Deranged (1974) Review

Chris Savage

Deranged BlurayAll I can say is. Where the hell have I been? Living under a rock or something!? As I totally missed this one and I have no idea how, but thankfully that has been corrected and wow! Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen’s 1974 flick Deranged, is quite the ride indeed.

As with many films, Deranged is inspired by the notorious American serial killer Ed Gein. His acts have gone on to inspire some of the most iconic films of our time, from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho all the way to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But I’m very surprised that Deranged isn’t as well-known as the films mentioned above, as it is a striking film which captures that morbid essence perfectly and if you haven’t seen it, I urge you to change that now.

So, Arrow Video will soon be unleashing Deranged fully uncut on Blu-ray worldwide for the very first time, and they will also be including the DVD version too, and luckily I was fortunate enough to check this sucker out before its release this August 19th, and well, I absolutely loved it. But before I jump the gun, let’s begin shall we?

The film follows Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) who lives with his very ill mother, and throughout his life he has been there for her doing everything he can. Sadly she soon passes away and there is a gap left open in his life. Not knowing what to do, he soon finds comfort in talking to himself to his deceased mother, even writing letters in hopes she will find them. But soon, he realizes all this isn’t enough and soon his life changes in an instance as we enter his disturbed and insane mind.

Trying to deal with his traumatic loss, Ezra soon goes to the extreme as he digs his mother up and takes her home. Again he feels as if he has a purpose, to serve his mother, but unfortunately her corpse is in the heavy stages of decomposing, so Ezra tries to patch her up as best as he can. First he tries something like fish skin, but soon realizes that it isn’t flesh-like enough. Eventually it clicks he decides to take his morbid fascination even further by digging up more bodies, and using their flesh to patch up his deceased mother.

As with any fascination, Ezra comes to the conclusion that he needs more. His perverse mindset sways him into going after living victims instead of those from the grave and soon he starts luring innocent victims into his trap to fulfill his needs of human flesh.

As much as the film is dark and of course sinister, it has that darkly comic edge, as Ezra, much like Gein, confesses to friends of the actions he has taken, but of course, no one will believe a ridiculous story such as that, and is seen as a cruel joke.

As for the gore, it definitely seems tame by today’s standards, but, being this is the fully uncut version, we finally get to witness that infamous brain-scooping moment, and if you’re a gorehound, you will find the beauty in such a heinous act.

The film has excellent pacing and certainly keeps you intrigued in regards to Ezra’s life and the people around him, especially a number of his victims. The performances are pretty solid throughout, if not a little quirky here and there, but it adds to the films charm.  I wholeheartedly loved Deranged, and I’m so glad I finally checked this one out, as I believe this is a must watch.

Thankfully, Arrow Video’s upcoming release of the film is crammed with special features which includes a brief introduction by Tom Savini, who did the effects on the film as well as an audio commentary by him.

The disc also features the following segments;

  • A Blossoming Brilliance: Scott Spiegel (Intruder, Evil Dead II) speaks about Deranged star Roberts Blossom and the lasting legacy of this gore-soaked gem
  • Ed Gein: From Murder to Movies – Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipede II) discusses the lurid legacy of the Wisconsin serial killer and the secrets of portraying a cinematic psychopath
  • The Wages of Sin – Making of featurette comprising newly transferred 16mm production footage plus an archive interview with director Jeff Gillen

Each is a must see and a very interesting in-depth look into the film as well as the legacy Ed Gein has carved from his crimes and obsessions throughout his life.

For those of you who get your hands on this one, the package is also home to a collector’s booklet which features all kinds of goodies within, so all in all, this is a must see and the extras are pretty much the icing on the cake.

Hopefully this film can get the following it deserves as it should be up there with the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre! I love it.

5 / 5 stars     

1 Comment

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      1. Jeffrey Todd August 14, 2013 at 7:16 am

        Wish it was on Netflix now, going to have to buy it. thanks for the review