With "Delirium", director Lamberto Bava continues to follow in the footsteps of his legendary father Mario Bava, by making a film that is related to his father's hit "Blood and Black Lace". As that film took place in the world of fashion modeling, as does "Delirium", except without the fashions...
In the film, buxom (to say the very least) Italian star Serena Grandi plays Gioia, a former nude model who is now the owner of "Pussycat" Magazine. (Can I say that here?) (Apparently, she inherited the magazine from her late husband.) All is well until someone begins to murder the magazine's models. To make matters worse, the killer photographs the corpses in front of a giant poster of Gioia. As the body count mounts, it becomes apparent that the killer is moving in on Gioia. But who can the killer be?
As with most of Lamberto Bava's films (except for duds like "Devilfish". I mean, have you seen "Devilfish"?), "Delirium" moves along at a nice pace. The first murder happens almost immediately, and the ones that follow are sprinkled liberally throughout the movie. And, as luck would have it, the movie never misses an opportunity to have a model shed her clothes! Bava does add an interesting touch, by allowing the viewer to see the killer's distorted take on reality. This makes the first killing very memorable.
The story isn't very original, and the ending (as is typically the case in giallo) doesn't make much sense. (We never learn exactly why the killer has been killing.) Although, I must admit, I was a sucker for the film's red-herrings. Another giallo standard that is featured here is a certain level of depravity, as Gioia is tormented by her wheelchair-bound neighbor.
Bava has wisely filled the cast with faces that will be familiar to fans of the genre. Aside from Ms. Grandi (who also appeared in Joe D'Amato's "Antropophagous") and her big talent(s), the film features Argento regular Daria Nicolodi; David Brandon from Michel Soavi's "Stagefright"; and George Eastman AKA Luigi Montefiori, a man can't seem to say no to Joe D'Amato, no matter what he's asked to do. This veteran cast adds an extra layer of polish to the film and makes it all the more fun for giallo fans.
"Delirium" brings nothing new to the giallo genre (that would actually be quite a feat), but it is a good example of how these films mix sex and violence.
"Delirium" stabs its way onto DVD courtesy of the Shriek Show arm of Media Blasters. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image here is surprisingly clear, and for the most part, free from grain. There are some minor defects from the source material, but these shouldn't interfere with the viewing experience. Gioia wears several colorful outfits in the film, and those colors come across quite well here. The image is slightly dark at times, but otherwise, this is a good transfer.
The "Delirium" DVD offers a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack. This track provides clear dialogue (except for the fact that I thought the main characters name was "Gloria"), but there is a frightful amount of hissing and popping on this track. It literally sounds like the audio track is on vinyl. The popping is so loud at one point, my wife thought that someone was in our house! Despite this problem, the track is well-balanced, showing no distortion and no instances where the dialogue is drowned out.
It seems that Media Blasters always tries to add a little something to their releases, and Delirium is no exception. We start with three interviews with director Lamberto Bava (12 minutes) and actors George Eastman (8 minutes) and David Brandon (12 minuntes). Here, they discuss their memories of working on "Delirium"...or should I say attempt to discuss their memories, as none of them have anything incredibly specific to say about the film. Bava discusses his career, Eastman says "North Carolina" (which totally threw me for a loop) and Brandon rambles. These interviews are interesting, but they don't yield a great deal of information.
Next up is a text essay by director Scooter McCrae entitled "Inside Delirium". This brief read takes an inside look at the film. This is followed by text bios for Brandon, Eastman, Bava, Grandi, and Nicolodi. The extras are rounded out by a still gallery which contains 11 images.
In his interview, director Lamberto Bava discusses the fact that "Delirium" is shown on Italian TV a great deal, as it's not to frightening or violent. That's a good way to describe the film. Think of this as "giallo lite". It has all of the familiar trappings of the genre, and may be a good starting place for those who aren't ready for "Deep Red".