Directed by Lamberto Bava / Shriek Show / SS-SL REG. 1 NTSC DVD / 1.78:1 (16:9) / DD Stereo / Rel. 2-26-2002 / MSRP $19.96

Toward the end of the eighties, Lamberto Bava attempted to steer his films away from the graphic intensity of Demons and Blade In The Dark and toward a more psychological approach to terror. One of the products of this new attitude was the reserved yet still effective Delirium: Photo of Gioia.

Gioia (Serena Grande), a former fashion photographer and now owner of a prominent men's magazine, is being haunted by some deviant person who's slowly offing her models. After carrying out the crimes the murderer sends Grande grotesque photographs of the victim's bodies posed before a gigantic glamour portrait of herself. Not helping her already delicate condition is her overbearing assistant (Daria Nicolodi), the tempermental photographer (David Brandon) and the weird kid who lives next door and may or may not be wheelchair-bound. George Eastman pops in as an old flame of Grande's who tries to start up their relationship again, possibly with hidden motives.

Regardless of the lack of immediate physical violence, Delirium isn't necessarily a bad film. One of the unique ideas Bava brought to the film was the concept of a distorted killer's POV which is full of weird hallucinations like giant eyes and naked women with huge bug heads. Most importantly there is the constant sexual presence of Grande to keep the film moving along. Some would say that the success of this film lies squarely atop those rather large assets of Ms. Grande which she so willingly displays throughout the movie. This film also features one of the last appearances of the tragic Italian model and actress Capucine.

Something about Delirium's style is out-of-place. The basic elements of a Giallo seem to be at hand though in such a diluted and mainstream form that it doesn't have the impact of far more explicit films. The generic Simon Boswell synthesizer score is as bad as ever (Boswell did much better work in Soavi's Stagefright). The inclusion of major stars like Eastman and Nicolodi in what amount to be cameos is confusing more than anything else. It's tame stuff, even compared to Mario's Bava's Blood and Black Lace which also dealt with the mysterious murders of fashion models. Delirium comes off as a nice, tv-friendly thriller with a few scares and some interesting nudity. It's a nice introduction to italian horror for some of your more squeamish friends but nothing more.

Shriek Show's new disc presents the film in a nice anamorphic widescreen image which accurately recreates the incredibly strong blue and red hues of the killer's vision as well as the composition of Bava's thoughtful cinematography. There is a slightly soft quality to the image which seems to be a symptom of the film's diffuse photographic style.

The main special feature on the disc are the interviews with Bava and actors David Brandon and George Eastman. All three of them seem slightly indifferent about their involvment in Delirium, with Eastman even remarking that he didn't like the character and did it as a favor to Bava. They all share interesting stories about their history in the Italian film industry and their honesty regarding the reality of filmmaking is refreshing.

While Bava states adamently in his interview that Delirium was one of the first italian film's mixed specifically for Dolby Stereo, the DD 2.0 track on this disc sounds essentially monophonic with little seperation between the channels. In a number of scenes there is a very low rumble of noise which is not too disturbing but still unsusual for a track supposedly mixed to such high quality standards.

Also included are a small gallery of production stills, a critical essay on the film by Scooter McCraey and trailers for the upcoming Shriek Show dvds Burial Ground, Sweet House of Horrors, House of Clocks and Buio Omega.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2002 John Hand. All rights Reserved.