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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
|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
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.
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
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.