Saturday, October 13, 2007

31 days of Halloween - Day 13 - Movie

Like pretty much all of William Castle's movies, "13 Ghosts" (1960) is a little hokey, but a lot of fun.

A family inherits a mansion from a dead uncle who explored the supernatural, and captured 11 ghosts. The twelfth ghost would be himself, the thirteenth? Someone currently occupying the house. There's also a hidden fortune somewhere in the house and Maragaret Hamilton as the housekeeper.

Castle is well known for his gimmicks, such as the vibrators strapped under the seats in theaters showing "The Tingler." For this movie, the gimmick was "Illusion-O" in the form of a "ghost viewer." The ghost viewer was a variation on 3-D glasses. The audience member was given a card that contained two lenses, that they could hold up in front of their face during key moments in the movie. Looking through the red viewer would reveal the ghosts in all their gruesome horror. Looking through the blue lens would render them invisible if you couldn't take it. To further this gimmick, in an epilogue, Castle himself instructs the skeptics in the audience to take their ghost viewers home with them, and then, alone in a darkened room, dares them to look through the red portion of the viewer.

The DVD contains both the "Illusion-O" version, and a version where the viewer isn't necessary. It also, allegedly comes with a ghost viewer included, but mine was missing. I made due with a pair of 3-D glasses, but believe me I'm going to complain to the powers that be until I get one.

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