Thir13en Ghosts (2001) — Collect ’em all!

“Did I say there’s a petting zoo downstairs? No! There are ghosts downstairs, Arthur!”

DnaError’s rating: Must resist urge to say “of Scooby-Doo”

DnaError’s review: MST3K Effect (noun): The effect caused when mocking a movie is so enjoyable that the movie appears to be good in comparison.

Thirteen Ghosts (or as the posters declare, Thir13ten Ghosts — I for one say we rally against unpronounceable numbers in movie titles from now on) is a perfect example of this phenomenon. I saw it in a crowded theater with a small group of fairly snarky friends. The movie came on, we began to snark. Snarked we did.

I left the movie feeling pretty good about it. However looking back, the funniest parts where not the movie itself (which goes to 11 in terms of sheer goofiness) but the comments from our proverbial peanut gallery. The strange glass-shifting-wall house? (“They live in stately Tetris manor!” ) The sassy maid? (“She don’t know nothing about killing no ghosts.” “So they can’t afford a house but can afford a maid?”) The female ghostbuster? (Who ya gonna call? That gal!” “Lara Croft falls on hard times.”) And of course, cheers whenever the Annoying Cute Kid™ was in mortal danger.

I guess you want a plot recap too. Well, I’m felling generous (and caffeinated), so here ya go. A down-and-out family inherits a Spooky Glass House from a Spooky Lawyer in which all manners of Spooky Ghosts appear. Matthew Lillard shows up from time to time to scream and pound his head. And everyone has their Super Secret 3-D Ghost Viewer Decoder Glasses (available with only 30 Proofs of Purchase of Spooky Os) in order to see the ghosts about to kill them in all manners of gruesome ways.

Plus, there is some chatter about a black zodiac and the mysterious 13th Ghost. But I was too busy making snide comments about the director (“Just cause you can edit doesn’t mean you should.”) to notice any of that.

Is Thirteen Ghosts a good movie? If this was a “real” review, I’d tell you it’s more like a hard hock horror video in the Tool mold then a movie. Or that it has some good ideas but comes off as the weirdest X-Files episode ever. But the movie is too goofy for any of that. It’s bizarre plot and characters resist any attempts to call it outright “bad” while at the same time screaming for comments from the audience.

It is then, a perfect MST3K movie. Entertaining enough to keep you interested but with enough faults and weirdness to keep poking at. Go see it armed with sarcasm and a good amount of popcorn and you’ll be safe. Snark on.

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