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Demons of the Mind (1972)

R | | Horror, Thriller | May 1974 (USA)
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2:57 | Trailer
A physician discovers that two children are being kept virtually imprisoned in their house by their father. He investigates, and discovers a web of sex, incest, and Satanic possession.

Director:

Peter Sykes

Writers:

Christopher Wicking (screenplay), Christopher Wicking (from an original story by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Hardy ... Zorn
Shane Briant ... Emil
Gillian Hills ... Elizabeth
Yvonne Mitchell ... Hilda
Paul Jones Paul Jones ... Carl Richter
Patrick Magee ... Falkenberg
Kenneth J. Warren Kenneth J. Warren ... Klaus
Michael Hordern ... Priest
Robert Brown ... Fischinger
Virginia Wetherell Virginia Wetherell ... Inge
Deirdre Costello Deirdre Costello ... Magda
Barry Stanton ... Ernst
Sidonie Bond Sidonie Bond ... Zorn's Wife
Thomas Heathcote ... Coachman
John Atkinson John Atkinson ... 1st Villager
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Storyline

Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) keeps his teenaged children locked up and drugged, fearing that his insane wife passed along a congenital curse to them before her own suicidal death. Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) escapes for a brief tryst with a local before being recaptured and subjected to a bleeding process to "draw out the bad blood". Emil (Shane Briant) keeps trying to escape, but is thwarted time and again by his Aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell), who runs the house like a prison. One reason the siblings have to be kept apart is their incestuous attraction to each other. Local wenches are being murdered in the woods, and the superstitious peasants think demons are responsible. A wandering Priest (Sir Michael Hordern) dedicates himself to root out the evil, but isn't taken seriously. Arriving at the castle are two more interested parties: Mountebank scientist huckster Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) stands to make a small fortune if his strange apparatus can cure the children of their inherited evil... Written by Leo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They came to torture an agonised mind

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

May 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Demons of the Mind See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Atkinson was dubbed. See more »

Quotes

Priest: I have been led here, I have work to do. But what?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK Optimum DVD release restores the 18s of cuts made for the earlier VHS release it is still the cut theatrical version. Missing are the shots of earth being stuffed into Virginia Wetherall's mouth plus other trims to this murder. The murder of Yvonne Mitchell was also shortened by the reduction/removal of a few shots. This cut version is also the one released on the R1 Anchor Bay USA DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hammer at its most bizarre and ambitious
15 February 2010 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Was Hammer Studios ever capable of making anything else than traditional horror movies with monsters and madmen? The answer to that is clearly YES, and this "Demons of the Mind" is the irrefutable evidence to back up that statement. Were they any good at it? Well, that's a different question, of course. "Demons of the Mind" is a long way from Hammer's best accomplishment, but it surely is an ambitious, visually innovative and intriguing. What this movie lacks, unfortunately, is a minimum of respect towards the viewers. The script, co-written by Christopher Wicking of "The Oblong Box" and "To the Devil a Daughter", is unnecessary complex and even on the verge of pretentious. Director Peter Sykes is so busy with building up an atmosphere of mystery and pseudo- psychology that he completely forgets to properly introduce the main characters and their backgrounds. The plot introduces the highly unusual family situation of the Van Zorn's; a British noble family in the late 19th Century. The baron is somehow convinced that his children, a son and a daughter, will eventually fall victim to a hereditary illness and thus keeps them locked away in their rooms. Personally I would keep them apart because of their incestuous cravings, but still… Anyway, the baron seeks the help of a notorious psychologist who talks a whole of gibberish that I totally didn't understand. Meanwhile, the docile and superstitious villagers living nearby the castle are growing petrified as they discover the bodies of some brutally murdered local town girls. In spite of the numerous fascinating and controversial themes (incest, hereditary madness, unorthodox psychology methods…) and some beautifully artsy elements of symbolism (rose petals covering naked corpses, flowers through keyholes…), "Demons of the Mind" remains an overall nebulous film that could – and should – have been much better. The film eventually even reverts to old-fashioned and heavily clichéd solutions, like the angry mob with torches, for example. The most notable performance is delivered by Patrick Magee as the charlatan psychiatrist. Magee nearly always has this decadent and sinister aura surrounding him, but it really works well in this film. There's also gratuitous nudity and quite a bit of explicit bloodshed to find in "Demons of the Mind". The strangulation sequences are reasonably perverse and the suicide scene (featuring inside a flashback) even qualifies as nauseating considering the time of release. I prefer Hammer's entries in the Dracula and Frankenstein cycles at any time, but nonetheless this is an interesting film to watch and get confused over.


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