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Dementia 13 (1963)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | 17 July 1964 (Italy)
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.... See full summary »


(as Francis Coppola)


(as Francis Coppola), (second unit writer)

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Complete credited cast:
Richard Haloran
Louise Haloran
Bart Patton ...
Billy Haloran
Mary Mitchel ...
Patrick Magee ...
Justin Caleb
Eithne Dunne ...
Lady Haloran (as Ethne Dunn)
Peter Read ...
John Haloran
Karl Schanzer ...
Ron Perry ...
Derry O'Donavan ...
Barbara Dowling ...


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You Must Pass the "D-13" Test To Prepare You for the Horrifying Experience of Dementia 13. If You Fail the Test...You Will Be Asked to Leave the Theater! See more »


Horror | Thriller


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 July 1964 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Demência 13  »

Box Office


$40,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (colorized)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Francis Ford Coppola's first Director credit, as "Francis Coppola". See more »


In some shots Ron Perry as Arthur has two good arms but in other shots his left arm is in a cast. See more »


Louise Haloran: It's nice to see her enjoying herself for a change. The mood around this place isn't good for her.... Especially an American girl. You can tell she's been raised on promises.
See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Maniacs (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Worth much more than rating reflects
9 October 2002 | by (Walled Lake, MI) – See all my reviews

Being a film buff, and not exclusively a fan of the horror genre, I saw the average rating on imdb and expected a kitchy, amateurish farce-of-a-flick. What it turned out to be caught me absolutely off-guard. The only thing more terrifying than the film itself was the poor overall rating it received on imdb. This is a superb example of a psychological thriller, and certainly the most underrated and underappreciated film of this genre I have ever seen.

Dementia 13 is a fairly simple narrative on the surface, but underneath it is an interweaving story, each branch adding depth and mystery to the story and each branch being a carefully-planned twist of the senses.

My wife, being a huge fan of the genre, especially of films from the 60s, has already encouraged me to watch numerous other films similar in narrative feel, such as "The Innocents" based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James or "The Haunting" based on the Shirley Jackson story. After seeing so many films, many of which were based on well-crafted stories by famous authors, it astounds me to think that A young Francis Coppola not only directed this superb film, but CONCEIVED it and WROTE it as well. The result reads just as well (and even better, in many cases) than many well-crafted novels, itself being a story of an utmost macabre and chilling nature... and the storytelling leaves little to be desired.

Francis Coppola, only 22 at the time, made this film with a miniscule budget of only $20,000 and an extremely rushed shooting schedule. It is no wonder Coppola blossomed into a well-respected, master craftsman of film. And the limited resources all but completely excuse any of the flaws in this film. Looking at the facts about the film and its maker surely must invoke jealously in any artist who realizes what true masters can accomplish at a young age.

Yes, it is true that Dementia 13 takes elements from Hitchcock's Psycho (among other Hitch films), including anticipatory tension, a finely dissonant score, and even several camera shots, but Coppola isn't just mimicking Hitchcock. He's manipulating the very essence of what makes Hitchcock frightening, while adding his own distinct style and flavor to the film.

And it IS genuinely frightening. It implies unspeakable things and it toys with one's mind as one watches it. And when the screen DOES show you something you've been anticipating, (partly in thanks to the demented film score,) expect to be surprised and expect your skin to tingle something fierce. The psychological angle with which Coppola approached Dementia 13 leaves one with the terrible sense that the human mind REALLY IS capable of this kind of demented horror... which, of course, makes the film all the more terrifying and satisfying.

This film is not merely an amateur's flailing attempt. It is the first masterpiece of a blooming genius.

The rating it has on imdb is appallingly low. I can't even begin to wonder what kinds of bad horror films are getting better ratings by people. Maybe more people just need to see this fairly obscure film before it will get its overdue appreciation. 9 out of 10

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