Classic Coppola psycho thriller DEMENTIA 13 coming to Blu-ray.
More daring cineastes will, after a few drinks and while engaged in passionate film debate, cite director Francis Ford Coppola’s first “legit” film (he also helmed the nudie pic TONITE FOR SURE), 1963’s DEMENTIA 13, as his best movie.
It’s not, of course. I mean, it’s not better than THE GODFATHER. It might be better than BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, though. It’s certainly better than JACK.
But what makes the shuddery black and white psychodrama so interesting and vital is the pedigree, produced as it was by Coppola’s mentor Roger Corman (with cast and Irish locations and budget left over from the Corman film THE YOUNG RACERS) with additional shock sequences filmed by the great Jack Hill.
It’s a very effective post-PSYCHO murder mystery with some alarmingly gory (for their time) sequences and a haunting doll motif that gets under the skin and stays there. It’s a young director figuring out how to make a movie and that youthful energy and desire to just “go for it” pulses from every pore.
But as good and vital a piece of ’60s horror cinema as DEMENTIA 13 is, it rarely gets the respect it deserves, due in no small part to the fact that it has long lapsed into the public domain, with scratchy, worn out dupes pressed into every known media and dumped into bins at discount stores worldwide.
But now, the folks at fledgling imprint The FIlm Detective swear they found a pristine 35mm print and have given it the HD treatment, prepping it for Blu-ray release on July 26th.
Hmmm…we’re skeptical. But, we love DEMENTIA 13 and will most certainly be investigating further…
DEMENTIA 13 centers on the dysfunctional Haloran family, which has converged at the family castle in Ireland to enact a morbid ritual in remembrance of the deceased daughter of Lady Haloran. Secrets abound and soon there is a mysterious interloper prowling the grounds with a big axe to grind. Heads roll and star Luana Anders looks fab in her underwear.
We’ll review the Blu-ray when we get it. Stay tuned…