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Film: Thir13en Ghosts
A little late to call the boys in gray now.

Thir13en Ghosts is the 2001 remake of the 1960 film 13 Ghosts. Arthur Kriticos (Tony Shalhoub) finds himself as a heir to a elaborate glass mansion after his uncle Cyrus dies. The mansion turns out to be harboring a sinister purpose, as the in-house machinery starts moving the glass walls that are inhabited by the eponymous ghosts, held in check by Latin phrases etched in the panels.


This remake contains the examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The DVD extras for the remake gives the background of each of the ghosts and how they fit into the Black Zodiac.
  • And I Must Scream: Ghost #2, the Torso, who is a naked man chopped into three pieces (torso, head, and legs) and wrapped in plastic. Extra information shows this is how he died.
  • Batter Up: The Torn Prince carries a baseball bat.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When The Jackal is attacking Kathy, Kalina arrives to help.
  • The Big Guy: The Juggernaut. He stands at seven feet tall and is so strong that, in life, he could tear people apart with his bare hands.
  • Blessed with Suck: Dennis Rafkin is a medium with the ability to detect ghosts and and instantly read minds through physical contact. He also has no control whatsoever over his powers and they tend to give him seizures.
  • Bloodless Carnage: You would have thought a person being cut to pieces would cover those directly below in blood.
  • Bullet Time: Brief slow motion effects are shown randomly in the early parts of the movie.
  • Cassandra Truth: Arthur has hard time believing Dennis' warnings about the ghosts at first.
  • Creepy Basement: It's literally filled with ghosts!
  • Creepy Child: Ghost #1, the First-born Son, who is dressed as a cowboy with an arrow through his head and carries a tomahawk around. Played oddly with the Great Child, who isn't an actual child, but is a huge, 40-year-old man in a diaper holding an ax.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: A good number of the ghosts died in downright horrible circumstances. Also, Ben Moss and Kalina both meet very grisly fates.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Dennis vs. the Hammer and the Juggernaut. Guess who wins?
  • Dead All Along: Inverted. Cyrus is alive the whole time.
  • Decomposite Character: In the 1960 film, the character Elaine was a medium, the dead uncle's female assistant, and the housekeeper. This version has the 3 separate characters of a (male) medium, the uncle's female assistant, and the housekeeper.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The film ends with Cyrus being violently punished, the ghosts being released, and with all the members of the Kriticos family and Maggie alive, and even the ghost of Jean seems to have found peace at the end. Likewise, Dennis finally found peace after his Heroic Sacrifice against the Hammer and the Juggernaut.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Kalina may be in on the whole thing, but she is horrified when Cyrus suggests putting Arthur's kids in danger.
    • In the Jackal's backstory, he realized how despicable his actions were and had himself committed to an asylum but eventually went insane just as rehabilitation proved impossible for his already messed up mentality. When the fire that claimed his life broke out. He refused help and decided it was better to simply die.
  • Eye Scream: The Angry Princess committed suicide after an attempt at performing self-cosmetic surgery went horribly wrong and left her blinded in one eye.
  • Fainting Seer: Dennis Rafkin's visions are in Screamer form, so it's no wonder even the mildest of them leave him grabbing his head in pain.
  • Ghostly Goals: Largely of the general vindictiveness type, but many of them are in the house specifically because they are trapped there.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In a sense. Dennis doesn't actually die smiling, but, when he later appears as a ghost, he seems a lot more content and at peace then when he was alive. This is because he no longer had to suffer the constant barrage of horrifying and grotesque imagery his psychic powers gave him.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The main characters wear special glasses to see the ghosts, in a Shout-Out to the Illusion-O gimmick of the original.
  • Gorn: Mostly avoided, although the death of Moss is a very effective and shocking example. According to the director's commentary, the creators were surprised they managed to get away with it without using any discretion shots.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: In the remake, Cyrus Kriticos must find thirteen specifically-themed spirits to power his infernal machine. His nephew Arthur would have been the thirteenth ghost, if he'd killed himself as Cyrus planned.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Ben Moss finds himself backing away from the Angry Princess until - CHOMP - he gets vertically bisected by a glass door slamming shut. We get a nice view of his frontally-sectioned head and chest when one half falls away. Leading to an awesomely funny line: "Did the lawyer split?"
