Dementia 13 (September 25, 1963)
Released September 25, 1963: While rowing a boat on the lake, John has a heart attack, and his loving wife throws him overboard, and tells everyone that he has gone away on a business trip. Then the strange killer appears.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Francis Ford Coppola and Jack Hill.
The Actors: William Campbell (Richard Haloran), Luana Anders (Louise Haloran), Bart Patton (Billy Haloran), Mary Mitchel (Kane), Patrick Magee (Justin Caleb), Eithne Dunne (Lady Haloran), Peter Read (John Haloran), Karl Schanzer (Simon), Ron Perry (Arthur), Derry O'Donavan (Lillian), Barbara Dowling (Kathleen).
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Although Francis Ford Coppola directed this haunted ax-murderer thriller, the famous Roger Corman produced it, in the Corman style. Francis Ford Coppola worked for Roger Corman as a sound man on the Roger Corman movie, "The Young Racers," and there was some budget money left over. Coppola had a story plot about insanity, horror, ax killers, and family secrets, so Corman allowed the young fellow to direct his dream movie with the money left over from the Corman movie. From this chance beginning, Francis Ford Coppola showed his directorial skills by creating a masterfully done thriller that will raise the hair on the back of your head and keep your heart racing to the horrible ending. There is an ax murderer on the loose at the haunted Halloran Castle in Ireland, and there are plenty of suspects and victims as we wind our way down the convoluted plot path to a horrific ending.
The family is gathered at the Halloran Castle in old Ireland for the annual ceremony mourning the death of Kathleen, who was drowned in the pond as a young girl. Mama Halloran is weathy, and like many wealthy families, the kids are anxious about who gets the wealth when mama is gone. Louise married John, one of the Halloran boys. As the movie opens, John is going for a row boat ride in the lake, and Louise goes with him. On the lake, John reminds her that she will only become wealthy as long as he is alive . . . without him she is not part of the family, and she would get nothing. All fo a sudden John grabs his chest, and has a massive heart attack. Louise, thinking quickly, dumps him overboard into the lake, and when she gets back to the castle, packs his things and throws them into the lake and types a note saying that he has gone away on business and may not return for a long time. Louise figures that she can manipulate mama into adding her to the will whether John is there or not.
The day of the remembrance ceremony all goes the same way it usually happens. They meet at little Kathleen's grave, place flowers around it, mama faints, and they all go back to the castle. Just like the day of the funeral. But this day, Louise pays special attention to mama, helping her to her room, and sitting with her until she awakens. She tells mama that she has heard Kathleen's voice in the hallways, searching for her mama. Mama has heard the voice also, and a special bond may be happening between Louise and mama. Later, Louise goes to the closed-off bedroom of dead Kathleen, and takes several small dolls and toys. She goes down to the lake, and intends to tie the toys to the bottom, fixing them so that they will one by one float to the surface, and make mama crazier. But when she gets to the bottom of the lake, she sees a sight that terrifies her, a stone carved monument to Kathleen, and she quickly swims for the shore. But at the shore, there is a tall dark person with an ax, that proceeds to brutally kill Louise, and drag her body away from the lake.
Pop a big bowl of buttered corn, grab a soda, and snuggle next to someone you REALLY trust, as you watch this horror thriller with as many suspects as victims.