Tuesday, March 24, 2015


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I won't Google it but I'm fairly certain there is a Disturbed cover band that calls themselves Deranged.

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.
Sure, Wisconsin has produced some awesome people like Liberace, Gene Wilder and more but, Man Alive, have we churned out some duds in our history. Epic assholes like Joseph "Everyone is a Commie" McCarthy, Jeffrey "I fucked dudes and eat their corpses" Dahmer, and Scott "I was kicked out of college for being a criminal but your Conservative Uncle still voted for me" Walker but none of them were as insane as Ed Gein (Walker is close but the only saving grace he has is the complete lack of murder in his past…unless you count killing jobs and our education system). Gein’s horrific handiwork would be a tale of atrocity that made the horror film scene creams their pants. His antics went on to inspire such characters as Norman Bates from Psycho, Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, and Bloody Face from the television series American Horror Story. Real life can be way more fucked up than fiction and Gein proved it and, inadvertently, ended up being the inspiration for some of the greatest thrillers, chillers, and bladder spillers in pop culture. Until an actual movie was produced about Gein, this film was the most accurate portrayal of what he committed in the name of love for his mother.

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.
Deranged definitely has its drawbacks. For one, there is some bad acting. There’s a scene where a girl is targeted by Ezra to be his and when he takes her back to his house and she sees his corpse collection, her reaction is…um…too calm. She doesn’t look terrified or even paralyzed with fear to the point that she can’t process what she is seeing. She just looks…indifferent. So that was weird. However, beyond that, the acting isn’t too terrible. In fact, when it concerns Roberts Blossom (you might remember him as the creepy old dude with the snow shovel in Home Alone and some of you might be asking what the hell Home Alone is—I don’t know how old you are, person reading this), he’s absolutely incredible as Ezra. He has the right blend of being terrifying during the scary parts and being somewhat normal appearing during the scenes where he isn’t trying to murder people for their skin.

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 ├╝ber-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.

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