Dementia 13 (1963)

Dementia 13
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Francis Ford Coppola and Frank Hill
American International Pictures
First viewing/Amazon Prime

Justin Caleb: Consider your mind as a bird in your hand.

A talented newcomer gives a low-budget horror movie some class.

Each year the Haloran family holds a memorial service for a daughter who died in childhood.  Eldest brother John and his wife Louise are slated to attend.  He reminds her that she stands to inherit nothing if he pre-deceases her and then promptly drops dead of a heart attack.  She scrambles to conceal his death and shows up alone, saying that her husband has been called away on business.

The rest of the film covers a series of axe murders.  Each person in the family and the family doctor is a suspect.

Francis Ford Coppola was working as an assistant to Roger Corman on another film when this was made.  He was allowed to use the same cast if he could shoot around the other production.  Considering the circumstances, Coppola did a good job with a bare-bone budget.  There are many nice shots.  The story is nothing special, though.  I guessed the identity of the killer almost immediately.



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