HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
King, The
Food of the Gods II
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Man Apart, A
Ciambra, The
Reflection of Fear, A
Aurora Encounter, The
Breaking In
Breaking In
Please Stand By
Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County, The
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
   
 
Newest Articles
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
   
 
  Demons of the Mind Head trauma a la HammerBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Peter Sykes
Stars: Robert Hardy, Paul Jones, Patrick Magee, Michael Hordern, Gillian Hills, Shane Briant, Kenneth J. Warren, Yvonne Mitchell, Virginia Wetherell
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: By the seventies Hammer horror was on the wane. A key example of how wearisome their formula had grown can be found in The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), wherein Peter Cushing spends bloody ages fashioning a single silver bullet - only to fire…and miss. The studio tried to experiment, resulting in self-conscious (but fun) camp (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)), missed opportunities (Seven Brothers against Dracula (1974)), and the needlessly dour (Straight On Till Morning (1971)). Certainly the most promising avenue was psychological gothic horror, of which Hands of the Ripper (1971) and this much underrated gem are fine examples.

A terrible curse afflicts the house of Zorn. Baron Friedrich (Robert Hardy) is torn between a supernatural explanation for the madness plaguing his children, Elisabeth (Gillian Hills) and Emil (Shane Briant). Meanwhile, several local girls are being murdered, their bodies sunk in the lake by the family’s faithful servant, Klaus (Warren). Elisabeth escapes her father and creepy Aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell) to tryst with idealistic student Carl Richter (Paul Jones), who takes an interest in curing her strange malady. But the villagers are stirred into action by a ranting priest (Michael Hordern) and Baron Friedrich’s faith in demented mesmerist, Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) yields disaster.

Written by Christopher Wicking (Scream and Scream Again (1969)), Demons of the Mind tweaks Hammer’s epic metaphysical conflict between good and evil into unsettling, psychological dimensions. Instead of the usual monsters we have two, frail flower children slowly being driven mad by sexual repression, psychological torture and suffocating parents. There are no wise, rational Peter Cushing-style father figures. Science is represented by a scheming charlatan, while religion takes the form of a babbling, possibly insane priest, each brilliantly played by Magee and Hordern. If there is a flaw, it’s that while Wicking and Peter Sykes deconstruct conventional horror film morality, they fail to provide any substitute. Jones’ cloddish, ineffectual hero is part of a long line of dullards in seventies Hammer fare, the exceptions being David Warbeck in Twins of Evil (1971) and Horst Janssen in Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1972). A similar hindrance is the plummy overplaying of Robert Hardy, in a role Hammer offered to Paul Scofield and James Mason as a means of highlighting what an unconventional and prestigious project this was meant to be.

It didn’t work. The film was practically thrown away by its distributors and Wicking and Sykes did not return until their similarly ambitious and afflicted To the Devil a Daughter (1976) drove the final nail in Hammer’s coffin. While the film walks a daring tightrope between art house and exploitation, some critics firmly entrenched in either camp believe it works as neither. Certainly, its determination to deliver the exploitation goods - opening as it does with Elisabeth’s nude liaison with Carl - makes for a disorienting story-structure, but Arthur Grant’s colour drained cinematography and a creepy psychotherapy scene involving bar girl Inge (Virginia Wetherell) show some care taken to craft a deeper tale. Shane Briant’s pallid, pretty-boy frailty and Gillian Hills’ wide-eyed, willowy beauty make them two of Hammer’s most affecting “monsters”. The much-loved (by me, anyway) starlet from cult children’s show The Owl Service (1969) showed a propensity for threesomes in Blow Up (1966) and A Clockwork Orange (1971), but fans should seek her in the ultra-rare giallo: Hot Lips of the Killer (1974).
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3566 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: