From offering death insurance to audience members petrified by "Macabre" to having the seats shudder during "The Tingler", director/producer William Castle was a genius at promoting his horror pictures. "13 Ghosts" (1960) was no exception. Punters were handed special glasses so they could "see" the film's eponymous spooks whenever they appeared on screen.
Alas, there's nothing so inspired in Steve Beck's effects-laden remake, which substitutes the original's goofy camp for an orgy of gore, noise and mindless mayhem. The mystery is why so many gifted actors - Tony Shalhoub from "The Man Who Wasn't There", "Scream" 's Matthew Lillard, the Oscar-winning F Murray Abraham - agreed to appear in it.
After his uncle Cyrus dies in a ghostbusting accident, widowed teacher Arthur Kriticos (Shalhoub) and his family inherit a glass-walled house in the middle of nowhere. What they don't realise is this residence is really a prison for restless souls that Cyrus (Abraham) has gathered in an attempt to crack open the gates of Hell.
In no time at all, the Kriticos clan are beset by a dozen malevolent spectres with only a cynical psychic (Lillard) for protection. Cue all manner of overblown carnage, with first-time director Beck struggling to compensate for a woeful script with as much gruesome make-up and CGI as he can cram into 90 nausea-inducing minutes.
Abraham makes a larger-than-life villain, while Lillard is his usual hyperactive self. The women, though, are awful, with Shannon Elizabeth yet again advancing her claim to be the worst actress of the decade.