In Search of the Perfect Dementia
Eric Huffstutler | Richmond, VA United States | 03/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is for the elusive Roan (Troma) DVD of "Dementia 13" (1963) issued in 2001. The movie itself has fallen into public domain years ago and was said by the producer Roger Corman, that the original elements have been lost. This is not the case but there was bad blood between Corman and Francis Ford Coppola (director) producing this movie that he may have simply swept it under the rug leaving us with a generally shared master that over the years has been well worn. There are tell-tale signs that one original print master was used and others made from it hinted by damages in the same exact spots.
The Roan version is said to be "The Best" out there but it is far from perfect. The compression level is better than all others with blacks being solid. The audio level is low and there is a lot of "screen door" veil over the lighter solid areas. This is the Holy Grail of Roan DVDs and fetches high prices. It has the odd and rare movie trailer along with a couple of lame extras and a so-so commentary. Supposed to be widescreen, you hardly notice due to the odd ratio (supposed to be 1:66 but closer to 1:50). Another version put out by the now defunct Diamond Entertainment is identical but shows some compression yet acceptable unless you view it on a 1080p HD set. Even the Treeline version that comes in the 50-Movie packs (now Mill Creek) has a very good transfer considering but again minor compression artifacting (even viewed in HD). These two can be great alternate choices over the hard to find Roan and a LOT cheaper. Only hardcore buffs should invest in the Roan version.
By chance an eBay seller had one at a descent non-gouging price so I landed on it quickly to add to my collection. It will be my #1 copy right now until an official release (if ever) comes from MGM and you can throw away all the others not mentioned above. I have compared at least 8 different versions and the above three are the best out of the bunch!
Too bad that Roan has gotten out of the 'B' horror movie business restoring the lesser known and nearly forgotten public domain titles from decades past. Many were top notch but again, Roan's "Dementia 13" does fall a bit short which may be one reason it was short lived and now scarce?
Eric S. Huffstutler
S. Sizemore | Indiana | 04/08/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I only paid $0.50 for this copy and that's about what it's worth. I am not going to complain too much because I do have a copy for my collection. But, the picture is not very clear and the film skips, no joke. Also, the pictures on the back of the DVD do not match the movie, the pictures are in color and are not actual pictures of the movie. Only get this if you only want to pay $0.50 for it."