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Thir13en Ghosts

Blu Ray

  • Score
    76
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Despite flaws & fury, 'Thirteen Ghosts' offers nostalgic ultraviolence & worthwhile bonuses.

    Thir13en Ghosts Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    71
  • Thirteen Ghosts' 2020 Blu-ray reissue maintains its original AVC 1.85:1 image, with muted colors and soft details, contrasting its unique decor and makeup effects, despite no new scan.

  • Audio
    81
  • The lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio delivers a dynamic, chaotic soundscape with crisp dialogue, intense sound effects, and robust scoring, enhancing the immersive horror experience.

  • Extra
    86
  • The Collector's Edition features over 2 hours of bonus content including new interviews with the cast and crew, technical commentaries, and insights into the film's production, effects, and legacy.

  • Movie
    71
  • Thirteen Ghosts, a bold 2001 remake by Dark Castle, amps up terror with graphic violence and dramatic flair, honoring its 1960 roots with modern twists and intense spectacle.

    Video: 71

    The "Thir13en Ghosts" Blu-ray, initially released in 2010 and reissued in a Collector's Edition by Scream Factory in 2020, features an AVC encoded 1080p HD video in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio but unfortunately does not boast a new scan, relying instead on the previous transfer for its presentation. Detail across the board feels slightly wanting, with a noticeable softness particularly in facial close-ups where the makeup effects could benefit from enhanced clarity. The color palette tends toward the muted, though certain scenes exhibit a distinctiveness, with the haunted house's lavish decor highlighted by vibrant golds, reds, and oranges, contrasting sharply against the cooler silver and purple hues of the spectral presences and their ethereal environment. Notably, skin tones, while tending toward the natural, occasionally lean into a slight reddish hue.

    The video quality does exhibit some inconsistency; while bright scenes shine with crisp detail, allowing textures such as the Latin inscribed glass walls and individual costume details to pop, darker sequences suffer from softness and lack of precision. This unevenness slightly mars the visual feast of the film’s practical makeup effects and intricately designed set pieces. However, black levels are largely deep, although not without moments of crush that blur finer details in lower lit settings. Despite these shortcomings, the visual presentation successfully conveys the stark contrast between the vivid opulence of the living spaces within the haunted mansion and the chilling coldness of its ghostly inhabitants.

    Though absent major issues like aliasing or banding, occasional video noise does creep into the transfer, detracting slightly from the overall viewing experience. Despite these imperfections, "Thir13en Ghosts" on Blu-ray manages to capture the eerie atmosphere and elaborate aesthetics of the film, albeit with some room for improvement in delivering a consistently sharp and detailed image that fully showcases the movie's rich visual tableau and imaginative horror elements.

    Audio: 81

    The Thir13en Ghosts Blu Ray audio presentation, boasting a 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix, plunges the viewer right into the heart of its tumultuous and chaotic ambiance, characteristic of this horror spectacle. The mix excels in creating a vividly immersive experience, where sound effects and ghostly antics are not just heard but felt, enveloping the audience with a layer of eerie proximity. Clever use of panning and separation enhances the spatial atmosphere, allowing for an acute sense of movement within the haunted setting. Explosions and physical impacts are given depth with significant low-end presence, ensuring that each instance of terror is as unsettling audibly as it is visually.

    Dialogue clarity is maintained throughout, a commendable feat given the continuous barrage of background commotion. It allows for panic-driven exchanges to be understood without strain, effortlessly weaving between the more substantial sound effects and the omnipresent spectral disturbances. The musical score underlines the narrative's tension and terror, battling at times with the dense sonic landscape yet never completely overshadowed thanks to its vigorous, rock-inspired compositions.

    Notably, the audio track's dynamic range showcases its prowess through the meticulous balance between quieter moments and the sudden eruptions of auditory mayhem. The surround channels are employed to full effect, crafting an enveloping blanket of ghostly whispers, clanking chains, and otherworldly screams that enhance the visual scares with precise directionality. Bass response frequently adds to the atmospheric tension, offering a tangible rumble that accentuates moments of fear and surprise. Together, these elements coalesce into a richly layered auditory experience that significantly amplifies the horror and suspense of Thir13en Ghosts.

