Absolute Horror Wiki

Thirteen Ghosts poster.jpg

Thirteen Ghosts (also known as 13 Ghosts and stylized as THIR13EN Ghosts) is a 2001 supernatural horror film directed by Steve Beck. A remake of the 1960 film 13 Ghosts by William Castle, the film stars Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard, Shannon Elizabeth, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, and F. Murray Abraham. It was released to theaters on October 26, 2001.

The film was critically panned upon release. The film was also a financial disappointment, ultimately grossing only $68 million against its $42 million budget, and if accounting for marketing and advertising, the film lost money.


Ghost hunter Cyrus Kriticos and his psychic assistant Dennis Rafkin lead a team on a mission to capture a spirit called the Juggernaut. Several men, including Cyrus, are killed while the team is able to catch the ghost. Cyrus's nephew Arthur, a widower, is informed by Cyrus's estate lawyer, Ben Moss, that he has inherited Cyrus' mansion. Financially insecure, Arthur decides to move there with his two children, Kathy and Bobby, and their nanny, Maggie Bess.

Dennis meets the family as they tour the mansion. The residence is made entirely of glass sheets inscribed with Latin phrases, which Dennis recognizes as barrier spells. He discovers that the twelve angry ghosts he and Cyrus captured are imprisoned in the house, held captive by the spells. As he warns Arthur, Moss unwittingly triggers a mechanism that seals the house and releases the ghosts. He dies when a set of sliding doors cut him in half. Bobby sees several of the ghosts, including the Withered Lover - his mother Jean, who had died of injuries sustained in a house fire. He is knocked unconscious and dragged away.

Dennis uses a pair of spectral glasses that allow the wearer to see the supernatural realm to avoid the ghosts. The Jackal, one of the most dangerous ghosts, attacks Kathy and Arthur but they are saved by Kalina Oretzia, a spirit liberator who is attempting to free the ghosts. Kathy disappears, and the four adults gather in the library, where Arthur learns that Jean's ghost is also in the house. Kalina explains that the house is a machine, powered by the captive ghosts, that allows its user to see the past, present, and future. The only way to shut it down is through the creation of a thirteenth ghost from a sacrifice of love. Arthur realizes that he must become that ghost to save his children.

Armed with the spectral glasses, Arthur and Dennis enter the basement to find the children. Dennis barricades Arthur behind a glass sheet for his protection, but is beaten to death by the Hammer and the Juggernaut, two other dangerous ghosts. It is revealed that Cyrus faked his death to lure Arthur to the house; Kalina is his partner, revealed when she knocks Maggie unconscious with a large book and promptly kisses Cyrus upon his arrival. Cyrus has orchestrated the abduction of Kathy and Bobby so that Arthur will become the thirteenth ghost, which will not stop the machine as Kalina had claimed, but trigger its activation. Cyrus kills Kalina, who objected to Cyrus putting the children in danger, and summons the ghosts to activate the machine.

In the main hall, Arthur witnesses all twelve ghosts orbiting a clockwork device of rotating metal rings, with his children at the center. He fights Cyrus while Maggie disrupts the machine's controls, releasing the ghosts from its power and causing the machine to go haywire. The ghosts hurl Cyrus into the moving rings, slicing him to pieces. With the encouragement of Dennis' ghost, Arthur jumps through the machine safely to protect his children. The walls of the house shatter as the malfunctioning machine rips itself apart, freeing the ghosts. Jean's ghost tells them she loves them before she disappears. As the family departs from the house, Maggie angrily declares that she is quitting as their nanny.

The Ghosts