Tagline: "Not ONE WORD is spoken on the screen!"
Directed by: John Parker
"Producer–writer–director John Parker is only credited as producer in the titles. In later years, actor and associate producer Bruno VeSota claimed to have co-written and co-directed the film with Parker." - Wiki
Dementia was produced in 1953, but was only released until 1955. It was also slightly altered and re-titled Daughter of Horror, with an added narration read by comedian Ed McMahon.
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"Come with me into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane. This is my world. Let me lead you into it. Let me take you into the mind of a woman who is mad. You may not recognize some things in this world, and the faces will look strange to you. For this is a place where there is no love, no hope...in the pulsing, throbbing world of the insane mind, where only nightmares are real, nightmares of the Daughter of Horror!"
|The first scene already gives you the entire mood of the film. The flickering lights that cast shadow on and off in the Gamin's room, symbolizing how her mind works as well.|
The cast is perfect. Each of them gives of a sinister feel to the movie, from a leering expression to every smirk or eye acting - perfect. Adrienne Barrett as The Gamin is really commendable. Even without the narration (which I would really love to see, I just can't find a copy), her portrayal of a disturbed or demented young woman is amazing. The camera angles and the play on shadow & light also gave her smirking face a very chilling sinister, sadistic look.
The musical score is the main reason why I wasn't bored at all. It's like a rollercoaster ride while seeing the equally rollercoaster ride of a story & visuals. It plays with your senses. Its dynamics parallels that what you're currently seeing. The crescendo and diminuendo constantly interchanges along with the continuously alternating play of light and dark photography and the sudden shifts of the psychotic mind of The Gamin played very well on each scenes. It keeps your heart racing and your focus never waning when one moment you hear the soft haunting sensuality of the music, then next thing you know, the same score becomes a shade creepier and puts you in a mind-altering, almost psychedelic mood.
- The newspaper scene with the midget.
- the scene with the flower girl where The Gamin puts something in her flower basket. Her expression. :)
- The Graveyard Scene: this is my favorite part... The Twilight Zone feel made me uber nostalgic, and the creepy faceless demon, and the humorously campy narration as The Gamin was reminded of her past, then the camera zooms in on her parents' gravestones, funnily yet creepily labelled only as "Father" & "Mother". The re-enactment scenes were so much fun to watch.
- The Chase Scene: that shaky spotlight shot was a nice touch. I love it. And that dog running after The Gamin, hahahahah. Cute.
- The jazz band scene felt prolonged, but it's one of the best parts of the movie because it had so many interesting shots, and it summarized the paranoid schizophrenic state of mind of our anti-heroine.
It's true that the narration cheapened the movie a bit, but it's not reason enough for one not to watch this film. Sometimes I find it annoying to hear the narrator and his cheesy lines, but there are also times when what he's saying gives a more noir flavor to the scene, and I love it. The underrated, obscure status of this cult classic astounds me as this is one of the most entertaining, highly experimental "silent movie" I've seen. It may not be as sophisticated as other highly acclaimed movies of the same genre, but it sure has it's own interesting style. The weirdness is like a rich chocolate cake that beckons to you and urges you to just wanna indulge. So what are you waiting for? C'mon, take a bite. =D
My Rating: 4/5
"Safe. Safe? At last. Yes, you are safe... in another hallucination of your crazed mind."
Dementia or Daughter of Horror? Which do you prefer?
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