Frame of Mind: To Build Dread, Dementia 13’s Crew Shot Handheld and Made Its Tunnel Location From Scratch (Video)

What makes a scene work?

Does it lie in the carefully executed plans of a film’s cast and crew? Or does the magic rest upon fortuitous mistakes, spontaneity and improvisation? What steps must be taken to convey your vision and intent? Watch our video series, Frame of Mind, to get answers to these questions and more from commentators working in a wide variety of areas in production who’ll guide you through clips from their films, in their own words. Moviemakers and film fans: Grab your notepads, popcorn, or both, and press play.


The ability to maneuver through tight spaces is essential for moviemakers creating claustrophobic horror. For Dementia 13 director Richard LeMay, there was no other way to achieve this than by shooting handheld. In the video below, you’ll get a sense of how LeMay and cinematographer Paul Niccolls timed and choreographed their disorienting camerawork to keep one of the film’s basement-bound suspense sequences off-kilter.

A remake of Francis Ford Coppola’s first ever feature of the same name, (made for Roger Corman’s American International Pictures in 1963) Dementia 13 centers on a ghost seeking vengeance, an unidentified killer, and a family under siege during the course of one night at a remote estate. To bring the cavernous location written into the screenplay to life, LeMay explains, production designer John El Manahi procured a number of unfinished sculpture props, and, in true Corman fashion, built the tunnel itself from the ground up, using wood planks and texture.

What did you take away from LeMay’s frame of mind? Let us know in the comments below. MM

Dementia 13 opens in theaters October 6, 2017 and on VOD and Digital HD October 10, 2017, courtesy of Chiller Films. Video courtesy of Chiller Films.

1 Comment

  1. Tom Luca

    October 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    When I make a film, I really love working with a Production Designer that thinks visually too the same as me. That can create a fantastic world from a blueprint and model, some wood, plaster, and so on. I really appreciate the value that a great Production Designer can bring to a film.

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