5.5/10
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32 user 29 critic

Demons of the Mind (1972)

R | | Horror, Thriller | May 1974 (USA)
Trailer
2:57 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Peter Sykes

Writers:

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

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

Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) 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 (Gillian Hills) escapes for a brief tryst with a local before being recaptured and subjected to a bleeding process to "draw out the bad blood". Emil (Shane Briant) keeps trying to escape, but is thwarted time and again by his Aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell), 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 (Sir Michael Hordern) 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 (Patrick Magee) stands to make a small fortune if his strange apparatus can cure the children of their inherited evil... Written by Leo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They came to torture an agonised mind

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Blood Evil See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Baron Zorn was originally offered to Paul Scofield and James Mason, both of whom turned it down. See more »

Quotes

Zorn: "Blood will have blood," they say. Well, there must be no more blood on our souls.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK Optimum DVD release restores the 18s of cuts made for the earlier VHS release it is still the cut theatrical version. Missing are the shots of earth being stuffed into Virginia Wetherall's mouth plus other trims to this murder. The murder of Yvonne Mitchell was also shortened by the reduction/removal of a few shots. This cut version is also the one released on the R1 Anchor Bay USA DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not your typical Hammer film.
4 July 2013 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

The folks at Hammer Studios take one of their usual Gothic environments and use it for a more cerebral and subtle film than what their fans are used to. The title really does make it quite clear: the "demons" here are those that dwell in the human mind, affecting mental stability and having a profound effect on the next generation. It does take the time to include some more exploitable elements - namely, gore and nudity - but these moments feel gratuitous given the nature of the balance of the film.

It takes place in Bavaria where a Baron named Zorn (Robert Hardy) is afraid of his children, afraid that they have inherited the madness of their predecessors. They do seem to be showing the signs. More than anything, the Baron is convinced that they are possessed. A self styled psychiatrist named Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) and his young associate Carl (Paul Jones, formerly of the band Manfred Mann) arrive on the scene, using radical methods to probe the psyche of father and children (Gillian Hills, Shane Briant). Meanwhile, the local villagers are convinced of the existence of demons, and spurred on by a wandering priest (Michael Hordern), they determine to take care of the problem.

"Demons of the Mind" does appear to divide the audience, but this viewer would consider himself in the camp that considers this one of the more interesting and hence more effective of the latter day Hammer productions. Australian director Peter Sykes creates a suitably eerie atmosphere, which is enhanced by wonderfully spooky music composed by Harry Robertson. The script by Christopher Wicking is heavy on symbolism, and it offers meaty roles to a sterling bunch of actors, with the under-rated Hardy delivering the goods in a particularly great role. Magee is fun as always as the hard-driving psychiatrist, and good looking pair Hills and Briant are affecting as the troubled kids.

The film does end on a very Hammer-esque note with angry torch bearing villagers set for a final confrontation, but getting there is every bit as enjoyable. Those horror fans looking for different offerings from Hammer are advised to give this one a look.

Eight out of 10.


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