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It Isn't Just Thir13en Ghosts, It's the House - IGN
I'm told there's a real estate law in Massachusetts that asserts if a house is presumed haunted, a realtor must disclose this to a prospective buyer. Unusual as this seems, I suppose one might consider the law's validity given the largely unspoken events upon which it's based, and the cities it covers: Salem and Cohasset. Salem, an epicenter of ghoulish goings-on – and a great place to be on Halloween – is the location of Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables; which, according to those who frequently walk its halls, climb its stairs and visit its attic, is still occupied by its original owners (accordingly, this puts them somewhere around two-hundred-years-old). And apart from its several reputedly haunted houses, Cohasset, in moviedom, was the location for The Witches of Eastwick. The dwellings in these towns are haunted houses in the classic style. Departing from this, the makers of Thir13enGhosts (official site: 13Ghosts.com) opted to update the notion of a house possessed of the previously departed.In Thir13enGhosts, you get the ghosts (The Jackal, The Hammer, The Torn Prince, The Bound Woman etc.) but don't forget, you also get Uncle Cyrus's house – what producer Joel Silver (The Matrix) describes as, "One of the most compelling characters in this story." He explains, "It's the house that holds these people hostage and unleashes all of these ghosts upon them. In many ways, the house is more of a threat to the family than the ghosts it harbors. Therefore, we wanted this character to convey a unique sense of menace, as opposed to being just a generic haunted house constructed from all the cliché horror film conventions that audiences have come to expect."(Below are four new photos from the film. For closer inspection, click 'em for higher-res versions.) Silver and producer Joel Adler got their inspiration for this new take on the haunted house while visiting the New York Science Museum. Says Adler, "Joel and I really loved the structure and the architecture of the museum. He came up with the novel idea of constructing the house entirely of glass and referencing the museum's architecture in the set's design." He adds, "We've never seen a horror movie that is pristine and clean. We always see cobwebs, dirt, bats, and old Elizabethan or gothic style structure. When was the last time you saw a horror movie taking place in a building with clean lines and modern architecture? It's a completely different perspective and yet I think it is a very scary concept."
"> Commenting on the motivations for the fictitious house's new owners, director Steve Beck notes, "Having all of these riches handed over to this family in what is essentially an enormous glass case is very telling. When we expose the things we value, we expose ourselves as well. It's a provocative question: How much are we willing to sacrifice to attain the material objects we covet?"Production designer Sean Hargreaves brought the producers' ideas to reality. "The first thing that comes to mind when you consider a glass and steel house is that it would have a very futuristic appearance. For that reason we decided to go for the unexpected, and we included some antique elements in the design. We incorporated cogs and gears and pulleys into the glass walls of the house, so that everything would run like a clockwork mechanism. It also has art deco and art nouveau elements, which, combined with old-fashioned technology, helps to give the house its unique character." The whole concept of the house is what I've found most unique about Thir13enGhosts; and, apart from the ghosts themselves, it's been the focal point of my interest in the film. The house's glass cells, etched with Latin inscriptions (containment spells encasing the ghosts), encircle the "Ocularis Room," wherein resides the Black Zodiac; a geared circular design, constructed into the floor, around which each of the ghosts has a corresponding symbol. I haven't seen the film, thus, my best guess is the zodiac may be the mechanism that calls the ghosts, and/or releases them from their cells at timed intervals. The film "centers around a complex mythology," comments Silver. "In order for that mythology to be believable, every component of the film must be as authentic and detailed as possible. An enormous amount of work went into making this happen. In this particular case, the devil is in the details."