Eighties Italian sex-horror
trash, a film SO amazingly crude, exploitive, wrong-headed and plain crazy
itís...well, a classic of sorts!
BLOOD DELIRIUMíS writer-director Sergio Bergonzelli specialized in
over-the-top sexploiters like IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH (1970) and LOVES OF A
NYMPHOMANIAC (1972). Things like style, refinement, originality (BLOOD
DELIRIUMíS deranged artist concept owes more than a little to H.G. Lewisí COLOR
ME BLOOD RED) and coherency appear to be beyond this auteurís grasp, but he
really knows how to rivet oneís attention.
BLOOD DELIRIUM (DELIRIO DI SANGUE; 1988), like many Italian exploiters from
the past couple decades, was headlined by slumming American movie stars, in this
case John Philip Law and Gordon Mitchell, better known, respectively, for more
distinguished fare like THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD and FELLINI SATYRICON. I
hope they were well paid! Also like many Italian flicks, this one was released
in several different versions over the years. At present the most complete
version is said to be an out-of-print Greek VHS dubbed into English.
Christine, a young woman married to the famous artist San Simone, is
assailed one day by the voice of her deceased mother. Christine goes into a
swoon and dies, leaving behind a devastated husband. Over the following year
the latter becomes a depressed wreck, and his paintings grow increasingly grim
and macabre. He eventually snaps completely and places his wifeís maggot-ridden
corpse next to his piano.
At an exhibition Simone meets Sybil, a young woman who resembles his
wife--but heís so far gone he believes she is his wife! He invites her
to stay at the castle where he lives with his depraved butler Herman. Simone
views Herman (originally taken in by Christine out of ďsympathyĒ) as a thorn in
his side, mainly due to Hermanís unfortunate penchant for raping and murdering
young women! But when Herman kills a gal in the castle stables, Simone has an
inspiration: heíll use her blood as paint for his artwork. This reinvigorates
him--for a while, at least. Herman, meanwhile, continues with his own
handiwork, drugging Sybil and molesting her while sheís passed out.
Another woman is invited to the castle, and before long she gets an inkling
of whatís happening and calls a friend. Herman kills her, thus providing Simone
with more blood for his paintings.
The murdered womanís friend calls the police, who dispatch a helicopter to
circle Simoneís castle. Despite his madness, the latter knows full well that
the end is near, and plans accordingly...
A few things this film isnít: scary, suspenseful, intelligent,
tasteful, coherent and emotionally resonant. One thing it definitely is,
however, is completely and utterly crazy. One would have to go a LONG way to
find a nuttier movie, which is why I enjoyed it in spite of my better judgment.
Sure, itís choppily edited, poorly lit, horrendously dubbed and saddled with a
completely inappropriate synthesizer score, but it is entertaining in its own
sleazy way. It even contains a memorable dream sequence in which snakes and
maggots are viewed through distorted lenses.
Iíd say jaw-dropping is the most appropriate reaction
to the unflinching gore, leering nudity and spectral visitations that, in the
outrageously sappy happy ending, show up in the form of bright balls of light
that zip through the air and crash to earth like a low rent variant on CLOSE
ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Bad movie buffs take note!
BLOOD DELIRIUM (DELIRIO DI
Director: Sergio Bergonzelli
Producer: Filippo Campus
Screenplay: Sergio Bergonzelli
Cinematography: Raffaele Mertes
Editing: Vincenzo Di Santo
Cast: John Philip Law, Gordon Mitchell, Brigitte Christensen, Marco Di Stefano,