When master showman William Castle released "13 Ghosts" in 1960, he placed a special viewer on the cinema seats so that the bold could look through the red filter and confront the specters in Illusion-O, while the timid could watch through the blue cellophane and be spared the terror. How Steve Beck must have wished he had a similar gimmick at his disposal when he made his directorial debut with "Thir13en Ghosts" in 2001, as, for all his visual effects expertise, he found many critics making unfavorable comparisons with Castle's original, which cost a fraction of the $20 million that Beck spent. Born and raised in Southern California, Beck had trained at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in the hope of becoming an illustrator. However, he joined Robert Abel & Associates in 1983 and began creating special effects for adverts. Such was his reputation that he was hired by Industrial Light & Magic in 1988, where he served as visual effects art director on Steven Spielberg's 1989 adventure "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", James Cameron's underwater epic "The Abyss", and John McTiernan's 1990 adaptation of Tom Clancy's bestselling submarine thriller, "The Hunt for Red October". Despite racking up such impressive credits, Beck quit the movies and returned to advertising, amassing over 50 prestigious awards in creating effects-laden spots for Volkswagen, Chevrolet, McDonald's, Gatorade, and First Union Bank. He returned to films to direct "Thir13en Ghosts" and the 2002 chiller "Ghost Ship", but has since concentrated on commercials.