All the Spirits in The Thirteen Ghosts Explained

2001's Dark Castle horror flick The Thirteen Ghosts was a highly underrated cult project, thanks largely to Black Zodiac's jaw-dropping titular Thirteen Ghosts.

The 2001 remake of the Dark Castle horror flick The Thirteen Ghosts is a highly underrated cult work, thanks in large part to its powerful lineup of angry spirits; In Thirteen Ghosts, the story of the Critikos family escaping 13 ghosts controlled by ancient glyphs in the glass mansion of Cyrus Kritikos is one such remake that deserves more attention. Dark Castle's heyday has passed for many years, but some of their early titles, such as Thirteen Ghosts, have gained a cult following and are considered fun popcorn fodder to revisit for fans old and new alike. The Thirteen Ghosts characters are worth a look at the costume design, as the titular 13 ghosts each have their own backstory and unique looks to match.

Thirteen Ghosts is the second film made by Dark Castle after 1999's The Haunted House. It's very much a product of its time, but has gained a cult following thanks to inventive prosthetic special effects. Thirteen Ghosts has a great central concept, one that could make for a horror movie spin-off TV show akin to Bates Motel or Chucky. It is not only the premise of the black zodiac to get the thirteen ghosts It has a small but dedicated fan base though because of the incredible production design, and some of the coolest ghosts ever created for the big screen. Plus, it stars equally adored Scooby-Doo icon Matthew Lillard — though Shaggy and his gang might retire even if they encounter a ghost in Cyrus Kriticos' unbelievably haunted mansion. Here's a complete rundown of all 13 ghost characters in The Thirteen Ghosts.

All 13 Ghosts in Thirteen Ghosts Explained

The Thirteen Ghosts plot isn't the easiest to understand at the end of the film, but the end of the film basically features a Nikola Tesla-esque machine that is supposed to open the Ocularis Infernum, which will grant Cyrus from Hell The power. The only way Cyrus can keep the machine going is if the soul of the Black Zodiac is whole. Therefore, he needs all the characters of the thirteen ghosts in order to achieve his goal. His original plan was to force Arthur to sacrifice himself as the 13th ghost, Broken Heart. This ghost can only be created by a person sacrificing himself in an act of love, and Arthur is ready to do it for his family. Luckily he doesn't need to, the spirit is set free.

In the horror remake, the 12 elves represent individual members of the Black Zodiac. Their presence powers not only Cyrus' machine itself, but the mansion as well. The thread connecting all 13 ghost characters in "Thirteen Ghosts" is their tragic past and death. Each soul must have a death that meets certain criteria, denoted by their name (juggernaut, wither lover, etc.).

Like Bly Manor, some ghosts are scary but harmless, while others are former serial killers and sex offenders. Cyrus takes great care to find each specific spirit to complete his intricate spell, though he ultimately fails because Arthur doesn't have to sacrifice himself. Arthur was supposed to be the 13th ghost, but since he wasn't, the next 12 ghosts were eventually released.

1. The First Born Son

The first ghost in "Thirteen Ghosts" is the eldest son. In real life, the eldest son was a boy named Billy Michaels, who had an unhealthy obsession with pop culture involving "cowboys and Indians." Any attempt to take him out of his fantasy life invites rage, but that rage During an ill-conceived duel, a toy gun doesn't protect Billy from a real arrow that another boy shoots into his head. Unlike Damien from The Omen or Samara from The Ring, Billy is a relatively harmless child ghost. In Thirteen Ghosts, he doesn't attack anyone directly, but does scare them into the more ferocious demonoids.

2. The Torso

Of all the 13 ghost characters in The Thirteen Ghosts, the torso is the only one with a literal meaning: a disembodied torso wrapped in cellophane. In life, Torso was the part of a compulsive gambler named Jimmy Gambino. Gambino was also a gambler, but his own gambling prevented him from paying the winnings of the "rich" of the mob, and the criminals weren't too kind. In a brutal act reminiscent of the best episodes of The Sopranos, the mob kills Jimmy and chops him up, dumping his remains in the ocean. Torso is the most visually stunning of the thirteen ghosts, and seeing double-amputee actor Daniel Wesley take him to non-life is indeed a (very inclusive) nightmare.

