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An excellent film that won't be called 'Great' because it was made by Hammer.
alice liddell11 October 1999
There are many films like this - brilliant, thoughtful, stylish, inventive, provocative - that are largely forgotten because they were made by Hammer. Scan through the recent list of the BFI's 100 best British films, and there are very few gems like this. Apparently, its alright to reappraise Ulmer, Lewis, Fuller et al, but we British are above that kind of thing. If you ever see DEMONS, or something like THE PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES, on your TV listings, don't overlook it. It's always the snobs who lose out.

This is an astonishing film, a success in every way, a truly thoughtful horror film. The story concerns an aristocrat who believes his family line is infested with bad blood. He had married a peasant woman to offset this, but has instead infected the peasantry as well. He has locked up his son and daughter, and is bleeding them, to stop the rot. Meanwhile, peasant women are being raped and murdered throughout his estate.

From such a scenario, ripe for exploitation, is weaved a remarkable series of themes and variations. The film's first image is of a horse and carriage rushing through a forest, a white hand groping outside, only to be pulled back. Like THE AVENGERS, the best Hammer films revealed the horrors and insanities lurking behind placid, heritage, British rural life. On the surface is a gorgeous idyll - a beautiful Big House, a forest, grassy rivers. Beneath is incest, madness, hysteria, paganism, murder.

The house, like most horror films, is a metaphor for the mind. It is literally a prison, but also a labyrinth, mirroring the maze created by the disjointed gazes of the occupants. There are some amazing long shots of the house's inside, haunting, vastly empty, tilted - a mind off balance. The family is no longer a site of continuity and order, but discontinuity, inbreeding, misery and chaos.

But the house also shares the literary association as a figure for the state, and the poisonous madness within affects the peasantry too. They partake in pagan rituals, follow mad, gibbering priests, who offer destruction, not redemption, and become a terrifying, cross-burning lynch mob, roaming the country.

Ironically, the film is set at the beginning of the century, and Freud's contemporary attempts to throw light on the darkness of the mind is alluded to, and compared to the descent into medieval dank of the film's characters. BARRY LYNDON shares many of this film's themes, and it's hard to believe Kubrick never saw it - both feature Michael Hordern and Patrick Magee.

The creation of an actual world mirroring a psychological world is superbly realised. The two levels co-exist, intertwine, and some of the film's most extraordinary and beautiful images are visualisations of Freudian symbals and ideas. Like many great horror films, this is a family saga, but a very mature one. Its refusal to demonise adds greatly to the helplessness of the terrors. Its 'closure' is as bleak as ever Hammer dared. A masterpiece.
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Sometimes a mess, sometimes very innovative
jangu14 November 2002
Hammer films had by 1972 clearly some problems coming up with new and fresh ideas. Their old style monster movies were beginning to show their age and the formula had been remade too many times (ie. Dracula AD 1972). So some experiments were made. "Captain Kronos" is one and this one another. The story moves very slowly in the beginning and what is happening is never really quite clear. The story about one family's inherited madness is intriguing but never fully developed. And those expecting some gory horror movie will be very disappointed, because for the most part, this is a rather slowmoving psychological study with added chilling elements. The biggest drawback here is the pace, which is non-existent for three-thirds of the movie. The final twenty minutes or so are more satisfying in that sense. Robert Hardy is also not a bonus, overacting like mad. But there are compensations. Other performances are very good, like Patrick Magee as the mock-psychiastrist and Gillian Hills as the young and maybe mad daughter of the family. And the basic plot IS interesting! A remake with a revision of the script might do wonders. Arthur Grant behind the camera does a great job too, contributing his usual skill and thereby making everything look more expensive than it really is. The art-director knows what he is doing too and the score by Harry Robinson is excellent (he really was an underrated filmcomposer).
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Good Ideas Undone by Hysterical Treatment
baker-97 September 2004
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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Not your typical Hammer film.
Hey_Sweden4 July 2013
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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Intelligent and entertaining Gothic thriller.
capkronos20 May 2003
A mad baron (Robert Hardy), haunted by memories of driving his wife insane, is obsessed with the "heritage of disorder" that he thinks might afflict his two grown children (Gillian Hills and Shane Briant), whom he keeps locked up in his beautiful castle home, searching for a "cure." With the help of bald manservant Klaas (Kenneth J. Warren) and stern aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell), he drains their blood to keep them weak, forbids them to see each other (there's incest involved) and ignores the expert opinions of a doctor (Patrick Magee). Meanwhile, there's a rapist/murderer on the loose terrorizing a quaint neighboring village.

