For an introduction to the concept of 61 Days of Halloween and a list of previous films covered go here.
Dementia 13 (1963)
This post is an exciting one for me in a few respects. First, I’ve known of this film for a very long time and I’ve always been a bit hesitant to watch it. The reasons that is likely have to do with the fact that the synopsis doesn’t sell it very well, and the early work aspect scared and intrigued me in equal respects. The second reason is that seeing something and then shortly thereafter writing these posts was the initial foundation of the 61 Days of Halloween idea. I wanted to see 61 new horror films in the season. Maybe I still will but I haven’t even met the bogey yet, so I will be featuring some titles I know already to try and do that.
Dementia 13 was probably more destined than ever to be seen since I not only recently saw Twixt, but Coppola stands as one of my most viewed filmmakers of the year as can be seen both in what I’ve watched and liked.
In very traditional AIP fashion the title is virtually meaningless. However, while Corman’s AIP productions are a very mixed bag this does end up being on the favorable end. It doesn’t all click along perfectly, and there’s a very murky section you have to trudge through, but if you’re patient (which should be easy with a running time of 76 minutes) the payoff is pretty good.
It can sound odd to say you’re a fan of knock-offs of a particular film, as well as the film itself, but I’ve come to find that many films that are riffing on, borrowing from, or borderline plagiarizing Psycho have mostly worked for me as well. This one does play some of its tropes and weaves them in quite a different pattern.
If you’re into programming double-features this would actually pair well with Coppola’s most recent foray into the genre. As there he weaves a far more elaborate tale but they both definitely feel born of the same mind, this one more youthfully creating an homage and the latter showing a vibrant maturity.