Blu-ray: Highly Recommended
4 Stars out of 5
Sale Price 24.96
List Price 28.49
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Release Date: July 28th, 2020
Movie Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Restricted
Release Country: United States
COLLAPSE INFO -

Thir13en Ghosts (Thirteen Ghosts)

Review Date October 8th, 2020 by
Overview -

Thirteen Ghosts reveals a family who has inherited a massive mansion from their uncle where shortly after moving in, sinister and devilish ghosts begin to wreak havoc on everyone. It's wild, chaotic, and loads of fun that completely earns its R rating for gore and nudity. This new Collector's Edition from Scream Factory has a 1080p HD transfer, a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, and a ton of brand new bonus features that should satisfy fans and collectors. Highly Recommended!

 

OVERALL
Highly Recommended
  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs: Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec: 1080p AVC/MPEG-4
    Length:91
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.85:1
    English Descriptive Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions: English SDH
    Special Features:
    • NEW Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck
    • NEW Haunted in Canada - an interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth
    • NEW The Voice of Reason – an interview with actor Matthew Harrison
    • NEW Sophomore Spookshow - an interview with producer Gilbert Adler
    • NEW The Juggernaut Speaks- an interview with actor John DeSantis
    • NEW The Hammer Speaks- an interview with actor Herbert Duncanson
    • Thir13en Ghosts Revealed
    • Ghost Files: A Haunted Houseful of Poltergeist Profiles
    • Original Electronic Press Kit featuring interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage
    • Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and special makeup effects artist Howard Berger
    • Theatrical TrailerTV Spots
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: July 28th, 2020

Story Review Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

4 Stars out of 5

The late 90s and early 2000s saw a cavalcade of beefed-up horror movie remakes with House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting, and more, that usually starred an A-List cast with updated visual effects and a modern-day rock score. Dark Cast Entertainment was a big proponent of these reboots and decided the best course of action was to remake William Castle's Thirteen Ghosts from 1960 and give it a fresh spin for the year 2001. The result was an intense, serious, horrifying film with tons of blood and guts and a heavy dose of nudity. While the visual elements and performances are top-notch, the story at hand fell off the beaten path and strayed into some flashback territory instead of sticking with the terrifying ghosts.

Thirteen Ghosts follows a widower named Arthur (Tony Shaloub) who is barely keeping afloat financially as he supports his two children Kathy (Shannon Elizabeth) and Bobby (Alex Roberts) with the help of their nanny, Maggie (Rah Digga). Arthur has a rich uncle by the name of Cyrus (F. Murray Abraham) who was recently killed, leaving his giant mansion to Arthur. In order to give his kids a better life, the four move into the big glass-maze of a house.

It turns out that Cyrus was involved in the dark arts of satanic rituals and ghosts, which is how he was killed off in the first scene. Once inside the house, the new family accidentally permanently locks the house from escape and unleashes a baker's dozen violent ghosts who cause havoc, bloodshed, and scares amongst the family. With the help of Cyrus' wild assistant Dennis (Matthew Lillard) and supernatural medium Kalina (Embeth Davidtz, these six people try and survive a torturous death while helping free the dead souls from their eternal torment.

Director Steve Beck (whose only two film credits are this film and Ghost Ship) took a very different approach from its source material. Instead of a methodical, haunting, psychological horror film, Thirteen Ghosts amps everything to its maximum limit and never lets up. Its original score of music is fast-paced with a pulsing beat and the visual elements of scares are all stylized with quick flashing lights, smoke, and quick cuts that cause a constant frantic feeling of dread. There's barely any time to breathe, whoever the story is consistently trying to tell backstories of these ghosts which slows down the pacing a bit and is knocked off its track of plain horror with Arthur still mourning his wife's death and more secrets being revealed about the Cyrus and his work.

