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Movies: “Dementia 13”

Sept. 18, 1963 - “Dementia 13,” a black-and-white horror film produced by Roger Corman, written and directed by 24-year-old Francis Coppola and featuring William Campbell, Luana Anders, and Bart Patton in the cast, will open next Wednesday. Shocked by the death of her spouse (Campbell), a scheming widow (Anders) hatches a bold plan to get her hands on the inheritance, unaware that she is targeted by an axe-wielding murderer who lurks in the family's estate. Coppola wrote a brief draft of the story idea in one night. The next morning, he described to Corman the most vividly detailed sequence: a half-naked woman ties several dolls to the bottom of a lake, then surfaces to find herself at the feet of an axe murder. Corman was impressed enough to immediately provide Coppola with the $22,000 for the film. The young director was able to arrange an additional $20,000 in financing himself by pre-selling the European rights to a producer named Raymond Stross. The majority of the American actors in the cast are friends of Coppola's from UCLA, and many of them paid their own way to Ireland for the opportunity to appear in a film.


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