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Horror » » »
Demons of the Mind


1972       Yvonne Mitchell

Demons of the Mind stretches the horizons of the traditional horror movie to encompass an additional dimension of reality. Here, the demons that strike, the monsters that lurk, are those that torture the agonised mind.

A Hammer Special made in association with Frank Godwin Productions, the screenplay by Christopher Wicking is directed by Peter Sykes who is fast establishing a reputation as an outstanding young film maker.

The film dramatises the conflict between the first stumbling steps of primitive psychiatry and the nightmarish obsessions of tortured minds; the guilt and torment of the head of a decadent noble family, and his children's desperate longing for freedom and love.





Item Details:
Pressbook 11x14 single-sided




Demons of the Mind

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CAST of Demons of the Mind

Carl .......................... Paul Jones
Falkenberg .......................... Patrick Magee
Hilda .......................... Yvonne Mitchell
Zorn .......................... Robert Hardy
Elizabeth .......................... Gillian Hills
Priest .......................... Michael Hordern
Klaus .......................... Kenneth J. Warren
Emil .......................... Shane Briant
Inge .......................... Virginia Wetherell



Credits for Demons of the Mind

Director .......................... Peter Sykes
Producer .......................... Frank Godwin
Screenplay .......................... Christopher Wicking
Director of Photography ............ Arthur Grant
Designer .......................... Michael Stringer
Editor .......................... Chris Barnes
Music .......................... Harry Robinson
Assistant Director .......................... Ted Morley
Continuity .......................... Gladys Goldsmith
Sound Editor .......................... Terry Poulton
Wardrobe Mistress .......................... Eileen Sullivan
Make-Up .......................... Trevor Crole-Rees
Hairdressing .......................... Maud Onslow


Region Details
Running Time 89 minutes Length 2428m (7965 ft)




Year: 1830.

Bavaria. Carl Richter (PAUL JONES) is in love with a beautiful but tortured young girl, Elizabeth Zorn (GILLIAN HILLS) who has fled to him (37) to escape her father, Count Zorn (ROBERT HARDY). Zorn, obsessed with daemonology and the belief that his family is doomed by hereditary evil, keeps his daughter and his son Emil (SHANE BRIANT) prisoners in his decaying castle (83).

Zorn's castle is located near a lake in the middle of a forest which the superstitious local villagers believe to be infested with legendary demons. Carl, in search of Elizabeth, shares a coach with the mysterious Doctor Falkenberg (PATRICK MAGEE) (72). A self-professed genius, Falkenberg has been rejected by fellow scientists in Vienna for practising the hypnotic techniques of Mesmer.

As the coach races through the forest, a half-mad priest appears, raving about demons and throwing the horses into such a panic that they bolt and the coach overturns.

Carl goes to the village for help, where he meets Fischinger, the Ostler, and Inge (VIRGINIA WETHERELL) the local tart. On their way back to the coach Fischinger explains the legend of a devouring creature which roamed the forest and connects it with the recent disappearance of a young village girl.

Klaus, the Zorn family retainer (KENNETH J. WARREN) finds the wrecked coach and takes Falkenberg to Castle Zorn (63).

Elizabeth lies in an upstairs bedroom, exhausted from the frequent bloodlettings which her aunt Hilda (YVONNE MITCHELL) administers (1) while keeping Emil from seeing his sister. Zorn himself has just returned from a visit to the lake where he and Klaus have disposed of the body of the girl murdered in the forest (13). The lake is full of other victims as well.

Meanwhile, the villagers perform a ceremony designed to banish death. As they dance, the mother of the murdered girl is told by the old priest that her daughter has been killed by a demon of the forest, but Carl becomes convinced that Baron Zorn is responsible.

Carl arrives at Castle Zorn, looking for Elizabeth, and is told that she is suffering from 'a disorder' (42) and that any relationship between them is impossible. Carl is convinced that Elizabeth is a prisoner.

After Carl has left, Falkenberg tries to locate the illness of Elizabeth and Emil with his strange equipment (16). Zorn maintains that his children's blood is corrupted by centuries of inbreeding, though he had attempted to break the pattern by marrying a peasant woman. Since her suicide, the children have developed an 'unnatural bond' (77).

Klaus has been instructed to bring lnge to the castle as a part of Falkenberg's experiment. Her hair is cut and her clothes changed to turn her into a replica of Elizabeth (70) so that the girl's problem can be 're-enacted'. As Falkenberg confronts Emil with Inge, the girl becomes frightened and tries to escape. Emil chases the girl (50) through the forest and upon catching her, he strangles her. At that moment, the real Elizabeth suffers convulsions of terror and sexual abandonment. The news of Inge's death convinces the Baron that the whole matter must be stopped at once. As he tries to dispose of Inge's body in the lake, the villagers discover him. Emil, now demented, returns to the castle. Hilda prevents him from seeing Elizabeth, but in his deranged mental state, he brutally murders her (24), before comforting Elizabeth. Carl arrives and tries to separate them, fighting with Emil for possession of the girl (25).

The discovery of Hilda's death sends Zorn berserk (17). He kills Falkenberg and rushes into the forest to destroy his children. He succeeds in murdering Emil (8), but the villagers and Carl arrive in time to prevent Elizabeth's death. After a fight with Carl, Zorn is attacked by the villagers, and the old priest, carrying out the age-old ritual, plunges a fiery cross through Zorn's heart (12). As Carl confronts her, Elizabeth turns on him, her face suddenly transformed in ghastly demonic fury.







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