4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Lamberto Bava Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director in Lamberto Bava, one of the most underrated directors in the history of Italian horror cinema.

4 Shots From 4 Films

A Blade in the Dark (1983, directed by Lamberto Bava)

Demons (1985, dir by Lamberto Bava)

Demons 2 (1986, dir by Lamberto Bava)

Delirium (1987, dir by Lamberto Bava)

Horror Film Review: Delirium (dir by Lamberto Bava)


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“I warn you, the hate of a woman can be very bad!” 

— Dialogue from Delirium (1987

The 1987 Italian film Delirium is an odd combination of soapy melodrama and giallo horror.  Someone is murdering models and taking pictures of their corpses.  Some other people are plotting to take over a magazine.  Obscene phone calls are received.  Recorded taunts are heard.  Oh, and one unlucky model is attacked by a swarm of bees.

That’s right — Delirium is the first and probably the only giallo to feature bees used as a deadly weapon.

Gioia (Serena Grande) is a former prostitute-turned-model-turned-men’s-magazine-publisher.  When we first meet Gioia, she’s sitting out at her pool and watching a photo shoot.  Her neighbor — a teenage boy who is confined to a wheel chair — calls her.

“You make my member hard with desire!” he tells her, “It wants to penetrate your flower and explode!”

Gioia calmly tells him to stop bothering her and then hangs up on him.  And really, this scene pretty much establishes everything that we need to know about Gioia.  She is a successful businesswoman who is just as comfortable dealing with the pervert next door as she is making high power deals.  You think Donald Trump’s ruthless?  Well, he’s got nothing on Gioia!

The other thing that you notice about Gioia is that she has an extremely voluptuous figure.  There’s not a single scene that isn’t shot to emphasize that fact and yet, the unapologetic pride that Gioia (and actress Serena Grande) took in her body was actually very empowering and one of the better aspects of the film.  Far too often, movies associate being busty with either being stupid or slutty and women are told that they have to hide their figure to be taken seriously.  (Traditionally, in horror films, it seems like the bigger an actress’s cup size, the less likely she is to survive until the end of the film.)  Speaking as someone who shares Gioia’s struggle, I was happy to see a woman with big boobs being portrayed as both an intelligent businesswoman and a tough, strong survivor.

Gioia has more than just the pervert next door to deal with.  There’s also the fact that her models are being murdered and she’s receiving photos of their dead bodies in the mail.  Who is killing Gioia’s employees?  Could it be a rival publisher (played by Capucine)?  Could it be Gioia’s neurotic assistant (played by Daria Nicolodi)?  Could it be George Eastman, who plays Gioia’s former lover?  Actually, it’s made pretty clear that it’s not George Eastman, which is odd when you consider how many movies have featured Eastman as a killer.  (Eastman and Grandi also co-starred in the infamous cannibal epic Anthropophagus, in which Eastman was the killer and Grandi was the center of one of the most infamous scenes in the history of Italian horror.)  Or could the killer by the pervert next door?

As is typical of films in the giallo genre, most of the murders are filmed from the killer’s point of view.  What’s interesting is that, when the killer looks at his victims, he literally sees them as twisted monsters.  It’s a neat little technique that leads to scenes like this:

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Delirium was directed by Lamberto Bava, who has never quite gotten the attention that he deserves.  Despite the fact that he directed such classics as the two Demons films and A Blade In the Dark, I’ve always felt that Lamberto is often overshadowed by the achievements of his father, Mario Bava.  However, Lamberto Bava’s films are almost always entertaining when taken on their own terms.  Delirium may not reach the heights of A Blade In The Dark or even Demons but it’s still an entertaining giallo.  It’s perhaps not the film to use to introduce a newcomer to the genre but, those of us who are familiar with giallo, Delirium is an enjoyably crazed offering.

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4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Daria Nicolodi Edition!


Daria Nicolodi in Tenebra (1982, dir by Dario Argento)

Daria Nicolodi in Tenebrae (1982, dir by Dario Argento)

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

I have to admit that I’m breaking the rules here.  When Arleigh first suggested 4 Shots From 4 Films as a feature here on Through the Shattered Lens, I promised myself that I would pace myself and, at most, only contribute once on a weekly basis.

But then, after Arleigh posted the first entry in 4 Shots From 4 Films, I realized that it was Lucio Fulci’s birthday and, being the lover of Italian horror that I am, there was no way that I could pass up the chance to post a Fulci-themed 4 Shots From 4 Films.  And now, less than 24 hours later, I find myself posting yet another 4 Shots From 4 Films.

But can you blame me?  It’s Daria Nicolodi’s birthday and, if you love Italian horror, then you know just how important an actress Nicolodi is.  Not only did Daria Nicolodi serve as the inspiration for what is arguably Dario Argento’s best film, Suspiria, but she also appeared in Mario Bava’s classic Shock.  The combination of her undeniable talent and her outspoken and eccentric style — there is no such thing as a boring Daria Nicolodi interview — has made Daria Nicolodi into an icon of horror cinema.

And, on top of all that, she’s Asia Argento’s mother!

So, indulge me because, as a lover of Italian horror, there is no way that I could pass up a chance to present our readers with 4 Shots From 4 Films: The Special Daria Nicolodi Edition!

Deep Red (1975, dir by Dario Argento)

Deep Red (1975, dir by Dario Argento)

Shock (1977, dir by Mario Bava)

Shock (1977, dir by Mario Bava)

Inferno (1980, dir by Dario Argento)

Inferno (1980, dir by Dario Argento)

Delirium (1987, directed by Lamberto Bava)

Delirium (1987, directed by Lamberto Bava)