“This house is not a gift, really — it’s a burden. Perhaps a curse!”
The financially-strapped Zorba family — Cyrus (Donald Woods), Hilda (Rosemary DeCamp), Medea (Jo Morrow), and Buck (Martin Milner) — inherit a furnished mansion (and twelve restless ghosts) from an eccentric uncle.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- William Castle Films
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, and those brave enough to face the ghosts were instructed to look through the red frame, while 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”
- A few creepy ghost scenes
No. This one is for fans of Castle’s notorious “gimmick movies” only.