Deranged - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Deranged Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 31, 2011
Unique but ultimately unsatisfying, Deranged is one of those films that could have been truly good. Unfortunately the film takes too much time to get to the point. The idea for this film came from the Ed Gein case, unfortunately there's little substance or substance to the story and potentially good horror film ends up being mediocre. There's a good story at work here, unfortunately the director doesn't how to properly deliver it, and the film falls flat, and becomes uninteresting after the first thirty minutes. Robert Blossom is good here; unfortunately his skills can't save this film from being a dud. Deranged is fairly overrated as a forgotten gem, but I beg to differ. This film just didn't cut it, and was pretty boring to be honest. I had high hopes for this film, and I expected something really good, unfortunately this film was a disappointing effort, and actually should be forgotten in my opinion. The film could have been good, unfortunately there are too many aspects of the film that just doesn't feel right, and the actual terrifying bits are more silly than suspenseful and scary. The film is disturbing because of the nature of its story, but it lacks substance. Deranged is a big disappointment and though there's a good performance delivered by Robert Blossom, it's not enough to make this film watchable. Deranged is mostly a tired out film with nothing truly terrifying. Disturbing, but never quite chilling or memorable.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2008
Oh yeah! This is what us genre fans like to call a REAL horror film! "Deranged" is shocking, insensitive, cold-hearted and features a 'you-don't-like-it-go-to-hell'-honesty you can't possibly walk away from! This is the pretty damn factual, and therefore hugely disturbing, reconstruction of the case of Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. This guy was crazier and far more dangerous than any fictional horror character could ever be and therefore he was a nearly endless source of inspiration for independent filmmakers who wanted to bring a horrific tale. "Deranged" appears to be very cheap and amateurish, but it's one of the rare films in which the low budget production values actually contribute in making the story more grim and realistic! Ed Gein really was a poor and simple-minded farmer who went absolutely berserk after the death of his beloved mother and he refused to accept her passing away by replacing her with cadavers that he kept in his house. The characters' names have been altered, as well as the timing of the story, but Ezra Cobb's actual crimes are frighteningly truthful and portrayed with a chilling eye for detail. The film's biggest trump is unquestionably the casting of the rather unknown actor Roberts Blossom whose impressive and straight-faced performance will make you more than once wonder whether he isn't a real madman! Other aspects that definitely increase the creepiness are the constant funeral music that guides the film and the colorless, depressing set pieces. "Deranged" is not a total gorefest (mainly due to the lack in budget) but the murders are nonetheless explicitly illustrated and quite bloody. Strangely enough, the film's devastating tone is regularly undercut with brilliant flashes of morbid black humor, like Ezra's encounter with an overweight widow who talks to her deceased husband. In short, "Deranged" is a typically 70's cult treasure that should be watched by every horror fan on this planet.
Super Reviewer
July 9, 2007
A superb tale of a deranged man, who does unspeakable things with girls and dead bodies after his overbearing mother passes away. The movie is bizarre and effective, with great acting by Robert Blossoms (the old man down the street from the "Home Alone" movie.) In ways, it's better than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The plot is a bit soap-operish and the acting is a bit silly, but there are enough icky and freaky scenes to effectively show us how deranged this man really is.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2008
A different sort of film based on the Ed Gain case. First of all you have a narrator, who identifies himself as a reporter, and appears in the film as the narrative that gives this film a strange aesthetic. Also Roberts Blossom plays an amazing disturbed man, and it's hard to not like him as he does it so well.
As for the story, it unfolds episodically split up by the narration and has a certain '70s strangeness to the entire mood and presentation. It's hard to put a finger on it, but it's worth seeing. I mean, this is co-directed and written by the writer of Dead of Night, who was also the star and co-writer of Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. Plus Tom Savini had his hand in the make-up effects.
Done, you're sold.
½ August 20, 2013
Ed Gein was truly Deranged, and that is who this film is based on only the names and location have been changed. Other films inspired by Ed Gein were Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Silence of the Lambs, but they only took a bite of the cream. Deranged, however, is more about accuracy with a few changes here and there. Roberts Blossom plays the Gein based character Erza Cobb who goes crazy when his over bearing mother dies. Deranged is focused on storytelling and suspense with a few scenes of gore in this low budget pic. Not a bad film I say.
September 15, 2012
woah. This one is amazing. Aside from having Alan "Children shouldn't play with dead things" Ormsby so involved, plus an amazing performance from Roberts Blossom, there is so much authentic grit that there is no way it could fail. Low on gore, but high on creep and brutal, plus really excellent locations and cinematography, Deranged has a real horrid sense about it. Even the "narrator" seems to work, oddly enough.
June 23, 2012
How many ways can we retell the story of Ed Gein? Let me count the ways: Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Silence of the Lambs, and the oft-forgotten Deranged. Deranged probably has most in common with Chainsaw Massacre albeit without the extreme gore and violence. Deranged is a subtler but no less unsettling film that combines humor and horror together into an unforgettable exploitation classic that features an aesthetic as seedy as its subject matter.
½ February 15, 2011
I think the problem with me watching this film is I've watched it years too late. American Horror has pretty much milked the story of Ed Gein as much as they can and that's pretty much what this story is. Robert Blossom was dame creepy in this film and made me want to search out more of his work. Other than that the news reporter effect was cool. Too bad I hadn't seen this earlier I may have liked it better?
October 3, 2010

Of all the movies based on Ed Gein this is the most realistic and to some degree the most accurate. A great drive-in classic that never seemed to get attention beyond the parking lot.
March 31, 2010
A straight up masterpiece with Atmosphere like bob clark's children shouldn't play with dead things. Great effects and forget this being an exploitation it plays like a well made, well cared for piece of horror.
November 5, 2008
Rather accurate as far as Ed Gein's basic story goes, far more than other stuff "based" on him... however, that ultimately leaves it slightly boring.
½ June 18, 2008
A fictionalized telling of the story of the infamous killer, Ed Gein. Roberts Blossom plays the lead with a fine mix of the pitiful and the frightening.
½ March 21, 2008
Considering there has only been one real-life set of crimes that has intrigued me enough to pursue it or know the name as a sort of automatic filing label in my brain, it's kind of surprising this movie passed in one ear and out the other for me.

Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) is a sheltered man living alone with his bed-ridden mother (Cosette Lee) who directs him to avoid women, who she believes are instruments of the devil, riddled with gonorrhea and syphilis and planning to take financial advantage of Ez as soon as she leaves this earth. Fire and brimstone are the cornerstones of her dying speeches to shaking, worried, desperate Ez, who tries to feed her soup on her deathbed, sure that he can keep her alive a little longer. Of course, she does die, and so Ez is left alone, taking on the role of handyman to Harlon Kootz (Robert Warner) and his family, including his wife Jenny (Marcia Diamond) and son Brad (Brian Smeagle). Ed, I mean, Ez, however, still misses his mother and is absolutely grief-stricken over her death. He begins to hear her voice, asking him to bring her home. Of course, he does just that, shocked to find her in a state of decay and determined to put this to right.

Interestingly enough, despite the wild deviations of the other films based on Ed Gein (Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,* The Silence of the Lambs--Buffalo Bill, not Hannibal), this one is reasonably accurate, especially as film adaptations go. I was surprised that the film opened by addressing his mother's controlling, dominating, self-loathing misogyny as used to raise Ed, hinting at the effect it later had on him. We're brought in close to Ed (forget "Ez," it's so close as to be pointless, and we all know who it is) and see some measure of sympathy for him as it begins. Blossom plays him as a simpering, dependent, scrawny man in his 40s who lived for his mother and was never allowed to develop a backbone. He tries to follow his mother's teachings with some measure of strength, but is otherwise completely without a will of his own. We feel some pity for him in this, and at least see the roots of what comes from it. Cleverly, the way Blossom performs it and Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby direct it, we don't end up thinking, "Gee, he wasn't that bad!" or "The poor fellow!" We certainly see his victims as victims, and him as monstrous. There are no bones about this, despite the fact that we see the tragedy of poor parenting and the horrid effect it can have on someone, leaving fault not with that parenting, but with the result of it (in this case Ed).

There is not a lot of focus on his, er, trophies (for the sake of most, I'm not going to list them, you can look them up if you want) or in some ways even on the murders, until the end when we see his mind completely devolving as he falls into the sickening trap of feeling the power that his acts have given him. Stumbling into the first, but finding something in the act as he continues, until he, too, does not realize where he has let himself wander. There is some gore--it should be noted that I've seen the R-rated and not the unrated version, which includes far more gruesome acts--but not an awful lot. Moreso we find thoroughly decayed corpses being used as companions, which is disturbing in an altogether different way. Blossom never plays this aspect for complete, drooling madness, nor for pure evil. Ed is a severely misguided and altogether screwed-up mind, and is acting as if this group of women is indeed still alive and keeping him company.

Rather a surprise for its treatment of the events, even going so far as to underline the idea that these events are true but for the names and locations, it even employs a narrator (Leslie Carlson) who occasionally appears to tell us he is a reporter who first wrote about the story. This can be a bit distracting, but not overly so, and can break the tension--appropriately--at some moments. It's a good idea that doesn't quite work like it should, but does not bring the movie down for it.

Special moment: most of the scenes revolving around "Ma Cobb's" death are soaked in church organ music playing various hymns, but when Ez brings a skull to her that is to be her "company" and places it on a bedpost, suddenly the chord goes amelodic and sustains, the sort of music you would more expect out of a horror movie, but not jarring or overly loud, just a sudden change in atmosphere that tells us Ez has finally lost it, that up to then he was crossing major lines, but now he has passed the point of no return.

*As someone once said, really, "The Wisconsin Rifle Double-Homicide" would not have been near as menacing a title.
June 5, 2007
Slow moving at times, there are very unnerving moments in this film that really play up the source material, the murders of Ed Gein that also inspired other classics of the genre such as Psycho and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Worth a rental.
December 12, 2006
Creepy and filmed documentary style. Not really action packed and not really gory, but it can certainly get under your skin. I also recommend reading Deviant based on Ed Gein for more.
May 22, 2013
Another variation on the Ed Gein story starts out with lots of dark humor but - unfortunately - digresses into a slow-moving horror show.
May 13, 2013
Roberts Blossom (The bearded old boy from Home Alone and John Carpenter's Christine) excellently plays a loner looney intent on killing women upon the orders of his deceased Mother. A direct riff on the Ed Gein story. Has its moments. Of both intentional and unintentional comedy, amongst the dated grue.
½ April 7, 2013
An unintentionally hillarious, yet sometimes horrifying horror movie based on the life of Ed Gein although the main character's name is changed.

Roberts Blossom tries his hardest to be scary as Ezra Cobb but his performance comes off as being more camp than anything else.

The murder sequences, although there are only a couple, are handled very well and contain a fair amount of suspense even though the gore is quite low. The movie tells the Gein story quite well and the highlight performance has to come from the actress who plays his mother.

Being a low budget movie, the soundtrack is very limited and it often plays the same portion of music over and over which can become quickly annoying but this is nothing new from low budget horror films of this era.

It's worth seeking out if you are curious about the Ed Gein case or are a Roberts Blossom fan.
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