Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Misery Loves Company



Thir13en Ghosts (2001) Trailer - Arthur and his two children, Kathy and Bobby, inherit his Uncle Cyrus's estate: a glass house that serves as a prison to 12 ghosts. When the family, accompanied by Bobby's Nanny and an attorney, enter the house they find themselves trapped inside an evil machine "designed by the devil and powered by the dead" to open the Eye of Hell. Aided by Dennis, a ghost hunter and his rival Kalina, a ghost rights activist out to set the ghosts free, the group must do what they can to get out of the house alive.


Thirteen Ghosts (also known as Thir13en Ghosts, 13 Ghosts, and Thirthirteenen Ghosts) is a 2001 American horror film directed by Steve Beck.

It is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name by William Castle. It follows the remake of another one of Castle's films, House on Haunted Hill.

Ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham) and his neurotic psychic assistant Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard) lead a team on a mission to capture a spirit, called the Juggernaut, in a junkyard.

Several of the men are killed during the ensuing fight, including Cyrus himself. However, the team is able to catch the ghost.

Cyrus' nephew, Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub), an embittered and naive mathematician who is also a widower, is informed by Cyrus' estate lawyer Ben Moss (JR Bourne) that he has inherited a mansion.

Financially insecure, Arthur decides to move into the mansion with his two children, Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alec Roberts), and their nanny Maggie (Rah Digga). Dennis Rafkin, disguised as a power company employee, meets the family and Benjamin as they tour the mansion.

The residence is made almost entirely of glass walls and floor with Latin phrases etched on them. While Arthur is discussing financial matters with the attorney, Kathy and Bobby venture off on their own to explore the mansion.

After seeing several ghosts in the basement, Dennis frantically runs upstairs to warn Arthur that there are twelve violent ghosts imprisoned in the house, held captive by the Latin spells written on the walls.

Moss slips away to collect his payment, but upon taking the briefcase he activates a mechanism that seals the entrance to the home and begins to release the ghosts. Moss encounters one of them, the Angry Princess, and backs up into an open doorway which snaps shut and slices him in half.Bobby disappears after getting separated from Maggie and he wanders into the basement.

There he encounters several spirits, including the Torso and the Bound Woman. Arthur manages to find Kathy, and the two battle the Jackal. The Jackal picks up Kathy and attempts to rape her, tearing off her shirt and pants but Kalina Oretzia (Embeth Davidtz), a spirit liberator, helps Arthur free Kathy from the Jackal's grip, only to be lost again a few moments later.

Arthur and Kalina then meet up with Dennis and Maggie and set off for the library. In the library, Kalina explains that the home is actually a machine built by Cyrus, based on a design in a 15th century book written by the once-demonically possessed astrologer Basileus.

The machine is powered by the spirits of twelve ghosts based on the "Black Zodiac," and opens the "Ocularis Infernum" (Eye of Hell) that allows its user to see into the future.

To Arthur's horror, he discovers one of the ghosts, "The Withered Lover," is the spirit of his dead wife Jean.

Kalina goes on to tell Arthur that his children are in grave danger, and the only way to ensure their successful return is for Arthur to sacrifice himself to become the 13th ghost - his sacrifice of pure love would destroy the machine.

Using special goggles that let them see the ghosts and a detached pane of glass as a shield, Arthur and Dennis search for Arthur's children. Cornered by two ghosts, The Hammer and The Juggernaut, Dennis decides to sacrifice himself and pushes Arthur into a corner where he is then protected by the glass.

The psychic is, then, brutally beaten and killed by the two ghosts. Meanwhile Cyrus is revealed to be alive, having faked his death in order to lure Arthur to the house; Kalina is his secret partner and lover, and knocks Maggie unconscious. Cyrus has orchestrated the abduction of Kathy and Bobby so that Arthur will become the 13th ghost not to stop the machine, as Kalina had claimed, but to trigger its activation.

Kalina says the only flaw in the plan is that Arthur will only sacrifice himself if his children are in jeopardy. When she balks at Cyrus's order to do so, Cyrus sighs and traps her in a small chamber, crushing her to death between two walls. Trapped behind the glass, Arthur is visited by Jean's ghost before all the ghosts vanish from the basement, Cyrus playing a tape-recorded Latin chant to summon them to activate the machine.

Arthur arrives at the main hall of the house and witnesses all twelve ghosts standing around a rotating crest of metal rings, his children at the center. Arthur and Cyrus have a violent confrontation, and Cyrus overpowers Arthur. Maggie begins to disrupt the machine's controls, breaking the chant and freeing the ghosts of the trance it induced.

This also bends and shatters the gears powering the rotating crest of rings, causing them to flip into the air. With the exception of Jean, the ghosts grab Cyrus and hurl him into the rings, slicing him to pieces. Dennis' ghost then appears, telling Arthur that it's not over and to go to his kids. Waiting for a break in the rings, Arthur safely leaps to his children.