    Extra: 86

    The Blu-ray release of "Thir13en Ghosts" Collector's Edition stands out primarily for its comprehensive assembly of extras, serving as a treasure trove for fans and collectors alike. With approximately 137 minutes of bonus content, this edition offers a well-rounded backstage pass into the making of the film. It features two engaging commentary tracks by director Steve Beck, one on his own and another with key members of the production team, providing insights into the creative process, technical challenges, and collaborative spirit on set. The newly added interviews with cast members such as Shannon Elizabeth and John DeSantis, along with producer Gil Adler, offer personal anecdotes, behind-the-scenes stories, and reflections on the film's lasting impact. The inclusion of original promotional materials and the comprehensive 'Ghost Files' featurette further deepens the viewer's understanding of the film's intricate world. This edition not only preserves the movie's legacy but also enriches the viewer's experience with its detailed exploration of the film’s production, story, and characters.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Director Steve Beck gives an informative look into the making of the film.
    • Audio Commentary: A joint track featuring Beck, Sean Hargreaves, and Howard Berger discussing technical aspects.
    • Haunted In Canada: A new interview with Shannon Elizabeth sharing set stories and her experiences.
    • The Voice Of Reason: Matthew Harrison talks about his role and interactions with the cast.
    • The Juggernaut Speaks: John DeSantis provides insight into his character and onset experiences.
    • The Hammer Speaks: Herbert Duncanson recounts how he landed his role and discusses makeup challenges.
    • Sophomore Spookshow: Producer Gil Adler shares the history and vision behind Dark Castle Entertainment.
    • Thirteen Ghosts Revealed: A 2001 featurette with cast and crew interviews detailing production highlights.
    • Ghost Files: Backstories of the movie's ghosts narrated by F. Murray Abraham.
    • Original EPK: A comprehensive electronic press kit featuring interviews and B-roll footage from filming.
    • Trailers: Includes theatrical trailers and TV spots.

    Movie: 71

    Thirteen Ghosts," a 2001 offering from Dark Castle Entertainment, takes the essence of William Castle's original 1960 horror spectacle and significantly amplifies its intensity for new-age viewers. With a narrative driven by the plight of Arthur (Tony Shalhoub), a widower struggling to support his family after inheriting his uncle Cyrus' (F. Murray Abraham) peculiar mansion, the film crafts a tale that blends familial woes with supernatural horror. This estate, far from a sanctuary, reveals itself as a machine designed for dark rituals, demanding the sacrifice of spirits. The movie dives headlong into its premise, leveraging director Steve Beck's penchant for visual flair to depict a ghastly and relentless assault on the senses. Through innovative use of spectral glasses, an homage to Castle's original gimmick, viewers and characters alike navigate a visually arresting haunted house teeming with meticulously designed and menacing ghosts.

    Beck's approach embraces the era's preference for maximum sensory overload, marrying a fast-paced original score with stylized visual terror that includes rapid lighting transitions and an unyielding atmosphere of dread. Despite this, the film occasionally veers into exposition-heavy sequences, attempting to lend depth to its spectral antagonists and delve into Arthur’s lingering grief, which somewhat detracts from its otherwise frenetic pace. Nonetheless, "Thirteen Ghosts" stands out for its boldness, unapologetically delivering gore and nudity in equal measure while endeavoring to maintain a semblance of emotional grounding through its lead’s familial bond.

    Character performances notably diverge in their impact; while Shalhoub offers a resonant depiction of a father enveloped by loss and desperation, Lillard’s portrayal of the psychic Dennis oscillates between intensely engaging and distractingly overwrought. Despite these variances in character engagement, the film’s commitment to high-octane horror underpinned by impressive production design and special effects commands attention. "Thirteen Ghosts" remains a distinctive artifact of early 2000s horror cinema, embodying the period’s penchant for loud, visually intricate, and aggressively modern retellings of classic fright tales.

    Total: 76

    Thirteen Ghosts," while attempting to carve out a niche within the horror genre, ultimately lands as a mixed bag overshadowed by its overly eager filmmaking and a script laden with exposition. The film tries to embrace the extreme, aiming for a haunting atmosphere but ends up delivering a cacophony of noise and fury that ironically dulls its intended horror impact. Despite these setbacks, it harbors moments of genuine intrigue, thanks to a concerted effort by Dark Castle to craft a memorably cursed setting ripe for ultraviolence. Nevertheless, the execution falls short, hampered by lackluster performances and a narrative that lacks the necessary finesse to weave together its ambitious ideas into a coherent and compelling tale.

    From a technical standpoint, the Blu-ray presentation of "Thirteen Ghosts" doesn't advance the film's visual experience with a new HD transfer but manages to shine in terms of audio quality. The DTS-HD track is robust and delivers an auditory experience that partially redeems the viewing experience, creating an immersive atmosphere that the visual elements fail to deliver fully. Additionally, the inclusion of brand new bonus features adds a layer of appeal, offering insights and added value that fans of the genre and the film will find worthwhile. These add-ons contribute to making this Blu-ray edition a recommended upgrade for collectors and enthusiasts seeking to relive the movie with enhanced audio and additional content.

    In conclusion, while "Thirteen Ghosts" flounders narratively and struggles to leave a lasting impact through its frenetic pace and tangled storytelling, the Blu-ray release stands out for its exceptional sound quality and enriching bonus features. These elements make it a notable addition for horror aficionados and collectors alike, serving both as a nostalgic look back at early 2000s horror filmmaking and an improved home viewing experience. Despite its imperfections, this release offers enough merits to warrant a recommendation for those inclined towards the genre's more extravagant endeavors.