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Delirium - aka Le foto di Gioia
Directed by Lamberto Bava with a story credit given to Luciano Martino, Delirium (or, Delirium: Photo Of Gioia, if you prefer) opens with a sexy photo shoot for Pussycat magazine, an adult publication run by a former model named Gloria (played by Serena Grandi and named Gioia in the Italian version, thus explaining the alternate title) left to her by her late husband. Things seem fine in Gloria's life. She doesn't want for money, her business is quite successful, and she's as beautiful as she is popular.
And then the murders start. The first to go is a blonde model, taken out with a pitchfork and left dead, floating in Gloria's pool. The cops come and investigate but there aren't many clues. The young man next door (Karl Zinni), bound to a wheelchair, saw something. He tells the cops that the culprit was a blonde. The next day, Gloria receives photos of the victim's corpse posed in front of a giant blow up photo of Gloria herself. After that, a model named Sabrina (played by Italian pop star Sabrina Salerno), sleeps with Gloria's brother (David Brandon), who also works as her photographer. When he can't get it up, he gets angry, but she encourages him to just laugh it off and ensures him that she'll take care of him. Shortly after, as she struts about her apartment in the nude, someone lets a horde of killer bees into the room and she turns out to be victim number two. The next day, her office manager Evelyn (Daria Nicolodi) hands her an envelope with another set of pictures in it. While this is going on, Gloria tries to rekindle what she once had with an actor named Alex (George Eastman).
Someone clearly has a grudge against Gloria… but who? And why?
Sleazy even by the standards of the Italian Giallo films, Delirium is never the less very stylish and quite engaging. The murder set pieces are over the top in the best possible way and the film has more female flesh on display than you can shake a stick at. At times the move comes pretty close to softcore territory, leaving little to the imagination. Ms. Grandi herself, never one to be described as bashful, is genuinely good in the role. She's not only incredibly fetching but has a decent screen presence here. She looks the part and she plays it well. Karl Zinny is fun as the pervy neighbor, always spying on Gloria through his telescope, while David Brandon is great as the brother. Throw in a supporting role from an underused Daria Nicolodi and another supporting role from an oversexed George Eastman and this one winds up with a strong cast.
The plot comes second to the visuals, however, and there are times where it's clear that maybe this didn't have quite the budget it should have had. Bava makes sure that everything looks good though. The compositions are strong and the use of color in the film is impressive (as are the strange sequences when we see the victims as aliens or insects through the eyes of the killer!). The film also features a great, if completely quirky, score from composer Simon Boswell. If the story is a bit on the predictable side, so be it, as everything else works well enough to easily hold our attention.
Code Red reissues Delirium on Blu-ray framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation taken from a ‘2016 HD master with extensive and painstaking color correction.' Generally speaking the movie looks very good on Blu-ray, a lot better than the old Media Blasters DVD. There are no compression artifacts or issues with noticeable edge enhancement. There might be a little bit of DNR here and there but it could also be some slightly soft camera work. It's a bit tough to tell. Regardless, the image is strong. Colors really pop here, reds in particular look excellent but the entire range of colors used in the movie looks excellent. Also, both detail and texture advance quite handily over previous DVD editions of the film. Code Red has done a great job here.
The only audio option for the disc is an DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, in English, with no alternate language or subtitle options provided. This track sounds fine. There's the occasional bit of mild hiss but if you're not listening for it you're not likely to notice. Dialogue is clean and clear and the effects all sound quite good. Simon Boswell's score, a big part of what makes this movie as bizarre and interesting as it is, also gets a nice bump up in quality, there's strong depth to it.
Extras start off with a few new interviews, starting with an eighteen-minute piece called Snapshots Of A Murder wherein Lamberto is interviewed about directing the film. He talks about working with the different cast and crew members and his thoughts on the movie overall. Eastman shows up in the nine-minute Stories From A Bathtub featurette where literally just trashes the film and pretty much everyone who worked on it. It's pretty funny. In the eight-minute Murders In The Red featurette, cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia speaks about working with Bava, what it was like on set and how he feels about the movie. The last of the new interviews is the thirteen-minute Inside Delirium piece with art director Massimo Antonello Geleg. He speaks about what he did on set and what he was responsible, some of the people he worked with and his thoughts on the movie.
Carried over from the old DVD release are some vintage interviews with both Lamberto Bava and David Brandon. Each of these runs roughly twelve-minutes each and if you haven't seen them before they're definitely worth checking out. Also carried over is the eight-minute interview with Eastman where he talks about working with Bava and offers some memories from the shoot.
Menus and chapter selection are also provided, as are a trailer bonus trailers for some other Code Red releases.
Delirium isn't a top tier giallo but it is a seriously stylish and sleazy eighties entry in the cannon and it's strange enough to stand out from the pack. Bava keeps the movie going at a good pace, Boswell's score is awesome and the lovely Ms. Grandi carries the movie well. Code Red' Blu-ray has some nice extras and it does look and sound quite good, making this one easy to recommend to fans of giallo films or Italian exploitation pictures.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.