Thursday, December 3, 2009

Delirium (1972)

Note- This review is for the international version of the film.

Renato Polselli (THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO SATAN) is known among euro-cult enthusiasts as a director who uses sex as a big part of his films. He doesn't shy away from showing sex, or being perverse with it. He doesn't make any exceptions with the madness known as DELIRIUM.

Produced during the rise of the giallo craze in Italy, DELIRIUM is mainly a giallo with dashes of polizioteschi and madness thrown in for good measure. The film starts out with some pretty typical murders, though this movie doesn't conceal the killers identity for the finale. As the murders unfold a witness is able to piece them together leading to one man.

Now anyone familiar with the giallo sub-genre won't think this is anything new, which for the most part its not, but its the last half hour that really gives this movie its feet. Throughout the film the lead character, Dr. Herbert Lutak (Mickey Hargitay) has an obsession with young women, and their necks to be precise. His wife, Marcia Lyutak (Rita Calderoni), has visions of orgies and torture. These visions are interlaced throughout the film adding to the feeling of insanity. When the climax begins to build, it really is full on madness. It seems every main character in the film loses their mind and descends into a state of delirium. I have never seen anything like it in another film, where that many main characters end up in that state.

Its not an easy movie to review after only one watch, and take out the subplot of insanity and you have little more than a middle-of-the-road giallo but Polselli adds in his little touches that make the movie something more. It will probably leave you with some questions, and a second viewing is most certainly in order, but DELIRIUM was a film that lived up to its name.


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