Review of Dementia 13

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Year: 1966 - Runtime: 75 mins - Director: Francis Ford Coppola - Writer(s): Francis Ford Coppola
Country: USA - Language: English - Parental Guide: NR - Color: Black & White

Rating: ★★½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆


If you’ve ever wondered, “I wonder what  Francis Ford Coppola was doing before The Godfather, one of the greatest films in history of people making films ever?”, then look no further than Dementia 13. Yes, folks, from low budget b-film to “Greatest Filmmaker Ever” in under a decade. You, too, can start out making “Adult Features”, work your way into “Cult Horror”, and then go on to define a genre. But most likely not. D-13 is not a terrible movie; it’s got that “a director was here” feel to it, with some nifty camera angles and a couple of cool shots, but for every glimpse of a promising director, you have two moments of a drunken screenwriter. I was either too intoxicated or not intoxicated enough to understand what was going on. For the first quarter of the movie I was convinced it was about a woman trying to cover up the accidental death of her husband so she could get some money, somehow… but then she is killed off by a random bad guy and we’re in a psycho killer plot line, which later changes to a family revenge story. I actually have to recommend this because it is so badly written that you have to see it to believe it, especially considering the man who wrote it went on to the Godfather series and Apocalypse Now.

Reason to Watch

The same writer and director as The Godfather, sixties-sexy underwear, a cool trick ending, and the most confusing plot ever. There is also a scene in which a poacher wanders down a stream looking for rabbits, and is then axe-chopped to death… I’m pretty sure it’s the longest, most boring scene in history – hysterical.


This is not your typical Roger Corman Edgar Alan Poe film, nor is it another American International teen slasher, and that’s all Coppola. He was only 24 when D-13 was released. I’m way older than that and will never make anything half as good as his first, crappy try.

Most memorable quote(s)

“You can tell she’s been raised on promises.”

What you need to get through this movie

If you are not a pot smoker I would recommend becoming one to get through this film. Or, if you are a pot smoker and who wants to show someone how confusing being high is, make them watch Dementia 13.


The film did not live up to American Internationals’ ARKOFF formula (Action, Revolution, Killing, Oratory, Fantasy, and Fornication). In fact, Roger Corman, the producer, stormed out of the film’s first screening because it didn’t have enough axe-murdering. The whole poacher scene was added later (shot by a different director) just to add more Killing. Clearly, one of many poor decisions.

Educational Content
  1. Your husband has to be alive in order for you to gain an inheritance.
  2. “He’s on business” is a good enough excuse for months of absence.
  3. You can perfectly time how long a rope will degrade under water.
  4. Doctors are like private investigators, only much more prepared to abuse and torture those they interrogate.
  5. Axe murderers seem perfectly normal during the day, being able to converse intelligently and politely, but at night, while murdering, they are babbling insane monsters who make little to no sense.
Justification for Rating

D-13 is not unwatchable… I have to give it 2 and a half stars, one for the directing, one for the trick ending and half for the script.


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5 Responses to “Review of Dementia 13”

  1. Casey Says:

    I think I saw this, but can’t be sure. All I remember is a hot blonde main character dying pretty early in the film and some axe murders. I guess I checked out after that. ZOINK!

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  2. Greg Says:

    No… It sounds like you saw the whole thing 🙂

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  3. Steve Says:

    I think this gave me dementia, what what was this again?

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  4. Review of Koyaanisqatsi - Produced by Francis Ford Coppola | Says:

    […] trilogy was produced by a different pretentious director, Koyaanisqatsi by Francis Ford Coppola, of Dementia 13 […]

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  5. Coppola vs. Smith « Screenwriting from Iowa Says:

    […] that before Coppola started assisting and then directing b-grade low-budget films for Roger Corman (Dementia 13), he made what he calls a “nudie” film titled The Playgirls and the […]

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