The latest film from director Johnny Martin, DELIRIUM, tells the story of a group of friends who call themselves “The Hell Gang”. In order to initiate a new member into their group, they dare a new recruit named Eddie (Ian Bamberg), to walk all the way to the front porch of a notoriously spooky house and back, while documenting the journey with a camera they provide him with. After they strap a camera to him and send him on his way, they await his return which, as you probably guessed, doesn’t ever come. After the group realizes they should probably go look for Eddie, they make their way into the abandoned house expecting Eddie to be there ready with a prank up his sleeve, but soon find themselves trapped in a real life nightmare.

DELIRIUM, directed by Johnny Martin, is written by Francisco Castro, Andy Cheng, Martin, and Lisa Clemens, as well as produced by Martin, Paul Mangold and Gordon Galvan, and stars Ryan Pinkston, Elena Sanchez, Mike C. Manning, Griffin Freeman and Seth Austin. The film, which was originally titled Case #13 is actually inspired by true events, which is what I love most about it. In an interview, director Johnny Martin talks about when he and his friends (who actually helped produce the film) were in high school, they formed a group called “The Hell Gang” which consisted of thirteen members. Other kids were desperate to join the group, but The Hell Gang weren’t about to let just anyone join without proving themselves to the group. They created a challenge where any new person who wanted to join The Hell Gang would have to walk from the gate of an old mansion all the way up to the front porch, about a half mile, where they would have to retrieve a coin that the group had left on the porch earlier. If the newcomer succeeded, they would be accepted into the group; however, no one was ever brave enough to complete the task. Johnny goes on to state that he though it would make a great premise for a film and thus, the idea for Case #13, which would eventually become DELIRIUM, was born.

Real life Hell Gang members even helped fund and produce the film and Johnny mentions that he couldn’t have done it without his friends by his side. The actors who were cast to play the roles of young Johnny and his friends are great up-and-coming talents and their on-screen chemistry really shines throughout the entirety of the film. The film runs at a brisk 86 minutes and makes for a fun and exciting thrill ride through a haunted house, complete with vengeful ghosts and some great special effects to tie it all together. The cast is great, but I also want to mention the other star of the show, the place that started it all, what is now known as the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate located in Johnny’s hometown of Oakland, California.

This is the actual location where Johnny and his friends would hold their Hell Gang challenges and I think it is so neat that they were able to film their movie there, but after all that I’ve read about Mr. Johnny Martin, it doesn’t surprise me that he made this dream come true. When Johnny was only seven years old, he had two passions: cars and movies. He used to visit a local car wash to check out whatever cool new rides might be pulling in and one day he just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Action, director, and stuntman H.B. Halicki pulled up to the carwash with a smashed up yellow mustang, hot off the set of Gone in 60 Seconds (1974). Johnny approached the man, who introduced himself to Johnny, and Johnny explained that he too had a dream of working in movies. Before the exchange was over, Mr. Halicki said to Johnny, “When you turn 18 kid, look me up and I’ll help you,” which is precisely what happened and Johnny Martin’s film career was born. Johnny’s IMDb page currently contains 2 writing credits, 6 directing credits, 20 producer credits, 25 acting credits, and 161 stunt credits.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that he truly is living his dream. Johnny’s story is hugely inspirational to me and just knowing his backstory makes watching his work even more enjoyable. I look forward to whatever comes next for Johnny and I hope that his story will continue to be a source of inspiration for upcoming filmmakers. To learn more about Johnny’s story and his body of work visit Martini Films.

DELIRIUM will be in select theaters and on VOD platforms January 19, 2018 courtesy of Gravitas Ventures.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: DELIRIUM (2018)

  1. I am a big fan of horror movies. This movie is not that good but better then some horror movies I have seen before…. its like you want it to be over but you also want to see what’s gonna happen next.

  2. One of the worst movies I have ever seen . Boring . Stupid. A waste of time. Those are the kindest things I csn say about it.

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