When her husband John has a heart attack while out in a rowboat on the lake, Louise Haloran throws his body overboard and later tells the family that he has left on an urgent business trip....
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When her husband John has a heart attack while out in a rowboat on the lake, Louise Haloran throws his body overboard and later tells the family that he has left on an urgent business trip. Her main concern is that she can only inherit a part of the family fortune if if her husband is alive. The Halorans are a strange family, still grieving over the death of the youngest daughter Kathleen who drowned in a pond when she was just a child. They hold an annual ceremony of remembrance every year on the anniversary of her death. This year however, someone is wielding an ax intent on murder. Written by
In Ireland, the greedy American Louise (Luana Anders) is disappointed with the will of her mother-in-law Lady Haloran (Ethne Dunne) on the eve of Kathleen's seventh memorial ceremony. While rowing a small boat during the night in the pond of the Haloran Castle with Louise, John Haloran (Peter Read) has a fatal heart attack. Louise is aware that she will not receive the share of the inheritance if the death of John is discovered, so she dumps his body in the pond. Then she forges a farewell letter from John to his mother telling that he needs to go back to New York, and she separates some clothes in John's suitcase to simulate his travel. Louise succeeds to convince Lady Haloran and her sons Richard (William Campbell) and Billy (Bart Patton) about John's urgent business trip. Later she talks to Billy about the spooky old castle and Billy tells that the place is haunted by his sister Kathleen, who drowned in the pond many years ago driving his mother to the edge. On the next morning, Richard's American fiancée Kane (Mary Mitchel) arrives for the family's reunion and the Machiavellian Louise approaches to Lady Haloran showing sympathy for her feelings for Kathleen. During the night, Louise goes to Kathleen's bedroom and gets some toys; then she dives in the pond to prepare a prank to lure Lady Haloran. When she returns, she is attacked by a man with a machete and dies; when she is not found in the castle, the family believes she has traveled without saying goodbye. Later, Lady Haloran's doctor Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee) decides to investigate the small lake and the mystery about the Haloran Castle, disclosing a hidden secret in the dysfunctional family.
It is curious to see "Dementia 13" in 2009, and the greatest attraction is the name of the director and writer Francis Coppola (without the Ford) in one of his earliest works. Produced by Roger Corman, the King of the B-Movies (especially in the 60's), this black-and-white feature has an abrupt beginning without any previous development of characters or situation. Then the flawed and predictable story of dementia and family curse visibly follows the style of Alfred Hitchcock. I found in IMDb that the original title would be "Dementia"; however, it was added a "13" since there is a 1955 movie with the same title. My vote is five.
Title (Brazil): "Demência 13" ("Dementia 13")
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