Delirium aka Le Foto di Gioia (1987) [NSFW] Delirium aka Le Foto di Gioia (1987) [NSFW]
NSFW: Images showing nudity. A review of an obscure 80s Giallo by Lamberto Bava. Delirium aka Le Foto di Gioia (1987) [NSFW]

Includes images depicting nudity.

When Mario Bava directed the proto-Giallo Blood and Black Lace in 1964, he created a few stylistical Giallo-tropes that proved to be perdurable, being reused for over three decades: The setting in the world of fashion, the masked killer, the bold use of light an colours. And really, all those elements are still in place in the 1987 movie Delirium, original title Le Foto Di Gioia, directed by Lamberto Bava- who is, you guessed it, Mario Bava’s son.

vlcsnap-2016-08-23-02h02m17s240

The Plot

The beautiful Gioia (English dub version: “Gloria”) has an impressive career behind her. Over the course of a few years, she turned from escort girl to nude model to boss of her recently deceased husbands men’s magazine empire. But suddenly, on the peak of her success story, her most popular models start to disappear, only to be found gruesomely murdered days later. It gets even more disturbing when the killer sends photos to Gioia that show the victim’s corpses draped in front of a wallpaper-sized old glamour portrait shot of her.

The list of possible suspects is varied. Is it the sleazy photographer who once made said portrait? Her new lover? The creepy rich neighbour kid, who is bound to a wheelchair due to mysterious “psychosomatic reasons” and who is obsessed with Gioia? Or is it the bitter owner of a competing magazine who futilely attempted to buy Gioia’s company several times before?

Maybe the investigating detective’s suspicion is correct and it’s Gioia herself, who wants to benefit from the boost the magazine sales experienced when the first murder occurred?

vlcsnap-2016-08-23-01h59m11s255

I got my eyes on you

Another Giallo from the late phase of the genre, this time one that is probably not a classic, but definitely a gem worth to be sought out by fans of wicked and sexy Italo- horror.

Bava Jr. shows a sure hand at directing in all aspects of the profession, on the technical and artistical level. Visually, it’s a very polished movie, updating the traditional Giallo visual traits like the expressive use of colour or POV camera shots with some typical 80s glossiness. From the classic “sexy photo-shoot” montage to countless scenes set in large houses with an all-white interior that would suit to be a drug baron’s crib, the movie’s aesthetics and stylistics turn it pretty much into a product of its time.

Due to its subject matter and setting, there is no shortage of (female) nudity. Hiring the gorgeous Serena Grandi, a popular pinup-model and star of a Tinto Brass movie as well as of several sex comedies, naturally necessitated to show her in contractually obligated nude scenes, to meet the (male) audience’s expectations.

vlcsnap-2016-08-23-01h57m18s410

Pretty much Giallo standard procedure is the way the story unfolds, a murder mystery with touches of horror and sleaze, with some shrill soap drama put on top for good measure.

Looking for the aspect that makes Delirium stand above the average though, it’s gotta be the murder sequences, filmed from the killer’s perspective. In an inspired artistic decision, Bava translates the distorted perception of the insane killer into surreal imagery to give the audience a glimpse into his/her wicked mind. During those sequences, the lighting is constantly changing colour – to suggest a sensory disorder perhaps – and the victims faces turn into those of grotesque monstrosities, probably an indicator that the killer perceives them as abominations he has to wipe out, as the movie- serial killer psychology lore dictates. A particularly striking image is the one of the victim whose face is covered by a giant eyeball (see header image). This is also the first movie I ever saw that shows bees (!) being used as murder weapon, which is ludicrous and disturbing at the same time.

vlcsnap-2016-08-23-02h04m36s532

While the rest of the movie doesn’t quite live up to those sequences, which prevents it from becoming an instant classic, it still remains an above average effort in the end.

Grandi’s performance as Gioia is utterly watchable and she carries the movie with ease. Argento-movie stalwart Daria Nicolodi, who seemed to be looking better and better with progressing age, is always a welcome addition. In an unexpected casting stunt, B-movie actor George Eastman (aka Luigi Montefiori), known from such  stars as Gioia’s boyfriend, a -guess what- B-movie actor. But my favourite performance of that movie is delivered by Karl Zinny as the creepy, pervy neighbour Mark, who gets his own Rear Window– inspired subplot.
Like in said Hitchcock -classic and in Brian De Palma’s 80s Vertigo/Rear Window remix Body Double, voyeurism is a major theme, although the symbolism doesn’t really delve beyond an exploitative level and the theme becomes the purpose. Which doesn’t hurt the entertainment factor at all, of course.

vlcsnap-2016-08-23-02h01m14s794

What else is to say? Maybe the catchy score by Simon Boswell (Phenomena, Demons) is worth a mention, a rocking combo of synth tunes and electric guitar, accompanied by alluring female vocals in Italian language.

Good work Lamberto, Daddy would have been proud.

Watch out for more Giallo reviews in the near future!

Check also out y reviews for Nightmare Beach and Opera.

Author Image

DetectiveDee

Detective Dee reviews movies and sometimes TV-series. He likes to indulge in the Asian cinema, exploitation flicks and the horror genre but is no stranger to Blockbuster culture either. He writes whatever he wants, but always aims to entertain.

  • CoolHandJuke

    does anyone else remember black devil doll? the main fatty in that movie had a scrumptious,plump bod…

  • Dee-abolik

    no but sounds like quality fare

  • This wasnt so bad that it would constitute a NSFW warning. But ya never know within these prudish regulators within corporate America.This looks like another one of your nteresting obscure titles, S.

  • Dee-abolik

    It shows some nipples, if you look closely….you never know.

  • Kruger

    I am fine with nipples but they have to be on the same level. I can’t enable dis proportioned nipple.

  • Dee-abolik

    The nudity in this movie is exquisite