A quick note about this post ... it's a republish of a favourite post of mine that I wrote in my second year of blogging (hence the talk of October!), so may seem familiar to long term readers.
As October comes around, I feel a calling from some repressed part of my mind, to watch scary films. I try to avoid things that help my over active imagination to literally play mind games with me as I already have ‘Don’t Look Now’ woman, Toby from ‘Paranormal Activity 3’ and Plastic Man* under the bed, so there is no room for anyone else, I'm just surprised the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers isn't under there too.
Typically, I am not a big fan of the horror genre, though I will watch the ‘classics’ if they happen to cross my path as I believe I should watch classic films, regardless of genre, to see what all the fuss is about. To this end, I very much like Stephen King’s ‘Christine’ (for very obvious reasons) and ‘Carrie’ was a good one too, I often think I would do exactly what she did in her shoes, such a low tolerance do I have for bullies and people who delight in ‘harmless’ baiting.
I don't though, generally touch zombie films but will give Hammer studio films a go, which leads me on to the point of this post ...
Scanning through the listings earlier in the week, I found myself a Hammer film, ‘Demons of the Mind’, a little known early seventies offering. It ticked all the boxes .. Hammer. A Baron (played by Seigfried of ‘All Creatures ..’ fame). Madness. Incest. I was all over this like a rash .. Not that I am a big cheerleader of incest I hasten to add, it’s just a good thing to throw into the mix. Andy was dismissive, he wasn’t remotely interested, as it isn’t a genre he enjoys.
So, I sat down alone to watch and when it was over, felt I should share the delights of 'Demons of the Mind', with you .. yes, I watched, so you don't have to. You'll possibly thank me.
Let the watching commence!
Head of the bill .. Paul Jones. I was hopeful it was Paul Jones of Manfred Mann fame, who I had a
huge bit of a crush on during my sixties obsession.
as he acts and 'Privilege' is one of my favourite films
but it isn't exactly an unusual name so I was curious to see.
It was a 1972 historical Hammer offering complete with coach and horses driven by your typically burly man, and glorious architecture courtesy of Wykehurst Place (a Gothic Revival mansion in West Sussex, England).
So, cue Elizabeth, a nubile young blond who had Hammer written all about her person. She was very pretty indeed and could have been dancing in a mini skirt on any late sixties, early seventies episode of Top of The Pops.
Apparently in the coach against her will, the poor girl is drugged by her dear aunt (for her own good dontcha know) and falls into a waking dream state which sees her running fearfully through the woods before scampering into the presence of Carl the bookish woodcutter/medical student, played by Paul Jones, (yes THEE Paul Jones of my crush and frequent swooning. I was very happy indeed) where she promptly fainted, or collapsed, or indeed swooned (it is Paul Jones after all).
He tends her wounds. He spots her locket in which is a photo of a sickly looking fop. He rows her around in a rowboat (this was ridiculously random I have to say) and a very splendid time was had indeed. She wakes and rises from his bed, which is the cue for a typically titillating Hammer moment, a quick flash of breast in the early morning light which pours through the grubby windows, which makes me think that Carl’s self satisfied smile is more to do with having someone to keep house than having someone in his bed. She departs his cottage in her pretty undergarments to collect eggs where she is promptly snatched by burly man and bundled back into the coach /end dream state.
Cue Emil, the man from the locket who rises weakly from his bed in a distant room (he has a delicate beauty which touches me somehow). Back to the coach where burly man is waving cheerfully to people he passes from the drivers seat on the coach as he wends his way to the glorious house where Emil stares solemnly from the window as the coach carrying Elizabeth arrives.
Elizabeth is ushered from the coach by Aunt Hilda (and a mysterious box) and dear papa, Baron Zorn is happy to see his daughter. Upstairs, Emil is pacing, he's growing restless! He knows Elizabeth is near!
He emerges from his room, heading toward her for what is evidently a reunion which is not to be as she is promptly locked away, as this is how it must be ………….
Yes, Emil and Elizabeth, they who look longingly at one another from afar, are brother and sister. The Baron it seems, has locked his teenage children up to stop their incestuous penchant for one another, for lo they are ill and they must be bled, which no doubt explains the pastiness.
“What are you doing to her? She looks so pale, and sad,” bemoans Emil. Likely the same thing they’re doing to him considering his sullen face and pallid complexion.
More titillating scenes follow, where the mystery box comes into play and Elizabeth is bled, to cure her of her desires for Emil who is locked in the adjoining room. I’m very sure we didn’t need another flash of her breast when she was being bled from her thigh but we got it anyway. Huzzah for predictability.
Elsewhere, a blond has wandered off into the woods, but be fearful dear girl, this is no time to be getting stones in your shoes, as there are things in the woods who shake trees! Run! Run for your life! Oh, too late, it got you, and it’s scattering rose petals over your lifeless body.
Cue a mad wandering holy man who has ‘been led there’ through inclement weather on foot and Dr Falkenberg himself and Carl who are travelling in a coach. It becomes apparent that Carl does not trust Falkenberg’s methods and wants no part of working with him and you know what? The doctor didn’t actually fall from grace in his profession, rather he was thrown but even so, there are still those that will trust him *cough*baronzorn*cough*.
