The film opens with a narrator, welcoming the viewer to explore the horrors of an insane mind. These will be the only words spoken throughout the entire film. A young woman wakes up in a seedy motel room, apparently with no real recollection of how she got there. Subsequently, the rest of the film chronicles her night as she wanders the streets of Skid-Row, having encounters with various shady individuals, though she appears to be the most dangerous of all. Dementia is a wildly imaginative, haunting exercise in horror which seemed to break and manipulate nearly every typical horror convention used in narrative filmmaking at the time. The viewer is given a first class seat into the exploration of a mind which has been completely ravaged of morality. The film is very much from our demented heroine's point of view often blurring the lines between reality and imagination. Shot in a very Noir aesthetic, the film is full of expressionistic lighting, some elaborate cinematography and editing techniques that were more commonly found in experimental cinema at the time. Some of these techniques disorient and confuse the viewer, much like how the young woman is constantly unsure of where reality ends and her imagination begins. All aspects of the visual design are very impressive at helping to create this dire atmosphere while giving great perspective into the mind of this woman. The flashback sequence is my favorite section of the film, where we get to see where she comes from: her abusive father and not so good-natured mother whom he subsequently murders. These sequences take place in a cemetery where the furniture and actors look like they are in a stage play. We know this woman is disturbed, even witnessing some of her crimes, yet the film does show how she is bi-product of her turbulent past, though the film never excuses her simply because of the environment she came from. Dementia is essentially an experimental film that relies on a very basic structured narrative to beautifully give the viewer a detailed view of a warped mind.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.