This psychological horror story is a fine deviation from Hammer's cycle of monster movies, highlighted by excellent period costumes and sets (especially the castle) and Christopher Wicking's provocative, complex screenplay (which resembles V.C. Andrews' FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, written later). Only the finale, with a mob of torch-carrying villagers hunting Hardy down a la FRANKENSTEIN, really detracts from this well above par Hammer production.
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excellent stuff comparable with the very best giallo.
christopher-underwood9 November 2013
Fabulous and thoughtful, near delirious madness and mayhem from Hammer. Not at all your typical Hammer movie, this has no respectful and predictable plot and instead a wild and roaring reality of its own. We struggle to keep pace with the craziness and the violence as this gradually reveals itself to be a most demonic monster. Helped enormously by near hysterical performance from Robert Hardy offset by Patrick Magee doing marvellously what he always does and out in the woods is Michael Hordern portraying a deranged priest to the hilt and beyond. Unlike some viewers I loved every second of this until the end when, for me, there was just too much time with everyone running around in the forest. But it least it gave time to get your breath back before the final outrage. Truly excellent stuff comparable with the very best giallo.
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Un-Hammer Hammer
swnthom7 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I first learned about Demons of The Mind from a book about 70's British horror films. The book praised it because it was "Un-hammer-esque", which it is, but also it isn't. It is the story about a nutty father with a bloodlust who convinces himself and all those around him that the Zorn family bloodline is cursed(In the usual incest way of the 70's.) Papa Zorn married outside the family to try to purify the line but the woman he married, after conceiving a boy and girl, killed herself in front of the children. Papa Zorn announcing that the family curse had "Affected" her as well. As a result, He keeps his children, who have sexual feeling towards each other, cut off from both each other and the outside work. Patrick Magee, in a Patrick Magee role, plays the doctor who Zorn hires to cure the children. A very good, entertaining little movie. You won't go away from it with your life forever changed. However, If you like Hammer, You should watch this. Atmosphere, period customs, female nudity, a evil father, a winsome lead actress, Patrick Magee, and everyone dies in the end. This is a Hammer film, no matter what anyone says.
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It's A Mad Movie . . .
InvasionofPALs8 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This 1972 horror/suspense thriller is a truly odd film. I really like this movie, but those who don't like weird Hammer Studios horror films ought to tread warily. The atmosphere is eerie and just plain creepy sometimes. The plot is better left seen than described, but this film is for patient viewers who don't mind not having the plot spelled out for them -- but who like to try and figure things out themselves. And there are lots of things to figure out! When I watched this movie the first time I really had no idea how it would end. This film also made me wonder how the people who concocted the story came up with such a diffuse plot with so many different things going on at the same time. Truly boggles the mind. No pun intended!

It's a mad movie with a fiery finale.
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Far from Hammer's finest, but still good
movieman_kev5 May 2005
Deathly afraid that his daughter and son have gotten a touch of the crazy from their mother, a local Baron locks them up (seperatly of course, since they have a thing for each other, or more precisely the brother has a thing for the receptive sister *wink*) and keeps them drugged up. After the daughter escapes, she's subjected to having the 'bad' blood dispelled. Meanwhile, a string of murders of town women are occurring. Are these connected? You'll have to find that out for yourself. More anti-science then anti-religious. Snd while this isn't Hammer's finest hour, it's still engrossing (Over-acting and all) However, I thought that Shane Briant who plays Emil, the son was much better in the same year's "Straight on Till Morning"

DVD Extras: Commentary with Peter Sykes, Christopher Wicking, Virginia Wetherell and Journalist Jonathan Sothcott; Theatrical Trailer

Eye Candy: Fleeting glimpses of Gillian Hill's 'hills', and Virginia Wetherell full frontal.