Beck utilizes the audio and lighting in his film to a chaotic effect where everything is loud, flashy, and on the nose. It's quite the spectacle and falls in line with a lot of film's visual styles of the late 90s. Beck does, however, employ a few cool homages to the original 1960 film though. In the original movie, people in the theater were given 3D glasses in order to see some of the fun ghosts and apparitions appearing in the film, as William Castle was known for his fun, cheap gimmicks during his feature film presentations. In this remake, the characters must wear these eyeglasses in order to see the ghastly undead ghosts who are trying to kill them, which was a fun homage.

Thirteen Ghosts does hold up some twenty years later in a way that it's bold, loud, and proud of what type of movie it is. It didn't shy away from censors to be something dumbed down for a younger audience, but instead went the full hardcore gore and nudity route with a quick pace. There are very few films that are released today that evoke that chaotic style, but Thirteen Ghosts did it well and earned its way to stand with some of the great horror remakes.

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray

Thirteen Ghosts haunts its way on Blu-ray inside a Collector's Edition from Scream Factory. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. There is some fantastic new artwork for the film that features all the horrifying ghosts of the movie looking straight out at its audience. The sleeve cover art is reversible with the new artwork as well as the original movie poster art.

 

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p AVC/MPEG-4
    Length:91
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH
    Special Features:

    • NEW Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck
    • NEW Haunted in Canada - an interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth
    • NEW The Voice of Reason – an interview with actor Matthew Harrison
    • NEW Sophomore Spookshow - an interview with producer Gilbert Adler
    • NEW The Juggernaut Speaks- an interview with actor John DeSantis
    • NEW The Hammer Speaks- an interview with actor Herbert Duncanson
    • Thir13en Ghosts Revealed
    • Ghost Files: A Haunted Houseful of Poltergeist Profiles
    • Original Electronic Press Kit featuring interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage
    • Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and special makeup effects artist Howard Berger
    • Theatrical TrailerTV Spots
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: July 28th, 2020

Video Review

3.5 Stars out of 5

Thirteen Ghosts was originally released on Blu-ray back in 2010 but has now made its way to a Collector's Edition for Scream Factory. Unfortunately, there doesn't look to be a brand new, amazing transfer here, but instead more or less the same 1080p HD image from the previous film in its 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

The colors have a couple of different palettes throughout the film, none of which are super elaborate. The ghosts and haunting images of smoke and lighting tend to have a silver and purple color scheme to them with varying levels of red color for blood. It's a colder look image for the most part. To contrast with the decaying life forces surrounding the family, the house itself looks magnificent with some bright gold, red, and orange color palettes surround the walls, furniture, and lighting. These brighter primary colors tend to stand out more than the other darker images. Black levels are mostly deep and inky, but there is a tiny bit of crush and murky low lit scenes that bleed over.

The detail can be sharp in brightly lit sequences, but on the whole, there are some soft looking scenes with the ghosts, which is a shame, because there are some truly phenomenal practical makeup effects that would have looked amazing with a better video presentation. Still, some of the mortal wounds, guts, and gore look decent enough as do the closeups that reveal scars, individual hairs, sweat, and blood drippings. The Latin inscribed glass walls show wonderful textures as do the costumes throughout. Skin tones are natural as well. There are no major video issues with aliasing or banding, but there's a little video noise that crops up from time to time.

Audio Review

4 Stars out of 5

Thirteen Ghosts comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track that is boisterous, loud, and unmerciful. That's a good thing when it comes to a horror film like this one. There are a ton of sonic moments that enhance the visuals on-screen, such as the wild ghosts that conjure up big scares by their screams and chains they bring with them. The ghostly noises that go bump in the night run rampant throughout the house and sound off nicely on the surround speakers with some very good directionality.

Other sound effects are well-balanced and offer up a loud crescendo when all seems calm. The bass kicks into high gear quite often that will rumble walls as well. The musical cues are energetic with a rock-like symphony that never lets up. Dialogue is clean and easy to follow with all the commotion that is going on in the background as well.

Special Features

4.5 Stars out of 5

There are around 137 minutes of bonus material, along with two commentary tracks. Around 54 minutes of these extras are brand new bonus material, consisting of interviews with the cast and crew present day. Also included are the previous extras that are imported on this new Collector's Edition. There's a lot to watch here, all of which is great info.

