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Dementia 13

1963

An old Irish family is haunted by dark secrets around the death of a little girl seven years earlier. Two women, one married into the family and one soon to be, start unraveling the secrets at a price that couldn't have imagined. You can find out more about this movie on its IMDB page. You can download an AVI of this movie here.


Dementia 13 (UK title: The Haunted and the Hunted) is a 1963 Horror film-Thriller (genre) released by American International Pictures, starring William Campbell (film actor), Patrick Magee (actor), and Luana Anders. The film was written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Roger Corman. Although Coppola had been involved in at least two nudie films previously, Dementia 13 served as his first mainstream, "legitimate," directorial effort. The plot follows a scheming young woman who, after having inadvertently caused the Myocardial infarction death of her husband, attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law's will (law). She pays a surprise visit to her late husband's family castle in Ireland, but her plans become permanently interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family.
Corman offered Coppola the chance to direct a Low-budget film horror film in Ireland with funds left over from Corman's recently completed The Young Racers, on which Coppola had worked as a sound technician. The producer wanted a cheap Psycho (1960 film) copy, complete with Gothic fiction atmosphere and brutal killings, and Coppola quickly wrote a screenplay in accordance with Corman's requirements. Although he was given total directorial freedom during production, Coppola found himself fighting with Corman after the film was completed. The producer declared the movie unreleasable and demanded several changes be made. Corman eventually brought in another director, Jack Hill, to film additional sequences.

Plot

One night, while out Watercraft rowing in the middle of a lake, John Haloran and his young wife Louise argue about his rich mother's Will (law). Louise is upset that everything is currently designated to go to charity in the name of "a mysterious Kathleen". John tells Louise that if he dies before his mother does, she will be entitled to none of the inheritance. He then promptly drops dead from a massive Myocardial infarction. Thinking quickly, the scheming Louise throws the fresh corpse over the side of the boat, where he comes to rest at the bottom of the lake. Her plan is to pretend that he is still alive, in order to ingratiate her way back into the will. She types up a letter to Lady Haloran, inviting herself to the family's Irish castle while her husband is "away on business".
Upon arrival, she immediately notices that things are a little strange in the castle. She observes John's two brothers, Billy and Richard taking part in a bizarre ceremony with their mother as part of a yearly ritualistic tribute to their youngest sister, Kathleen, who died many years before in a freak drowning accident. Lady Haloran still mourns for her, and during this year's ceremony she faints dead away. As Louise helps her into the house, her mother-in-law tells her that she fainted because one of the flowers she had thrown had died as it touched Kathleen's grave.
Louise, realizing that Lady Haloran is emotionally overwrought and superstitious, devises a plan intended to convince the old woman that Kathleen is trying to communicate with her from beyond the grave. This plan involves stealing some of the dead girl's old toys and placing them at the bottom of the estate's pond where they will float to the surface in the middle of the day in an ostensibly ghostly way. At night, Louise swims into the pond and begins placing the toys as planned. However, she is shocked to see what appears to be Kathleen's perfectly preserved corpse at the bottom of the pond. Horrified, she swims to the surface and is abruptly axed to death by an unknown assailant. The killer then drags Louise's bloody corpse away.
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Concerned family doctor Justin Caleb arrives and becomes determined to solve the mystery. He questions the family in an intense, almost insane manner. Meanwhile, the murderer strikes again, decapitating a man who is poaching on the estate. Caleb has the pond drained, revealing a stone shrine for Kathleen, with the words "Forgive Me, Kathleen" on the monument. The following night, Lady Haloran is attacked by a shadowy figure, but she survives.
Finally, Caleb utilizes an obscure nursery rhyme ("Fishie, fishie, in a brook, Daddy caught you on a hook") recited by Billy under hypnosis to help him discover Louise's corpse hidden in a meat freezer. Next to the body is a wax figure of Kathleen. Caleb places the figure in a public square to lure the killer. Taking the bait, a gibbering Billy attempts to kill Richard's fiancée Kane with an axe; he has become insane with the guilt he has felt for years over having caused the death of his sister Kathleen. Caleb removes a gun from his coat pocket and shoots Billy to death.