My Grade: C+
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Quite A "Pleasant" Surprise
prade9 August 2002
This was quite a surprise. It had a much stronger story line than I'd have expected from the producer, and the characters are intriguing. Before I knew it, this show had me hooked. Although I predicted the ending, it was still quite intense. Well worth the trip.
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Nasty satire of religion and science
acky24 July 1999
This film is a nasty satire of science and Religion. Peter Sykes undoes the Hammer Horror conventions in favor of a free-floating, experimetal narrative. Patrick Magee and Micheal Holdern both turn in brilliant performances. Patrick Magee as the inneffectual, sadistic psychiatrist who drives people mad to have better papers published and Micheal holdern as a wandering beggar dressed as a priest, blending fervor with madness. The entire free-floating poetic structure is ended with a brutal, grisly ending that helps this movie break from the silly hammer horror conventions most of the films suffer from. If Hammer had made more films like this they might still be relevant to modern horror.
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Messy Screenplay and Ham Performances
claudio_carvalho15 May 2015
The widower Baron Zord (Robert Hardy) keeps his teenage children Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) and Emil (Shane Briant) drugged and locked in separate rooms in his manor. Zord believes that they have inherited the insanity of his wife, who committed suicide, and uses his servants Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell) and Klaus (Kenneth J. Warren) to help him to keep the siblings under control and to bleed their "evil blood". Zord invites the infamous Dr. Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) to heal Elizabeth and Emil. Meanwhile there is a rapist serial-killer murdering young women and the young man Carl Richter (Paul Jones) is in love with Elizabeth and is trying to rescue her from her insane father.

"Demons of the Mind" is a movie by Hammer with a messy screenplay and ham performances. Despite the good production, the story is confused and hard to understand the subplots of the serial-killer and who is Carl. My vote is four.

Title (Brazil): Not available on DVD or Blu-Ray
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It's about madness, I tell you!
streits17 June 2000
This is a "Hammer" film that I just finished watching on video. I'm not really a fan of Hammer films, although I'm sure I saw all of them while growing up in England, and this is probably one of the better ones. It's set in Bavaria, and is basically a story of how madness runs through a family, and also through the whole community. The film is largely very slow, and discordant, but it definitely does grab you near the end, leading up to a pretty eerie and weird climax. Weren't all the Hammer films like this?...
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A lesser known effort by Hammer, and for good reason.
BA_Harrison5 April 2009
Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) is obsessed with the idea that his children may have inherited the family traits of madness and incest, and so locks his daughter (the rather lovely Gillian Hills) and son Emil (Shane Briant) away from the world, keeping them in a weakened state with regular bleeding. However, Zorn's extreme preventative measures against insanity and deviancy in his offspring do not seem to be working as well as he had planned...

I'm a huge fan of Hammer, but with Demons of the Mind, I was more horrified by the approach taken by director Peter Sykes than the actual content of the film. Displaying a hallucinogenic vibe more akin to continental movies of the period, the film regularly strays into iffy art-house territory, and the free-floating narrative, which is at first intriguing, soon becomes confusing, and ultimately irritating.

Sensing the director's willingness to dabble with the avant garde, some of the cast experiment in over-acting, with Hardy hamming it up at every opportunity and Michael Hordern showing zero restraint in his portrayal of a crazy priest. Meanwhile, Shane Briant, who was being groomed by Hammer to be their latest leading man, is content with giving an unenthusiastic performance which makes one wonder how the hell the studio ever thought he could compete with their other up-and-coming star, the marvellous Ralph Bates.

Those looking for the more sensational elements that one generally associates with later Hammer movies will be disappointed by the lack of gore—there is very little in the way of bloodletting (the most violent scenes being slightly obscured in a flashback)—but should be pleased with some full-frontal nudity from the gorgeous Virginia Wetherell (as a comely village maiden) and a brief flash of a bare breast from Hills.

