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Dementia 13 (1963)

Horror movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola

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Underwater tombstones and beheaded women.

  • Jan 29, 2003
DEMENTIA 13 was Francis Ford Coppola's feature film debut. For that reason alone the movie is worth watching. However, besides that fact, the film stands up as a fairly decent piece of classic thriller/horror. In many ways the movie parallels another thriller/horror classic: PSYCHO. Both films begin with a beautiful blond committing a crime who ends up coming to an untimely and gruesome demise about halfway through the story. Though Psycho hid the identity of the killer a little better, it's pretty obvious in both films who the murderer is. The acting in the film is believable and the use of lighting is rather creative, adding to the movie's tone.

Overall, a underrated horror classic worth watching on it's own merit's and not just those of it's director.

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About this movie


Francis Ford Coppola was working as an assistant to Roger Corman when he made this, his feature debut. The story goes that Corman let Coppola make the film so long as he could work around the shooting schedule of the film they were working on together, and the results are impressive given the budget constraints. Or maybebecauseof the budget constraints. The story concerns the family at Castle Haloran, the secrets surrounding the death of young Kathleen, and an axe murderer who seems to be picking away at all present. Coppola's deft direction keeps this from being a routine ghost story, using light and dark in his compositions to create tension and suspense. The film has an interesting way of spanning the traditional ghost story and the more modern gore-fests that we're used to. I have one bone to pick with the manufacturer of this disc: the transfer to DVD was made from tape. This is evident from the way the frames roll repeatedly during the last 15 minutes of the film, and the tape bunches a few times leaving video artifacts. DVD consumers want all the benefits of this medium, and not to have the degraded quality of tape preserved on it. If this is the only way you can get this film, at least the price is reasonable. It's also packaged as aFright Night Horror Classicalong withNight of the Living DeadandRevolt of the Zombies.--Jim Gay
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Runtime: 75 minutes
Studio: Uav Corporation
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