Dementia, by John Parker
Oddities Cycle – Sala Gòtica
Dementia is the only film of obscure director John Parker, and it is the freakiest film of this cycle. The shooting ended in 1953 but the premiere did not take place until 1955. In order to skip censorship they made four different versions of the film, the most popular of which will be in our cycle, produced by Jack H. Harris, including some cuts and the addition of an off voice leading the story as well as the subtitle Daughter of Horror.
For several reasons, this little jewel has become a cult film. There is not need to take present day indie cinema seriouly, Dementia was produced with the director’s mum’s savings and most of the cast were amateur actors or just non-actors, as is the case of protagonist Adrienne Barrett who allegedly was the director’s secretary and did not perform in any further films. The film is fascinating and upsetting with a photography that takes us to Edgar G. Ulmer’s low cost noir cinema, German expressionism and Buñuel and Dali’s surrealism (very adequate for this year’s edition of the festival).
Bruno VeSota seemed Ordon Welles’s doppelganger and was the most experienced member of the cast. Allegedly, he even had a deep influence in the final result of the film. In 1955 he directed a noir, Female Jungle, with Lawrence Tierney, Jayne Mansfield and John Carradine. Later on, he used to work for Roger Corman and directed The Brain Eaters (1958) and Invasion of the Star Creatures (1962), two essential works for psychotronics film lovers.
Moreover, we must mention the uncredited presence of actors like Aaron Spelling, who was bound to become a successful television producer, and Angelo Rossito, with a long career spanning from Freaks (Tod Browning, 1932) to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (George Miller, 1985).
Original title: Dementia (Daughter of horror)
Running time: 56 min.
Country: United States
Director: John Parker
Screenwriter: John Parker
Music: George Antheil
Cinematography: William C. Thompson (B&W)
Cast: Adrienne Barrett, Bruno VeSota, Ben Roseman, Richard Barron, Ed Hinkle, Lucille Rowland
Producer: H.K.F. Productions / J.J. Parker Productions / Exploitation Pictures