18th Nov2021

‘Dementia 13’ Blu-ray Review (Vestron Video)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Luana Anders, Patrick Magee, William Campbell, Bart Patton, Mary Mitchel | Written by Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Hill | Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Dementia 13 was one of the directors first films. This makes for interesting viewing, especially when it was also produced by Roger Corman. So does the movie show any of the hallmarks of his future films?

When Louise’s (Luana Anders) husband Peter dies of a heart attack she decides to hide the fact he is dead so she can get her hands on his inheritance. When she goes to visit his families home in an attempt to make sure things go to plan, she is unaware of what awaits her at the family estate that holds a deadly secret.

One of the first things that is noticeable in Dementia 13 is the fact it has a Hitchcockian feel to the film. It has more than a passing resemblance to Psycho which came out three years later. This may be unintentional, but for fans of Hitchcock the feeling is there none the less. This of course isn’t a bad thing.

In the same style of Psycho, the story turns a lot of what is seen as conventional in this type of story on it’s head. There is no Normal Bates of course, but there is a lot of mystery as to what is going on at the estate, and the doctor Justin Caleb (Patrick Magee) investigates where many of the problems seem to originate.

There are plenty of hints as to just what is going on at the house, but thankfully it’s not made too obvious. The whole mystery of Kathleen and her death, which the family now seem obsessed with is actually interesting, especially as we learn more and more about her death. The obsession around the tragedy and just what happened creates the tension that keeps the audience engrossed.

The special features on this collector’s edition of Dementia 13 include an introduction by Francis Ford Coppola; as well as a commentary track for the film. Also interestingly included is the prologue for the film known as the Dementia 13 test. It makes for interesting viewing as previously this was a feature not included on some other releases.

This Blu-ray of Dementia 13 release is an interesting one not only for Francis Ford Coppola fans, but for horror fans too. There are plenty of cult film fans who will also be interested by the fact Corman is connected to it, as he was connected to many classics during the sixties, and this is one of those movies where he gave a budding film director a chance to make a movie, and that director of course went on to have an impressive career.

This release is one that will probably be more interesting to the fans of older horrors, but it is well worth checking out. Surprisingly violent in parts and full of mystery, if like me you’ve not seen it before, this is well worth a watch. For those who know the film, it’s still worth a buy, especially for those who do not yet have it on Blu-ray.

**** 4/5

Dementia 13 is available on Blu-ray now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.

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