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13 Ghosts [DVD] [1960] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Charles Herbert , Jo Morrow , William Castle    Universal, suitable for all   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 10.89
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Product details

  • Actors: Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp, Donald Woods
  • Directors: William Castle
  • Writers: Robb White
  • Producers: William Castle
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Colour, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Sep 2001
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005N5RQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,460 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ghostly sitcom 23 Jun 2006
William Castle made his directorial career out of spooks and curses -- both human and supernatural. One of his frothier films was "13 Ghosts," which doesn't come near the caliber of his better films, but is still fun to watch as a sort of supernatural sitcom. It isn't hard to imagine this as a TV series.

The Zorba family has just had their furniture repossessed (again) when Cyrus (Donald Woods) receives a letter from young lawyer Ben Rush (Martin Milner). His reclusive uncle just died, leaving the family a mansion and a pair of goggles for ghost-viewing. Grateful for this, Cyrus moves in with his wife and kids, despite Ben's insistence that something evil is lurking in the house.

And soon the Zorba family is being plagued by the twelve ghosts, from ghostly lions to a temperamental chef. Now they want out, and fast -- but they don't realize that Ben wants them to leave so he can find the money hidden somewhere in the house. Will Ben find the money and get away with it? And who will be the thirteenth ghost haunting the house?

"13 Ghosts" is a pretty straightforward film, with straightforward characters in a straightforward situation. Basically, it's like a long sitcom episode with ghosts -- we have your basic 1960s nuclear family (working dad, housewife, two kids) encountering a problem, and sort of bumbling into a solution.

The movie was made nearly fifty years ago, which means that the ghosts aren't too convincing, especially since Castle used a short-lived visual gimmick called "Illusion-O" (which for some reason is still on the DVDs). But Castle makes up for that with some entertaining scenes like the chef-specter flinging knives around the kitchen, and generates some real eeriness in the seance scene.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is the thirteenth ghost? 14 Oct 2011
By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER
13 Ghosts is produced and directed by William Castle and written by Robb White. It stars Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Rosemary DeCamp, Martin Milner, Margaret Hamilton and Donald Woods. Cinematography is by Joseph Biroc and music by Von Dexter.

When the Zorba family inherit a house from the recently deceased Dr. Plato Zorba, they think their luck has turned for the better. But pretty soon it becomes evident that Plato was known to be a dabbler in the supernatural and the house is haunted by a number of ghosts.......

By the time of 13 Ghosts' release, William Castle was well into his stride as a showman producer. Following on from The Tingler, one of his best films that featured his best gimmick (Percepto), he brought to his target audience Illusion-O, basically a two coloured viewer that the audience could use if they did or did not want to see the ghosts in the film, a subtitle flashed on the screen prompted use of the viewer. Unlike The Tingler, 13 Ghosts isn't a good enough film to be considered better than the gimmick that accompanied it. Yet there's a glorious sense of fun about the film, anyone under the illusion (o) that Castle was trying for a serious horror to scare the teenagers, could do with listening to Von Dexter's score for some of the ghostly goings on. Wonderfully tongue in cheek, the whole thing is played for nervous smiles rather than shrieky schlock.

