THIR13EN GHOSTS

The Horrornews forum has been around for years. This is where the wealth of information shared by our community over the years can be read.
Locked
User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

THIR13EN GHOSTS

Post by Remo D » Sun Oct 28, 2001 8:31 pm

Okay--remember how much I liked the remake of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL? How I thought Dark Castle had nailed the formula for a contemporary William Castle remake? Well, we've waited long enough for the follow-up, and I'm pleased enough to say that THIR13EN GHOSTS (Good Lord, do I hate these cute "official" spellings) is well worth seeing, although it's not quite up there with its predecessor.

The update is handled perfectly--the original William Castle film is still fun if you watch it with the Ghost Viewers, but really, it's just too mild a story to retell today--it suffers especially with an all-too-obvious villain and motive. The makers of the new movie were smart enough to recognize this, and while the story essentially begins the same way, the original "bad guy" character is taken care of quite soon--and via one terrific, shocking effect, I might add.

The shocks are plentiful, in fact. I am not exaggerating one little bit when I tell you that I haven't seen an audience scream like this in over twenty years. Sure, they're mostly younger than me--sure, you could never get me to act like that again. But what of it? There's so much effective, machine-gun paced ghost/gore action happening just the way it ought to be--the audience is constantly screaming and jumping out of their seats (and NOT just because the sound is up too loud, Mister Eternally-Uncomprehending-Pulitzer-Prize-Winning-Horror-Illiterate-Film Critic (gee, wonder who I meant by that?). And as you could already tell by the trailers, the production design is once again first rate--this house is every bit alive as the last one was, but it looks completely different.

I'm also tired of one-line "I can pull a better film out of my ass" reviews that fail to delve into things--but I'll be the first one to point out this new movie's failings. HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL '99 worked so well largely because of the central performance of Geoffrey Rush--a Vincent Price tribute that was NOT a Vincent Price impersonation. True, we've got an Oscar-winner on board this time around, too, but F. Murray Abraham's necessarily-limited screen time keeps the same effect from occurring. It's also true that Castle's 13 GHOSTS didn't have a magnetic lead actor/character to aspire to... but the remake commits a severe error by importing an entire character over from HOUSE. Remember Watson Pritchett? The twitchy, nervous one who knew all there was to know about the evil house? Well, now Watson Pritchett appears in a film that does not call for a Watson Pritchett (okay, they changed the character's name). The real trouble with this is that, while I wouldn't likely give you two bucks for CORKY ROMANO, I liked Chris Kattan in the Pritchett role one hell of a lot more than I liked the excruciating Matthew Lillard in this one. Lillard behaves the same way and ultimately duplicates the entire function of the Pritchett character right to the very end. Big mistake. Also disappointing was the character of the babysitter (the substitute for Margaret Hamilton's "witch" in the original). In HOUSE, Taye Diggs served as a strong hero without ever stooping to "homeboy" comic relief--and while this approach lasts for a while here, too, I was quite sorry to hear the profanity start flying and the muttered references to being stuck in the house with a bunch of "white people" popping up. The damn thing ends with a rap song, too.

I'm certainly not going to blast the movie--I had a great time and it blows the hell out of just about anything I saw in the year 2000--and many of this year's releases, as well. But though many disagreed, HOUSE, as I saw it, was the perfect William Castle update. This one shows that there's plenty of potential left under the Dark Castle banner, but that the characters need to be as vivid as the effects for it to work at the desired level.

But there's still no excuse to skip it!

------------------
"Nya-nya, nya-nya, nyahh-nyahh... I made you eat your parents!!!" --Cartman
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!


User avatar
ROBERT
Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Toronto,Ontario,Canada

Post by ROBERT » Mon Oct 29, 2001 12:47 pm

First Jeepers Creeper and now you give accolades to this? Shane, you have to tell us if you've been toking up, before you see a film. I saw this drunk and it still sucked hard! A ridiculous screenplay,if you can call it that. NO SCARES whatsoever.

One well done gore scene.Bad characterizations,Mostly bad acting. WHO the fuck was the lead? And which fucking hole did they get him from? The little boy was VERY annoying. Shannon Elizabeth should go straight to porn.She delivers a truly NON-existent performance in this. The ghosts,sporting ridiculous and overdone makeup were about as frightening as a Bad Halloween costume. Art direction was very good,but accomplished with the accent on budget,rather than creativity. The result? An ostentatious and empty fright film, lacking even rudimentary scares. House on Haunted Hill was a better film. But after the Ghosts remake, Willian Castle might have turned over a couple times.

[This message has been edited by ROBERT (edited 10-29-2001).]
"I don't want to be called an "artist." "Acting like an "artist" is synonymous to acting like an asshole."

Asia Argento

User avatar
Chris Slack
Posts: 5500
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 1999 12:00 pm
Location: Everett WA USA
Contact:

Post by Chris Slack » Mon Oct 29, 2001 1:17 pm

I thought this was well worth the matinee price I paid for it. The "glass house" set was one of the best horror sets I have seen in a long time and the sound effects were killer. The ghosts looked very similar to the ones in "Ghosts of Mars", could it be that KNB was recycling masks/appliances for this one? My only complaint (other than Shannon Elizabeth keeping her clothes on) was that I didn't care whether the characters lived or died, they just weren't developed enough for me. But who gives a damn about the characters anyway, it was a fun, fast packed flick!

