Every week, we spotlight a kill that we just can’t get enough of. This is Kill of the Week.
William Castle put the fun in horror back in his heyday, so it only makes sense that tribute company Dark Castle Entertainment did much the same in the early 2000s. The label’s original intention was to put a modern twist on classic Castle horror films, and a remake of Thirteen Ghosts was second up on the chopping block after a remake of House on Haunted Hill.
Directed by Steve Beck, Thirteen Ghosts (or Thir13en Ghosts, if you prefer) was released into theaters in 2001, and it took the basic premise of the 1960 original and turned literally everything up to eleven. With incredible production design, gruesome kills, and some of the most creative ghosts in horror history, as well as a scenery-chewing performance from Matthew Lillard, Dark Castle’s Thirteen Ghosts was a monster mash of insanity that was packed with boundless energy and a sense of mindless fun that’s sadly missing from today’s horror films.
Seriously. If you want to have fun, revisit this movie. TONIGHT.
One of the standout highlights of Thirteen Ghosts is the graphic bisection of a lawyer, which just so happens to be this week’s Kill of the Week!
Played by J.R. Bourne, the character (named Ben Moss) meets a most unpleasant end when two sliding glass doors activated by the ghost-infested house violently slam shut and split his whole body straight down the middle. The cleverly-executed kill sees the front half of Moss’ body slide down the glass while the gnarly back half remains briefly stuck to the other side; a nude ghost with massive breasts looks on, making the gruesome death scene NSFW for more than one reason!
I’ve always loved the way Moss’ ghost-viewing glasses and tie snap off before his body splits in two, which perfectly let us know what was coming before things got real ugly. The whole effect was pulled off incredibly well by Beck and the KNB EFX team, serving as the precursor for what Dark Castle would soon unleash in the opening sequence of 2002’s Ghost Ship.
Revisit the “split lawyer” scene below, which our own Trace Thurman considers one of his all-time favorite horror movie death scenes. I’m right there with ya, Trace!