Deranged (1974)

deranged poster 1974 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Brutal and grindhouse feel

So-so storytelling

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Deranged

Studio:  Karr International Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  February 1974 (Premiere)/March 6, 1974 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

deranged ezra cobb mother roberts blossom ed geins

Every boy loves his mother

Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) isn’t like other boys.  When his mother Amanda (Cosette Lee) dies, he decides he cannot be without her retrieves her from the cemetery.  Investigating different means of taxidermy, Ezra sets out to keep his mother in the best shape he can…and seeks out the women he needs to do it.  No one can believe that the quiet Ezra could be a danger…but he is truly deranged.

Directed by Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby, Deranged is a horror movie based on serial killer Ed Geins (August 27, 1906-July 26, 1984).  The film premiered in 1974 but was considered lost for a period of time before being rediscovered in the 1990s.

Ed Geins has been the boogeyman of a lot films.  He’s the basis for Norman Bates in Psycho and aspects of his story were used for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  Most of those stories just took the idea of Ed Geins, but Deranged used a bit more of the real events for its basis (though still fictional).

deranged corpses preserved ed geins ezra cobb roberts blossom

Ain’t no party like a Ezra Cobb party!

The movie has a weird blend of reporting and traditional movie storytelling.  Frequently Tom Simms (Leslie Carlson) shows up as a reporter to tell provide set-up and to advance the story as time passes.  The movie then shifts to Cobb on his killing spree.  In keeping kind of clinical, it feels a little more raw (much like the introduction on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre which gives it a sense of realism).  Deranged does have that grindhouse feel which I like and gives the movie more weight than if it was clean and shiny.

Roberts Blossom is good as Cobb who is quiet and soft spoken, but who can become a killer when necessary.  It is a fun contrast (or adds a creepy layer of depth to Kevin’s concerns) that he is the old man from Home Alone…maybe Kevin wasn’t too off about him being a killer.  The rest of the cast is rather bland and doesn’t particularly stand out, but they don’t have much to work with.

deranged ezra cobb ed geins roberts blossom

Won’t you be my neighbor?

The movie (as mentioned) has a low budget look.  The special effects aren’t the most intense, but they are effective at points (especially the scene where Cobb is wearing the skin of one of his victims).  The film is rather brutal and it did face some challenges from the ratings boards as a result.

Deranged is rather minor in comparisons to some of the brutality of the horror today, but there is some creep factor in that it has basis in reality.  Geins was a creepy and terrifying man and that is why he is both a cautionary tale of strange men and a real-life monster that lived among the unsuspecting people.  Deranged is a different take on the Psycho story without the advantage and hype of Hitchcock’s presentation.  It is a brutal and sloppy, but that is fun in its own style.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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