Alumni Profile

Mike Testin | LAFS class of 2004 | Just released Dementia through IFC MIDNIGHT

Mike Testin (LAFS class of 2004) releases "Dementia" through IFC MIDNIGHT. It’s out on iTunes, VOD. 

The film stars Gene Jones (The Sacrament) as a war veteran named George, who, after suffering a stroke, is left in the care of Michelle (Kristina Klebefrom Tales of Halloween), a seemingly sweet nurse with a disturbing dark side. At the mercy of a psychopath with a hypodermic needle, Jones becomes a prisoner in his own home, caught in a sadistic game of cat and mouse.

Mike Testin: I have always found this film seriously creepy. I love how successful it is at putting the audience into Tim Robbins’ character’s perspective as he attempts to make sense of these crazy things that are happening to him. It’s very unsettling and jarring the way it jumps the audience across these drastically different periods of his life in a way that lets you know that he’s experiencing time or memory in a terrifying, simultaneous, or imagined way. I wanted to find a way toward suggesting that kind of fear of delusion with George in Dementia.”  

The fear of dependence is something I’m sure everyone can relate to. Add in elements like jealousy, or hatred, or revenge, and it becomes something else entirely. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford are so incredible in this film, with such richly layered performances. For me, it was about the Davis character [Baby Jane Hudson] and her process of slowly cutting Crawford [Blanche Hudson] from all outside contact and creating an intense dependence-based relationship that she could spin however she pleased. We tried to use a similar structure in Dementia where the nurse methodically shrinks the size of her once completely independent patient’s world.”

“I like the dynamics happening between Jimmy Stewart and the two Kim Novak characters, particularly the second one. It’s my personal favorite Hitchcock film and it only gets better the more you think about it. It’s so richly psychological in a way that really let’s you make what you want out of it. Also, it may have the most haunting ending of any film ever made, though Hitchcock had so many amazingly pitch black endings. There’s something about ending on an off-beat note that maybe raises a different set of questions that has always interested me and I tried to nudge Dementia in that direction a bit.”

NY Times gave it their critic’s pick of the week.

Hollywood Reporter gave us a strong review

And the LA Times was pretty decent as well.

And then the EW article was just put out today.


Los Angeles Film School Alumni Association