Review: 'Delirium' Highlights a Lost Video Nasty

by Sam Cohen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday January 27, 2022

Review: 'Delirium' Highlights a Lost Video Nasty

If you're at all familiar with the Section 2 Video Nasties that the Director of Public Prosecution targeted in the UK during the early 1980s, then you also know that many of these exploitation films pushed the boundaries of acceptability and narrative quality, frequently splicing in sequences from other films to fill in the gaps. One of the few remaining titles from that list to be released on home video is Peter Maris' "Delirium," a proto-slasher of sorts that conflates a vigilante plot with a common theme from that period in time: Disillusion and trauma caused by The Vietnam War.

"Delirium" makes its worldwide disc premiere thanks to the folks at Severin Films. This new Blu-ray edition boasts a new restoration from the only 35mm print in existence. As far as I can tell, the film was originally shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm for theatrical release. That's why it should come as no surprise that the presentation has really thick film grain inherent in lo-fi productions like this one. That being said, Severin makes the restoration look terrific despite its shortcomings, and the Blu-ray offers a high bitrate. This certainly helps the presentation, which frequently looks dim and beat up because of the source material used for the restoration. Needless to say, this is still the best the film has ever looked at home.

There's a psycho killer on the loose in St. Louis, and for some reason it all leads to a group of white-collar criminals. Naturally, the cops are on the case. But will they be able to defeat the maniac at the center of it all?

Severin Films couples the presentation with some special features, including an interview with Peter Maris that's quite good. Maris makes no excuses for the kind of egregious dreck that "Delirium" offers, but it's abundantly clear from the interview that the relationships that Maris made on the set changed his life forever. In addition, there's a fun interview with special effects artist Bob Shelley about how "Delirium" launched his career in special effects. Shelley tells a great story about how he was in the military while the film was being shot.

"Delirium" delivers nastiness aplenty, with gratuitous nudity and graphic violence in great abundance. Apply that all to a standard-issue cop procedural, and you have a Video Nasty that stands out from the pack. If being cheap, sleazy, and all-around unpleasant is the goal of exploitation, then "Delirium" delivers. Another terrific release from Severin.

Other special features include:

• Trailer

"Delirium" is now available on Blu-ray from Severin Films.