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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,
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.