaw Starewicz.
For more information, see this Millennium article :
Explaining the laughing devil - The Curse of Frank Black - Written by Graham P. Smith.
Credit: The Old Man of TIWWA
The Curse of Frank Black is said to have been influenced by the Japanese ghost move Kwaidan.
Original Fox Promotional Episode Stills
View the 6 available original 1996 Fox Millennium Episode Guide images for this episode of Millennium here.
(Comprised of 0 murders + 0 kills in self defence + 0 justifiable homicides + 1 suicides.)
NB. Where applicable, large groups of victims (such as multiple victims in a plane crash) are represented by a count of group count of 1 due to impracticalities with listing so many unidentified persons. For enhanced details, see the Violence Markers below.
- Mr Crocell commited suicide during this episode of Millennium (The Curse of Frank Black).
(View Millennium's Violence - Deaths, Killers, Victims and Criminality Analysis)