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"13 Ghosts" (1960)


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  • 3 weeks later...
I caught 13 Ghosts this morning. And, in my opinion, it left a bit to be desired. For the most part, it was just another movie about a haunted house with a hidden treasure. And with not enough red herrings to add any suspense as to whodunit.


But its biggest problem was the gimmick. That gimmick pretty much knocked me out of the movie every time it kicked in. To me, that is the ultimate "no no" for any movie.


And, for the most part, the cast was not one to write home about. Donald Woods, Rosemary DeCamp, Jo Morrow and Charles Herbert as the nuclear family unit could have been interchanged with most any other equivalent late 1950s/early 1960s foursome without a loss. And Martin Milner as the family's lawyer still looked too juvenile at this point of his career to be any family's lawyer.


At least it was enjoyable to see Margaret Hamilton in this one. And I wasn't familiar with John Van Dreelen prior to this movie but he sure looked like he could have passed himself off as a cousin of George Sanders.


The biggest mysteries in this movie? Why would any telegraph delivery man leave without waiting for a tip? And why would any family name their daughter "Medea"? Are they trying to scare off any potential Greek suitors named "Jason"?


All in all, with a little less death, a little more comic relief, and Dean Jones in the father's role, 13 Ghosts could have easily become a stereotypical 1960's Walt Disney production.


And the big questions after seeing a fair number of William Castle's gimmick movies:


1) Would Mr. Castle's movies be as well remembered if it wasn't for the gimmicks?


2) What would Rosemary's Baby (1968) have been like if Mr. Castle was also that movie's director rather than just its producer?

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