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on October 22, 2002
Not exactly a movie for the kiddies, I would consider 1972's Delirium to be some what of a grade B Giallo. The production is okay, the acting not bad, the dialogue average, but the violence is over the top with several grisly murder scenes. There is also way more nudity than your average Giallo.
There are two versions, the American (85 minutes) and the European (102 minutes). The American version starts out with the main character, Herbert Lyutak, getting wounded in Vietnam. The movie mixes stock footage from the war with newly filmed scenes in a pretty ungraceful job of editing. But we do learn that Herbert was born in Hungary and immigrated to the US in 1961 and joined the army in 1962. He has done three tours of duty in Vietnam and is a decorated, model soldier. He has been wounded and is being taken away in a helicopter. He is looking at a nurse and she changes into another woman who we soon find out is his wife, Marcia, played by the lovely Rita Calderoni (The Reincarnation of Isabel, Nude for Satan). Right after the credits we get to see Herbert pick up a girl in a bar and drive her out to a remote spot, chase her into a stream and then strip her and beat her to death. It's a pretty violent scene and not for the squeamish. Of course that could apply to almost every murder in this movie.
The European version really is quite different than the American release and I thought it had a more coherent story. Both versions are a bit confusing but the European version is more consistent. It also skips the whole Vietnam segment which wasn't very well done anyway. The endings are both quite different as well and a couple murders are filmed differently also.
I don't want to give away too much but we do know that Herbert murders a girl at the beginning of both versions and after that it is a bit of a cat and mouse with the cops who are trying to solve the murders along with Herbert who is a criminal psychologists and supposed to be helping them in the investigation. His wife starts having weird S&M dreams involving her husband as the sadist and their maid and another woman who we later find out is her niece. The three women fondle and kiss each other while Herbert watches. The editing from the dreams to reality is a bit confusing and at one point early in the film Herbert does beat and cut Marcia as a substitution for sex which he can't perform with his wife. He does seem troubled about his violent tendencies and does not want to unleash his murderous ways on his wife, but he does like looking at her throat which is a very enticing part of female anatomy for him.
The picture on the European version looks fine and is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen. The American version however is missing a couple sections of the original so Anchor Bay had to take some Dutch footage from a VHS copy and splice it in. So you are watching and all of a sudden the picture gets worse and there are Dutch subtitles! But we are talking only a couple minutes worth so it is pretty minor actually. There is also a recently filmed 14 minute interview with director and writer Renato Polselli and Actor Mickey Hargitay which is pretty good really. I watched the US version, then the interview, and then the European version of the film. I did have more of an appreciation for the film after the watching the interview and as I said earlier, the European version is overall a better and more coherent storyline. The US version is dubbed in English and the European version is in Italian with English subtitles. Overall not too bad if you like extreme Giallo. Not nearly as good as say, What Have You Done With Solange, or most Bava's or Argento's, but certainly worthy of [the money].
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on August 7, 2002
If you're a euro-trash junkie, this DELIRIUM is a must purchase. Renato Polselli, the man behind the ridiculously overwrought "Reincarnation of Isabel", directed this fun 1972 horror-sleaze epic which stars Mickey Hargitay and the beautiful Rita Calderoni (both also in "Isabel"). Never released on homevideo in the US (and not to be confused with another "Delirium" with a Vietnam subplot once released on VHS by Paragon and Academy Video), this DVD from Anchor Bay not only offers us the original uncut Italian version of the film (102 minutes), but also the alternate American version of the film (85 minutes) which is a completely different cut with additional scenes, a different ending and major changes to characters and their motivations. Although the Italian version contains more violence, sleaze and graphic material than the American version, it also contains more plot exposition and takes more time in unraveling the "mystery". The American version is a bit more "slap-dash", scenes are trimmed throughout, but it moves like lightning and contains at least one extra murder (of a character not even in the international version!) which leads to a completely modified ending to the proceedings. The American version also adds snippets of scenes here and there (the killer's mask, etc.) and contains a new "subplot" about Hargitay's character being a shell-shocked Vietnam War vet (through real and fake footage) which now opens and closes the film and this version has a completely different ending as well. So with all the added and deleted and re-edited scenes and plot and character modifications, you really need to watch both versions of the film....the International version is still the preferable choice overall and should be viewed first, but either way, it's a double-feature of Delirious Delights!
The presentation of the International version is excellent - spotless and colorful - 1.85:1 enhanced - with removable English subtitles. The American version starts with a title card indicating that the only available print of this version was not in the best of shape so the opening and closing sequences (including the Vietnam footage and other shots) were taken off a VHS master of this version and contain some Danish subtitles. The quality of these sequences are obviously sub-par, but nothing to really get upset about if that's all they could get their hands on to restore the American version of the film. It's great that AB even took the time to serve up this version of the film as an "extra" considering how different it is - most companies would probably have just given us the euro-cut and left it at that. Also on the disc is a 14 minute featurette with new interviews of both Polselli and Hargitay which is enlightening and entertaining.
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on August 4, 2002
DELIRIUM (aka DELIRIO CALO) stars Mickey Hargitay who is a psychologist who is also a demented serial killer. He picks up young girls & kills them in some really brutal fashions. His sexy wife is subjugated to some really perverse sexual fetishes.
This is a truly bizarre film that almost defies description. I give it 3 stars only with hesitation because of the disturbing nature of the film, as well as some rreally graphic viloence & some graphic lesbian sex scenes. Anchor Bay has both the US & International versions on one DVD which makes this quite a bargain. Both versions have very different beginnings & endings.
DELIRIUM could have been better, but unfortunately, it wasn't. Still, it is a very bizarre & disturbing film that would please many a horror/giallo fan.
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on January 30, 2009
Didn't know what to expect from this. It turned out to be a great little movie. Some of the dialogue was a bit hokie, but that is okay. There were some surprises and was a bit different. I watched the "International" version, and although there was ample nudity, the sex was to a degree muted. There was one instance of some groping that was somewhat explicit, but was central to the overall storyline and definately not gratuitous. It is not for everyone, but for those who like a quirky little film with a pretty decent storyline, they might find it worth a watch. I would rent it before deciding to add it to your library though. Charlie S.
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on March 3, 2013
This film is great example of sleaze, art, violence, acid trip, WTF moments and all around 70's cinema at its best. I highly recommend watching the the subtitled version, because of course it is the best version of the film and the English version does has a extended scene or two which I am not going to reveal it does however make the film a bit confusing and will make you say WTF! Both are great in their own little way and tell two completely different story versions of the same film. I on the other hand just prefer the original subbed version because of the unexpected twisted payoff.
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on August 16, 2013
People often point to the clothes or the music or the hairstyles or the boots of the 70s as the signature of just how bad that decade was, but for me the only thing that made the 70s a time to deny having lived through was the persistence of certain people for trying to make movies like this.

