Master filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature film Dementia 13 has been released on Blu Ray and 4K for the first time ever through Vestron Video. Vestron Video Collector’s Series is a boutique home entertainment label that releases special edition Blu Rays of cult classic films.
Francis Ford Coppola is best known for directing masterpieces like the Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now. But his first legitimate feature was a horror flick, filmed over the course of nine days in Ireland on a shoestring budget. With only $40,000 to work with, the auteur quickly crafted a story with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho clearly working as inspiration. The film is a psychological, gothic horror with deep routed family trauma at its core.
I’m a huge fan of Coppola’s films (and my wife is a huge fan of his wine), so when I received the Blu-Ray in the mail I was excited to watch it immediately. The Blu Ray transfer is beautiful. The black and whites are crisp, sharp and free of static blurs. The Blu Ray includes an introduction from Coppola himself, who explains that this release is the definitive version of the film. It is the vision he had when crafting the story and is free of studio interference. This is extremely relevant today when “Director’s Cuts” are on the forefront of social media. Zach Snyder’s Justice League is the prominent, recent example.
The special features are light, including only the introduction, audio commentary from Coppola and a Prologue (Dementia 13 Test). However, this release is a must have for fans of the cult classic. The commentary adds insight to the film and it’s production from the writer/director himself, and the video and audio transfer is the clearest they’ve ever been. One thing that Vestron Video Collector’s Series does that few other boutique labels do, is include digital copies with many of their releases. This allows collectors to get the best of both worlds, having the convenience of digital, and the reliability and display capabilities of physical media. Dementia 13 Director’s Cut is one such release that includes the digital copy.
Whether they’ve seen Dementia 13 previously or not, this release is going to be very enticing to collectors. Its status as a “Cult Classic” is well deserved. Even with his first feature film, you can clearly see the distinct style and talent of Coppola. His clever use of camera angles, lighting and his inherent ability to built tension and tell a captivating story was there from the beginning. This is a fantastic addition to my collection and is proudly displayed among my other Vestron Video releases. 8/10