As always, the production values are high, and the cinematography is great (with lovely use of colour during a couple of murders), but Demons of the Mind's plodding pace and irksome 'progressive' style make this a difficult film to watch, even for a total Hammer addict such as myself.
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The Worst of Hammer
bensonmum24 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I've always enjoyed a good Hammer movie. I couldn't begin to list the number I've seen, but I could very easily put together a top 35 – 40 Hammer movie list. Demons of the Mind would not appear anywhere on that list. It is without a doubt the worst Hammer film I've ever seen. The problem is not with the acting, directing, cinematography, or score, because technically it's a well made film. Instead, much of my problem rests with the plot. It plods along at a snail's pace introducing people and ideas that go nowhere. And when something does happen, like the attack scenes in the forest, I couldn't have cared less about what was going on – I didn't know anything about the people involved.

I've also got to give Demons of the Mind a thumbs-down when it comes to casting decisions. At the time this movie was made, Hammer was trying to build Shane Briant into the next big Hammer star. But he has a very unlikable on-screen persona. He's the kind of person that I can't wait to see die in one of these movies. I've never understood how anyone at Hammer thought this androgynous looking foppish boy was gong to replace the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.

To sum it up, if your idea of a good movie is a plot that goes nowhere and characters you either don't know or don't want to know, Demons of the Mind may be the movie you're looking for.
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An art film masquerading as a Hammer period piece
cvw31 August 2002
Warning: Spoilers
One of the previous reviews said that this film was for Hammer

completists, and that others should stay away. Frankly, I couldn't disagree

more, although if you're looking for a simple, straightforward, unambiguous

shocker, that's not what you'll get here. No, this will probably not satisfy anyone looking for a simple creep out, but for those who think that Horror

can produce some genuine examples of serious, provocative filmmaking,

this one is a must. Yes, the storyline is fractured, but only to mirror the

insanity going on in possibly every participant of the plot. The basic story has been elucidated elsewhere: father thinks he has passed his insanity to

his children, and holds them prisoner, trying to "cure" them. Yet, murders

continue. What I found so satisfying about this film is it's unblinking

realism (although, admittedly, the idea is fanciful, if real people were

somehow put in this situation, I have no idea that this is exactly how they

would act.) Although sensational things happen, they're handled evenly

and soberly: the act is shocking enough to stand on its own. Add to this

some genuinely disturbing moments: the "medicinal" bleeding, the

reenactment of the mother's suicide (don't worry, that's not a spoiler,) and

the general sense of society and the world tilting dangerously on its axis.

Reminded me of Mario Bava's outstanding "Lisa And The Devil," and the

brainy gothic trappings of such films as "The Wicker Man" and the original

"Haunting." May well fly over the heads of casual horror buffs, but an

outstanding example of what can happen when a skilled director trusts his

audience and treats his material with great respect. Out-of-left-field good.
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Hammer at its most bizarre and ambitious
Coventry15 February 2010
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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An eerie, offbeat and interesting early 70's Hammer Gothic horror oddity
Woodyanders8 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Wicked, decadent Baron Zorn (a robust, rip-snorting portrayal by Robert Hardy) keeps both his frail daughter Elisabeth (touchingly played by the delicately comely Gillian Hills) and tormented son Emil (Shane Briant in his excellent film debut) locked up inside his dismal castle because of a hereditary family curse of insanity. Meanwhile a bunch of gorgeous peasant girls in a nearby village are being brutally murdered by a mystery maniac. Pretty soon the frightened townspeople succumb to mass hysteria. Director Peter Sykes, working from a quirky, intricate, literate and compellingly subversive script by Christopher Wicking (who also wrote "The Oblong Box" and "Scream and Scream Again"), expertly crafts a spooky, artsy and intriguing psychological portrait of madness and despair, relating the story at a slow, stately rate and deftly creating a potently gloomy and melancholy atmosphere. Popping up in enjoyably colorful supporting roles are Patrick Magee as a cynical, unhelpful charlatan psychiatrist, Yvonne Mitchell as a loyal housekeeper, Manfred Mann lead singer Paul Jones as Elisabeth's ardent suitor, and Michael Hordern as a deranged, doddery priest. Arthur Grant's exquisitely lush'n'lovely pastoral cinematography, the brooding 19th century setting, Harry Robinson's eerie, elegant score, and a dark narrative which boldly explores such disturbing themes as incest, repression and the sins of the fathers further enhances the overall fine quality of this flavorsome Gothic horror outing.
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Too much on mind!
lost-in-limbo13 October 2007
In the 19th Century, a depraved Baron Zorn keeps his two adult children locked up and drugged in his castle, as he fears that they have inherited the curse of his wife's unstable mental illness. His daughter Elizabeth manages to escape, and encounters a young man Carl and spends a short time before she's recaptured. Heading to the castle is doctor Falkenberg to hopefully cure the kids, but Carl who tags along wants to free Elizabeth. Meanwhile hysteria is slowly building in the local village, as there's a sexual predator killing their young woman. They think its demons, but a drifter Priest sees it as his job to rid the area of evil and he points them to Zorn.