  • Audio Commentary - Director Steve Beck delivers an informative commentary track that tackles production, casting, the sets, working with the actors, and collaborating with William Castle's creations.
  • Audio Commentary - Director Steve Beck along with production designer Sean Hargreaves, and makeup effects designer Howard Berger does more of a technical commentary track that discusses the makeup and visual effects, building the elaborate sets, and camera work.
  • Haunted In Canada (HD, 10 Mins.) - A brand new interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth who discusses her time making the film, her memories of working with the cast and filmmakers, along with some interesting stories from the set and her being unaware of the original film. It's a solid, but quick interview.
  • The Voice Of Reason (HD, 15 Mins.) - Actor Matthew Harrison delivers a wonderful and candid interview about his time in the film. He talks about his audition tape, working with Matthew Lillard who scared him, and his love for F. Murray Abraham. This is a fantastic interview.
  • The Juggernaut Speaks (HD, 14 Mins.) - The very tall actor John DeSantis talks about working on the film, his origins in acting and in the military, and more. He discusses working with masks and full-body suits, along with a great gift the filmmakers gave him during production and shooting the film over 9-11. This is also a great interview.
  • The Hammer Speaks (HD, 6 Mins.) - Actor Herbert Duncanson recalls his days' onset of the film and tells an interesting story on how he was hired as a stand-in for a role on the movie, but quickly got the actual part once the original actor never showed up on set. He also talks about working with the actors and all the makeup he had to wear for the character.
  • Sophomore Spookshow (HD, 9 Mins.) - Producer Gil Adler discusses Dark Castle Entertainment's roots, their move to feature films and their collaboration with William Castle's people. He also talks about the wonderful work on the visual effects, sets, and more, including a turbulent time with the director.
  • Thirteen Ghosts Revealed (SD, 19 Mins.) - This is an extended promo reel with vintage 2001 interviews with the cast and crew as they talk thought the elements of production, the ghosts, and more. It's funny to watch this now with the 20-year-old graphics and heavy-hitting music.
  • Ghost Files (SD, 14 Mins.) - F. Murray Abraham gets in character again and explains all the ghosts in the film.
  • Original EPK (SD, 44 Mins.) - Here is a long, vintage EPK of interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and more - all of which was shot when the film was released and during production.
  • Trailers (HD, 6 Mins.) - A collection of theatrical trailers and TV spots are included here.

Final Thoughts

Thirteen Ghosts is a time machine back twenty years ago where most horror films were hellbent on buckets of blood, guts, nudity, and fast-paced music with an all-star cast that remade older horror films. For those elements, Thirteen Ghosts stands the test of time and is still a blast to watch, despite its many flaws. There's no new HD transfer, the DTS-HD track sounds great, and the brand new bonus features are definitely worthwhile. Worth the upgrade and Highly Recommended!

  • TECH SPECS & RELEASE DETAILS
    Technical Specs:
    Blu-ray Disc
    Video Resolution/Codec:
    1080p AVC/MPEG-4
    Length:91
    Release Country:United States
    Aspect Ratio(s):
    1.85:1
    Audio Formats:
    English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Subtitles/Captions:
    English SDH
    Special Features:

    • NEW Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck
    • NEW Haunted in Canada - an interview with actress Shannon Elizabeth
    • NEW The Voice of Reason – an interview with actor Matthew Harrison
    • NEW Sophomore Spookshow - an interview with producer Gilbert Adler
    • NEW The Juggernaut Speaks- an interview with actor John DeSantis
    • NEW The Hammer Speaks- an interview with actor Herbert Duncanson
    • Thir13en Ghosts Revealed
    • Ghost Files: A Haunted Houseful of Poltergeist Profiles
    • Original Electronic Press Kit featuring interviews with the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage
    • Audio Commentary with director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and special makeup effects artist Howard Berger
    • Theatrical TrailerTV Spots
    Movie Studio: Shout! Factory
    Release Date: July 28th, 2020