Gloria used to be a famous model, but now that she owns her own magazine some is picking off her girls in a cruel and savage manner. The pictures that the killer sends to her tell that her death is the final endgame, but why? And who is behind the murders?
So now we’re up to the 29th release from 88’s ever-growing Italian Collection. 29 releases and already this is Lamberto Bava’s 3rd feature in the series, with Blastfighter (1984) at a cool No. 4 and A Blade In The Dark (1983), another giallo at a dastardly No.6. To me, Blade always felt like a distant cousin of Argento’s 1975 classic Deep Red crossbred with father Mario’s A Bay of Blood (1971), so I knew to be excited for the opening of No. 29
I may be alone in this, I may not, but I’m sure that for whatever reason there are a small straight-faced Italian horror loving few who occasionally think to themselves: are all those shots of tits’n’arse really necessary? Of course they are! Sex sells tickets. But in the case of Delirium, I’d venture to say that the majority of the film’s nudity actually does serve an important purpose to the story. Unfortunately this isn’t made apparent until the killer’s identity is revealed.
One of the standout elements of the movie is the killer’s warped perception of reality and their victims. Some of the imagery is quite jarring, an example of which you can find on the back side of one of those infamous slipcases that those find oh so desirable.
What I liked most about Delirium though while it is inspired by the greats that came before, such as Argento, it puts these influences to ample use and doesn’t make the same mistakes. This movie kept me guessing its whodunnit mystery right up to the final reveal, and rather infuriatingly it got me with a trick that a certain slasher series duped me with twice in the space of only 3 films. Whereas with Argento, it was only too easy to notice the woman in the mirror in Deep Red or the wicked smile on the girl’s lips at the opening of The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970). And if I have just spoiled these movies for you, then you probably have no business touching 88’s Italian range yet!
There is some great cinematography here by Lamberto’s long-time collaborator Gianlorenzo Battaglia. Try saying that awesome name five times fast when you’re drunk! Some of his work here produces some very modern shots that would work very well in today’s acclaimed television shows. A strong example of which I find to be the wide shot of Gloria’s response to finding a body in her swimming pool in the third act.
This movie now sits firmly in my Top 10 all-time favourite gialli.