© 1960 William Castle Productions

13 Ghosts (1960)

Most of Max Castle’s movies sound better in theory than they are in an actual viewing. 13 Ghosts tells the story of a financially struggling scientist, who has resorted to giving tours at The La Brea Tar Pit museum, and his family, who are in the process of having all their furniture repossessed. An eccentric uncle of the scientist dies, and leaves them his house, as well as his collection of oddities and curiosities, including his trapped ghosts. “The ghosts come with the house,” says the young lawyer handling the estate. Their financial troubles have left them with no other choice, so they move into the house. The father finds a set of odd goggles left by Dr. Zorba. When he, or any other member of the house put them on, it was a cue to the audience to pick up their own “ghost viewer,” a cheap piece of cardboard fitted with red and blue sheets of plastic. In a process Castle dubbed “Illusion-O”, the braver viewers in the audience would look through the red filter to see the ghosts, while the cowards looked through the blue filter to make them disappear. Meanwhile, the lawyer is plotting to use the family’s young son to help him locate a large amount of cash hidden somewhere in the house. OK, this actually sounds pretty bad in theory as well. But like any other Castle film, it provides good campy fun.

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“Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle.”
-Granny (Angela Lansbury)
from The Company of Wolves