The machine continues to malfunction and the walls of the house shatter, freeing the ghosts. A peaceful-looking Jean appears before her family before vanishing. The film ends with a battered Maggie, the nanny, walking through the wreckage, yelling out to Arthur that she quits.


The twelve ghosts that make up the fictional "Black Zodiac" each have their own unique back stories. Although these stories were not described in the film, on the DVD, the production and make-up teams explain their guidelines.

Cyrus narrates each ghost's back story. They also seem to increase in danger posed as their numbers increase.


1. The First Born Son

The First Born Son is the ghost of Billy Michaels, a boy who loved Cowboy films.

One day a neighbor found a real steel-tipped bow and arrow in his parents' closet. He challenged Billy to a duel, with Billy using a toy gun.

However, his plaything was no match for the arrow, and he died when the neighbor shot it through the back of his head.

In death, Billy is in his cowboy suit and holding a tomahawk, with the arrow still protruding from his head. His ghost whispers "I want to play" or "play with me."

   
2. The Torso

The Torso is the ghost of a gambler called Jimmy "The Gambler" Gambino. One day he made a deal with a rich business man, and when he bet heavily on a boxing match and lost, he tried to renege his bet and slip out of town, and so sealed his fate.

The mob and the winning boxer, to whom he owed money, caught up with Gambino and cut him into several pieces, wrapping them in cellophane and dumping the corpse into the ocean.

His ghost is just his torso, trying to walk around on its hands, while his head lies nearby screaming within the cellophane.


 
3. The Bound Woman

The Bound Woman is the ghost of Susan LeGrow a girl with very rich and wealthy parents which made her the most popular girl at school. Susan was born privileged and she had a penchant for dating one individual boy and cheating on him with another boy.

This left a long trail of broken hearts. Susan’s senior year in high school she dated the star football player Chet Walters one night at senior prom Susan and Chet was prom King and Queen then after it was over Chet found her cheating on him with another boy.

The next morning the boy was found dead and Susan was missing, 2 weeks later her body was found buried at the 50 yard line of the local football field at the high school. Chet was convicted and sentenced to death.

Right before his execution he was quoted as saying “The bitch broke my heart so I broke her neck”. Her ghost is hanging suspended with her Prom dress on and Chet’s tie around her neck and her arms tied behind her back.

   
4. The Withered Lover

The Withered Lover is Jean Kriticos, Arthur's wife. She was burned severely saving her family from a devastating house fire, and died of her wounds in the hospital.

Her ghost initially appears in a hospital gown, hooked up to an IV pole and showing severe burns on her face.

Unlike the other ghosts, she is not a vengeful spirit, electing to help her family rather than show malevolence. (To be fair, as she seemed to be the most recently deceased, this may have changed in time.)



   
5. The Torn Prince

The Torn Prince is the ghost of Royce Clayton, a gifted baseball star in high school, albeit with attitude issues and a superiority complex.

In 1957 he was challenged by a greaser named Johnny to a drag race, but was killed as his car spun out of control and flipped over; the cause of the accident, a cut brake line.

He was buried in a plot of earth that overlooked the baseball diamond. His ghost carries a baseball bat, and parts of his body are torn to shreds from when he was dragged under the car.



   
6. The Angry Princess

The Angry Princess is the ghost of Dana Newman who had the natural beauty of a goddess but she had an inability to recognize it.

By the time of her early 20’s a string of abusive boyfriends fueled her low self-esteem which lead her down a spiral of self-loathing which doctors struggled to save her from.

In a desperate search for perfection lead her to employment with a plastic surgeon where her wage was paid in nose jobs, breast implants and other pointless procedures.

Alone one night at the clinic Dana tried to perform surgery on herself in a desperate attempt to remove an unperceivable, imprecation on her face the un-orthodox procedure went horribly wrong and she was left blinded in one eye.

She committed suicide in the bathtub by slashing herself to death with a butcher knife until her veins ran dry, when she was found people said she was as beautiful in death as she was in life. Her ghost is naked still holding the same knife she killed herself with showing all the wounds.

 
   
7. The Pilgrimess

The Pilgrimess is the ghost of Isabella Smith. In 1695 during colonial times Isabella Smith sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in search for a warm comfortable home in New England but the tight-knit townsfolk didn’t trust outsiders which isolated her from the town.

But problems had begun not too long after she arrived, the towns livestock began to die mysteriously so the town’s preacher judgmentally accused her of witchcraft. She denied the claim but the town quickly turned against her.

As more livestock started to fall ill the preacher acquired a mysterious illness the town rallied into a frenzy corning Isabella in a barn which they lit on fire but moments later Isabella miraculously crawled out still alive without a single burn on her skin, clothes, or hair.

