Blu-ray Review: Delirium (1979)

January 16, 2022

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Charlie Gunther (Nick Panouzis) is back from ‘Nam with a head full of bad wiring and PTSD flashbacks for days… he also considers himself a real lady-killer… literally.

As the female body count rises, Chuck gains notice from both the police and the local conglomerate of right wing businessmen that run a hidden cabal dedicated to eliminating rapists and murderers from the streets permanently utilizing ex-vets as their instruments of vigilante justice.

That lil’ secret sect begins sweating bullets when Charlie goes rogue, which leads to the Colonel Kurtz surrogate Eric Stern (played to the hilt by the awesomely named Barron Winchester)… an ex-army muckety-muck who provides the vets for the aforementioned dirty work…  going completely ballistic to maintain order among the chaos of his crumbling micro-empire.

While all of this seems like an incredibly awesome grindhouse experience… and at times it is… the over-all experience runs a tad on the uneven side at times.

Things start off promisingly enough as we see Charlie’s murderous rampage… and while the Vietnam inspired origins of our antagonist’s plight is a tad tacky and overdone (not to mention set in a rather cold, leafless environment quite obviously very far removed from the hot n’ humid Southeast Asian location we are supposed to be in), the kills are suitably gnarly (and realized via solid effects work from special effects artist Bob Shelley), and Panouzis’ portrayal of the character adds some layers of sympathy and tragedy… no matter how vile Charlie’s actions become.

Likewise, the sequences focusing on Winchester’s Stern are also memorable, and a great bit of over-the-top fun… but all of the above is sandwiched between endless scenes of our dull policeman protagonists bumblin’ and stumblin’ through the case at hand… and that shit drags when the film cuts to it, and that’s a shame as the film is just a p.h. away from being a full on exploitation freight train!

The included interview with director/co-writer Peter Maris does shed some light on how the picture came to be (via a true improvisational style… which does explain a lot), and the interview with FX artist Shelley offers a further insight into the film’s production.

While we are talking bonus material, the film’s trailer is included as well.

While uneven, Delirium is well worth a wicked whirl for those that love their exploitation sleazy, unhinged, and completely absurd!




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