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Demons of the Mind (1972)

R | | Horror, Thriller | May 1974 (USA)
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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.

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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
... Elizabeth
... Hilda
Paul Jones ... Carl Richter
... Falkenberg
Kenneth J. Warren ... Klaus
... Priest
... Fischinger
Virginia Wetherell ... Inge
Deirdre Costello ... Magda
... 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They came to torture an agonised mind

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

May 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood Evil  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shane Briant made his film debut as the tormented Emil. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hammer at its most bizarre and ambitious
15 February 2010 | by See all my reviews

Was Hammer Studios ever capable of making anything else than traditional horror movies with monsters and madmen? The answer to that is clearly YES, and this "Demons of the Mind" is the irrefutable evidence to back up that statement. Were they any good at it? Well, that's a different question, of course. "Demons of the Mind" is a long way from Hammer's best accomplishment, but it surely is an ambitious, visually innovative and intriguing. What this movie lacks, unfortunately, is a minimum of respect towards the viewers. The script, co-written by Christopher Wicking of "The Oblong Box" and "To the Devil a Daughter", is unnecessary complex and even on the verge of pretentious. Director Peter Sykes is so busy with building up an atmosphere of mystery and pseudo- psychology that he completely forgets to properly introduce the main characters and their backgrounds. The plot introduces the highly unusual family situation of the Van Zorn's; a British noble family in the late 19th Century. The baron is somehow convinced that his children, a son and a daughter, will eventually fall victim to a hereditary illness and thus keeps them locked away in their rooms. Personally I would keep them apart because of their incestuous cravings, but still… Anyway, the baron seeks the help of a notorious psychologist who talks a whole of gibberish that I totally didn't understand. Meanwhile, the docile and superstitious villagers living nearby the castle are growing petrified as they discover the bodies of some brutally murdered local town girls. In spite of the numerous fascinating and controversial themes (incest, hereditary madness, unorthodox psychology methods…) and some beautifully artsy elements of symbolism (rose petals covering naked corpses, flowers through keyholes…), "Demons of the Mind" remains an overall nebulous film that could – and should – have been much better. The film eventually even reverts to old-fashioned and heavily clichéd solutions, like the angry mob with torches, for example. The most notable performance is delivered by Patrick Magee as the charlatan psychiatrist. Magee nearly always has this decadent and sinister aura surrounding him, but it really works well in this film. There's also gratuitous nudity and quite a bit of explicit bloodshed to find in "Demons of the Mind". The strangulation sequences are reasonably perverse and the suicide scene (featuring inside a flashback) even qualifies as nauseating considering the time of release. I prefer Hammer's entries in the Dracula and Frankenstein cycles at any time, but nonetheless this is an interesting film to watch and get confused over.


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