Gad. Where to start. I can't decide what is the worst aspect.

Horrible music because there was no budget for anything other than a four piece the director heard playing funk in a garage one day.

Actors who run the gamut from mediocre to barely competent - the reliance on exaggerated facial expressions had me thinking this might be better presented as a faux "recovered footage" silent movie at times.

Awful dialog. One segment has the long-suffering wife uttering the exact same lines that the Dueling Cavalier came to regret when recorded for the first time and presented to an audience (in Singin' In The Rain). It would have worked as homage had the movie been an intentional comedy.

Really bad simulated violence - as in so bad a child wouldn't believe it could terrify anyone.

Stupidly bad plotting. The police come a cropper on this again and again, and my suspension of disbelief buckled under this relentless onslaught of dumb.

Continuity is a joke in the "American" version, so bad is the fit between scenes on occasion - Plan 9 bad in places.

What little nudity there is is not really used effectively either. The actresses are pretty, the lead stunningly so, but most of the nudity seemed for no reason whatsoever, storywise, and was filmed as badly as the rest of it all.

I got the feeling from both versions (and the "European" one is the better of the two in every respect) that the director had no clear idea what the finished film would look like and just filmed scenes that occurred to him that day to be stuck together later in a story yet to be written.

I have no idea how in this day and age anyone would refer to either version of the film on this disc as "shocking" or "sick and demented". The situation Poselli came up with had legs in many possible direction he could have taken the idea. The potential for a tense psychological drama was there. The potential for a shocking and demented tour de force of graphic psycho-sexual horror was also there, even in the 1970s. By some trick of fate (or possibly skilled use of irony) the director failed to achieve any of this potential in my opinion.

Even allowing for the difference in aesthetic between the English/American film audiences and the Italian makers the movie fails over and over.

Unless you are a Ralph Brown/Renato Polselli collector I'd give this one a miss.
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on May 11, 2008
This is Euro-trash at it's 100% finest. There are two versions of the film on the dvd...the original subtitled version being the best and the sexually graphic sickest of the two.
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on October 23, 2009
A strange curiosity that became a Cult movie for seventies italian gialli fans.
Very hard to see in France. A must for Rita Calderoni fans.
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on February 21, 2016
I just don't see any redeeming quality at all in this mess and i love Bloody Pit of Horror lol.
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on September 13, 2013
I bought it looking for cheap thrills and just got cheap. About as erotic as a feminine hygiene commercial. Horror aspects were horribly boring.
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