Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dementia aka Daughter Of Horror

A woman sleeps in her high heels in a drawing of a skid-row hotel, then ventures out in the night armed with a switchblade knife in this nearly silent noir thriller. After encountering an unattended infant in a stairwell, the woman reads a newspaper with the headline "Mysterious Stabbing", and I had almost nothing to do with it and you can't pin this rap on me.

The woman continues to wander about and chain-smokes. Someone gets an alleyway beat-down for some unknown reason, and someone does an awkward rhumba that very nearly but not quite shows her underpants. The narrator continues narrating and says something about demons possessing your soul, and I have to stress that I had almost nothing to do with it. I wasn't even in town that week, and I have some shady alibis to back me up. Anyway, avant-garde composer George Antheil's spooky score keeps doing whatever it is that it's doing, and the woman shows up in a fog-enshrouded cemetery. Finally, we might see a little actual horror. Nope, no such luck. Then the narrator says, "Let me show you your mother", and that doesn't seem right at all.

So, the mother is reading a glamour magazine and daddy is looking for a little humpty-dumpty, but she decides against it considering this is a hallucination in a cemetery and that seems like the first reasonable thing anyone has done in this movie. Dad suggestively shows mom a little burned-out stub of a cigar, and she laughs. There are a few more cigars of various lengths, but almost no one laughs at them. Then a guy eats chicken off the bone in extreme close-up and gets a bad case of the meat-sweats, there's another strategically placed cigar, some seltzer erupts, and I'm getting a vaguely Freudian subtext from this flick that I can't quite put my finger on. Beats the heck out of me.

Anyway, Dementia is overwrought and unintentionally humorous. It features stark lighting, deep shadows, and many Dutch angles. I'm assuming Dementia is a scare film warning the viewer against the perils of smoking, eating too many chicken legs, being chased through the streets by a slow-moving squad car and a small dog, accidentally finding a severed head in a basket of flowers, or voiceover narration, but I could be wrong. I have no idea what happened in Dementia, but it looks pretty good doing it and it's recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

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