Dementia 13 (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack)
DVD + Blu-ray
Frequently bought together
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Future film-making legend Francis Ford Coppola makes his big-screen directorial debut with this cult horror classic, available for the first time in spectacular High-Definition Blu-Ray. Following the abrupt death of her husband from a heart attack, the scheming Louise Haloran (Luanda Anders) travels to her in-laws estate in Ireland, only to find herself trapped in a creepy, decrepit castle with her ex-husband s demented family. Upon arrival, she is introduced to a pair of maladjusted brothers (William Campbell, Bart Patton) and a distraught mother-in-law (Eithne Dunn), still grieving for the daughter she lost in a drowning accident many years earlier. When a mysterious axe-wielding psychopath enters the fray, leaving blood-spattered corpses in his wake, the family s doctor (Patrick Magee) takes it upon himself to try to get to the bottom of things--before it s too late! The making of Dementia 13, meanwhile, is a tale unto itself. An aspiring film-maker fresh out of UCLA, Coppola found work under the tutelage of B-movie legend Roger Corman, doing sound, editing and various other tasks. After finishing a film called The Young Racers under budget, Corman opted to use the leftover funds to finance a low-budget thriller to cash in on the success of Alfred Hitchcock s Psycho. Coppola quickly delivered a script to Corman s liking, promising plenty of nudity and gore. Corman gave him the green light. Despite the meager budget, Coppola made the most of his resources, re-purposing both sets and actors from The Young Racers, while employing the sort of creative lighting, camera angles, and storytelling that reveals an early glimpse at the great filmmaking that would follow with such titles as Apocalypse Now and The Godfather trilogy.
Top customer reviews
Dementia 13 isn't likely to ever reach cult status, but it is worth viewing to see an early example of Roger Corman's work and because it's the first film ever directed by Francis Ford Coppola (who went by Francis Coppola in the credits). To keep the suspense going, try to guess who the ax murderer is. There are several suspects, and it's not at all obvious.
Trivia: "Castle Haloran," where the movie was filmed, is actually Howth Castle in the Dublin suburb of Howth.
The picture quality is excellent. It's the best version of the film I have seen, and I've owned a few copies over the years - on VHS, LD and DVD. The audio has gone through a noise reducer, which does clean it up, but you can hear that odd phasing that noise reducers create. But not enough to bother me, just something I've noticed.
The Roan version is said to be "The Best" out there but it is far from perfect. The compression level is better than all others with blacks being solid. The audio level is low and there is a lot of "screen door" veil over the lighter solid areas. This is the Holy Grail of Roan DVDs and fetches high prices. It has the odd and rare movie trailer along with a couple of lame extras and a so-so commentary. Supposed to be widescreen, you hardly notice due to the odd ratio (supposed to be 1:66 but closer to 1:50). Another version put out by the now defunct Diamond Entertainment is identical but shows some compression yet acceptable unless you view it on a 1080p HD set. Even the Treeline version that comes in the 50-Movie packs (now Mill Creek) has a very good transfer considering but again minor compression artifacting (even viewed in HD). These two can be great alternate choices over the hard to find Roan and a LOT cheaper. Only hardcore buffs should invest in the Roan version.
By chance an eBay seller had one at a descent non-gouging price so I landed on it quickly to add to my collection. It will be my #1 copy right now until an official release (if ever) comes from MGM and you can throw away all the others not mentioned above. I have compared at least 8 different versions and the above three are the best out of the bunch!
Too bad that Roan has gotten out of the 'B' horror movie business restoring the lesser known and nearly forgotten public domain titles from decades past. Many were top notch but again, Roan's "Dementia 13" does fall a bit short which may be one reason it was short lived and now scarce?
Eric S. Huffstutler
2014 UPDATE --- Now that 5-years have past Roan and many of the "Public Domain" DVD distributors have went under years ago due to flooding the market with multiple copies, there was one final release in 2011 to now reign top. It is a BluRay-DVD Combo and is the best quality version out there by a company called HD Cinema Classics who may now also be out of business?
Most recent customer reviews
A couple walk on a dock then get into a rowboat. Louise talks to John about his mother’s will. John’s heart affects him, he collapses!Read more
The legend behind DEMENTIA 13 is well known among movie and horror film fans.Read more
Not sure why the lead main female characters looked almost exactly alike with hair and facial features.Read more