And no, I wasn't toking up before the flick, nothing but coffee in me for this one Image

------------------
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

Don't forget to check out our music site Gravemusic.com
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

User avatar
ROBERT
Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Toronto,Ontario,Canada

Post by ROBERT » Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:07 pm

Shannon on all fours(be creative) would have been worth the ticket price,for me. I can't believe this heap just recieved praise from the moderator. Is everyone so desperate for a good Halloween movie, that they'll accept even this film as enjoyable seasonal entertainment? From Hell is a better film, for the Halloween season.
"I don't want to be called an "artist." "Acting like an "artist" is synonymous to acting like an asshole."

Asia Argento

User avatar
Chris Slack
Posts: 5500
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 1999 12:00 pm
Location: Everett WA USA
Contact:

Post by Chris Slack » Mon Oct 29, 2001 3:06 pm

Originally posted by ROBERT:
Is everyone so desperate for a good Halloween movie, that they'll accept even this film as enjoyable seasonal entertainment? From Hell is a better film, for the Halloween season.


I wanted to see "From Hell" first but my g/f wanted to see this one. I probably wouldn't have gone right away but I'm glad I did. "From Hell" comes next weekend.

Anyhoo, I wouldn't call it desperate for a good Halloween flick but rather desparate for big-screen horror. Film fest season is gone now so I'll take what I can get Image

------------------
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women

Don't forget to check out our music site Gravemusic.com
"Regrettable... I was hoping for a colleague, but at least we have
another experimental subject..." -Mesa of Lost Women


User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

Post by Remo D » Mon Oct 29, 2001 3:30 pm

Or maybe we just... disagree! Your opinion is as valid as mine any day of the week, but I'm not about to tell you that I felt one way about a film when I actually felt the other way.

Both JEEPERS CREEPERS and the new GHOSTS had script problems, and I think I mentioned that the first time around. While JEEPERS CREEPERS wasn't the greatest overall film around, I did feel that it had some of the best individual horror SCENES of the year.

And the Dark Castle films? The script will usually be the first thing I forgive if the shocks are there, because that's the William Castle formula in a nutshell. I was lucky enough to see the original 13 GHOSTS on the big screen with the Ghost Viewers, I love the original HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (but couldn't buy for a minute that Vincent Price could use a marionette-skeleton to terrorize his wife into falling into a pool of acid), and I still hope they remake MR. SARDONICUS. These new films take a different approach to resurrecting the past--while SCREAM and its progeny dredge up all the slasher stuff from twenty years past and acknowledge it with smart-ass dialogue (and somehow get praised as genre salvation), these try to achieve the same effect today that the originals did in their day--and with proper acknowledgment, not "attitude."

So maybe it's that I'm an old man, or maybe that I'm carrying too much history into the theatre with me. But I can't help but respond positively if I recognize that someone's trying to recreate the effect of a bygone but unforgettable era of showmanship.

And turning over in his grave? If William Castle were looking down and watching the audience I saw the new film with--the non-stop jumping and screaming and all--I personally think it would be one of the proudest days of his afterlife and that he'd blow his daughter a great big kiss.

As for "desperate for Halloween entertainment?" I recommended FROM HELL and (to a degree) BONES, as well--I'm glad that I enjoyed as many recent films as I did (including MEGIDDO for all the wrong reasons). But look at the 1999 lineup and see how much better it was as a whole. Look at the 2000 lineup and see how awful it was almost all the way through. Look at most of 2001, for that matter. I haven't been pretending to enjoy any stinkers--I'm telling you that I liked this last batch because, by the creaking of my bones, I LIKED this last batch.

And as I'm fond of saying, anyone who doesn't is either an idiot or an intelligent, thoughtful fan who happens to disagree with me--and that should settle the matter forever.



------------------
"Nya-nya, nya-nya, nyahh-nyahh... I made you eat your parents!!!" --Cartman
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

User avatar
Darth Tanner
Posts: 497
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Midlothian, VA U.S.A

Post by Darth Tanner » Tue Oct 30, 2001 12:50 am

Regardless of the negative criticism, THIRTEEN GHOSTS does sound like a fun movie and I plan to see it soon. I saw Dark Castle's remake of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL on the big screen when it came out and loved it so much that I picked up the DVD (which I loved even more). So I'm looking forward to THIRTEEN GHOSTS even though I'm not expecting to be blown away the same way I was with the previous film. But we'll wait and see.
"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the heavens. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and so... I am a God." - Malcolm McDowell, CALIGULA
------------------

[url=http://www.dvdprofiler.com/mycollection.asp?alias=ctanner5]My DVD collection[/url]

DayGlowAbortion

Post by DayGlowAbortion » Tue Oct 30, 2001 1:05 pm

I think this Remo guy's thoughts are quite obviously on the original, not the remake. It (the remake)sucked, beyond words.Pretty much in ALL areas as well. I'm not even going to give it chops, for the design. The House was the silliest looking structure in contemporary horror cinema. The characters were grating on the nerves,throughout.I won't even go into the stereotypical black character, and how she complains about "crazy white people". I thought the Ghosts of Amos and Andy were going to be resurrected,a nd attack the writers.

