Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Herbert Lyutack (Mickey Hartigay) is a respected criminal psychologist, but he has a darker side that causes him to be like those he studies. You see, his mind has become twisted and he has turned into a sex maniac, but he doesn’t just have a lot of sex. Instead, Herbert forces himself on women, rapes them in brutal fashion, and then murders them in a blood soaked rage, though he sometimes takes things in a more sick, sadistic direction. He might try to pleasure the woman as he kills her slowly, simply to satisfy his own perverse desires. At the same time, his beautiful wife Marcia (Rita Calderoni) is having some mental issues of her own, via a continuous cycle of horrific visions and dreams. Marcia’s visions involve medieval torture techniques and lustful lesbian orgies, with the visions getting more perverse as time passes. But then again, her husband’s actions have also been getting more twisted and sadistic, leading toward a state of total dementia, but can anything be done to end his reign of terror?
This release is likely to slide under the radar of even genre fans, but it should find some new life on DVD, as Delirium is one wild motion picture. While not a traditional horror movie, Delirium has terror to burn and plays like a slasher film at times, with misogynist tones and high levels of blood soaked violence. So if you’re a staunch feminist or some politically correct yahoo, you’ll want to steer clear of Delirium, no doubt about it. But if you have an open mind however, the film offers some memorable moments and was shot with ample style, making it well worth a look. The visuals are bathed in vivid, psychedelic colors and often impressive cinematography, which adds to the impact and atmosphere, of course. When you add in liberal doses of sex, lesbianism, torture, and a few infamous scenes, Delirium has more than enough to offer a genre fan. This release contains both the trimmed American version and the uncut & uncensored Italian edition, which means we can finally see the entire picture, as envisioned by director Renato Polselli. I recommend this to fans of slasher movies and giallo pictures, but make sure you watch the uncut version first.
A name that cult movie fans should recognize, Rita Calderoni has been a few genre pictures of cult classic status, including this one, of course. Her acting talents might be measure up to upper tier performers, but within material like this, Calderoni could more than hold her own. Then again, all she needs to do is look good, scream well, and act as if she is terrified, but she is able to do all three without flaw, so I can’t complain much. Calderoni is always fun to watch thanks to her beautiful face and gorgeous body, but in Delirium, the sex scenes aren’t erotic in the traditional sense, so don’t expect normal sexual content here. Even so, Calderoni is a pleasure to watch and of course, was a wise choice for this role. Other films with Calderoni include End of the Game, Nude for Satan, Lover of the Monster, and The Reincarnation of Isabel. The cast also includes Mickey Hartigay (Primitive Love, Bloody Pit of Horror), Tano Cimarosa (Reflections in Black, Cinema Paradiso), and Christa Barrymore (The Reincarnation of Isabel).
Video: How does it look?
Delirium is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This might be a lesser known, cult level picture, but as per usual, Anchor Bay has given it the best possible visual presentation. I saw some minor grain and a few nicks & marks on the print, but given the film’s age & low profile, I am surprised the materials look this good. The black levels are razor sharp and even in the darkest of scenes, detail is accurate and contrast remains well balanced. The wild color scheme is well covered also, with bright hues and natural flesh tones, as well as no hints of bleeds or oversaturation. I never expected Delirium to look this good, but scratch another up to Anchor Bay’s list of superb cult film transfers.
Audio: How does it sound?
The American version (which runs 85 minutes) includes an English mono option, which is a dub track and as expected, sounds silly most of the time. The Italian edition (which runs 102 minutes) has the original Italian language track and optional English subtitles, which works out better in all respects. In terms of technical merit however, neither will win any audio performance awards, though we shouldn’t expect them to. The music and sound effects come through well enough, while dialogue is clean and clear at all times. Aside from the humorous dub work on the English language track, the audio is respectable on both versions.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes The Theorem of Delirium, a fourteen minute featurette with new interviews with director Renato Polselli & star Mickey Hartigay.