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|“||Greatness requires sacrifice.||„|
|~ Cyrus Kriticos' repeated lines.|
Cyrus Kriticos is the main antagonist of the 2001 supernatural horror film Thir13en Ghosts. He is Arthur Kriticos' uncle, a powerful millionaire, an explorer, a collector and a ghost hunter. His main objective is to use 12 captured souls, plus a living human of pure heart to energize the "Basileus Machine", an eldritch machinery designed by "Satan himself" and powered by the dead, thus being able to see into the future and gain a massive amount of power.
Cyrus is first seen in a junkyard with his ghosthunting team including his two henchmen, a neurotic psychic assistant Dennis Rafkin and his brother Joshua, in search of the Juggernaut ghost. After he and his guards are brutally attacked by the 7 feet tall abomination, Cyrus is apparently killed when he is thrown against some piled-up cars.
Some time later, Cyrus' lawyer, Ben Moss, pays a visit to Cyrus' nephew, Arthur Kriticos and his family: his daughter Kathy, his son Bobby, and their hired babysitter Maggie Bess. Ben tells about a "house" left to Arthur and his family, as they go to the location mentioned in Cyrus' will.
Dennis, disguised as a power company employee, tries to get the family out of the house, with no success. Meanwhile, the lawyer goes to the basement, where the ghosts are stored, only to accidentally release them and get killed by a sliding glass door after being threatened by the Angry Princess. This releases the other ghosts one by one, as the family quickly goes aware of their presence after seeing them as well as Barrier Spells imprinted on the floors and walls of the house (only by using special eyeglasses found around the house). Apparently, Cyrus' spirit is also present, and kidnaps Bobby and Kathy, while Arthur is told by a woman named Kalina Oretzia about the house's true nature: it is actually a machine designed to open the Ocularis Infernum, rebuilt by Cyrus based in a blueprint from the 15th century by a astrologer named Basileus, that requires the power of twelve earthbound spirits to work, and give it's bearer infinite power. Kalina also explains that the 4th ghost, the Withered Lover, is Arthur's dead wife, Jean Kriticos, and the only way to repel the evil inside the house is if Arthur assumes his position as the 13th ghost and sacrifices himself for the sake of his kids. Arthur finally reaches the Ocularis' center after escaping from the Torn Prince, but Dennis is killed in the process by a combined attack of the Juggernaut and the Hammer ghosts during their escape.
Kalina is revealed to be Cyrus' lover, but is also killed by him, who is actually alive.
Arthur sees all of the 12 ghosts spinning around the machine's center, where Kathy and Bobby are being kept. He also discovers that his uncle was alive the entire time, and briefly fights him, but is overpowered. The Kriticos family's hired babysitter Maggie Bess, meanwhile, breaks Cyrus' hypnosis over the ghosts by messing with Cyrus' reel-to-reel machine at the core of the house, as Arthur can only watch in horror as the ghosts carry Cyrus to the machine and throw him in, chopping him to pieces.
- Cyrus Kriticos' character is based off of Doctor Plato Zorba from the 1960 film 13 Ghosts, although his role (as the chief human antagonist who threatens the family's lives, and who even falsely poses as a ghost, and ultimately gets killed by the ghosts in the house) is also close to that of Benjamin Rush.
- Cyrus Kriticos' name derives from Cyrus Zorba, Dr. Zorba's nephew in the 1960 film.
- This was the first pure evil villain F. Murray Abraham played, followed by Grimmel the Grisly.