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Demons of the Mind (1972)

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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 Thomas Heathcote ... Coachman
John Atkinson 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 | 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

Dirk Bogarde was shortlisted for Zorn. See more »

Quotes

Emil: They say they love us, but I could kill them for what they have done to you.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Ideas Undone by Hysterical Treatment
7 September 2004 | by baker-9See 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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