Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘rough diamond’ Dementia 13 gets a rollicking new ride

Francis Ford Coppola's 'rough diamond' Dementia 13 gets a rollicking new ride

I am nowhere near New Zealand, halas, but this is interesting.

In 1963, a young Francis Ford Coppola was working in Ireland for film director Roger Corman. Coppola was the sound guy, far down the credits, with no inkling he would go on to direct cinema classics such as Apocalypse Now or The Godfather.

Then came a strange opportunity.

The film he was on set for, The Young Racers, had gone under budget so Corman decided to do a short film from scratch, using the actors, crew and infrastructure on hand, financed by the bigger project’s leftovers. Corman asked Coppola to direct and the eager young pup wrote the script in one night and finished the film in four days.

It was called Dementia 13.

Decades later, a young New Zealand art-school dropout named Leon Radojkovic saw Coppola’s 80-minute film. It was a rough diamond, a horror-fest and just what Radojkovic had been looking for – something he could shape and embellish, without losing its pure charm or core strengths.

Radojkovic’s germ of an idea has evolved into Live Live Cinema, a live stage performance involving two films, a seven-piece band, four actors and a foley (sound effects) guy in a booth. The films are Carnival of Souls (1963) and, of course, Dementia 13, the first described by Radojkovic as psychological/supernatural horror and the second as “a slasher”.

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