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Demons of the Mind (1972)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  May 1974 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 870 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 25 critic

A physician discovers that two children are being kept virtually imprisoned in their house by their father. He investigates, and discovers a web of sex, incest and satanic possession.

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(screenplay), (from an original story by), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Zorn
...
Emil
Gillian Hills ...
Yvonne Mitchell ...
Hilda
Paul Jones ...
Carl Richter
Patrick Magee ...
Falkenberg
Kenneth J. Warren ...
Klaus
...
Priest
...
Fischinger
Virginia Wetherell ...
Inge
Deirdre Costello ...
Magda
Barry Stanton ...
Ernst
Sidonie Bond ...
Zorn's Wife
Thomas Heathcote ...
Coachman
John Atkinson ...
1st Villager
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Storyline

Baron Zorn keeps his teenaged children locked up and drugged, fearing that his insane wife passed along a congenital curse to them before her own suicidal death. Elizabeth escapes for a brief tryst with a local before being recaptured and subjected to a bleeding process to 'draw out the bad blood.' Emil keeps trying to escape, but is thwarted time and again by his aunt Hilda who runs the house like a prison. One reason the siblings have to be kept apart, is their incestuous attraction to each other. Local wenches are being murdered in the woods, and the superstitious peasants think demons are responsible. A wandering Priest dedicates himself to root out the evil, but isn't taken seriously. Arriving at the castle are two more interested parties: Mountebank scientist-huckster Falkenberg stands to make a small fortune if his strange apparatus can cure the children of their inherited evil. Young Carl simply wants to rescue Elizabeth. As more murders mount, Falkenberg enlists village lass ... Written by Leo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They came to torture an agonised mind

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood Evil  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dirk Bogarde was shortlisted for Zorn. See more »

Quotes

Priest: I have been led here, I have work to do. But what?
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Ideas Undone by Hysterical Treatment
7 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I watched "Demons of the Mind" after not having seen it since it originally appeared. My memory of the film was very positive, and there are some interesting ideas in the script. However, there are an overabundance of plot elements that are presented in a haphazard and overly hysterical form by director Peter Sykes. One other reviewer here calls this a free-form narrative, but for me it was a confused jumble.

Robert Hardy plays (or overplays, as others here have noted) Count Zorn who is convinced that there is madness and other evil in his family's bloodline.

His wife had committed suicide, so he decided that he needed to lock up his children in case they started manifesting any insanity. Years later he has a controversial doctor (played by Patrick Magee in his usual mannered way) treating both grown kids (Shane Briant, Gillian Hills).

At the same time there are young women being brutally murdered in the woods and local superstitions are being whipped up, while a wandering evangelical (Michael Hordern) mutters religious dogma and joins with the locals.

A good director could have woven all these piece together nicely and provided a solid, disturbing thriller. But Sykes is more interested in whipping up a lot of intensity in each scene, which is why there's more overacting than needed and why the film winds up becoming exhausting to watch after a while. Too bad. It had the makings of a fine film. Perhaps the usual rushed schedule that Hammer Films had didn't allow for sufficient care, though screenwriter Christopher Wicking had history of penning horror films that were more interesting in concept than in execution.


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