3. The Bound Woman

In "Thirteen Ghosts", the bound woman is Her name is Susan LeGrow, and she has a great upbringing. She's a wealthy, popular cheerleader who once dated the captain of the school's football team. Until the Captain reportedly found her with another boy on prom night and reacted rather horribly, beating his love rival to death and strangling Susan with his own tie (this story sounds straight out of a Netflix true crime documentary ). Like Firstborn and Torso, she's more "scary" than an actual threat.

4. The Withered Lover

The Withered Lover is a ghost who poses absolutely no threat to the Kriticos family once they are trapped in the house of horrors of their presumed dead relative Cyrus. Of course, this is due to her particularly tragic backstory, as she is the wife of protagonist Arthur (Tony Shalhoub of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and the mother of his children Kathy and Bobby Jean Kritikos . Jen died in a house fire, but the rest of her family survived.

5. The Torn Prince

The Torn Prince, a high school baseball star in the late 1950s, explains that he would happily use his ever-present baseball bat weapon to attack any living character of the Thirteen Ghosts. The Torn Prince, formerly known as Royce Clayton, died in a rally, After losing control of the car in a horrible accident (similar to Ken Miles in Ford v. Ferrari). He shouldn't blame himself, though, because his opponent surreptitiously applied his brakes. While he's not the most dangerous of all the ghosts in The Thirteen Ghosts, his weapons can certainly cause some havoc.

6. The Angry Princess

The next specter in the early 2000s horror remake is The Angry Princess. The Angry Princess of Thirteen Ghosts was born Dana Newman, a very beautiful woman by all standards but herself. Sadly, she couldn't be happy with her looks, saw blemishes that others couldn't see, and kept trying to improve her appearance with surgery. A string of abusive relationships did nothing for her self-image. After self-administered (but botched) facial surgery made her look like the Joker in Batman: Death in the Family, Dana took her own life, splaying her wrists in the bathtub. In Thirteen Ghosts, slimy lawyer character Ben Moss pays for her nude ghostly appearance by rudely commenting on it.

7. The Pilgrimess

One of the oldest 13 ghosts in The Thirteen Ghosts is named Isabella Smith, and Pilgrim was a victim of hysteria during the Salem Witch Trials Swept through New England in the late 1600s. As a local outcast, Isabella was accused of witchcraft, and when attempts to burn it didn't work, people's perception of her evil only increased. In the end, Pilgrim was locked in the stock by her ghost during the Thirteen Ghosts and slowly died of starvation. She's one of the oldest ghosts trapped in the mansion, which feels like something out of American Horror Story: A Roanoke Story. Out of all 13 ghost characters in Thirteen Ghosts, she's the only one with her arms bound, and while she's threatening, she's really powerless to do anything other than look scary.

8 & 9. The Great Child & The Dire Mother

In Thirteen Ghosts, the Great Child and Terrible Mother are other examples of ghosts. Margaret Shelburne was a minor character working in an American Horror Story-style carnival pervert show, and her oldest son, Harold, was the result of a sexual assault by the carnival's tallest perverted troupe member. Some other eccentrics later murder Margaret, leading Harold to go insane with an ax to kill most of them before he himself is killed by an angry mob. As American Horror Story: Freaks Showing characters, these two would be just right, like Pilgrim of Roanoke, showing the subtle influence of the Thirteen Ghosts on modern horror.

10. The Hammer

The last three ghosts of Black Zodiac are definitely the most dangerous to the Kriticos family, and The Hammer is the scariest of them all. Hammer wasn't a bad guy at all, born George Markley, who worked as a blacksmith in a small town. Until he was falsely accused of theft by a white man and his family was brutally murdered. In a harrowing rage, George took his trusty sledgehammer and delivered a blow to the killer. Of course, the townspeople blamed him and killed him by driving railroad spikes into his body. This may be the only racial commentary in the film, as "Thirteen Ghosts" and other horror films of the early '00s aren't known for commenting on social issues, and horror films with a clear message, like The Meaning of Get Out, are a relatively modern trend.