Cue extra commentary from Melanie as things trip along merrily. Their coach crashes thanks to the wandering holy man, um, wandering in front of the coach bellowing warnings, so Carl goes off to find help. Cut to a remote inn or some such where another blond is gleefully ravished by a man who looks old enough to be her dad as burly man watches through a window *heavybreathing* (it transpires that burly man and inn woman have history) Oh look! The breast bearing inn blond emerges from inside and very affable she is too, outside as she is, in the bad weather, in her flimsies, and happens across the newly arrived Carl where she remarks upon no one coming by that way ordinarily, mores the pity, as she moves up against him in a terribly obvious way. I felt they had left a line or too out, “ .. now if you’d like to come inside with me, where I shall make you something to calm your nerves and possibly flash you my breasts.”
There is screaming in the shaky woods, oh no! Has another blond fallen prey to the rose petal killer???? Ahh, yes, yes she has.
Carl arrives back at the coach with help for the injured driver but Falkenberg has gone! He has somehow been found by burly man and taken back to the house in a gig where Zorn emerges from the house covered in blood, berating the doctor for being late. Zorn is next seen in a row boat on a lake where he discards the body of a blond over the side. What? Why? How? When? Is the Baron the rose petal killer???? Hey ho, she’s been disposed of now, it matters not.
Meanwhile, Falkenberg is treating the Baron with his shady discredited method, and this is where we find that the Baron has evil in his blood and wants to be cured of rife insanity, family incest and oh my! Prowling in the woods like AN ANIMAL! Blood lust! Ritual death? Is he? Could he be?
To purify the family line, he married a peasant woman whose virgin blood appalled him and he would never sleep with her again, for he became impotent. Really? Women pay heed, should your virgin blood appall your new husband then you might just be responsible for his impotency and you know what happens then don’t you? Yes, he will drive you not only to madness, but also you will be compelled to commit suicide in front of your children.
It happened to the Baron and his wife, so it could happen to you too *points in a sinister manner*
Elsewhere, it’s all gone a bit wicker man in the village and lo and behold, another young woman has gone awol which causes unrest amongst the villagers.
While everyone else has been distracted, Emil has been busy trying to break into his sisters room .. they quickly hatch a plan to escape. Keys stolen from Aunt Hilda and brother and sister are reunited with a full blown kiss on the lips. All together now - ahhhhh! On the verge of escape they are rumbled by Aunt Hilda. But who is that at the door? It's Carl! Huzzah, he's come to save the day! But has Elizabeth forgotten her brother so soon? “Carl ….” she breathes as she spots him from the window. My, that girl is fickle.
The Baron and burly man however, think Carl’s on to them so try to put his mind at ease .. by telling him of the madness that runs through Elizabeth's veins. Is it just me or is that not putting someones mind at rest? I'm very sure they weren't just sharing the same bed before she got whisked away, what if she got pregnant? The madness might continue, which was what worried the Baron, but little did he know what Elizabeth might have been up too in the halcyon days back in the cottage.
During this part I got terribly distracted by Carl, as Paul Jones has a lovely mouth .. see? Oh I am such a girl.
He proceeds to a showdown with Falkenberg and tells him just what he thinks of his methods; oh he’s so forceful. Just when you think the Baron is going to listen to Carl and do the right thing and throw him out, he lets Falkenberg fight his own corner then lets him stay to subject his children to all sorts, which apparently involves the doctor dressing in a snazzy purple get up. It seems for a moment that their relationship is considered okay by the doctor which just agitates the Baron who wants them cured and he wants them cured now! But the doctor insists the Baron has damaged them so very much, that it could take weeks to make them better, but for faster results, there is only one way, an extreme way, but, he isn't going to share what that is.
Oh look, we’re back with inn woman and burly man has come calling, to lure her to the home of the Baron. To what end though? To what end? Ahh, I see .. take inn woman to the house, tell her she’s going to be in a play, strip her naked in front of everyone and cut her hair. That's the plan then is it?
Better hurry, as the villagers are on their way with pitchforks and flaming torches (and a flaming crucifix), how quaint! But the plan, what is the plan? The plan is in fact to tell Emil that Elizabeth loves and needs him, and to lead him to inn woman who is wearing Elizabeth's favourite dress.
They take him to inn woman. Emil's reaction scares her to the extent that she promptly runs off with him in fast pursuit, believing her to be Elizabeth.
When she tells him otherwise, it all goes very horribly wrong.
There then followed an ending that was quite something and I'm still confused as to how the plan was to work.
Confusing plan aside, I was very taken with this so promptly popped it on my Amazon wishlist. I'm very sure it will be unwatchable to most people, but then I also own the bizarre 'Gonks Go Beat' which I also hear is unwatchable!
* Plastic Man.
A product of my very over active imagination. I was woken one night by sounds not unlike someone dragging heavy duty plastic around the bedroom, you know, those huge bags mattresses come in, that sort of noise. Still have no idea what that actually was, but Plastic Man was born that night.