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"Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

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"Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Old 09-24-23, 11:47 PM
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"Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge



Dementia (1955)




Selected by clckorang


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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2023 DISCUSSION | 2023 LISTS
Old 10-09-23, 10:52 AM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This was my pick and also a first-time view. To be really honest, I read a description of it during a Kino sale and thought it sounded interesting. Realizing there was no dialogue was a surprise to me!

But no matter. I enjoy silent films a lot, so it didn't bother me. I thought this movie did well to make me feel uneasy right off the bat. Everything just felt kind of off. Then I was really shocked when the police officer came and beat the drunk. The movie really drew me in with its surreal imagery. And I'm not sure if it was the B&W, the silence, or a combination of both, but the violence really stood out to me. Perhaps my favorite moment in the film was at once funny and horrifying; it was when the killer put the severed hand in the flower woman's basket. The reaction from the flower woman was priceless.

With this film, Come True, and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, we seem to have hit on a somewhat dreamlike mini-theme among our subset films. You could maybe throw Possession in there, too.

This is a film I can definitely see revisiting. I'm interested in watching the alternate cut as well but unsure I'll get to it this month. I wish there was an audio commentary. I'd love to hear more about the film and the reaction to it.

So while I don't think this is a film that will be embraced by all, I really liked it, and it's one of my standout FTVs of this year's challenge so far.
Old 10-09-23, 10:12 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I had zero expectations or knowledge of this movie and all I could think about was Dementia 13 (and I don't remember liking it). Then when it appears that this movie is also going to be silent, I was not enthused.

But dammit if this movie hasn't been one of the best I have seen so far in this challenge! I thought it was fascinating and my eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. You can't look away for fear of missing an important or interesting scene...and this movie is full of both.

I can't say I completely understood each and every scene change and how they related but it made me want to watch it again and study it closer. It was well cast, edited and directed. And running just less than an hour, it never overstayed its welcome or dragged for me. I loved the music soundtrack as well.

I read that there is a different version with Ed McMahon, of all people, narrating it. I can't begin to imagine how that must ruin this experimental, unique film. I definitely won't be rushing to see that version.

It's funny because I see all these articles complaining since the "Me Too" movement that men are now portrayed in movies as dumb, aggressive, pieces of shit, weak, etc. Um...this movie was made almost 70 years ago. It appears many men are and have been exactly those things for a very long time. Nothing new. After watching this today and the couple of sleazy kids in The Burning yesterday, I hope at least some of these attitudes of accepting awful behavior by men are finally going away. Hopefully.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this flick. I watched it on Screambox and the transfer is amazing on it. Looks near pristine. I look forward to revisiting this one again in the future.

My rating: **** out of *****
Old 10-12-23, 12:56 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

More movies should open with a quote about the subjective nature of art.
The entirely silent nature of the film is bold and interesting and what a creepy score. The idea of it occurring across a psychological landscape of the woman is interesting but if we accept that interpretation is also feels cartoonish and exaggerated (says the male). The tracking shots and sense of motion across the film was compulsive and gives the feel of a journey beyond the context, overall almost phantasmagorical. The graveyard with representations of the dead is a cool visual anchored by the masked figure - horror really needs more abstract representations of literal death.
The idea that the film’s evil (or hero, depending) is a stacked cigar chomping guy in a suit feels dated and odd but maybe refreshingly so in a weird surreal sort of manner and it makes the violence that much more startling along with the jazz to follow (seeming to travel from barren death to most vibrant of settings then back again).
Dementia feels like a rich film I’ll have to think more about and might not mind revisiting (especially with it’s breezy 56 minute run time).
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Old 10-12-23, 03:05 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This was a nice change of pace. I wonder what was the reasoning for making this a "silent" film. Surely talkies were the norm by this period of film history. It's always interesting to see how filmmakers tackle certain challenges of storytelling and watching this made me realize how much of a crutch exposition through dialog can be for more contemporary films. I'd like to revisit this some day with an audio commentary that helps provide some context to the film and the environment in which it was made.
Old 10-12-23, 06:24 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

A fascinating film. I am not sure what to think about it. I guess i need to rewatch it
Old 10-12-23, 06:47 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

I'm not sure if anyone else noticed but during the scene where the protagonist is running away from the cops there appears to be a nearby dog who started chasing her in all of the commotion:



I was cracking up when I noticed.
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Old 10-12-23, 07:20 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

This should just be called The Horror of Jazz Music!

I watched the narrated version, and I'm not entirely sure what I just watched. There wasn’t much narration, but I don’t think I cares too much for it. It seemed like they had a 10 minute story filmed and needed to pad the time with extra filler.

Last edited by WillieMLF; 10-12-23 at 08:13 PM.
Old 10-12-23, 10:57 PM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

^Every review I read after watching this was to definitely watch the silent version and not the narrated version.
Old 10-13-23, 12:15 AM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

What an oddity. This film does a great job of capturing the concept of insanity solely through visuals. It's not always obvious what's really happening and what's being imagined by the protagonist. Even during flashbacks of her childhood, it's not clear what is truth and what is her fantasy of what happened. Did she actually kill her father? And then the police detective looks just like him. I thought it was very moody and effective.

The hand holding the necklace that she carries around then finds at the end -- that couldn't have been real because a hand doesn't easily detach from a dead body. I suppose it was symbolic.
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Old 10-17-23, 09:35 AM
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Re: "Dementia" Reviews/Discussion - 2023 Horror Challenge

Watched this last night. Not sure I understood all of it, but I think I liked it. Held my attention for sure. I don't have a lot of experience with silent film, so I was not sure what to expect. The runtime absolutely makes it fly by. I was like WTF when she starts laughing at "Mysterious Stabbings" newspaper headline. Then I chuckled myself when she is revealed to be the perpetrator. I liked that it goes in lots of different directions and you're not sure what actually happened though. May need to revisit.

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