Delirium (1987)

This stalk and slash flick stars a woman that some genius dubbed the “Dolly Parton of Italy.” Having seen some of Straight Talk, I can assure each and every one of you that the woman in this movie (Serena Grandi) is just like an Italian Dolly Parton because she can’t act either.

During the course of the ten minute interview with director Lamberto Bava on this DVD, he readily admits that she wasn’t the seasoned actress of co-star Daria Nicolodi, but I think any of us that saw her performance in the lingerie-clad “my brother is trying to rape me scene” will tell you that she more than filled out the requirements of that particular sequence!

Grandi plays Gioia, the well-endowed owner of classy men’s magazine Pussycat. If there is any doubt as to where the focus of this movie is going to be, it’s put to rest when the opening credits play over a series of topless photos of the star!

Before becoming a female Larry Flynt, Gioia was part of the meat market, a centerfold who used to model while her brother, Tony, played her agent/pimp. She met and married some rich fellow who died tragically in one of those speedboat accidents that rich dummies with young, sexy wives always seem to be having and somehow she ended up owning Pussycat.

Since this is 1987 and way before the Internet killed the skin mag industry, Pussycat is quite popular and Gioia has a rich broad competitor that wants to purchase it from her. There is some type of past with these two and I guess that Gioia worked for her once before as a model because this woman drops all these “I made you” and “If it wasn’t for me you’d be in bad Italian horror movies or a hooker or something” comments on her and demands that Gioia sell her the magazine.

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The old hag that wants to buy Pussycat is just one of many potential killers in the film. There’s Gioia’s brother, Tony. There’s the photographer named Mark. There’s this crippled pervert neighbor. There’s also the no-account boyfriend of Gioia’s named Alex. George Eastman (2019: After The Fall Of New York, The New Barbarians) plays him and his character is an actor who appears in movies about as bad as Delirium.

With all the suspects lined up, we need to start killing topless models. Bava probably thinks that he was doing something different with this movie because we see things with the killer’s mind whenever the killer is stalking some Pussycat model. This means that the lighting turns to some funky color and that the head of the woman the killer is after he’s after turns into a variety of monstrous things.

There’s never any real significance attached to the fact that the killer sees these women as different than they truly are and it doesn’t happen often enough to be integral to the plot. The film is such a lazy, uninspired effort that it doesn’t even try to fill time with a predictably laughable psycho babble explanation of any of it!

The first girl gets killed with a pitchfork and dumped in Gioia’s pool. The crippled neighbor boy sees some of this and calls Gioia on the phone to let her know that dang model has gone and crapped up her big fancy pool and that the killer had blonde hair. Usually, you would believe a crippled boy when he tells you something like this, but she doesn’t!

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Why? Maybe because this crippled boy spends most of his time spying on Gioia and calling her up and saying crude and vulgar things to her. We also learn that this kid isn’t really crippled but that it is all in his mind. This has nothing to do with the plot and he’s still cruising around in his wheelchair at the end of the movie so I’m not sure if it was mentioned to throw suspicion on him or what.

Later at the Pussycat offices, they get a picture in the mail of a dead model posed in front of a blown up picture of Gioia. Once the news gets out that the centerfold is dead, sales of that issue shoot right up and Gioia’s assistant Evelyn orders that they go back to press for another printing to meet demand! Could Evelyn be killing the models to up newsstand sales?

Soon another model turns up dead and she is also posed in front of a blown up photo of Gioia. Could the killer be the weirdo photographer? He knows how to take pictures you know! Plus the police break into his studio and find a big blown up photo of Gioia!

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The police immediately phone Gioia with the good news that it is her photographer that is killing off all the models and not to let him in if he shows up to kill her. As soon as she hangs up, there’s a banging at the door and someone is demanding to be let in!

This movie is about as thin as the flimsy dresses that Gioia lounges around her house in. Nothing goes on in Delirium other than some models getting killed. When Bava points out in an interview on the DVD that having the murder victims have insect heads on is one of the big attributes of the movie (along with Grandi’s ample attributes of course), it really puts in perspective how little this film has going for it.

The movie also fails to muster up much in the way of scares. People we don’t know or care about are killed as distracting guitar riffs are playing and there isn’t even any imaginatively staged violence that you would find in earlier, better giallo flicks like in Dario Argento‘s Deep Red. Perhaps understandably, Bava would drift into directing four straight TV movies following this project.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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