Cast

  • William Campbell (film actor) as Richard Haloran. Dementia 13 was one of several Roger Corman productions the veteran B-movie character actor appeared in,<></> but it was the first that was completed on such a small budget. Coppola had convinced Campbell, and his The Young Racers co-star Patrick Magee, to appear in the film. The actor originally felt it would turn out to be a strictly "amateur endeavor", but he soon became impressed by Coppola’s leadership abilities, talent, and energy on the set.</> Dementia 13 was one of several appearances she made in AIP productions. Most of these films had been directed by Roger Corman, including a major role co-starring with Vincent Price in The Pit and the Pendulum (1961 film) (1961). Like Campbell and Patrick Magee, Anders had been borrowed by Coppola from the cast of Corman's just completed The Young Racers. After Dementia 13, Anders never had such a sizable role again, appearing in numerous small parts in both television and film until her death from breast cancer in 1996.
  • Patrick Magee (actor) as Dr. Justin Caleb. Magee's role as the family doctor who manages to solve the mystery in Dementia 13 was one of many horror film parts the Tony Award-winning actor accepted during the course of his distinguished career. He had just finished shooting Corman's The Young Racers when Coppola convinced him, along with his Racers co-stars Campbell and Anders, to appear in Coppola's debut feature. Years later, Campbell warmly remembered Magee as being a brilliant performer although a little prone to overacting.</> This cheap William Castle-style gimmick also included a "D-13 Test" handout given to theatre patrons that was ostensibly devised by a "medical expert" to weed out psychologically unfit people from viewing the film. The test consisted of such questions as "The most effective way of settling a dispute is with one quick stroke of an axe to your adversary's head?" and "Have you ever been hospitalized in a locked mental ward, sanitarium, rest home or other facility for the treatment of mental illness?", with Yes or No as the only possible answers.
    The rockabilly song that is played at the opening of the movie is "He's Caught" by Buddy and The Fads, written by Arthur "Buddy" Fowler. The song was recorded in 1959 in Hollywood, CA. for Accent Records.

    Response

    The film was released in the fall of 1963 as the supporting feature of a Double feature with Corman's X (1963 film). Because of its rushed production and a somewhat incomprehensible screenplay, reviews of Dementia 13 have been mixed. The New York Times dismissed the film: "Under the stolid direction of Francis Coppola, who also wrote the script, the picture stresses gore rather than atmosphere, and all but buries a fairly workable plot."<></> Michael Weldon, in Psychotronic Video, noted it had "[A] great trick ending, some truly shocking gory axe murders, and lots of inventive photography."</> Danny Peary, in his Guide for the Film Fanatic, stated that despite the "hopelessly confusing" storyline, "...the horror sequences are very exciting."</> Dementia 13 has a 65% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, out of 20 reviewers surveyed.<></>

    Home video

    The Roan Group released a laserdisc and DVD of the film, both of which included an audio commentary by Campbell. The DVD also featured the written version of the "D-13 Test" in digital form as an extra. However, the filmed five-minute prologue featuring the test has not been included on any of the numerous available home video versions of the title. On April 26, 2011 the film was released on Blu-ray.

    See also

  • List of films in the public domain

  • Dementia 13] at
  • Mick Garris on The Naked Prey] at

    Category:1963 films
    Category:1963 horror films
    Category:1960s thriller films
    Category:American films
    Category:American horror films
    Category:American thriller films
    Category:English-language films
    Category:Films directed by Francis Ford Coppola
    Category:Directorial debut films
    Category:Exploitation films
    Category:Black-and-white films
    Category:Films shot in Ireland
    Category:Independent films
    Category:American International Pictures films
    Category:Screenplays by Francis Ford Coppola

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