The effects used (red images in a black and white movie) are more than good enough for tone and purpose of this particular production, in fact if you watch in the dark in the right frame of mind, then the ghosts do have a creepy enough vibe to them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  97 reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Magic of Illusion-O In Your Own Living Room 14 Feb 2002
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
William Castle was reknowned for showman gimmicks to which he gave cheesy names, such as "Percept-O," "Fright Break," and "Emerg-O." Although some of these effects were pretty silly, some were fairly complicated--and most of them relied upon the communial nature of a theatre audience for effect. Consequently, a contemporary viewer sitting in the comfort of the living room simply doesn't have much opportunity to experience a Castle film as it was originally presented. But there is one exception. The gimmick for Castle's 13 GHOSTS was "Illusion-O," which required the audience to use color filters (available at the box office) similar to 3-D glasses to see the ghosts in the film. Until recently, all available prints of 13 GHOSTS have been shown in simple black and white with the ghosts always visible, but the recent DVD release restores the tint process, and now you too can have the fun of a William Castle film right in your own home.
Like most Castle films, the story is very basic. A financially strapped family inherits a house, and unless they actually agree to reside in it the property goes to the state. But the house is also residence to 11 ghosts "collected" by the previous owner, and his death raised the number to 12. Now all of them are out to add another to their number. Who will the victim be? The script, the design, the cinematography, and the story are just as hokey as they can be, but the cast--which includes Margaret Hamilton of "OZ" fame--plays it very straight and even without the Illusion-O process the film is a cult favorite. But Illusion-O puts the icing on top. Periodically, a caption flashes on the screen instructing you to look through the viewer. Look through the red filter, and Poof! There are ghosts galore. Look through the blue filter, and Poof! Ghosts be Gone! Now, strictly speaking, you don't actually have to look through anything to see the ghosts--they are fairly visible without squinting through that little red lense--but it does add a tremendous amount of fun to the whole thing.
But don't go planning that ghost-viewing party just yet. The DVD offers a few extras that are fairly mild but enjoyable--but the darned thing only includes ONE viewer and if you want more you have to order them at an unreasonable price and then wait eight to ten weeks for them to arrive, and although you could probably run up a few extra viewers on your own that seems like a lot of trouble. Still, this may be your only chance to see a William Castle film as it was intended to be seen--and Castle fans won't want to miss that. And those prepared to order the extra viewers (or make them) will find 13 GHOSTS lots of campy, silly fun.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from schlockmeister William Castle 6 Oct 1999
By Mark Shanks - Published on
I saw this one at the theater waaaaay back in 1960, and was scared under the seat before the initial credits were done rolling. (Hey, I was FIVE!) I've seen some of today's jaded youth scared by it, too - IF you treat it right and show it in the proper atmosphere. The writer, Robb White, also did Castle's "House on Haunted Hill", and he seems to have a knack for the occasional creepy lines (like those from a pre-"Adam 12" Marty Millner describing the death of the previous owner of the haunted house - no graphic scenes can compete with your imagination, and that's how Castle gets his best effects.) Recommended for all ages, but the more sensitive (read intelligent and imaginative) youngsters *may* have a nightmare. It's GOOD for them! ;-)
Margaret Hamilton, the never-to-be-forgotten "Wicked Witch" from "The Wizard of Oz", plays the housekeeper. Poor Margaret - she HATED this movie, and yet - she just couldn't break away from that one role. She keeps her chin up here, but it's obvious her heart's not in it.
When this was first released to theaters, the lucky members of the audience were given "Ghost Viewers" - all part of the "ILLUSION-O" marketing campaign William Castle dreamed up to market this Saturday-matinee special. These "viewers" occasionally show up on some on-line auction sites as a reminder of a more innocent time, when a Saturday afternoon at the movies was cheap, fun, and something you'd always remember.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fun film, NOT fun without the viewer 19 Jan 2005
By William G. Ratcliffe - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Taking into consideration that the film is a classic, what i was rather angry about was the absence of the 'viewer' that was supposed to be included with the dvd. I am inclined to return the dvd to, and suggest those who may want to purchase this dvd to not do so for the reason that i did not get what i paid for.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware 2 Jun 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Movie is a lot of fun with the Illusion-O effect, provided you get the ghost viewer glasses. I ordered a copy from Amazon in May 2004 and it did not contain the ghost viewer glasses. I returned it and they sent me a new one that also didn't contain the glasses. I suggested that their whole batch was bad. They responded that the problem was larger than they thought and they would straighten it out, but couldn't provide me with a copy with the viewers at this time, and would refund my money. I ordered a copy from an outfit in Canada ( and it contained the glasses. I discovered that the flyer inside contained a panel for ordering more glasses that expired in December, 2002 that was not attached to the flyer that came with the Amazon copies. It appears that Columbia Tristar ran out of the glasses and are knowingly releasing copies of the DVD without them.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 40 Years Later It's Still Campy Fun 16 Oct 2000
By Michael Butts - Published on
If you consider this movie's age, it holds up right well! William Castle, the reigning king of spook movies in the late fifties and early sixties, was in fine form with co-conspirator Robb White in this spooky tale of a family inheriting a house and it's twelve ghosts. Someone in the house has been marked to be ghost #13. The ghosts are hard to see without the special 3-D lenses issued in the theaters, but the atmosphere is appropriately frightening.
The dialogue is witty, yet wooden, and the acting is only as a film at this time could be---deadpan yet tongue in cheek. Margaret Hamilton plays the witch housekeeper, and she still looks like the Wicked Witch of the West. Martin Milner is cast in the role of the family attorney; Jo Morrow (I remember her from the delightful "Three Worlds of Gulliver") is a very pretty and effective ingenue, and Charles Herbert is a typical little kid, enamored with his ghostly surroundings. However, Donald Woods and Rosemary DeCamp as the parents are superbly cast. You can tell they were having fun with this, almost like they were in a community theater production.
All in all, this is one of those great low budget classics from the sixties and scares without nauseating. Enjoy!
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