Delerium (International Version)


"Enough with you, Herbert! You selfish pig! You are a hyena!"

By day, Dr. Herbert Lyutak (Mickey Hargitay) works as a highly respected criminal profiler, helping the police catch killers, but by night he murders beautiful women to release the pent-up frustration caused by his impotence.  But Herbert isn't the only murderer in town, and when the police attribute Herbert's killings to the other maniac at large, he must help them catch that killer without incriminating himself. Could it be John (Tano Cimarosa), the shifty, pompadoured parking lot attendant who happens to be present at every crime scene? Herbert's wife, Marzia (Rita Calderoni), whose own frustrations have manifested in violent, sexually charged dreams, suspects her husband... but does she have the wrong idea? Inspector Edwards (Raul Lovecchio, credited only as Raul) must sort through the facts and find the answers.

Delirium (not to be confused with Delirium: Photos of Gioia) is one of those wild, crazy, messy gialli where style and hyperbole take precedent over coherence. It has a wonderful concept but it's so concerned with endless mis-directs, stylish dream sequences, and plot twists that it loses its own trail of bread crumbs in the woods and it ultimately makes very little sense.

Please note that the Anchor Bay DVD of Delirium contains two very different versions of the same film – an International Version and an American Version. The synopsis and all the statistics above reflect the International Version. The American Version is more tightly edited with a faster pace, is 16 minutes shorter, and features an additional four murders. Also, there is less nudity and the grownup time is less violent. Rather than being impotent in the American Version, Herbert is an Army Captain suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from Vietnam and the murders he commits are the result of flashbacks to the war. He also has a second niece, Bonita (Carmen Young) who does not appear in the International Version. The ending is drastically different and involves an "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" twist. Overall, I'd say that the American Version, while still confusing and perhaps a little too fast-paced, makes slightly more sense than the International Version.

  • You may know Mickey Hargitay as the ex-husband of Jayne Mansfield and father of Law & Order: SVU star Marishka Hargitay.
  • The title "sort of" makes sense because the killer (okay, one of the killers) goes into a crazy sort of hyperactive mental state that could be referred to as a "delirium."
  • Six of the murders occur before the action of the movie starts, so a more accurate body count would be only six deaths.
What the Hell Am I Watching?

 Let's say you're alone late at night being stalked by a knife-wielding killer and you duck into a phone booth. Wouldn't you use the opportunity to call the police? So why would the victim in the movie take her chances with a random number and ask them to call the police? "Panic" is not a valid answer. Maybe "stupidity," but not "panic."

Marzia's dream sequences are the stylistic highlight of the movie. They depict naked, bodies getting strangled with chains and feature a bold, Bava-esque use of vibrant color and rapid, disorienting editing.

Another highlight, for its beautiful camera work and use of color is the bathtub drowning scene. The water is dyed bright blue, the victim's dress is a vivid green, and the terracotta tile is a rich red. The editing of the scene highlights the tonal contrasts, creating a mesmerizing visual rhythm.

There's a weird scene where the Lyutak's maid gropes herself while spying on the couple as they make out.

Marzia's niece, Joaquine (Christa Barrymore) briefly crosses paths with Herbert and makes a cameo in the dream sequences, but she isn't formally introduced until over an hour into the movie.

The movie ends with a slideshow of Marzia's sex dreams.

Fashion Moment

Inspector Edwards may always be two steps behind on the murder investigation, but at least he's way ahead when it comes to the latest fashions.

Officer Rainbow Dash is on the case.

Also, police woman Heyndreich (Katia Cardinali) is sent to the park as bait for the killer dressed – for some reason – as a sexy jockey.

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