So instead she was sentenced to a slow death in the stocks there she stayed for weeks on end while children stoned her, women cursed and men spat on her the humiliation grew far more worse than the pain so finally Isabella come to starvation. Her ghost is walking around with her hands still locked in the stocks covered with a few cobwebs and dry leaves.

 
   
8.& 9. The Great Child & The Dire Mother

The Dire Mother is the ghost of Margaret Shelburne who was a shy woman who could never stand up for herself partly because she rose to only a mere 3 feet in height ever since childhood she was constantly stared at for her pint size and her own mother would sometimes dress her like a doll but Margaret didn’t care as long as she found some perverse form of acceptance.

A carnival barker named Jimbo placed her on display in his freak show. Life was horrible being an attraction for people to gawk at one night while sweeping up a donkeys pin she was raped by the tall man who was another carnival freak.

Her son Harold “The Great Child” who was born as a result of that rape he eventually weighed over 300 pounds (136 kg). Ever since infancy Margaret kept spoiling Harold and it never stopped as he grew and because of that he remained in diapers all his life the circus workers teased and tormented them relentlessly and mocked by their own twisted kind. 

The two became very close and protective of each other. One day some circus workers decided to play a cruel joke on Harold by kidnapping his mother. Angered and enraged, Harold set out to look for his mother but when he found her she had died of suffocation in the sack she was kept in.

Filled with so much anger Harold violently chopped the workers to death with an axe keeping their remains and placing them on display for paying customers to see.

Later when Jimbo found out what Harold had done he ordered an angry mob to rip and tear Harold apart.

Their ghost is always together and The Great Child still holds the axe he used to kill the circus workers with.

 
 


 
10. The Hammer

The Hammer is the ghost of a blacksmith, George Markley, who lived in a small town in the 1890s. He was wrongfully accused of stealing, and when threatened with exile, refused to leave town.

A gang led by his accuser hanged his wife and children and burned their bodies; in revenge, George used his sledgehammer to beat the culprits to death.

He was then subjected to a cruel form of frontier justice by the townsfolk, being chained to a tree and executed by having railroad spikes driven into his body with his own sledgehammer.

As a final touch, they cut off his hand and attached the sledgehammer - handle and all - to the hand that was cut off. His ghost is seen with the railroad spikes protruding from his body and a sledgehammer for a left hand.


   
11. The Jackal

The Jackal is the ghost of Ryan Kuhn. In 1887 Ryan was born to a prostitute. By the time of he was in his mid or late-adult years Ryan developed a sick insatiable taste for the female gender he began attacking prostitutes and stray women with the cunning of a wild animal.

Feeling a desperate need of help he committed himself to Borinwood Asylum. After years of imprisonment in a padded room Ryan went insane, scratching at the walls so violently that his finger nails were torn completely off.

The doctors kept him permanently bound in a strait-jacket and tying it tighter when he would act up causing his limbs to contort horribly but Ryan gnawed right through it so the doctors locked him in a dark basement cell and locked his head in a cage. There he grew to hate all mankind screaming madly and cowering whenever approached by people.

When a fire broke out in the asylum everyone but Ryan escaped instead he decided to stay behind and meet his fate. His ghost is in his undone strait-jacket and his head locked in the half-way broken cage.

 
   
12. The Juggernaut

The Juggernaut is the ghost of a serial killer named Horace "Breaker" Mahoney. Standing seven feet tall, he was of such grotesque height and appearance that everyone ostracized him as a child.

His mother abandoned him at birth, so his father raised him, putting him to work in the junkyard crushing old cars. After his father died, Horace was left on his own, and soon went mad.

He would pick up female hitchhikers on the road and drive them back to his junkyard, then tear them apart with his bare hands and feed them to his dogs.

One day he picked up an undercover female police officer, who called for backup, bringing a SWAT team to surround the junkyard. Since close combat was impossible, the police instead struck the yard, and arrested the giant. However, Horace broke free from the cuffs, and three officers lost their lives.

Quickly, five SWAT officers took out their guns and brought Horace down in a hail of bullets. When he finally went down, they shot an extra round of ammunition into him, "just to be safe." His ghost still shows bullet holes all over his clothing, and the round that finished him, in the center of his forehead.

 
   
13. The Broken Heart

The thirteenth ghost would've been Arthur. He had to be alive to be sacrificed into the Eye of the Devil and then die to save his family, but the ghosts threw Cyrus into the Eye of the Devil instead, setting all 12 ghosts free.


Reviews for the film were mostly negative, with Thirteen Ghosts garnering just 12% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus being "The production design is first rate, but 13 Ghosts is distinctly lacking in scares."

In the US, the film opened ranking 2nd, making $15,165,355. It spent 10 weeks in the US box office, eventually making $41,867,960 domestically, and $68,467,960 worldwide.