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13 Ghosts (1960)

Reclusive and eccentric occultist Dr Zorba has died and left his eerie, ramshackle mansion to his penniless museum curator nephew Cyrus Zorba (Donald Woods) and his family – wife Hilda (Rosemary DeCamp), pretty daughter Medea (Jo Morrow) and lively little son, Buck (Charles Herbert).

Their uncle has made their inheritance of the house conditional on the family also accepting the collection of 13 assorted ghosts that haunt the place – including a French chef who messes up the kitchen (and chops off the head of his wife and mother-in-law) and a lion and headless lion tamer.

Groans, flickering lights, apparitions and other spooky manifestations give the family an uneasy time until the fearless small boy, Buck – who has a way with ghosts – helps solve the mystery of their restlessness, and finds uncle’s hidden fortune in the process. It’s essentially a live-action version of Scooby-Doo without the dog.

Martin Milner plays Benjamin Rush, an attorney who becomes interested in Medea.

The trick photography was competent for 1960 and was presented using a novel gimmick (director William Castle loved a gimmick) of “ghost viewers” (special glasses with two transparent colour lenses) that made the ghosts visible or invisible according to the viewer’s taste – a process Castle dubbed “Illusion-O”.

A 2001 remake was filmed in Canada with a virtually unknown cast.

Buck Zorba
Charles Herbert
Medea Zorba
Jo Morrow
Benjamin Rush
Martin Milner
Hilda Zorba
Rosemary DeCamp
Cyrus Zorba
Donald Woods
Elaine Zachariades
Margaret Hamilton
Van Allen
John Van Dreelen

Director
William Castle

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