Delirium - Photo of Gioia (1987)
By: CJ  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Shriek Show/Media Blasters (USA). Region 1, NTSC 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 90 mins
The Movie
Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: Serena Grandi, Daria Nicolodi, Vanni Corbellini, David Brandon, George Eastman and Trine Michelson
Screenplay: Luciano Martino (story), Gianfranco Clerici and Daniele Stroppa
Country: Italy
AKA: Le Foto di Gioia; Gioia's Photograph; Photos of Joy; Photo of Gioia
An intriguing (if not terribly good) giallo from Lamberto Bava finds it way onto DVD courtesy of Shriek Show. The story is pretty basic and tells of a successful model turned magazine owner, Gioia (Serena Grandi, who some may remember as playing the unfortunate woman who has her foetus forcibly removed from her in Anthropophagous), who becomes the target of a vicious killer. This murderer starts to dispatch the models in her employ in various inventive ways and photographing their corpses posed before pictures of her and then mailing said pictures to her. The police become immediately involved and, as is usual for these films, everyone becomes a potential suspect.

Bava directs with a sure hand and there are some creative death scenes, but it somehow never seems to gel. All the ingredients are here for a top-notch giallo and yet Bava fails to make it come together as a cohesive whole.

Serena Grandi is very nice to look at and is never afraid to display her ample charms, but this girl just can't act. Then there are the scenes where we supposedly see through the killer's eyes and how he visualises the women with either insect heads or huge eye-heads which come across as utterly ludicrous. The film shambles along with very little enthusiasm and so the viewer has a tendency to get bored rather quickly and, despite having a strong cast (including the ever-reliable George Eastman and Daria Nicolodi), the film just never gets off the ground. The murder scenes are reasonably stylish and original and the film is peppered with some entertaining moments. Unfortunately, as a whole, the film just doesn't work. A wasted opportunity.

This is one for giallo completists only, I'm afraid. It's still nice to see it on DVD though and this reviewer is happy to have it in his collection.
The image looks a bit soft for a digital presentation and has a kind of 'smeary' look to it, but overall it's not too bad a transfer here by Shriek Show. It has probably never looked better than it does here and quite possibly the less-than-good image may well be down to the original source elements rather than to any fault with the transfer process. It does look to have been cheaply shot and although Bava claims that the film was shot for theatrical presentation, it never the less has that made-for-television feel about it.

Not bad - but not great either.
The sound is a bit of a letdown on this disc. The audio track has audible background hiss and crackling and the sound itself, whilst crisp and clear, just isn't as it should be. None of these things are particularly distracting and, again, this may be down to the source elements used. With current audio technology one gets the feeling that this could have been better.
Extra Features
Shriek Show provide the disc with a handful extras, which is nice. There is a photo gallery (appropriately enough!), a trailer, a text essay about the film by Scooter McCrae, bios of cast and crew and three on-camera interviews. The interviews are with Lamberto Bava, George Eastman and David Brandon. Each interviewee gives their own insightful views on Delirium and Italian cinema in general and well worth a watch. It's surprising to hear how well spoken Mr Brandon is and to learn about his involvement in directing Italian operas! What, we must wonder, was he doing in exploitation films such as this and Stagefright? But then, the weird and wonderful world of Italian cinema never ceases to amaze!

It also seemed apparent that the person conducting the Italian language interviews didn't really have a very good grasp of the language. At one point Eastman asks what year was Delirium made and the interviewer replies with "Your name was Alex". Huh?

Not a bad effort by Shriek Show to give some added value to this disc and those that like the film will be reasonably happy with what is provided. Something is better than nothing.
The Verdict
A not very good film on a merely average disc, unfortunately. It's not unwatchable by any means and it may well be that this is the best that can be done with it. It just seemed that a little more effort could have gone into it. Now don't misunderstand, the disc is still of a very good quality and you will have seen much worse, but it just seemed a little below-par. Maybe we're getting spoilt? Who knows? If you like the film, then it's a definite must-have, but for casual viewers who have but a passing interest, then you would be advised to spend your money elsewhere.
Movie Score
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