Dementia 13 is more of a love letter than a rip-off of psychosis, with similar story beats, characters and motivations. Coppola’s cameras squeeze subjects into increasingly tight frames. In the new restoration, the close-ups are astonishingly clear. The actors can’t hide bad skin days and you can see every hair on every mole.
Hitchcock’s 1960 classic follows Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, an adulterous con man who makes off with the loot in the arms of a mother’s baby who then leads the story. dementia 13 begins with Louise (Luana Anders), a young prospector desperate for heart pills for her husband, John (Peter Read), rowing frantically before practicing her recently deceased husband’s handwriting for a note to his mother.
In addition to horror and cult film lovers, fans of Star Trek: The Original Series, should watch dementia 13. Starring William Campbell, who played two memorable roles against Captain Kirk (Williams Shatner). In “The Trouble with Tribbles,” he was Klingon commander Koloth, who probably put the fur baby in the coffee that came with the Skipper’s chicken sandwich. In “The Squire of Gothos,” he played the most dangerous game, chasing Kirk for sports as Trelane, the spoiled son of indulgent godparents. In dementia 13, he plays moody sculptor Richard Haloran, heir to his mother’s fortune, who is engaged to Kane (Mary Mitchel), who thinks she’s paying Lady Macbeth.
The Haloran family is a wealthy Irish clan and their matriarch is Lady Haloran (Eithne Dunne). She is a suspicious woman, tortured by the ghost of her favorite child, Kathleen, who drowned as a child. The Lady is now very ill and calls the rest of the family to her so she won’t have to travel far to attend another wedding.
Her son John (Peter Read)’s new wife, Louise (Luana Anders) already fantasizes about digging graves, while Billy Haloran (Bart Patton) prefers other cover-ups. The family doctor, Dr. Caleb, is played by the creepy veteran Patrick Magee, who is perhaps best known for driving Alex to jump out of a window in A Clockwork Orange. Here he drives young, budding psychopaths to his favorite local pub. Every word out of his mouth sounds like a sad warning from someone who’s done it all but looked the other way.
Dementia 13 was made with the money left over from The young racers, another Corman low-budget film that Coppola worked on as a sound engineer. Production was so rushed, the script wasn’t ready when Coppola went to Ireland to film, we learn in the extras. He wrote it in three days with art director Al Locatelli.
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