Dementia 13 (The Haunted and the Hunted)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

U.S.A.| 1963. Black and white. 75 min.

Francis Ford Coppola was still a student at UCLA when he became a protege of Roger Corman, the king of American exploitation cinema. He made this early feature with a tiny budget, a crew of nine and a script he reputedly wrote in three nights. Produced by Corman and intended to cash in on the success of horror pictures such as Les Diaboliques (1955) and Psycho (1960), Dementia 13 was shot over three weeks at Ardmore Studios and on location in County Wicklow. The setting is a sinister Irish castle, where a family reunion turns nasty and an axe-wielding psycho hacks down most of the guests. The confused plot is standard psycho-thriller nonsense, but there are glimpses of Coppola’s talent, especially in the claustrophobic atmosphere and a couple of visual flourishes. The main reason for this screening is that the film features the sculptures of Edward Delaney, RHA, who is the subject of a major retrospective that runs at the Gallagher Galleries until January 7. The artist’s son, Eamon Delaney, notes that the use of the sculptures was ‘a wonderful 1960s moment of cross-cultural co-operation: modern, figurative art meets popular cinema. It was appropriate that it should be a psychological horror movie, given the haunting, skeletal quality of Eddie’s works.’

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