I'll play devil's advocate here, and state that big screen horror has been lacking in even the most basic and easily executed scares.For the past several years. 13 Ghosts is just another in a long line of sell the sizzle without the steak. A con I'm sure William Castle would be proud of.

User avatar
ROBERT
Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Toronto,Ontario,Canada

Post by ROBERT » Tue Oct 30, 2001 2:36 pm

I think we've all let nostalgia for a certain genre,or sub-genre influence our opinions of a current film. It's not necessarily a question of age. Maybe enthusiasm.

I saw Psycho at a young age,at an old revival theatre, with my dad.So I think I'm familiar with where Shane is coming from. Years later,I saw the remake. I thought it was quite passable. Like 13 Ghosts,people were screaming and TRYING to enjoy the film. I saw it on video, a year later. It's fucking horrible. I wonder what Hitcock's reaction would be,if he saw the positive audience reaction? Don't you think he would still,rip the entrails out of the director?(Gus Van Sant) He certainly wouldn't blow him a kiss.

I wasn't objective enough, on first viewing it,however. That's basically what I meant by "desperate for (Halloween)entertainment." One of the meanings at least. The other one has to do with comparing this year's crop of film turds to turds of 1999 or 2000. Who cares? They're still all turds. They all stink. I think maybe we're just getting used to the smell.
"I don't want to be called an "artist." "Acting like an "artist" is synonymous to acting like an asshole."

Asia Argento

User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

Post by Remo D » Tue Oct 30, 2001 2:37 pm

**I think this Remo guy's thoughts are quite obviously on the original, not the remake. **

"This Remo guy" has been calling them as he sees them for longer than he cares to remember. I believe my remarks speak for themselves and I stand by them with acute awareness of the brand new movie I reviewed. As always, feel free to agree or disagree with me--it's a right I'll never challenge.



------------------
"Nya-nya, nya-nya, nyahh-nyahh... I made you eat your parents!!!" --Cartman
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

User avatar
Remo D
Posts: 1266
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2000 10:00 pm
Location: Marina, CA U.S.A.
Contact:

Post by Remo D » Tue Oct 30, 2001 3:45 pm

(response to Robert's previous post--they're not all showing up at the right time for me to answer in sequence, apparently)

Point taken, but my reason for invoking 1999 and 2000 was to state that I liked the 1999 lineup, for the most part--a great variety of approaches to the genre from subtlety to splatter to effects overkill.

And my memories of the original films don't pre-empt my reactions to the new versions in any way: for example, on the recent "remake" front I (on first viewing) liked MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, THE MUMMY and HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, while I didn't enjoy PSYCHO, GODZILLA or THE HAUNTING much at all. Some were faithful attempts to re-create the effects wrought by the originals, some took the premise and ran with something new and fun, some abandoned what worked the first time around with hideous results, some were carbon-copies with no particular reason to exist.

But I'm still going to base my recommendations (or lack thereof) on how I responded to the new film when I saw it in the theatre. If I recognize something from the past that enhances my enjoyment, I think it's worth pointing out. If it's so in-jokey that it'll alienate the new fans, I'll mention that, too. (Remember how Tim Burton tried so hard to keep people from thinking of his PLANET OF THE APES as a "REMAKE?" And yet it contained so many winking lines of dialogue and pointed cameo appearances that it seemed to be insisting that people remember the first film from beginning to end.

Audiences can be tricky, too--I try not to use their reaction to gauge anything as a general rule. The audience I saw the PSYCHO remake with was stone silent--not a good thing. On the other hand, the audience I saw THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT with was stone silent, as well--but in a good way: this usually noisy crowd was fixated on the screen and acting truly unnerved. As for the new 13 GHOSTS (screw that tricky new spelling), I repeat that I'm not exaggerating when I say that I haven't seen a screaming, jumping crowd like that in over twenty years. Van Sant just did a movie over again in color. What an experiment. Dark Castle takes a formula and tries to boost it to a contemporary level. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Personally, I thought JOY RIDE was more successful--but then again, I already said that. I can only tell you just what was on my mind as I took in each film that I've written about, and those I'll write about later. Disagreements have been plenty and legendary--I've taken it on the chin for THE MUMMY, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG and yes, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL in recent years, so it's nothing new for me. We'll just add the new GHOSTS to the list.



------------------
"Nya-nya, nya-nya, nyahh-nyahh... I made you eat your parents!!!" --Cartman
My dog's breath smells like peanut butter...

...and I don't even have a dog!

User avatar
Scott
Member
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 1999 10:00 pm
Location: Plano, TX. USA

Post by Scott » Wed Oct 31, 2001 11:25 am

Well, my expectations weren't too high for this one, but it was still worth a good 90 minutes entertainment. I agree with Chris that character development was quite lacking, but hey, it was still a fast-paced flick and the glass house setting was guite impressive. Nothing great, but still fun. Certainly better than Jeepers Creepers.


Locked