Plot: What’s it about?
Louise (Luanda Anders) just lost her husband, who suffered a heart attack and passed on. She travels to Ireland to visit his family, but her intentions aren’t benevolent. When she arrives, she finds herself in a virtual house of horrors, from the eerie castle home to her late husband’s unusual relatives. She meets several off putting members of the clan, including the ever grieving mother (Eithne Dunn), who mourns her daughter that drowned many years back. Not to mention her husband’s brothers, who are beyond unsettling and never cease to keep Louise on edge. But Louise plans to enact some mind games of her own, though the emergence of a axe murderer throws the situation into total chaos. Now the bodies are piling up and its up to the family’s doctor (Patrick Magee) to unravel this twisted mystery.
This was the first directorial assignment for Francis Ford Coppola, who was given the chance to helm Dementia 13 by B movie legend Roger Corman. While saddled with an obvious lack of resources, Coppola made the most of his chance and showed that even early on, he had some serious skill. Dementia 13 is not a great movie, but it turns out to be a better movie that it should be. The effort is evident, as the movie has moments of almost brilliance, but falls just a touch short. Even so, Dementia 13 has many bright spots and is well worth a look. Inspired by Hitchcock, the film features some nice visual flares, from unique camera angles to creative lighting set-ups. So while a B movie at heart, Dementia 13 still manages to offer a solid experience and not just because of the connection to Coppola. This release from Film Chest houses both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the movie, complete with light restoration work to enhance the visuals. So if you’re going to seek out Dementia 13, this Film Chest release is going to be your best option to do so.
Video: How does it look?
Dementia 13 is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. Some light restoration work has been done, but this movie will probably never look that impressive. I have seen countless versions and none have ever been remarkable, but this one is cleaner than most and looks quite good. The source has numerous inherent flaws, especially when it comes to softness and contrast woes. Even with the added resolution of high definition, detail is moderate at best. But this is due to the source, so its hard to fault this treatment when work has been done to improve the visual experience.
Audio: How does it sound?
A Dolby Digital 5.1 option is here, but the source simply doesn’t offer much to work with. The surround use is infrequent and doesn’t sound natural, so the remix doesn’t bring much to the table. At the same time, the soundtrack here is so basic that I doubt much more could have been done. The audio isn’t bad, as far as the source material is concerned, and sounds on par with the better versions I have heard. Not much else to report, a basic, but passable presentation. This release also includes a Dolby 2.0 option, as well as Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
In addition to both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the movie, this release includes a restoration demonstration and the film’s theatrical trailer.