OOM #16 – Dementia 13 (1963)

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No, I didn’t make it, but I swear, just give me a couple of days and I’ll get there. We continue exploring 1963 in this October Overlook Madness because today the Cinemassacre Monster Madness has decided not to talk about a movie once again, but put forward an issue that I’ve been curious about for quite a while: the future of the Universal Studios Monsters. While there are some films being made and remade right now, I think that it’s scary to think about how these monsters will fare in the modern world and landscape in which we are. I am excited about a probable “shared universe”, specially if that means that we get a monster mash and all goes to shit. You can hear the discussion here, and marvel at the ideas that they have about the movies that may come, shit, I mean, they should be in charge! Meanwhile, I’ll write a bit about this Francis Ford Coppola film, if you don’t mind.

This movie makes a stupendous and incredible promise that is impossible to fulfill due to the context of the making of this film, its budget and of course the overall discourse that wants to achieve. Its first scene is among the most incredible in term of construction that I’ve seen from this era of horror, a recently married couple go on a boat, they row and row far from shore, and in the middle of an argument is that the young husband has a stroke, and the pills that he takes are on the shore. He obviously dies, and due to the fact that his will is immense, she drops her from the boat and into the water, where he goes down in an incredible sequence. Sadly, the rest of the film can’t come close to that cinematic brilliance present there, where a radio that plays rockabilly music is with them on the boat and is also thrown off, and we hear the dim sounds slowly starting to disintegrate in contact with the water. But the film does try to catch your attention, and when the new widow travels to his husband’s manor to both bury him and discuss the will, we find ourselves enveloped in a thrilling discussion where the lust and the fear that is in between the stone walls of the castle forebodes great acts of violence, that are still the highlights of the rest of the movie, but in the way that they happen and to who they happen are mostly disappointing, as we somewhat lose focus on the story and we are in dire need of jumping around from character to character to find ways to tell the story and follow it, and thus it becomes confusing. The last third of the story it becomes a somewhat unconventional and creepy detective story, where a psychiatrist played by Patrick Magee (know more for his role in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ (1971) and others) thinks himself nosy and capable enough to go around asking questions and putting people on edge (and in danger) so he can uncover the real threat: an ax murderer. Lazy if you ask me, but this might be one of the most incredible proto-slashers made in that era, as well as an incredible promise start for Francis Ford Coppola.

7/10

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6 responses to “OOM #16 – Dementia 13 (1963)

  1. Pingback: Sicario and Bridge of Spies on Monday Morning Diary (October 19) | Wonders in the Dark·

      • I goofed. In the Burgess novel, Mr. Alexander (Magee) is writing A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, a protest against dehumanization, turning people into clockwork oranges, machines without free will or moral choice. It’s a book-within-a-book and both have the same title as the film we’re watching. Alex, obviously, is the Humble Narrator of Burgess’s novel and Kubrick’s film, not Mr. Alexander (the similarity of the names is meant as irony, I guess). Alexander isn’t even writing a novel, he’s writing a polemic.
        Rather confusing since Kubrick doesn’t develop the Magee character or explain the meaning of the title. In the film you don’t know what the hell Mr. Alexander is writing, he’s just a nameless author, one more victim of the ultraviolence. Kubrick left out this crucial explanation and it’s one of the film’s defects, I think. In all other ways the film follows the book very closely.
        Is this clear as mud or does it help.

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