13 Ghosts (1960)

“This house is not a gift, really — it’s a burden. Perhaps a curse!”

Synopsis:
The financially-strapped Zorba family — Cyrus, Hilda, Medea, and Buck — inherit a furnished mansion (and twelve restless ghosts) from an eccentric uncle.

Genres:

Review:
Following his success with The Tingler (1959), William Castle produced and directed this innocuous horror flick featuring a brand new gimmick: “Illusion-O”. Audience members were given a special “Ghost Viewer” to use at opportune times during the movie — those brave enough to face the ghosts were instructed to look through the red frame; sissies were told that looking through the blue screen would erase the ghosts from view. Cheesy gimmick aside, 13 Ghosts (remade in 2001) remains a quaintly unscary haunted house thriller, made slightly more tense by the possibility of hidden treasure and a double-crossing acquaintance. The ghosts in the film appear courtesy of double-exposure and hidden-wires — silly, yet perhaps appealing to the ten-year-old in all of us. Fortunately, the good-natured Zorbas (why the fancy Greek names?) make us root for their ultimate success regardless of the film’s half-baked production values.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Margaret Hamilton reprising her role as a “witch”
    Margaret Hamilton
  • A few creepy ghost scenes
    Ghosts

Must See?
No. This one is for fans of Castle’s notorious “gimmick movies” only.

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One Response to “13 Ghosts (1960)”

  1. Not a must. OH, NO!

    In fact…

    Lame.

    Lame.

    Lame.

    Lame.

    Lame.

    Tedious.

    Tiresome.

    And lame.

    Very lame.

    And that’s being kind.

    And why is the son about 7 and the daughter seems all of 26?

    And why is it so lame?

    I mean, it’s nice to see Margaret Hamilton, even if she is acting in a vacuum.

    Jeez, this is lame.

    Exposition out the wazoo – which would still be fine if the movie really went anywhere.

    But does it? No, it’s lame. I mean, the (ahem) payoff is lame.

    And, oh yeah – no one will be seated during the especially lame seance sequence.

    And I even like William Castle for the most part, sometimes love him, but no ff should be required to sit through this snore fest. That’s spelled:
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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