The title of the film itself should tell you what you should anticipate. Warner Bros Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Dark Castle Entertainment venture, is determined to scare you out of your seat. It's quite another thing that apart from the first few view of the ghoulish creatures that hound the frames, the fright is more in anticipation than in their appearance. The creativity one supposes lies in the ghastliness of the objects of terror and in the skilful use of the camera angles (Gale Tattersall) to create a sense of impending doom not to mention the gloomy, sombre background music and sound effects (Charlie Belardinelli).
Put in a few hapless souls who stumble on situations that warrant much screaming and running around literally in circles and some improbable notions about ghosts 13 to be precise capturing of souls and their release, and you have an hour and a half of horror and nail biting tension.
A modern remake of the William Castle horror film "Thirteen Ghosts" is about a family that inherits a remarkably built house, situated in splendid isolation, from an eccentric uncle. What they do not know is that there is an agenda for them to be there and their very existence is going to be threatened by some dark plan. Naturally they have to somehow escape the wheels of destruction!
Besides the plans there are these creatures which sigh and shriek and scare any rational thought out of these petrified mortals that include Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) and his two children Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alec Roberts). This is a family, which has lost all but one another in a fire, that took the life of the mother Jean (Kathryn Anderson), and any material goods they possessed. And then comes this strange man who shows them a computer recording of Uncle Cyrus (F.Murray Abraham) which tells Arthur that the uncle is leaving him his house a house that is an architectural wonder made entirely of glass and steel with dazzling artefacts and luxuries. Living as they do in a cramped apartment in the midst of mess and frayed tempers, this is a godsend. (Or should one say Satan-send?)
They go to this house ready to accept their good fortune. But then there are no freebies in the world and the grim secrets within unfold as they go exploring. Soon the family is joined by a ghost-hunter who is determined to set the spirits free and find the key to salvation.
Directed by Steve Beck from a screenplay (not much of it as screaming constitutes a major portion of it) by Neal Marshall Stevens and Richard D'Ovidio and story Robb White, this was originally made in the 1960s. The mastermind behind the original was film-maker and terror impresario William Castle who earned his reputation as a consummate showman for the innovative marketing campaigns he mounted for low budget horror films he directed.
Theatregoers were lured to Castle's films by the allure of imaginative gimmicks right from "Emergo", "House On The Haunted Hill", "Percepto", "The Tingler" and "Macabre" to "Thirteen Ghosts". In remaking the film the story has been updated to suit today's audiences along with the use of special effects and advanced film technology that were not available to Castle in those days.
If horror films are your cup of tea then you may just want to see all of "Thirteen Ghosts".
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