Monday, September 28, 2009

Delirium: Photo of Gioia (1987)

Reviewed By: Billy

Thank you, Lamberto Bava. Thank you for choosing to create this deliriously sleazy movie, which stands as one of the definitive examples of everything right about 1980s Eurotrash. This movie is absolutely unreal in its sleaziness; this review will be almost impossible to write, as the only way to fully convey the trashiness would be to upload to movie and make each and every one of you watch it.

The opening credits themselves are worthy of their own full review; this is, without a doubt, the most hilarious sequence of titles I’ve ever seen. Set to music that sounds like Goblin scoring an episode of Cinemax’s “Passion Cove,” we get the names of cast and crew (which are sooooo Italian they almost seem like a parody…seriously, the insane collections of consonants and vowels end up in names like Gianfranco and Gianlorenzo) intercut with nude photos of the luscious Serena Grandi, whose enormous chest and wildly blown-out perm make her look like the Italian Kelly LeBrock from hell. There have got to be at least 15 or 20 nude shots of Grandi, each one featuring the kind of gaudy jewelry and tacky see-through outfits that could only have come during the Reagan years. If I were into naked women, I would probably watch these credits on repeat at least four or five times a day. Heck, I’ll still probably watch these credits on repeat at least four or five times a day, if just to see such brilliant, awkwardly phrased titles as:

The credits lead us into even more nudity, during an opening scene in which three giggling models participate in a nude photo shoot in a pool (while some guy stands shouting commands including, “Offer yourself, Kim! You love it!”). Also lounging by the pool are Gloria, played by Serena Grandi (although now she’s fully clothed and wearing possibly the worst “Dynasty”-inspired wardrobe ever) and her agent, played by Daria Nicolodi. Come on…you didn’t think we could have a trashy Italian movie without Daria, did you? Anyway, Daria gets set up as a possible killer right at the top, as she gives that creepy, lustful stare (you know the one…it happens in every Italian trashfest) and lovingly tells retired model Gloria, “You were something else.”

Gloria, you see, is a former model who has apparently retired and is now the editor of a famous men’s magazine called “Pussycat.” And yes, I realize that while the movie’s subtitle is Photo of Gioia, the woman in question is called Gloria repeatedly through the film. My guess is that the people dubbing the movie had no idea how to even begin to pronounce “Gioia” – and hence they just changed her name. Anyway, did I mention that Gloria gets one of the tackiest wardrobes I’ve ever seen? Thankfully she’s topless a lot, which spares the audience from such atrocities as this:

For those of you who don’t know this movie’s big gimmick going into it – and I didn’t – the first murder will take you by surprise in a wonderful way. Of course, I’m about to ruin that surprise for you right now…but, whatever. So, Lamberto Bava decides that he’s going to show us the killings through the murderer’s twisted point of view…which means that when he’s slaying beautiful models, they look like this through his eyes:

Now tell me that’s not awesome! Not only is this a trashy slasher, but now the murder victim ends up looking like a crazy Cyclops character from Clash of the Titans! Anyway, the killer takes the victim’s body and poses it in front of a giant photo of Gioia…er, I mean, Gloria…and then sends it to her. After calling police, our gal Glo desperately asks, “But why send that photograph? And pose Kim’s body in front of a poster of me? And why was she killed, right here at my house?"

Umm…Gloria, I’m gonna take a wild guess: maybe he’s obsessed with you??

The next murder is even better. The killer makes the choice to show up at a model’s house inconspicuously dressed as a beekeeper, and opens up a shoebox that has somehow been containing what looks to be millions of bees. And this time, instead of a Cyclops, the killer visualizes his victim like this:

Note, of course, that while her face is covered in a cheap bee mask…her breasts are still on full display through the scene. Anyway, the bees go crazy on the poor girl, and her hysterical reactions are a wonder to behold. At one point, I think she’s even doing the climactic Jennifer Beals Flashdance routine. Anyway, she dies…ends up being photographed in front of a Gloria poster…and once again, Gloria desperately asks, “Why?” Come on, you idiot! The killer’s obsessed with you!

Anyway, more people die, and the list of possible suspects is as long as my list of neuroses. There’s the gay photographer, the wheelchair-bound crazy neighbor, the competing magazine editor, Gloria’s ex-boyfriend, and, of course, creepy Daria, who gives nervous little “I might be guilty”-glances with all the quiet subtlety of a NASCAR race. But the denouncement of the killer is better than I could have ever hoped for: it’s Gloria’s own brother, who announces that he’s so in love with her that he had to kill everyone else. This, of course, leads to a final scene in which the brother makes Gloria strip – for no apparent reason but that the audience gaze in wonder one final time at the amazing assets of Serena Grandi – and rubs a knife all over her body. But before he can finally penetrate the object of his affections, poor brother gets shot right though the penis. Yikes! Did someone mention subtlety?

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that Delirium: Photo of Gioia is genius. It stars an amazing Italian sexpot, uses every opportunity imaginable to give us nudity, makes no sense, and has no character actually named “Gioia.” And to top it all off, if ends on the unflattering screenshot of Gloria at the very beginning of this post. Lamberto: congratulations! You got it just about all right, and for that, you get a big…



  1. If you think this is unreal in its sleaziness, you owe it to yourselves to check out PATRICK STILL LIVES. It's an Italian re-imagining of the 70s flick PATRICK (which I think was Australian), but you don't have to see the original to enjoy the remake, which is tons better and sleazier anyway.

    I liked all the weird "killer vision" sequences in this one, but found the rest a little boring. Then again, I may have been drunk. It happens. ;)

  2. Billy,

    I can't believe you saw this one before I did. I have been wanting to see it for a long time. But, for no good reason, I have not gotten around to it.

    The first picture is a classic. That woman could not look more European if you... well, I am not sure how to finish that one.


  3. I love this one, and there arent enough reviews for it up online! Great pic guys, and you are 100% correct, this is one of my favorite Italian sleazemobiles, tons of sweet gore and sweeter nudity. PHOTOS is all sorts of awesome, I would have expected at least 13 fingers =D

  4. That woman could not look more European if you slathered her body in mud and sequins and displayed her in a museum.

    There you go JM, done.

    (Seriously, I've been to Europe - it is one strange place.)

  5. I remember the scuzzy incest angle and some psycho's weird bug-headed woman fantasies, as you guys mentioned. The rest bored me... or am I thinking of that other "DELIRIUM" movie with Mickey Hargitay?

  6. the opening sequence sounds killer. seeing killer bees attack is always good. a guy get's shot through the ding dong. hilarious.
    and a hulcinated cyclops?

    this sounds like a must see to me. plus it's scuzzy AND sleazy. I'm all over it. thanks for the great review Billy.

  7. I just saw this movie for the first time earlier this year. It's so awesome. I agree, it's just crazy weird but so crazy weird you have to see it through. I miss these great Eurosleaze flicks with lots of shoulder pads!

  8. George Eastman is in it too!

    It could have had a few more deaths, but I dug the ones that were on display...especially the bee attack one. I would imagine a girl with a bee head would give great hummers.

    Also, what about that creepy cripple next door neighbor that would call Gloria and tell her he was going to rub one out to her?! I have to admit, I would trade the use of my legs to live next door to Grandi and her band of nude models!

  9. I will make sure and link to this for the Italian horror blog-a-thon I'm hosting. This is a great review for a truly strange Italian horror film.

  10. Just Netflixed it, thanks for the post!