DEMONS OF THE MIND (1972) Reviews and overview

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Demons of the Mind is a 1972 British horror feature film directed by Peter Sykes (Venom; The House in Nightmare ParkTo the Devil a Daughter) from a screenplay by Christopher Wicking (Scream and Scream Again), based on a story by Frank Godwin. The movie was co-produced by Anglo-EMI, Frank Godwin Productions and Hammer Film Productions by Michael Carreras and Frank Godwin.


Gillian Hills played a role originally intended for Marianne Faithfull and Robert Hardy was a substitute for a role originally intended for Eric Porter (Hands of the Ripper).

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Count Zorn, a wealthy widower, locks up Emil and Elisabeth, his two young adult offspring, afraid that they will go mad, as did his wife. He then invites Falkenberg, a doctor of dubious reputation, to supervise the young people’s mental health. Meanwhile, in the vicinity of their mansion, grisly murders are happening…


FilmDemoniosDeLaMenteMLC“an exotic, Wildean horror story, visually as extravagant and tantalising as a decadent painting … badly let down, though, by some grotesque overacting.” Time Out Film Guide

“Although it is made with style …the content is meagre … The film’s principal distinction is its violence, mostly gratuitous and, in the case of the final bloodbath, thoroughly unpleasant.” Monthly Film Bulletin

“oblique, ambitious and suffused with an air of primal dread, Demons of the Mind deserved better.” Marcus Hearn, The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films

” … a complex and unusual film which is sometimes confusing but always compelling.” Gary A. Smith, Uneasy Dreams

“Although Demons of the Mind is confusing and a bit hysterical, at least it is different; and in the copycat world of horror movies, that is worth something.” Tom Johnson, Deborah Del Vecchio, Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography


“flashes of great originality and panache …a lifeless performance from Robert Hardy. EMI hated the film.” David Pirie, A New Heritage of Horror: The English Gothic Cinema

“Breathless, with excellent exposition of early psychoanalytical techniques, this is one of the best horrors of the period because it manages to be both thrilling and thought-provoking at the same time.” Andy Boot, Fragments of Fear: An Illustrated History of British Horror Films

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“a strange, bleak tale of abnormal psychology in which Hammer’s characteristic period settings and horror-film clichés such as the raging mob are, for once, used with imagination.” The Curmudgeon

” …the movie has its ardent supporters as well as its critics. Visually, it’s intriguing enough, and it’s always fascinating to look at. The story remains obscure for a lot of the movie, though, and you need to keep on your toes and pay attention to key scenes to figure out just what’s going on.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings


” … a right load of old cobblers, which mixes costume drama with cod psychology and ends with a particularly gruelling amount of hand loppings, shootings, stabbings, and burning-crucifix-impalings. What makes it worth seeking out are the performances – Hordern’s nutty priest is a sight to see, Hardy is his usual hammy self and Magee is… well, Magee.” British Horror Films


Demons of the Mind would have worked on at least one level if we had a reason to care about Emil and Elizabeth. As neither is given a chance to have a personality, we see them as dull victims instead of people we hope will escape. The final revelation that Elizabeth is just as vicious as Emil, has no effect.” DVD Savant

” …a bold attempt at doing something different. It draws together the ancient curses and torch-wielding mobs of the past with the psychological disturbance, ethical betrayals and less forgiving narratives of a different kind of horror, and somewhere in the resulting tumult of colour and noise it finds unexpected soul.” Eye for Film


Choice dialogue:

Falkenberg: “The world is chaos. We must try and find some order, in our small part of it.”

Zorn: “The world will be a better place without me! And it won’t even know you’ve died.”


Demons of the Mind was released on Blu-ray by Scream Factory on January 14th 2020. Buy from

  • New Audio Commentary By Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman
  • New Interview With Camera Operator Neil Binney
  • Blood Will Have Blood: The Making of Demons Of The Mind
  • Audio Commentary with Director Peter Sykes, writer Christopher Wicking and Actress Virginia Wetherell, moderated By Author/Film Historian Jonathan Sothcott
  • Theatrical Trailer

Main cast:




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Cast and characters:

Robert Hardy … Zorn
Shane Briant … Emil
Gillian Hills … Elizabeth
Yvonne Mitchell … Hilda
Paul Jones … Carl Richter
Patrick Magee … Falkenberg
Kenneth J. Warren … Klaus
Michael Hordern … Priest
Robert Brown … Fischinger
Virginia Wetherell … Inge
Deirdre Costello … Magda
Barry Stanton … Ernst
Sidonie Bond … Zorn’s Wife
Thomas Heathcote … Coachman
John Atkinson … 1st Villager
George Cormack … 2nd Villager
Mary Hignett … Matronly Woman
Sheila Raynor … Old Crone
Jan Adair … 1st Girl
Jane Cardew … 2nd Girl
Glenda Allen … Girl (uncredited)
Richard Beaumont … Young Emil (uncredited)
Fred Wood … Villager Carrying Torch (uncredited)

Filming locations:

Wykehurst Park House, East Sussex (also seen in All the Colours of the DarkThe Legend of Hell House)

Film Facts:

The film’s working title was Blood Will Have Blood

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