The story of infamous serial killer Ed Gein has been told on film many times before, most notably in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "Psycho". The low budget film "Deranged" tells the same man's story but was released by American International Pictures, so you pretty much know what you're in for here.
The remarkable thing is that the first half of the movie is unintentionally hilarious, and I fell in love with it almost immediately. Roberts Blossom gives what could be the most memorable performance os his career as Ezra Robb. It's demented and hysterical, sometimes at the same time. Still, my favorite actor in the film was Leslie Carlson as the narrator. He pops up from time to time to intone serious plot details in a wonderfully serious monotone. Every drive-in movie from the '70's should be so lucky to have him.
There is actually one unnerving scene in which a waitress stumbles into Blossom's room of horror and discovers him in his flesh suit. It legitimately works, and from that scene forward the film becomes more serious. I actually found myself involved in this story rather than simply laughing at the campy acting and silly dialogue. I honestly began to make the movie seriously, and it builds to a climax that is frankly kind of suspenseful.
The make-up effects by a young Tom Savini shows promise, and "Deranged" is something of a mixed bag that is ultimately worth watching. It's funny, sometimes creepy and always oddly captivating.