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Genres: Horror
Actors: Charles Herbert , Jo Morrow , Martin Milner , Rosemary DeCamp , Donald Woods , Margaret Hamilton , John Van Dreelen
Director: William Castle
Country: United States
Year: 1960
IMDB Rating: 6.0/10 (2430 votes)

Reclusive Dr. Zorba has died and left his eerie mansion to his penniless nephew Cyrus Zorba and his family. Along with the house, the Zorba family has also inherited the occultist’s collection of 12 ghosts, who can only be seen through Zorba’s special goggles. The family members, their lives at risk upon the discovery that Dr. Zorba’s fortune lies hidden somewhere in the house, receive aid from unexpected quarters as the threat to their lives is revealed.

Film Review

As usual, I'm in the minority on this one. This was an atmospheric, creepy little movie with some well-placed humor scattered here and there. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good as the hype.The story here was inferior, in my opinion, to the remake. The remake held all the best elements from this original, except the "witch" references, that is. Those are humorous references to the Wizard of Oz. I won't say more, for those of you who haven't seen this original work.If you've nothing else to do, this is definitely worth your time, but if you haven't seen the remake, watch it after. It's bigger. It has a more involved story, generates some great atmosphere, and still delivers awesome graphic eye candy.I'd still rate this about a 7.3/10 from…the Fiend :.

An impoverished family — decent, but broke dad Cyrus (solid Donald Woods), loyal, worried mom Hilda (the equally fine Rosemary De Camp), spunky, pretty daughter Medea (the adorable Jo Morrow) and precocious son Buck (cute Charles Herbert) — inherit a large rundown house from a flaky uncle. Said abode not only turns out to be haunted, but also has a sizable fortune hidden inside of it. Capably directed by legendary huckster William Castle, with a clever script by Robb White, an elegant spooky'n'shuddery score by Von Dexter, crisp black and white cinematography by Joseph F. Biroc (the use of dissolves and split screen is especially nice), charmingly crude special effects, game acting from a sturdy cast, and a suitably eerie tone, this picture provides a good deal of infectiously sincere ooga-booga scary fun. The ghosts themselves are a really nifty bunch; my favorites are the flaming skeleton, an axe-brandishing executioner, a murderous angry Italian chef, and a headless lion …

William Castle sure was a master of macabre spooky tales. My personal favorite of Castle's films will always be the delightfully eerie "House on Haunted Hill" (1959) starring the great Vincent Price, but Castle's repertoire includes quite a bunch of other immensely entertaining gems, such as "The Tingler" (1959, also starring Vincent Price), or this "13 Ghosts" of 1960. "13 Ghosts" may be as campy as it gets, but it is nonetheless (or therefore) great fun to watch. My only regret with William Castle's films is that it is not quite possible to see them in their original greatness, as Castle always came up with ingenious gimmicks in cinemas (such as a skeleton flying through the hall, directly at the audience, in "House On Haunted Hill", for example). Seeing his films in all their glory would therefore require a film technician and cinema owner willing to restore all these gimmicks, which is unfortunately never going to happe…


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