Cinepocalypse 2017: Producer's Challenge


Alcohol has aided all kinds of great human achievements. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida only has such a great title because the lead singer of Iron Butterfly was too drunk while recording to enunciate. The pet rock was conceived by two drunks in a bar. Ulysses S. Grant won the Civil War with a BAC that was half alcohol and half chaser. And, at some point in September, Cinepocalypse creative director Josh Goldbloom and film producer J.D. Lifshitz of BoulderLight Pictures were having drinks in England, both in town for Frightfest, trying to figure out how to get one of J.D.'s films into Cinepocalypse this year. Goldbloom concocted "The Producer's Challenge" and dared the prolific J.D. to conceive, write, shoot and edit a film specifically to play Cinepocalypse at midnight in only two months. J.D. foolishly accepted.

What resulted was Dementia: Part Two, a semi-sequel but mostly-frivilous goof on BoulderLight's 2015 film Dementia. That was a serious horror film. Dementia: Part Two is anything but. It follows Wendell (Matt Mercer), a recently paroled felon who takes a job as a handyman, tasked with clearing out Suzanne Goldblum's (Suzanne Voss) clogged pipes. This gets harder when Suzanne's dementia starts to kick in, and even harder than that when her dementia is revealed to actually be some sort of recursive zombism that turns on and off at random. Dementia: Part Two is a dark horror comedy that thrives on cringe-worthy situations and Suzanne Voss is it's secret weapon. She walks thin lines between pathetic and irritating, horny and gross, lucid and clueless. To the extent that the comedy works at all, it is usually due to her performance and game willingness to look absolutely disgusting and get covered in blood, slime, spit and vomit. Dementia: Part Two has a nasty, mean-spirited sense of humor and always errors on the side of indulging every nasty gerontophobic thought you've ever had.

Of course, given it's crazed production schedule, it's not a surprise that Dementia: Part Two feels like a trifle. It was written in two days, shot in six and what resulted is unsurprisingly similar to an old Corman programmer. One location, four characters, long takes, short running time, lots of black humor and blood; hell, it's even in black and white. What made it special was attending a film festival at midnight on a Monday, seeing a film tailor made for that exact moment. It's the sort of thing that can only happen at a genre festival like Cinepocalypse, even if it's far from the greatest thing playing there.

There are no screencaps from Dementia: Part Two. It's nowhere on the internet and doesn't even have an IMDB page. Frankly, it wouldn't be surprising if it just vanished off the face of the Earth after last night's screening. Instead, I've included screencaps from films it reminded me of.