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Deranged

USA 1974
produced by
Tom Karr, Bob Clark, Peter James (executive) for Karr International Pictures
directed by Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby
starring Roberts Blossom, Cosette Lee, Micki Moore, Pat Orr, Marian Waldman, Leslie Carlson, Robert Warner, Marcia Diamond, Brian Smeagle, Arlene Gillen, Robert McHeady, Jack Mather
written by Alan Ormsby, music by Stompin' Tom Connors, Carl Zittrer

Ed Gein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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One thing up front: Deranged is another film inspired by possibly the most popular serialkiller of them all, Ed Gein, who also inspired (at least to some degree) Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs. And while Deranged looks rather pale in comparison to these films, it is not without interest taken by its own merits, seen as a cheaply made backwoods psychokiller-tale. And it's far closer to the real story of Gein than any of the above-mentioned films.

 

First we see Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) - that's Ed Gein's name in this film -, a rather dim-witted abnd mentally disturbed man, taking good care of his fundamentalist mother (Cosette Lee) and virtually nursing her to death. However, when she's dead for real, he can't come to terms with that, and about a year after her death he digs her up and takes her home. But after a year in the coffin, mother isn't all that fresh anymore ... so Ezra digs up other, fresher bodies, to keep his Ma company ...

Eventually, Ezra meets with Maureen (Marian Waldman), a woman his Ma has suggested he should turn to once she's dead, calling her a good woman - but Maureen turns out to be quite a loonie, who constantly talks to her dead husband ... which wouldn't seem too strange for Ezra, since he talks to his dead Mama as well, but when Maureen, horny like nobody's business, tries to seduce him, his mother orders him to kill her ... which the good son, who has even brought a gun for the occasion, promptly does.

Next, Ezra meets Mary (Micki Moore), a nice waitress at the local bar ... so he slits up the tyres of her car one night, then offers to bring her home ... instead though, he brings her to his house, and lets her meet mother, and the other corpses he has sitting around. At first, Mary freaks totally out, but soon she realizes she will only get out of it if she plays along ... and she almost succeeds, but in the end, Ezra stabs Mary, too.

Ezra's final victim is Sally (Pat Orr), clerk at the local convenient store, which also happens to sell hunting equipment. So when he's alone in the store with her, Ezra calmly picks up a gun. silently loads it ... and shoots her in the head. Then he packs her onto the back of his truck and drives her to his hom. But he hasn't quite killed Sally, and she jumps off the truck and makes an escape through the nearby woods ... stopped cold by a rabbit trap, none other than her boyfriend has laid out (for rabbits though, not for her).

In an underwhelming finale though, the police has since found out that something has happened to Sally and that Ezra was the last customer in the shop ... and when the Sheriff stops by Ezra's he finds Sally hanging in front of the house head first and Ezra, laughing like an idiot, preparing to disembowel her ...

 

As I said, Deranged is not without its merits, it paints the nihilistic portrait of a killer who is a far cry from the more usual highly intelligent, decadent and debonnaire killer of cinema (or literature) - best example being probably Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs. Yet the killer of Deranged did really exist, and according to all reports, Ed Gein was exactly like Ezra Cobb. However, its closeness to reality might at the same time also be one of the film's flaws - the story lacks any real build-up, the suspense scenes are rather predictable ... and somehow, Roberts Blossom plays the main character too idiotic at times for5 the audience to identify with (though in other scenes, Blossom is quite menacing).

So no, Deranged is not a classic, but it's watchable, more than that, it is quite interesting - but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD