Coming out of The Locker today is a 1963 American International Picture film starring on of my favorite Klingons, William Campbell (“my dear Captain Koloth.. thank you Bill Shatner). Also, of note, is that this is Francis Ford Coppola’s first credited directing gig.

 

Louise Haloran bears witness to her husband’s heart attack while rowing out in a row boat and than she disposes of the body by throwing it overboard. She then forges a letter to the family that he had “been called away on business.” As explained by the cabbage-head husband before she “deep-sixes” him, she gets absolutely no slice of the lucrative “family pie” if he dies before his mother. When Louise wanders to Ireland to the Haloran ancestral home (where nobody speaks with any discernable accent or dialect, mind you) to see how she can snake out some of the family loot, she learns that the family is haunted by the memory of Kathleen, the daughter who drown in the family pond several years earlier. The surviving two brothers oblige their dowager mother in her strange rituals to “remember” Kathleen. When the brother’s lady friends (the wife of the deceased “at-the-bottom-of-the-lake-but-on-business-in-New-York husband and the fiance of the other brother) odd happenings ensue. The mother is somewhat kooky and has changed the will, leaving the estate and money to charity in the dead daughter’s name.

Dementia 13

Now, WHO left this axe here??

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Kooky here is also defined as “fainting” in a way that only women in classic cinema can do when faced with any kind of stress. There’s a guy in a rubber monster suit? Faint! Radiation caused grasshoppers to grow to immense size and are now terrorizing the neighborhood? Faint! There’s a sale at Penny’s? Faint!

 

Back to the review.. Changing the will has not sit well with most and now someone is killing off supporting cast members. When Louise begins “working” on befriending and ultimately scamming the elder Ms. Haloran, the eldest son Richard, becomes very suspicious. So, enter the creepy Doctor who is treating the mother for very 1960’s style ailments such as “nerves” and “hysteria.” Can anyone see where this is going?

...Well..."I'M" NOT evil!!

Dementia “13.” Thirteen? Thirteen what? I had a bit of an quandry during the movie trying to figure out from whence the “13” came. I kept waiting for some clue, some nugget of revelation, the other shoe to drop to reveal “13” what.. but it was all for naught. After some investigating, it turns out to have absolutely nothing to do with the movie! Following Roger Corman’s advice, Coppola added the “13” to differentiate it from another 1955 film, Dementia, and in the (odd and somewhat strangely esoteric) hopes that it would be played on the 13th of every month (thank you IMDB). Its difficult to be too hard on this film. I have to say, the filming locations and sets were very well done. Louise’s death scene was of particular interest.. with her being chopped up by an axe-wielding jerk, yet not getting ANY blood in the pond or anywhere for that matter. Very considerate of her, I thought, not to bleed everywhere. When the killer is revealed, there is really not a huge surprise! I mean, as with most Scooby Doo cartoons, you only meet two other people (minus the Harlem Globe-Trotters, the Three Stooges, or Batman and Robin) in the cartoon. All in all, to reiterate, not a badly-done movie and worth the time spent to watch it. Enjoy!

..Nor am I....

Now THIS.... THIS is pure EVIL!!!

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"Dementia 13"