The independent film written, produced, and directed by John Parker known as DAUGHTER OF HORROR is actually a slightly altered version of the 57-minute feature known as DEMENTIA, most famously recognized as that flick all the kids were watching at the theater in THE BLOB (1958). This was unknown to me as I watched the former variant on Youtube, though whatever impact the additional three minutes have on the film’s content seems to be minimal based on other reviews. The film as it is, by either title, is the kind of picture that would be best viewed in the early morning hours, the time when television stations air the material too taboo and bizarre to be taken in during daylight, the time when the need for sleep gnaws at you, your eyes unsure if the images before you are the remnants of some half-remembered dream. Ironically, there were a few times when I found myself nodding off during this one, though I think this is due more to a personal failing than any within the actual film. Parker’s noirish nightmare as filtered through the narrated musings of a demonic beatnik does have a slight tendency to meander; one is never clear whether there’s an endgame involved here. This is different than, say, CARNIVAL OF SOULS (1962) or ERASERHEAD (1977), two movies that are dark cousins to Parker’s in theme and aesthetic but both possessing a forward momentum for all of their disturbing tangents. The fact that DAUGHTER OF HORROR blends German Expressionism with the urban grittiness that powered the dark dramas of the previous decade should have made this a grand slam for me, but I kept feeling I was always just out of step with the vibe that it was trying to achieve. Its final moments are nicely hellish, realizing as it does that there are few things more unnerving than a room full of laughing people all staring at you. Maybe next time I’ll watch it alone, in the dark, away from all the pleasantries of normal life so that I, like our poor deranged protagonist, can better live in the pulsing, throbbing world of the insane mind where only nightmares are real.

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