House No 13: The Lost Bollywood Horror Movie

Movie TitleHouse No 13
CastAnil Dhawan, Vikram Fateh, Reeta Bhaduri, Archana Joglekar, Sharat Saxena
Writer and DirectorBaby
ProducerSyed Mustafa
Release Year1991

House No 13 released in a decade when nobody thought much of Bollywood horror movies. The nineties, after the Ramsays went the TV way was the worst – or best – decade for Bollywood horror movie fans.

Camp cinema overtook passion, sleaze came in the way of titillation, and the horror industry lost a lot of its credibility because fly by night producers, investors, directors came into the picture. These individuals hired no-name actors and it all was tumbling along.

Along the way, several Bollywood horror movies hit theaters – some wide, some not so wide.  One of them is House No 13. Horror movie enthusiasts still talk about this Bollywood horror movie. Let’s list out the reasons why.

House No 13 Synopsis

A family shifts into an old house. The family comprises of the grandfather, his daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law’s grown children. The elder son, Sudhir is married and has a girl, Aarti. The younger son Vikram is unmarried.

But what the younger generation of the family doesn’t know is that their father, Thakur Pratap Singh,  was a tyrant and had molested many women and usurped the countless properties. As they continue living there, Vikram meets a young woman,  Neelima.

Neelima and Vikram fall in love. However, tragedy befalls their house, with the grandfather dying in a mysterious manner. The strange supernatural force also tries to kill the daughter of the elder brother.

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The family thinks that the best way to ward off this evil is to marry off Vikram to Neelima. But fate has other plans and the spirit possesses Neelima. The family now tries their level best to ward off this evil.

As Neelima delivers her baby, the house becomes more aggressive, and the elder brother’s daughter disappears. When the daughter disappears, the family hires a learned sage to find out what had happened in the house.

Finally, the sage confronts the spirit and finds out the truth.  The sage finds out that years ago, Thakur Pratap Singh molested a young woman, the wife of his debtor. However, the young woman kills the Thakur and also tries to kill her husband.

The husband survives and kills the woman, leaving behind a young girl.  Now, the spirit is adamant that she will never leave the house and will never release Aarti. How the family reunites with Aarti is what forms the rest of the movie’s story.

House No 13 Review

House No 13 is one of the many Bollywood horror movies that we list at B movies. The cast has recognisable names, but the director’s lack of vision in the non-horror scenes leaves aa lot to desire for. There are screenplay glitches as well as basic production glitches.

For example, almost right after the grandfather expires, the younger son is singing and dancing with his lady love. When Neelima finally delivers her child, she’s dressed to the nines in the hospital.

But the movie hits the ball out of the park with the horror sequences. After the Ramsay Bollywood horror movies, House No 13 is the horror movie that has some really frightening sequences.  I can only imagine how the audiences felt, watching those sequences in the theaters.

What’s really commendable is that the director has achieved this with minimal prosthetics and maximum ambience. The camera angles are also pretty good. All in all, House No 13 is a lesson in how to achieve the horror look on a minimal budget.

This Bollywood horror movie is also unique because it doesn’t resort to titillation. Watching the movie, it is clear that the director was looking to work on the natural sensuality that the Indian attire produces, with just the initial sequence coming across as exploitation.

House No 13 is a unique movie because it makes excellent use of its premise. Unlike other Bollywood horror movies where the spirit/demon/zombie kills people, here, the spirit uses the house to kill the victims.

Audiences who want to watch an interesting, novel Bollywood horror movie must definitely give House Number 13 a look.  I would also list House No 13 as a Bollywood horror movie that we might lose very soon. The digital rights of the movie aren’t with Goldmines, and the current print is a letterbox one. I wonder if the copyright owners would be interested in restoring this movie.

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About Roy D'Silva 483 Articles
Roy D'Silva loves nicely made horror films,books and series. He has spent a lifetime covering various entertainment beats and has finally found his calling covering the paranormal/supernatural/horror fiction beat.