Thirteen Ghosts on DVD
Chills and Thrills, William Castle Style
From the maker of The Tingler comes this haunted mansion
story with its own gimmick.
William Castle, the producer/director and showman, knew how to promote
a movie. For Tingler , he had some of the theaters seats
wired to give a tingle to some audience members. For House on
Haunted Hill, he ran a skeleton across the ceiling of the theater on a
Then theres 13 Ghosts, for which he created
Illusion-O. This effect requires special glasses, much the same way that 3D
movies do, except that theres nothing 3D about Ghosts.
The plot revolves around a broke family inheriting a mansion haunted by
twelve ghosts. Who will become the thirteenth ghost is the mystery, with
everyone involved desperately hoping it wont be them.
Thats about all the plot description you need, so go to it!
The characters are all fairly broad, including an enhanced
cameo appearance by Margaret Hamilton (the wicked witch from The
Wizard of Oz) where she gets repeated accused of being a witch. Martin
Milner, who went on to fame with the Adam 12 TV series, plays a
likeable lawyer (hows that for a suspension of disbelief?) who may or may
not have more below the surface than he lets on.
Considering the movies age, and raison detre , it works
pretty well today. Sure its hokey, but it was hokey back then, too and
the date special effects make it work even better today.
Then theres Illusion-O. Columbia Tristar has released two version
of the movie on the single DVD. The version thats face up when you open
the box is the un-Illusion- Oed version, but if you flip it over
and grab the glasses included in the box youll get the full
benefit of the gimmick.
That gimmick uses a colored filter during the scenes where ghosts are
on screen and you can use the appropriate filter on the glasses to either see
or hide from the ghosts (the latter choice for the particularly faint of
heart). It works fine, but I have to admit we got tired of it quickly and,
since theres only one set of glasses in the box (you can order extra for
three bucks a pop and youll never use them for any other movie),
stopped the disc and went back to the unenhanced version.
Both versions are presented in anamorphic widescreen (16x9 TV
compatible), with Dolby Digital mono sound. Picture and sound quality are about
what youd expect. Theyre fine, but nothing outstanding, and it
doesnt matter anyway: this is 13 Ghosts!
Extras include a making of Illusion-O featurette ,
Castles original introduction, trailers, and production notes.
13 Ghosts, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
84 min, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital
Starring Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary De Camp,
Donald Woods, with Margaret Hamilton
Written by Robb White, Produced and Directed by William
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