At first glance, Renato Polselli’s stylistic S&M fever nightmare, Delirium, might feel like an interesting case study of psychopathy, but I’m hesitant to call the film’s protagonist a psychopath. He’s definitely a sadistic maniac of sorts, but a psychopath has no conscience and therefore cannot feel empathy and remorse. Our maniac, here, feels remorse and is at odds with himself. After doing harm, he gets emotional and curses his reflection before shattering the mirror. Just to stop the monster, he tries to set himself up to be caught by the police.
No sir, he may be a serial killer, but the highly
respected, criminal psychologist and police consultant Dr. Herbert Lyutak (Mickey Hargitay) is no psychopath.
actually makes for a compelling lead, thanks to a fair amount of charisma and
outward charm that contrasts with his hidden sick side. It’s made known early
on that Herbert’s a particularly nasty fellow, with a pitch black disturbing
murder sequence involving a young lady (Stefania
Fassio). In making its protagonist a murderer, we have something more
unique from the get go. Though we know Herbert’s a killer, murders still
continue in the traditional ‘whodunit’ giallo style, which imposes the
question of Herbert being the only killer. The multiple murder scenes of pretty
girls getting killed are cruel, which isn’t surprising for a giallo, but Polselli really seems to be trying to
outdo them all.