The Zorba family has come under some rough financial times. In fact, their furniture is being repossessed ‘cuz Pops forgot to pay the bills! Just like in real life, their rich uncle immediately drops dead and leaves them his entire estate in their hour of need. There’s just one catch, they have to dress up as ladies to live there! Oh wait, that’s BOSOM BUDDIES! No, the catch is the place is haunted by twelve ghosts who want one of the Zorbas to join them and become the 13th!(Get the title?) Did I mention maid services will be provided by ye ol’ hatchet face MARGARET HAMILTON who just may be a witch? Quite a stretch, huh? Throw in the usual conniving, money-loving lawyer looking for some hidden loot (played by ADAM-12’s MARTIN MILNER) and you almost have a movie. What’s missing? ILLUSION-O, the incredible tool that allows you to choose whether you want to see the effects that were shot for the film! This amazing cardboard device with red and blue clear plastic filters, was a gimmick created by WILLIAM CASTLE that, when used correctly, inhibits the viewer from ever getting properly immersed in his film. Novel as it may be, it wears out its welcome fast and becomes grossly annoying. Give me the ILLUSION-O-free television broadcast version any time. I need my hands free for beer swigging, I mean popcorn. With or without the cardboard menace, 13 GHOSTS, an alleged classic, will probably leave modern viewers over the age of 13 wanting more. Directed with all the flair of an episode of HAZEL, there are few real shocks here, (although sis’ encounter with a monstrous dead uncle zombie is effective) any sense of danger is destroyed by the characters bizarrely casual responses to having things like meat cleavers thrown at them. In actuality, real terror was probably not the goal at all, just a larky haunted house goof equivalent to an unenthusiastic game of “light as a feather, stiff as a board”. On that level, it works fine. So if you have to watch a movie with your Granny, and your Granny happens to be 10 years old, this is the pick for you!
The opening credits are the highlight of the film
Cook ghost with cleaver
Headless tamer and lion ghost
Money in the staircase!
The amazing squash-you bed
The “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies!” winking epilogue