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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 / father
Shane Briant ... Emil / brother
Gillian Hills ... Elizabeth / sister
Yvonne Mitchell ... Hilda / aunt
Paul Jones Paul Jones ... Carl Richter
Patrick Magee ... Falkenberg / Doctor
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 keeps his teenager children, Elizabeth and Emil 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. Carl simply wants to rescue Elizabeth. As more murders mount, Falkenberg ... 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Jones was suggested by Director Peter Sykes. 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 Dream Lover: Inside 'Straight on Till Morning' (2017) See more »

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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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Demons of the Mind 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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