25 March 2007 | Coventry
Truly odd and curious Italian horror gem.
Possibly the rarest Italian horror film out there and most definitely also one of the absolute weirdest productions ever to be released, "Blood Delirium" is NOT a giallo-mystery, NOT a zombie-flick and surely NOT a brainless slasher rip-off! This is something new and entirely different from Italy; a brutal horror story that successfully blends together harrowing drama elements with artsy themes and repulsively perverted footage. John Philip Law, the former action stud from "Barbarella" and "Danger: Diabolik", stars as a slightly deranged painter who lives in an isolated ramshackle castle and he firmly believes he's the reincarnation of Vincent Van Gogh. When his beloved wife Christine dies, he suddenly loses all his artistic inspiration but remains in the castle with the necrophiliac butler Herman. The painter eventually falls back in love with Sybille, who's the mirror image of his departed wife, but his inspiration doesn't really return until he discovers the blood of young murdered girls as the ideal shade of red paint. "Blood Delirium" is quite a disturbing film, especially since the sequences involving necrophilia & misogyny are illustrated like it's the most common thing in the world. For example, when the painter is still mourning for his deceased wife, the crazy butler (perfect role for exploitation-veteran Gordon Mitchell) crawls on top of her corpse and starts caressing it. Later in the film, the two men also dig up severely decomposed corpses, assault defenseless girls and carelessly dismember their limbs to make painting. Their actions are a lot more unsettling to behold, because they don't look or behave like your average homicidal maniac or demented serial rapists. "Blood Delirium" literally oozes with dark and bitter atmospheres, as it deals with complex characters and their even sicker world perspectives. It's not just another silly and gory 80's flick, but a devastating depiction of man's darkest mind-corners. The are loads of resemblances between Sergio Bergonzelli's script and Vincent Van Gogh's actual tragic life, which is a truly brilliant and original concept for a horror film. Bergonzelli clearly didn't have a large budget to work with, but the film nevertheless looks stylish and competent. The photography is rather monotonous, but this suits the overall tone of the film and especially the melancholic music tunes are terrific. "Blood Delirium" is an extremely difficult film to find, and I don't understand why. I'm sure this would be an authentic Italian cult treasure, if only it could reach a slightly wider audience on DVD. Catch it if you can!