Dementia 13 is Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature film, made for the great Roger Corman a full ten years before The Godfather. His talent is evident right away with a very moody opening scene involving a woman and her husband arguing in a rowboat at night. When the man has a heart attack, the woman dumps the body into the water, along with his transistor radio — which continues to play as it sinks to the bottom. This leads to an excellent animated credit sequence.
Then begins a strange gothic melodrama set in an Irish castle, where the family still mourn the death of a drowned child. The matriarch is dying and there is much interest in where the inheritance will go. The arrival on the scene of an ax murderer complicates things and, since everyone seems crazy, everyone’s a suspect.
Since the script was whipped up spur-of-the-moment and filmed in a week, none of Dementia 13 makes a whole heck of a lot of sense, but it’s very atmospheric with great music, and Coppola’s command of craft and skill with actors is clear. A highly recommended horror show!! (As always, mind-altering substances will aid in the enjoyment of this motion picture — I suggest a shot of your favorite potion every time someone in the movie SCREAMS!)
Review by: Baron Von Marte