DEMENTIA 13 (1963) B/W widescreen 81m dir: Francis Ford Coppola
w/William Campbell, Luana Anders, Bart Patton, Mary Mitchell, Patrick Magee, Ethernet, Peter Read, Karl Schanzer, Ron Perry, Derry O'Donovan
From The Movie Guide: "Francis Ford Coppola's first mainstream feature (after a few unremarkable skin flicks) is a little gem of gothic horror, stylishly helmed on a shoestring budget. As an eccentric Irish family bickers over a vast inheritance in a lonely mansion, a mysterious axe murderer picks them off one by one.
"The film opens with a violent argument between John (Peter Read) and his wife, Louise (Luana Anders), over the disputed will of his eccentric mother (Eithne Dunne). The argument becomes so heated that John is stricken with a heart attack and dies. Desperate to save her share of the inheritance, Louise sinks her husband's body in a nearby lake and conceals his death from other family members. Meanwhile, more relatives have arrived at the estate (Bart Patton, William Campbell, and Mary Mitchell as Campbell's fiance) to attend a memorial ceremony for their sister, who drowned in the lake eight years before. Louise sees an opportunity to drive her mother-in-law completely bonkers, persuading her that she's made psychic contact with the dead woman. However, before Louise can execute her scheme, she's axed to death, and the hunt for the killer is on.
"The film that launched Francis Ford Coppola began as an afterthought. While serving as sound man on [Roger] Corman's THE YOUNG RACERS, Coppola dashed off a screenplay for a quickie gothic chiller and persuaded the producer to finance the film. Corman supplied $22,000 and several of his stars. Though the plot is rather silly and labored, the film rises above the material by virtue of Coppola's clever editing and obvious flair for composition. The film opens with a typical Corman promotional device: a 'psychiatrist' sits in his office and gives the audience a test to determine if they are mentally stable enough to see the movie."