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Thir13en Ghosts

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Thirteen Ghosts, starring Tony Shalhoub
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Thir13en Ghosts (2001) starring Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, F. Murray Abraham

The 2001 film, Thirteen Ghosts, is a remake of the 1960 William Castle film, 13 Ghosts. The two films have the following in common:

  • A penniless family inherits a mansion from a deceased, eccentric relative
  • The mansion contains over a dozen ghosts
  • The ghosts can only be seen with special glasses

That’s pretty much it.

Buy from Amazon In this remake, Tony Shaloub plays the family man. He’s a widower, whose wife died saving the rest of the family from a fire. The family is charitably described as dysfunctional. Penniless widower Shalhoub can somehow afford a live-in nanny. The film plays more like a horror video game, with each of the ghosts having a tragic backstory, and a vicious streak, with lots of graphic violence. It has a lot of language I don’t care for, sniping between the family members, etc.

In short, as much as I love Tony Shalhoub’s acting (Monk, etc.), he isn’t able to rescue this film.

Movie quotes from  Thirteen Ghosts

Maggie: Can I rely on you not to get me killed?
Dennis Rafkin: I guarantee nothing.

Maggie: Family, just so we’re all clear, Ms. Maggie does not do windows.

Dana Newman, The Angry Princess: [faint, ghastly whispering] I’m sorry…

Maggie: [in background talking to herself] Stuck in here, bunch of crazy white people…

Dennis Rafkin: Did I say there’s a petting zoo downstairs? NO, there are ghosts downstairs, Arthur!

Dennis Rafkin: I hate my job.

Arthur Kriticos: He wasn’t too popular. My dad said he squandered the family fortune.
Kathy Kriticos: We have a family fortune?
Arthur Kriticos: Well, no. Cyrus squandered it.

Kathy Kriticos: Bathrooms. Bathrooms! Everyone gets their own bathroom!

[seeing their new glass house]
Kathy Kriticos: I sure hope the bathroom’s in the basement…

Arthur Kriticos: First rule: no throwing stones.

Cast of characters

  • Tony Shalhoub (Monk; Galaxy Quest) … Arthur Kriticos
  • Embeth Davidtz … Kalina Oretzia
  • Matthew Lillard … Dennis Rafkin
  • Shannon Elizabeth … Kathy Kriticos
  • Alec Roberts … Robert ‘Bobby’ Kriticos
  • JR Bourne … Benjamin Moss
  • Rah Digga … Maggie Bess
  • F. Murray Abraham (The Sunshine Boys) … Cyrus Kriticos
  • Matthew Harrison … Damon
  • Jacob Rupp … Cyrus’ Assistant
  • Mike Crestejo … Team Member
  • Aubrey Lee Culp … Team Member
  • Charles Andre … Team Member
  • Mikhael Speidel … The First Born Son
  • Daniel Wesley … The Torso
  • Laura Mennell … The Bound Woman
  • Kathryn Anderson … Jean
  • Craig Olejnik … The Torn Prince
  • Shawna Loyer … The Angry Princess
  • Xantha Radley … The Pilgrimess
  • C. Ernst Harth … The Great Child
  • Laurie Soper … The Dire Mother
  • Herbert Duncanson … The Hammer
  • Shayne Wyler … The Jackal
  • John DeSantis … The Juggernaut
  • Ken Kirzinger … Team Member (uncredited)

Trivia for  Thirteen Ghosts

  • In the movie, the characters need special glasses to see the ghosts. In the original 13 Ghosts (1960), viewers needed special glasses to see the ghosts. This is one of the few details from the original that was kept.
  • The special effects and sound mixing were so elaborate in this film, that many people claimed that the movie was physically painful to sit through.
  • The writing etched on one of the walls in the glass house translates to read The Lord’s Prayer.
  • In the original 13 Ghosts, the nephew who inherited the mansion was Cyrus Zorba. In this movie, the uncle who left his mansion to his nephew is Cyrus Kriticos.
  • “The Withered Lover” is the fourth ghost of the Black Zodiac. She is seen walking with an IV with her. IV in Roman Numerals is equal to four.
  • The first film from a major American studio with three Arab-American leads (Tony Shalhoub, F. Murray Abraham and Shannon Elizabeth).

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