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Dementia 13 Review

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When her wealthy husband John dies of a heart attack, Louise Haloran (Luana Anders) covers up the death, and travels to his family home in Ireland to try and ingratiate herself into the family, and the will. She finds strange goings on, and another mystery - the death of John's sister several years prior.

★★★★★

Primarily of interest for being Francis Coppola’s directorial debut, this Roger Corman-produced quickie throws axe murders, a recurring child corpse, a mad doctor and an eerie Oirish castle into a thick old Gothic stew with little rhyme or reason. Much of the cast were co-opted because they owed Corman a few days’ work, and there is a strange interlude where the characters go from an Aer Lingus car to an Aer Lingus lounge to an Aer Lingus plane, inserted because the airline put money into the flick.

Future Coppola pre-occupations emerge — family psychodrama, a legato style — and there are effective scares, but this is shabby and poorly lit, with little sense of the director’s future greatness. To enhance the silliness, a “13” was added to the title to avoid confusion with an existing ’40s melodrama — and check out the child corpse who occasionally but noticeably blinks.

Despite some inventive photography and decent gore for its day, its uneven pace renders it a curio for Coppola fans.

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