Eccentrically ham-fisted and downbeat, but lush looking and skilfully illustrated Hammer Gothic horror period piece that might not have the class of some other Hammer entries, but it sure was entertaining. The negative press might have its reasons, but I didn't find it a complete waste. The psychological story is absurd, glassy and lurid in every aspect, with gratuitous blood letting and excessively pointless nudity equalling extreme blood-lust. However a solid, well-serving cast (featuring Patrick Magee, Paul Jones, Yvonne Mitchell, Gillian Hills and a perfectly impulsive Robert Hardy) and Peter Sykes' pastel, well-etched direction (with inspired strokes and suspenseful fits) counter-pouches its weak, plodding and downright exploitative script of stock arrangement. Striking a big tick to their names were Harry Robinson's sweeping music score of harrowing scope, and Arthur Grant's fluid cinematography of scenic panache. On paper this one got better treatment, than what it really deserved. Fun and trashy Hammer mayhem.
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A Horrifying Story
Rainey-Dawn14 December 2014
This is one of the most horrifying stories involving child abuse, deliberately forced incest and murder ever on film. This is not a movie that just anyone can watch and (somehow) enjoy - and I don't think enjoy is quite the right word for it either maybe the right word for it is tolerate. Most of the graphic stuff is mainly left to the imagination (happens off screen) yet there are a few scenes that are hard to watch.

Now this movie is worth watching if you liked "Flowers in the Attic" (1987) which came out about 15 years after this film "Demons of the Mind" (1972). Basically if you liked one of the two films then you might like the other.

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Not Hammer Horror's finest hour
The_Void5 February 2007
Well I went into this with high expectations, but unfortunately Demons of the Mind failed to deliver. I'm a big fan of Hammer Horror, and since I've seen most of the big ones; this one has been at the top of my 'must see' for quite some time. It has to be said that Demons of the Mind represents one of Hammer's most ambitious projects, but that can't be seen as a compliment to the film as it just doesn't work. Demons of the mind does benefit from some good production values, and actually reminded me a lot of Ken Russell's The Devil's because of the way that it fuses good acting and cinematography with a purely B-movie plot. The plot is overly complicated, and focuses on a pair of children who are kept locked up by their father, a man who fears that the children may have been 'infected' by their insane mother. The boy keeps escaping, and coincidentally a lot of dead girls are turning up in the woods. The father keeps them separate as the boy is attracted to the girl, and the plot thickens when a doctor who stands to make a fortune if he can 'cure' the children turns up...

Demons of the Mind was directed by Peter Sykes, who also directed one of the studio's worst efforts in the form of To the Devil a Daughter two years later. Clearly, he is not Hammer's most adept director. The film features a handful of British horror stars - most notably Patrick Magee and Shane Briant, both for different reasons. Magee is one of the most underrated and unique British horror actors, and he always manages to increase the credibility of anything he stars in - even if it is something like this. Briant, on the other hand, starred in a handful of Hammer Horror flicks during the early seventies and failed to make much of an impression after the first one. Briant was noticeable in Straight on till Morning for his ridiculous haircut, but since then failed to make an impression. The film really lacks what Hammer's big guns bring to the table - Cushing and Lee are sorely missed. The plot mumbles along for most of the duration, and by the end I wasn't too bothered what happened. I can give this film plaudits for the production values and for some notable sequences - but overall, Demons of the Mind isn't one of Hammer's finest hours.
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Gothic Hammer with unsympathetic characters
Wuchakk12 August 2013
"Demons of the Mind" is an obscure Hammer film from 1972. The plot revolves around a Baron in 1835 who keeps his adult son & daughter locked-up and drugged because he thinks they're insane, like his dead wife. He hires a dubious doctor and another man to assist him. Meanwhile there are murders in the local area and a priest meanders around babbling about the evils of the Baron, etc., which incites the villagers.

