Welcome to this week's "Movies... For Free!" column, where we showcase classic movies freely available in the public domain (with streaming video!). Read the article and watch the movie right here!
Dementia 13, 1963.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Starring Luana Anders, Patrick Magee, Eithne Dunne and William Campbell.
A scheming widow Louise Haloran (Luana Anders) pretends that her husband John is still alive in order to manipulate her way into her rich mother-in-law's will. Visiting the family's castle in Ireland, Louise discovers that Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne) is wrought with guilt following the death of her daughter Kathleen many years before, and sets about a ploy to convince the elderly lady that Kathleen is attempting to contact her from beyond the grave. However Louise gets more than she bargained for when she is brutally slain by an axe-murderer, and it is up to family doctor Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee) to unravel the mystery and find the killer.
Produced by b-movie maestro Roger Corman, Dementia 13 is a low-budget horror and marks the feature debut of acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. Initially working as a sound man on location in Ireland for Corman's 1963 release The Young Racers (also starring Anders, Magee and William Campbell), Coppola was offered the opportunity to remain in Ireland and use the leftover budget to produce his own violent and bloody thriller, with Corman keen for something along the lines of Hitchcock's Psycho (1960).
Coppola and Corman clashed over the final film with the producer wanting more gore and a longer running time. Corman employed another of his proteges, Monte Hellman, to direct a five minute prologue that had little to do with the narrative (not included in this version), and an additional death scene was filmed by exploitation director Jack Hill. The final movie was released to mixed reviews with the rushed production criticised heavily (the screenplay was written in just three days), although Coppola was also praised for his inventive direction, hinting at what he would later come to achieve.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
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