Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dementia 13 (1963)

Well, I thought I was done with the Horror: Do Not Watch Alone set when it dawned on me that I have not wrote a review of one of the first horror movie I have ever seen (not to mention watched a few times over the past 30 or so years). So, I watched it again last night. That movie is Dementia 13.

Plot/ John Haloran has a fatal heart attack, but his wife Louise won't get any of the inheritance when Lady Haloran dies if John is dead. Louise forges a letter from John to convince the rest of his family he's been called to New York on important business, and goes to his Irish ancestral home, Castle Haloran, to meet the family and look for a way to ensure a cut of the loot. Seven years earlier John's sister Kathleen was drowned in the pond, and the Halorans enact a morbid ritual in remembrance. Secrets shroud the sister's demise, and soon the family and guests begin experiencing an attrition problem.

Ironically Hollywood Icon Francis Ford Coppola's made his debut with this one (it is amazing how many greats start in Horror). This combination Thriller/Mystery/Horror is one of the first entries in what became the slasher boom, this flick is pretty good featuring a solid storyline, great atmospheric build-up with the use of sound effects and some shocking scenes especially for that era. Unfortunately, the flick is far from perfect and does suffer some minor flaws with the killers identity too easily discerned throughout the film, which tends to take away from the overall feel. In the end, this is a low budget gem backed by Roger Corman and one that is easily found and a must see.

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