Top critical review
39 people found this helpful
Not exactly a movie for the kiddies...
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].