Deranged – 3 out of 5
Besides cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and currently having an asshole governor with the IQ of a molding grapefruit, Wisconsin (the state I call home) is known for having a prominent history with serial killers. Maybe it’s because we don’t have a lot of shit to do in this state and a lot of the smaller areas give off a very Deliverance vibe but Wisco has a knack for making people who will kill people and do completely fucked up shit with their corpses. The most famous of them, of course, being Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein. This film, made in 1974, tells the story of Gein…although the names and places were changed.
|Spoiler Alert: Ed Gein was not played by himself.|
Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) lives in the small, unidentified town in the Midwest. The film opens with him caring for his sick mother—sick physically and very clearly mentally as she is all about the fire and brimstone version of religion and teaches Ezra that women are dirty whores and that the only person good enough for him is her (sounds like another horror film, doesn’t it?). Mama Cobb ends up kicking the bucket and Ezra can’t cope. He eventually steals her body back from the grave and decides to go around and start killing more people for his corpse collection. Ezra’s journey off the deep end culminates with him using these bodies to make household objects out of bone and skin…and nobody in town is wise to his insanity.
|The lesson to be learned here is that motherly admiration leads to being a serial killer.|
|There's a fine line between creepy and adorable...|
he crossed it.
|Nowadays, people just share dumb photos on Facebook that say "Share if you|
love your mother" in order to show parental love.
By today’s standard, this film comes off incredibly tame. There’s very little blood and gore and, when you have advancing practical effect techniques that help create the most realistic gore money can pay for, the little blood that is shown is your typical 70s stuff that looks like bright red paint. Newer horror fans that go for gore porn might not dig the film but the film is pretty interesting stuff and offers up a spine-chilling insight into the mind of a madman.
|Dammit, who spilled paint?|
|Don't worry, he redeems himself later in life when|
he saves the McCallister kid.
|A lively dinner party...|
The only other drawback I had with the film was the inclusion of a narrator. In and of itself, this element is a fine idea but, at one point, he just disappears. He opens the film and will occasionally jump into a scene to give the viewer a deeper understanding of what is going through the mind of the serial killer but, for a period of the film, he’s just not around and I found myself wondering if the production just abandoned the idea. Then, at the end, he shows up again. It wasn’t über-distracting but distracting enough that you notice when he’s not suddenly around.
|"Hi, I'm Troy McClure..."|
Deranged is clearly not a horror film for the generation that finds "found footage" terrifying. The film offers up no visceral and immediate jump scares and relies solely on psychological terror and the horror found from the idea that everything you are watching was based on a real dude that anyone of us could have met or come into contact with in our daily lives. While I won’t say it scared me as much as it interest me, Deranged did prove to be a captivating insight into the man who is from my state and went on to inspire some of my favorite horror films. Add in Roberts Blossom’s unsettling performance and I found a film that may have not been completely satisfying but was still pretty damn unnerving.