Horror Movie Review: Delirium (1987)

Notable, not just for being a video nasty, Delirium (Italian: Le foto di Gioia, lit. ’Photos of Gioia’) is an erotic slasher Giallo from legendary director Lamberto Bava.

Its cast is made up of noteworthy nasty names; the likes of George Eastman and Daria Nicolodi, Bava regulars like Karl Zinny and Lino Salemme, and several Italian sex symbols, namely Serena Grandi and Sabrina Salerno.

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Not only that, while Delirium is a slasher at heart, Bava wanted to do something a little different with this giallo. Namely, exploring a killer’s perception of their victims. Just what do they see before they murder someone? It’s a really interesting idea, used here to create some really interesting visual features.

Gloria (Serena Garndi), a former model, is the owner of the adult-themed magazine, Pussycat. With a bunch of attractive models, a hard-working crew and plenty of money, Gloria lives a successful life. Something that is upended when an unknown killer starts to target the magazine’s models. Not only that, but the killer also then taunts Gloria by sending her pictures of the deceased model posed in front of one of Gloria’s shots.

There’s clearly a link to Gloria, her past and the magazine, but no-one seems capable of finding it. This killer isn’t going to stop though, and Gloria begins to suspect that the end goal might be to kill her.

Story-wise, it sounds par for the course, especially when you compare it to every other slasher that exists around this time. Yet, Delirium tells a character driven, sexy and sleazy tale that captivates thanks to the lavish locations and mystery surrounding the killer’s identity. These are the elements that Delirium does so well, and when you throw in the visual nightmare that is the killer’s POV, you really get something special.

That being said, its over-reliance on nudity, terrible cop characters and occasional silly kill (bees?) does make it drag in places. There are a few moments where you can’t help but feel like it should be snappier and that it’s losing momentum. Then there is the killer reveal, which is really hard to swallow, thanks to a lack of detail elsewhere in the film. Without giving it away, it’s also the area that probably saw the movie fall foul of the censors.

These issues stop Delirium being a great movie but it is still a very good one. A product of its time, a Giallo through and through.

Delirium (1987)
  • The Final Score - 6.5/10
User Review
7.98/10 (4 votes)