Movie Marathon: Steve Beck duology – rewatch

1. Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Misery loves company
  • With: Matthew Lillard, Tony Shalhoub, Shannon Elizabeth, Embeth Davidtz, Alec Roberts, Rah Digga, JR Bourne, F. Murray Abraham, John Desantis, Shayne Wyler, Herbert Duncanson
  • Duration: 1h31
  • Music by: John Frizzell
  • Dark Castle Entertainment
  • Rating: 7,5/10


Arthur and his two children, Kathy and Bobby, inherit his Uncle Cyrus’s estate: a glass house that serves as a prison to 12 ghosts. When the family, accompanied by Bobby’s Nanny and an attorney, enter the house they find themselves trapped inside an evil machine “designed by the devil and powered by the dead” to open the Eye of Hell. Aided by Dennis, a ghost hunter, and his rival Kalina, a ghost rights activist out to set the ghosts free, the group must do what they can to get out of the house alive.


The Kriticos family suffered a great loss after a fire and are left behind with the pain and grief. And then a lawyer, Ben Moss, knocks on their door bringing news of Arthur’s uncle Cyrus, who recently passed away and left the Kriticos’ a brand new house. The lawyer invites them to come look at it that same evening, which they do.

While exploring the glass mansion, the family discover some weird things: Latin writings on the glass walls, treasures everywhere and peculiar glasses that shows more writing on the floors, hidden writings that light up when the glasses are put on. And someone else entered the house with the family, disguised as a man from the power company, Dennis Rafkin. He’s a psychic with the ability to see and feel ghosts and he helped Cyrus Kriticos catch some of those ghosts.

And then it appears the house is filled with them, twelve caught ghosts! And Arthur is supposed to become the thirteenth ghost in order to open a portal to hell, because the house is no mere house… it’s a machine that opens up an oculus, a gateway to hell!

A remake from the 1960 movie directed by William Castle, 13 Ghosts!

This is only one of two movies Steve Beck directed. (No idea why he retired from filmmaking so soon) When this came out I was actually surprised by how good it was! I loved the comedy elements, the haunting of those twelve wraiths and the house looked amazing! But I have to be completely honest, the movie does not really stand the test of time that well! The flashing and strobing lights are bugging me more now then they did back when it was first released… and the score is way too chaotic and too loud… (Frizzell did a better job in Ghost Ship)

The story is pretty thin (always felt it) but the ghosts are done so great (they should have been more present and not have flashed in and out of the scenes!) and the pace of the movie is great as well… and it has one of the most original, gruesome and funny deaths ever filmed… not gonna spoil it… but there’s a quote afterwards in the movie referring to the death that’s just hilarious!

It’s a good horror movie, very entertaining in a setting that looks amazing… but it has some issues… and it doesn’t stand the test of time as much as I thought it would have…

2. Ghost Ship (2002)

Sea Evil
  • With: Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Karl Urban, Desmond Harrington, Ron Eldard, Isaiah Washington, Alex Dimitriades, Emily Browning, Francesca Rettondini, Boris Brkic
  • Duration: 1h31
  • Music by: John Frizzell
  • Dark Castle Entertainment
  • Rating: 8/10


After discovering a passenger ship missing since 1962 floating adrift on the Bering Sea, salvagers claim the vessel as their own. Once they begin towing the ghost ship towards harbor, a series of bizarre ocurrences happen and the group becomes trapped inside the ship, which they soon learn is inhabited by a demonic creature.


The second of two movies Steve Beck directed. Also with music by John Frizzell.

This movie has one of the most iconic opening scenes of a horror movie. Starting out as a sixties style movie (with the title also done in that same style) we see a Captain’s ball on a ship’s deck of a luxurious cruise ship called Antonia Graza. A little girl is bored so the captain asks her to dance. In the meantime an Italian woman is singing and we see people enjoying drinks and food. And then a metal cable pierces through all the dancing people, cutting them in pieces! The only survivor is the little girl, Katie.

Then we jump to the present time where ship’s salvagers are hired by Ferriman to salvage a ship in the Bering’s Sea… when they arrive they see it’s the long lost Antonia Graza. But on inspection it appears the ship harbours a secret and the ship itself seems haunted by the ghosts that died on the day the ship disappeared!

That opening scene was epic! And the movie has a few more epic scenes (the scene where all is revealed to Epps!). It’s a great ghost movie, reminiscent of ghost movies from the past. But as with Thir13en Ghosts, it’s not a movie that will remain in people’s minds longer than a minute, unless you’re a die hard fan… I used to be more in awe of both Beck’s movies but it waned a little bit over time, it seems.

Still, I love rewatching both. They are part of a series of movies I watched when I was younger and which I think about pretty often…

The acting in this movie is a little less good as in the other one, lesser known actors apart maybe from Byrne (whose role is cut short way too fast, in my opinion!)

It’s also a movie in a list of (horror)movies that has oceans, water and/or ships from those days… Deep Blue Sea, Triangle, Ghost Ship, Virus, Sphere, Deep Rising… all are a bit similar in setting and/or story!

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