Hasher’s Delirium (1910)

aka Le songe d’un garcon de cafe
Article 4219 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-4-2013
Directed by Emile Cohl
No cast
Country: France
What it is: Animated weirdness

A man sees the food on his plate turn into abstract images before he begins to mutate himself.

I found this listed in the Walt Lee guide, where it is given the year of 1906. The fact that it is also listed as being from Gaumont and being animated made me decide that the year is wrong, and that this movie from four years later is the one in question. It’s typical Cohl; it’s basically abstract shapes morphing into scary faces and other things, all designed to baffle the “hasher”; I assume that’s who the observer is supposed to be. It’s only about two minutes long, so it serves as a decent introduction to his work.

Delirium in a Studio (1907)

aka Ali Barbouyou et Ali Bouf a l’huile
Article 4067 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-31-2012
Directed by Georges Melies
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Comic trick short

An assistant to a painter drinks some varnish by mistake and hallucinates that his master’s painting comes to life.

For the record, only a two minute fragment of this Melies short still exists, but it looks to be the last two minutes of the short, and it opens with a short intro explaining the opening action. I’d say the remaining footage is the main part of the short; we see the woman in the painting moving around before she settles back into the painting, and we see the horrible revenge that the painter exacts on his assistant. Eventually, the shot moves from fantasy into horror territory involving a decapitated man rising from the dead and carrying his head around. What’s left of this one is fairly amusing.

Delirium (1979)

Article 2047 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-22-2006
Posting Date: 3-21-2007
Directed by Peter Maris
Featuring Turk Cekovsky, Nick Panouzis, Terry TenBroek

A psycho-killer is on the loose, and detectives are trying to catch him. Meanwhile, criminals who have escaped justice are found hanged, and evidence indicates it was suicide, though in truth, they were murdered by a vigilante group. Are these incidents related?

Probably the best thing about this movie is its central premise; a psycho killer is hired by a vigilante group. While watching this movie, I found my mind playing around with the possible ways you could handle the story, especially in terms of how you would handle certain characters to make the story plausible. I wish the makers of the movie had bothered asking these questions; instead, we get a compendium of cop/action and psycho-killer cliches (the psycho killer is both a disturbed Vietnam vet AND impotent – the cop investigating the case has a romance with one of the witnesses – witness decides to do her own investigation instead of waiting for the police) and stupid characters (vigilantes take extra care in making their punishments look like suicide but take none of that care when knocking off their people in their own group – hitchhiker victim of psycho, despite knowing that she’s been picked up by an obviously disturbed man, uses her opportunity to get away from him to follow him down to the river, go skinny-dipping in front of him, and taunts him for not taking off his clothes and joining her – witness decide to do her own investigation instead of waiting for the police – wait, did you just hear an echo?). For all that, the movie is watchable in its own low-budget way, but I really got tired of the Vietnam flashbacks after a while.


Delirium (1972)

Article #1468 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-22-2005
Posting Date: 8-19-2005
Directed by Renato Polselli
Featuring Mickey Hargitay, Rita Caleroni, Raoul Rossi

An impotent doctor tries to make up for his inability to satisfy his wife by committing gruesome murders on beautiful women. When he tries to set himself to be caught by the police, though, his own attempt at murder is interrupted by another murder.

I must admit that I distrust the giallo subgenre; I’m never quite sure to what extent the extended, graphic murders of women common to that form are really examples of “violence as art” or just plain sadistic pandering. If the movies I’d seen had consisted of nothing more than stretches of sadistic violence, I would definitely opt for the latter; however, there always seemed to be something else going on as well, and it’s this extra layer that makes them somewhat more interesting and less offensive.

Still, I was tempted to forgo the more explicit international version of this movie with the shortened American version, and since the DVD jacket points out that the two versions have different subplots and develop in different ways, I could have made the argument that neither version was probably definitive (the American version apparently has a subplot about the Vietnam war). Nevertheless, I opted for the longer version as the more legitimate of the two (and I really didn’t feel up to watching both versions). The murders are pretty nasty, less for explicit gore and more for the sadistic sexuality behind them. It’s something of a mixed bag; it’s confusing at times, laughable at others (especially the silly fantasy sequences), and just because you’re watching the Italian version doesn’t mean you’re not going to be set upon by bad dubbing. Certain plot points are utterly predictable; though I was surprised when a second murderer came on the scene, it took me less than ten minutes to figure out who it would be. Some of the other touches make it intriguing, though; in particular, I found myself fascinated by a the character of the parking lot attendant who somehow ended up being on the scene for practically every murder and naturally becomes the main suspect. Of course he’s not guilty, but I found myself asking why he just happened to be there; was it bad luck? Sheer stupidity? Or was there some ulterior motive to it all? At any rate, his presence adds a bizarre comic touch to the proceedings, which is all to the good, especially since the somewhat outrageous, over-the-top ending has a comic tinge all its own, if for no other reason than it pushes the envelope as to just how many perverted psychos you can cram into one movie.