Thursday, November 17, 2016

13 Ghosts

Director - William Castle (The Old Dark House, The Tingler)
Starring - Charles Herbert (The Outer Limits, The Farmer's Daughter), Jo Morrow (Doctor Death: Seeker of Souls, The 3 Worlds of Gulliver), and Donald Woods (True Grit, The Wild Wild West)
Release Date - 1960
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "13 times the thrills.  13 times the screams. 13 times the fun"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     There are a lot of movies that I should have seen by this point in my life and haven't.  I absolutely adore William Castle and his theatrical gimmicks.  I would have given anything to be alive during one of his theatrical stunts.  He made going to the movies fun.  When I was in middle school I went to Tennessee to spend the weekend with my brother and we rented the film Thir13en Ghosts.  I fucking loved it.  I talked my brother into buying me the movie on DVD which I still have.  It would be a few years before I come across my first William Castle movie but once I did I was fucking hooked.  It was then that I learned that Thir13en Ghosts was actually a remake of a 1960 William Castle film.  As much as I loved the remake I never did watch the original.  That changed when my friends over at Mill Creek Entertainment sent me the William Castle double feature with 13 Ghosts and 13 Frightened Girls.  
     The film follows a family that is behind on their bills and have lost everything when an attorney reaches out to them.  He tells the family that they just inherited their uncle's home.  Their uncle was long thought dead and spent most of his fortune studying the occult.  The family thinks their luck has finally changed and move into the house only to discover that it is haunted.  They find a book and learn that the uncle has brought 11 ghosts into the home and he has now died making it 12.  The plan is for one of them to die and make the 13th ghost but something happens and the attorney tries to kill them so he can search the house to get the money their uncle left behind only to fall prey to the ghosts.
     What I loved so much about Thir13en Ghosts was the character development and the ghost's backstories.  I love when I watch a movie and every character is fully development and we get some layers to go along with it.  I knew that the original film would not have that kind of character development but I knew it would have some chills and great suspense.  It had to considering that its coming from the mind that brought us House on Haunted Hill.  13 Ghosts does not have the backstory or character development but it does deliver an entertaining film.  The acting in this one is great. I really liked Donald Woods as the father figure.  He was strong, supportive and caring.  All the qualities of a great father.  I also really enjoyed Martin Milner as the attorney who is secretly planning on killing them to get the money.  Sadly, the one cast member that I was not digging was child actor Charles Herbert who received top billing to be apart of the film.  He may have been known at that time for his previous work but he was somewhat cruddy in his role in this film.  The story for this one is fun considering but compared to the remake it is rather boring.  The film gives us no look at the other ghosts other than a few hints here and there.  One of my favorite aspects from the remake is nowhere to be seen in the original.  However with that being said, it has some great atmosphere and beautiful cinematography.  The film is a rather slow burn but that only adds to the suspense.  Finally, if you are looking for blood and gore then you will be out of luck.  Sadly, the film has no real kills and the ghosts we see are superimposed onto the screen.  This is almost laughable considering we get amazing scares and jumps in House on Haunted Hill when this film was made by the same team.  More thought was placed into the gimmick instead of the actual film.  Overall, 13 Ghosts is another classic ghost story that should be in regularly rotation in every horror fan's movie marathons.  Its fun and has some great suspense.  Check it out.

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