5.7/10
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99 user 78 critic

Dementia 13 (1963)

Unrated | | Horror, Thriller | 1964 (UK)
A scheming widow hatches a daring plan to get her hands on her late husband's inheritance, unbeknownst to her that she is targeted by an axe-wielding murderer who lurks within the family's estate.

Director:

Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola)

Writers:

Francis Ford Coppola (as Francis Coppola), Jack Hill (second unit written by)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Campbell ... Richard Haloran
Luana Anders ... Louise Haloran
Bart Patton Bart Patton ... Billy Haloran
Mary Mitchel ... Kane
Patrick Magee ... Justin Caleb
Eithne Dunne Eithne Dunne ... Lady Haloran (as Ethne Dunn)
Peter Read Peter Read ... John Haloran
Karl Schanzer ... Simon
Ron Perry Ron Perry ... Arthur
Derry O'Donavan Derry O'Donavan ... Lillian
Barbara Dowling Barbara Dowling ... Kathleen Haloran
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Storyline

Whilst out on a rowboat with his wife Louise, John Haloran has a heart attack and dies. She casts his body overboard and hides his death telling the family he left on an urgent business trip. Louise's main concern is that she can only hope to inherit part of his family fortune if he's still alive. The Halorans are a strange family. They are still grieving over the death of the youngest daughter, Kathleen, who drowned in a pond when she was a young child. The family hold an annual ceremony of remembrance, on the anniversary of her death. But this year someone is wielding an ax...intent on murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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 »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Ireland

Language:

English

Release Date:

1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dementia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Roger Corman Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (colorized)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was originally going to be titled simply "Dementia." The "13" was added because it was discovered that the title "Dementia" had already been used earlier for a 1955 film, Dementia (1955). See more »

Goofs

At the wedding, Caleb removes his tie whilst talking to Kane. His shirt alternates between remaining buttoned to the neck and being open at the neck between camera angles. See more »

Quotes

Justin Caleb: Consider your mind as a bird in your hand.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Thomas Moore
Music: traditional Irish air
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Worth much more than rating reflects
9 October 2002 | by baldwi27See 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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