Released in 1963, "Dementia 13" served as the film debut for celebrated director/producer, Francis "Ford" Coppola. Coppola began his studies in theatre at Hofstra University, a private university located in Long Island, New York, prior to studying film at UCLA. Coppola made his entrance into filmmaking by making low budget films with Roger Corman, and writing screenplays. Coppola, who is perhaps most notably recognized for directing the Oscar winning "The Godfather" films and "Apocalypse Now", was only twenty four when he directed "Dementia 13".
To make the film, Coppola borrowed $20,000 from renowned Horror producer, Roger Corman, who in turn produced the film for Coppola. Money to pay for the costs of the film was not the only favor that Coppola asked of Corman. At the time of the film's production, Coppola was in Ireland working in a variety of capacities for Corman. In working on the set of one of Corman's Horror films, Coppola expressed the desire to borrow not only Corman's set, but some of his actors as well. Corman permitted the young director to use his set as long as Coppola could work around Corman's schedule. Corman's generosity enabled Coppola to produce a film that is valued and recognized today as being a precursor to the "slasher" phenomenon.
"Dementia 13", which was released in the United Kingdom under the title, "The Haunted and the Hunted", features a variety of actors who have starred in numerous films. The first victim of the film, Louise Haloran, is played by Luana Anders, an actress who starred in over thirty films, and made over three hundred television appearances throughout the course of her career.
Anders served as a common presence within the realm of B-movies, appearing in a number of Roger Corman films. It was during her time spent acting for Corman that Anders met both Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper. As a result, Anders was featured in a number of films that were directed by the individual actors. In addition, Anders was called on many occasions to act alongside both Nicholson and Hopper. Anders maintained contact with Roger Corman as she eased out of B-movie roles and began acting on television and making appearances in other genres of films. She wrote the screenplay for the 1989 film, "Limit Up" under the name. "Lu Anders", and in 1991, Anders wrote for the Roger Corman production of "Fire on the Amazon", starring Sandra Bullock. Luana Anders earned a name for herself in Hollywood due to her many connections and constant presence within the entertainment industry. In his book, "Stephen King: On Writing", Stephen King cited Anders as one of his movie matinee idols. In 1998, Jack Nicholson remembered Anders, who died from breast cancer in 1996, in his Academy Award acceptance speech for Best Actor in "As Good as It Gets".
William Campbell plays the role of Richard Haloran, the eldest brother and talented artist who tends to take his bitterness and resentment towards the history of his family out on his sculptures. Campbell acted in over forty films and made over fifty television appearances. He is perhaps most celebrated for his participation in early "Star Trek" productions. Campbell is one of only 32 actors or actresses to have starred in both the original "Star Trek" movie in 1966, and the 1991 film, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country". Campbell later appeared in one of the "Star Trek" spin-offs. Campbell is also remembered for his on-screen appearance with Elvis Presley in the 1956 film, "Love Me Tender". Campbell's participation in this film made him the first actor to ever sing with Elvis Presley in a motion picture.
Bart Patton plays the role of Billy Haloran, the youngest son harboring a dark secret, who refuses to stand up to or rebel against his mother. Though Patton gives a haunting performance as the psychologically imbalanced Billy, he appeared in very few films throughout his career. Patton chose to move behind the camera in 1965, working as the producer for "Beach Ball" and in 1969, when he produced "The Rain People". In 2000, Patton directed "Unshackled" and served as the Production Manager for "Ready to Rumble".
Theatre enthusiast, Patrick Magee, plays the role of Dr. Justin Caleb in "Dementia 13". A talented actor who lived for theatre, Magee considered film and TV nothing more than a job to earn a living, and worked in films to finance his distinguished stage work. Magee began his career in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, where he attended St. Patrick's Roman Catholic College. His first stage experience was in Ireland with Anew McMaster's company. He then traveled to London where he began gracing the stage in 1958. In 1966, Magee won Broadway's Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actor in a Dramatic production, for playing the Marquis de Sade in Peter Weiss' "Marat/Sade". When it comes to film, Magee is probably most notably recognized for his performance as the nightmarish, crippled writer, Mr. Alexander, in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film, "A Clockwork Orange".
With an array of characters that each seems to be hiding something in their own right, "Dementia 13" works just as well as a psychological thriller as it does a horror film. Many critics have noted that the film has more of a mystery feel to it, but the murder scenes, which are noted to be quite gory for the time, are what allow the film to fit into the Horror genre. The film is successful in its depiction of the madness that is driven by the guilt of the family members. This combined with the individual characters' inability to accept reality makes for an interesting story line that eventually makes sense to the viewer. Coppola keeps the viewer interested, if for nothing more than to find out which character participates in the heinous crimes, and through their actions, reveals dark secrets that result in a behavioral pattern that goes well beyond the point of absurdity.
Dr. James L. PoultonClinical Psychologist Dr. James L. Poulton discusses appropriate ways to treat someone with a mental illness.
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