11. The Jackal

The Jackal, the most volatile and unpredictable of all 13 ghost characters in The Thirteen, was born as Lane Kuhn in 1887 and grew into a sickly twisted individual. Jackal is Also one of the few 13 ghosts in The Thirteen Ghosts who can be equally violent and sadistic before becoming spirits. A vicious and compulsive sexual predator and killer, Ryan did seek help for his pain and checked into a shelter. Not that it did him any real good, because it wasn't long before he completely lost his mind. He eventually died when the shelter burned down, although unlike Freddy Krueger (another burned sexual predator who came back to harass the living), Jackal had no visible burn scars on his body.

12. The Juggernaut

Horace "Breaker" Mahoney, Juggernaut, is definitely the most dangerous of all 13 ghost characters in The Thirteen Ghosts, and can almost be considered the "final boss" of the Black Zodiac. Horace is a mountain of men, a serial killer who would pick up hitchhikers or provide rides to stranded people (similar to Holden's psychopath sidekick Edmund Kemper in Mindhunter), only to bring them back He dumped them and tore them to shreds with his bare hands. He would then feed their carcasses to his dogs. Along with Hammer, The Overlord tragically destroys friendly psychic character Denis Lavkin (who plays An unfortunate character similar to Dick Hallorann in The Shining).

Who Is The 13th Ghost In Thirteen Ghosts?

The thirteenth ghost is supposed to be Arthur (Tony Shalhoub), at least according to Cyrus Kriticos' (F. Murray Abraham) master plan. By dying in the house, Arthur would be a broken heart. This activates Basileus' Machine, a device "designed by the devil and powered by the dead" whose purpose is to give Cyrus near-limitless power. However, Arthur survived. While Broken Heart, the 13th ghost of the Black Zodiac, never appeared, Dennis's ghost manifested after he was killed. That means, technically, Matthew Lillard is the 13th Ghost in The Thirteen. The movie does tease early on that Cyrus himself might be the 13th Ghost, but then there's an almost M. Night Shyamalan-level twist. Cyrus fakes his own death and doesn't actually die until the film's climax (he doesn't return as a ghost after that).

Thirteen Ghosts Original vs. Remake: Ghost Differences Explained

Thirteen Ghosts is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, but they are completely different, especially when it comes to ghosts. 13 Ghosts (as the 1960 version was titled) doesn't expand on its titular ghost much, nor does it name the spirit in the house Inherited by the Zorba family. They were also far less violent, both in how they acted and how they died. The spirits in 1960's 13 Ghosts don't look quite as harrowing by modern standards, but that's to be expected (the shower scene in Psycho, while iconic, doesn't elicit anything close to the sense of dread that the 1960 show did , anyone).

There are no black zodiac signs in the original Thirteen Ghosts, although Cyrus is both the main character and the protagonist, and the remake of the Twelve Ghosts also requires someone to die in the house, creating a Thirteenth Ghost to escape. The inspiration for 2001's Thirteen Ghosts is obvious, in which Cyrus needs 13 ghosts to activate Basileus' machine. However, that's pretty much where the similarities end.

Why Thirteen Ghosts Is Experiencing A Resurgence Of Interest

Thirteen Ghosts, a cult gem of 2000s horror movies, whose 13 ghosts characters of the Black Zodiac have gained more attention in the streaming age. There's been renewed interest in Thirteen Ghosts and its unique premise -- and, of course, there's already a growing number of fans asking for Thirteen Ghosts to get the reboot treatment. early 2020s Horror reboots have been hugely successful, with everything from Scream to Hellraiser getting new movies of some sort. These efforts have proven to be incredibly successful and rewarding at the box office, so why not The Thirteen Ghosts?

Although much of Thirteen Ghosts is incredibly dated even years after its release, it still manages to avoid most of the tropes that killed early 2000s horror movies. Plus, despite its box office flop, The Thirteen Ghosts has gained quite a following over the years. It's a unique entry into the entire horror genre, but comes at a time when torture-porn films like Hotel, American remakes of Japanese flicks like Lord of the Rings and The Grudge, and film segments like The Blair Witch Project are on the way stand out.

"In the early 2000s, there was no market for a film like "Thirteen Ghosts" -- but that's very different in the 2020s, when audiences crave fresh and interesting concepts through outright scares or gore. The production design is advanced, and the 13 ghost characters are creepy. All in all, Thirteen Ghosts It deserves a comeback, and has the potential to get the reboot treatment someday.

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