  • Hates Being Touched: Dennis, and for a good reason. And according to the ghost backstories, The Jackal hates it as well after his stay in a mental hospital and might be the reason he died when the place went up in flames.
  • Haunted House: Invoked: Cyrus Kriticos builds the glass house as an infernal engine, and then deliberately moves specific ghosts into it as a power source.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Dennis fights the Hammer and the Juggernaut alone because there's only enough room in the corner behind the shield for one, so he throws Arthur behind it because he has a family to rescue.
    • Subverted with Arthur, who's led to believe that he has to perform one to save his family. At the last moment, he realizes it's a Batman Gambit by Cyrus and his death would actually fulfill his uncle's plans.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cyrus is thrown into the spinning rings by most of the ghosts and chopped to pieces.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: Shannon Elizabeth's appearance here owed much to the fame she earned by being in American Pie.
  • Human Sacrifice: The last ghost will manifest itself this way.
  • Jump Scare: Lampshaded.
    Dennis: Oh, God! I hate it when they do that!
    Maggie: Do what?
    Dennis: They wait for your to stick your FACE right up against the glass! And then give you a big, fat "boo"!
  • Karmic Death:
    • Cyrus Kriticos, who gets killed by the ghosts he captured and tried to exploit.
    • Kalina, who taunted Dennis for not realizing he was being used by Cyrus - except she was being used by him too.
    • Ben Moss is in on the whole thing and taunts the Angry Princess when he sees her inside her containment cube, and is later killed when he is bisected by glass doors while backing away from said ghost.
  • Kick the Dog: Cyrus does this at the beginning, when he slaps Dennis' medication out of his hand for no discernible reason. He also does a more extreme form of dog-kicking later, when he has Kalina squished to death between two panels of glass.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: As you can see, letters "t" and the first "e" in "Thirteen" have been have replaced by numbers 1 and 3 in the film's name.
  • Mad Bomber: Kalina.
    "Well, the other option is I have enough explosives to blow us back to the middle ages, of course none of us would be around to brag about it afterward."
  • Mrs Exposition: While taking shelter in Cyrus' office, Kalina explains the purpose of the house and the Black Zodiac.
  • Oh, Crap: Dennis' reaction when he learns that the Jackal is loose.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Juggernaut's backstory. He was abandoned at birth by his mother and his father died years later.
  • Power of Love: The thirteenth ghost's specialty.
  • Screamer Trailer: Used in-universe as new ghosts are revealed or about to get up to their usual shenanigans.
  • See-Thru Specs: Both movies used special glasses to see the ghosts, but in the original the audience got them, while in the remake the characters got them.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Dennis wears an awesome suit throughout much of the movie.
  • Slashed Throat: Cyrus gets this at the beginning of the film... or so it seems at first.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The Torn Prince a.k.a. Royce Clayton was this in his backstory.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Mirror Mirror" by rapper Rah Digga (who plays Maggie) plays over the end credits.
  • Spanner in the Works Cyrus is beaten in the end when Maggie (who has just woken up from being knocked out by Kalina) happens upon the records playing the chants that are controlling the ghosts and messes with them. This causes the ghosts to break free and turn on Cyrus.
  • Spirit Advisor: Ghost Dennis, who seems much more at peace with things than he was when he was alive, briefly acts as one for Arthur, complete with a You Will Know What to Do message.
  • Tempting Fate: Arthur says that there's no such thing as ghosts. Almost immediately, Kathy is attacked by the Jackal right in front of him
  • Unhappy Medium: Dennis Rafkin.
    "If you haven't noticed, I'm a little bit of a freak! I come within ten feet of anything dead, I go into seizures. I touch somebody, and a whole life full of shit just flashes in front of my eyes!"
  • Western Zodiac: The movie uses its own (invented) "Black Zodiac" to account for 12 of the ghosts' presence and assign them titles.
  • What The Hell, Townspeople?: The backstories for the Hammer and the Pilgrimess have this in spades.
  • Witch Hunt: The Pilgrimess died as a result of this.
  • Wolverine Claws: The Jackal prefers to use his fingernails when he's attacking.


13 GhostsGhost Fiction1408
Wild Wild WestRoger Ebert Most Hated Film ListArmageddon
The Thing That Couldn't DieHorror FilmsThirst
The Tailor of PanamaFilms of 2000 - 2004 Ticker

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