On the positive side, "Demons of the Mind" has many of the positives of Hammer horror films -- lush Gothic atmosphere, serious characters & story, stunningly gorgeous women and a quality score. On the downside, the plot isn't interesting and there are no characters to sympathize with, except for maybe the Baron's daughter (the beautiful Gillian Hills) and the guy who comes to the castle to aid her. Unfortunately, Elizabeth is too zoned-out to care about and the guy is a secondary character.

Another plus is the fanatical priest who rings true, but the character isn't given enough screen time or dimension.

FINAL WORD: Although "Demons of the Mind" is a decent Gothic horror flick from Hammer, it's not as good as most of their vampire, Frankenstein or werewolf flicks. It's hard to relate to the topic of generational "insanity" (I put that in quotes because it's never clear if the son & daughter are truly insane or if the father causes their condition through his misguided treatments) and there aren't any major characters in which to sympathize.

The film runs 89 minutes and was shot in England.

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A flawed, but cool flick. Different for Hammer
dworldeater23 January 2020
Demons In The Mind is a left turn for Hammer, taking the Gothic horror into different territories. This has a very similar look and ambiance comparable to the other horror films made by the studio. However, this is a very psychological horror film that is devoid of monsters(unless you count human ones), but still very much feels like a Hammer movie. The movie is unpredictable and sometimes gets confusing, but overall I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Patrick Magee from A Clockwork Orange appears and delivers a sound performance to this unusual film. Demons In The Mind is a little off the wall, but somehow works. The sex and violence is at around the same level as other Hammer productions at the time. While this was not well received around the time of its release Demons In The Mind is a solid piece of work and a very interesting film.
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Unique, one-off psycho-horror from Hammer
Leofwine_draca27 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Hammer's psychological horror opus bypasses the usual monster elements and instead gives us a horror film with purely human villains. That's right, there are no rubbery limbs or bats in this film, instead all of the chills and spills are in the mind. The murders that take place aren't even that gruesome, just bloody, which makes them all the more disturbing through the power of suggestion.

There are dozens of adjectives I could use to describe this film. Distorting, disturbing, strange, unusual, unnatural, weird. Abnormal fear. The psychology used in the film is strictly Freudian, with a twisted form of the Oedipus complex coming into play. The actors and actresses are exceptional in the film and make it all the more effective, from Robert Hardy as the obsessed father to Shane Briant making his impressive debut as the mentally unstable son.

Gillian Hills is also great in another mentally ambiguous role, while Virginia Wetherell is a female victim who screams loudly and is more than willing to strip for her role (indeed, she spends a five minute sequence wandering around completely naked while choosing a dress). Lower down in the cast list are Michael Hordern as a psychotic religious lunatic and the maniac from the same year's monster movie THE CREEPING FLESH as the sinister and bald coachman. Finally, Patrick Magee is on hand as an unlikable but noble doctor, in a role which Peter Cushing usually would play.

DEMONS OF THE MIND has a Gothic fairy-tale like ambiance, helped by the use of forest locations to add to the atmosphere, with a spooky music-box like score to add to the feelings of sadness and madness echoing throughout the film. Pretty powerful stuff and an interesting one-off.
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Average Hammer Film
gavin69429 October 2012
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.

I was pumped to see this was a Hammer production, despite not having many actors or crew that I am familiar with (I recognized Patrick Magee of "Clockwork Orange" fame). Big names or not, that is a studio known for its quality. I would not say this film ranks among their best quality (and certainly not among their best overall), but it ranks considerably higher than BBC quality.

I found the scene with the young woman being bled interesting. I am not sure how people were bled historically, but the kit used in this film looks like something I would believe possible, and the process was quite interesting. Is it accurate? Perhaps?
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