DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Thirteen Ghosts: SE
Thirteen Ghosts: SE
Warner Bros. // R // April 2, 2002
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted May 10, 2002 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
CineSchlock-O-Rama

That "Casper the Friendly Ghost" finale of House on Haunted Hill sure threw a big ol' crowbar into the works of what had until then been a fairly well-executed update of the William Castle classic. Geoffrey Rush channeled shades of Vincent Price moustache and all, but what ultimately seized the audience's imagination were the GHOSTS -- those tortured, schizo souls and the sadistic doctor who tormented them both in life and beyond. Same goes for the FX-heavy remake Thir13en Ghosts (2001, 91 minutes). Again, CineSchlockers will find themselves ROOTING for the undead to bloody the hides of yahoos Hollywood mistakenly thinks we're SUPPOSED to identify with. It ain't happening, because as special effects of all stripes crowd real people out of the spotlight, we more readily embrace the de facto stars, those gloriously fiendish visions from beyond the grave.

The movie: The world's most annoying family hit Beelzebub's lottery and find themselves the new owners of a jumbo Rubik's Cube-like mansion made of glass. Life thus far hasn't been so keen, with their mama getting turned into a roasted marshmallow in a house fire, plus some financial ruin heaped upon them as well. So a new pad is like a money-scented ray of sunshine. That is until a stinkin' lawyer accidently lets the ghosts imprisoned in the basement out for an unscheduled R&R. Trouble is, THEIR idea of grins and giggles means making more things DEAD, especially smart-mouth little yard monsters and their neuvo riche kin. To make things EXTRA complicated, the spooks are only visible when the spookees wear gaudy glowing spectacles that also have the strange side effect of making the wearer SHOUT every word they say. Among the hollerin' cast is that catfish-faced fella (Matthew Lillard) from Scream as a poltergeist hunter/psychic friend who doesn't die NEAR soon enough in this sucker either. Then there's Papa Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) who emotes like he's in a community theatre staging of Macbeth. But, remember, the real talents here are the GHOSTS. Muscle-bound ones. Scrawny ones. Chopped-up ones. Rotund ones. They're all different, yet all the same in that they're mighty unsociable. Certain to be a CineSchlocker fave is The Angry Princess (Shawna Loyer) who looks as though she fell into a Maytag with a zillion razor blades, yet prefers to do her haunting NEKKID with her giagundous, sliced bosom pointing the way. The fact this soul, who was obsessed in life with physical perfection, takes a special interest in T&A-starlet-in-denial Shannon Elizabeth, herself no stranger to a plastic surgeon, is morbidly foreboding. CineSchlockers will likely find more lasting charm in the original 13 Ghosts, which is fortunately available on DVD complete with Illusion-O shades to observe the spirits in their full ectoplasmic glory.

Notables: Two breasts. 14 corpses. Blood-spurting 18-wheeler. Slow mo. Drooling. Gratuitous "glass house" joke. Head in a sack. Fast mo. One scooter-riding kiddo in peril. Implied puking. Cranium crushing. Saran-wrapped beastie. Gratuitous rap personality. King-sized Cuisinart.

Quotables: Alleged screenwriters give us a wink and a nudge with a line from dear ol' dad just before ghost time, "It looks like things are starting to get better, right!?"

Time codes: The fam gets a creepy video message from their very late uncle (15:15). Gutsiest -- literally -- shot of the flick (34:55). Most skin freeze-frame perverts will see of Ms. Elizabeth this time (50:51). Wave to the crew reflected in the glass (1:03:45).

Audio/Video: Pretty much a state-of-the-industry widescreen (1.85:1) transfer. Uber-aggressive Dolby Digital 5.1 track is specifically calibrated to shatter hip replacements of elderly neighbors every half second as no specter's appearance occurs without a piercing aural stinger.

Extras: Comically earnest commentary by director Steve Beck, production designer Sean Hargreaves and FX guru Howard Berger. Strike that, Mr. Berger isn't in danger of floating away on a lofty cloud of cinematic delusion. Steve, on the other hand, gets into a meandering riff on his filmmaking philosophy and touching people's SOULS, or some such. While Hargreaves readily takes credit for this, that and the other, yet more than once, can't quite recall the NAMES of colleagues who slaved to make it all happen. Stick with the 20-minute "13 Ghosts Revealed" which puts the focus where it belongs, on Howie and his makeup FX crew, even if pesky stars keep popping up to gush about the project. And absolutely don't miss the "Ghost Files" section for engaging backstories on each of the house's haunts. As a whole, these are more entertaining than the bulk of the actual flick. Text-only nod to Mr. Castle. Gratuitous music video. Theatrical trailer. Animated menus with audio.

Final thought: Shocking and frightening an audience are two entirely different things. This thunderous remake rattles more than it thrills between all-too-brief apparitions of ghostly grue. Recommended.

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for additional reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use