DERANGED (DERANGED: CONFESSIONS OF A NECROPHILE)(directors: Allen Ormsby/Jeff Gillen; screenwriter: Allen Ormsby; cinematographer: Jack McGowan; music: Carl Zittrer; cast: Roberts Blossom (Ezra Cobb), Cosette Lee (Ma Cobb), Leslie Carlson(Tom Sims), Robert Warner (Harlon Kootz), Marcia Diamond (Jenny Kootz), Brian Sneage (Brad Kootz), Robert McHeady (Sheriff), Micki Moore (Mary), Pat Orr (Sally), Marion Weldman (Maureen Selby), Les Carlson (Narrator); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Tom Karr/Bob Clark; MGM (AIP/Karr International Pictures); 1974-Canada/USA)
“Whether completely accurate or not, the chilling demented story was scary and convincing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the only film that screenwriter Allen Ormsby and actor Jeff Gillen would ever direct. Writer Allen Ormsby bases it on the true story of the notorious middle-aged Wisconsin sicko cannibal monster Ed Gein, who received a life sentence in 1957 for his brutal murders as a serial killer. He died in prison in 1984. The facts are not always told in a straight-manner, but enough is revealed about him that is true and deeply affecting. The Ed Gein story inspired films such as Psycho (1960), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
The film version has Ezra Cobb (Roberts Blossom) living on a Midwest farm and being a devoted son to his religious fanatic ailing mom (Cosette Lee). He’s been taught since childhood by her to hate women. Ezra’s overwhelmed with grief when she dies. After being alone on the farm for a year after her death, he starts hearing voices and removes her body from the grave to the house. He also decorates the house with other corpses dug up from the grave and are preserved to keep her company. The disturbed Ezra now believes mom is still alive. Following the suggestion of his inattentive neighbors, the loner visits Maureen Selby (Marion Weldman), someone his mom liked. When she tries to have sex with him he kills her. This leads him on his path as a serial killer of woman in the 1950s.
Whether completely accurate or not, the chilling demented story was scary and convincing. The filmmakers got into the madman’s bizarre head and told the story the way he would have seen it. Makeup expert Tom Savini does a great job keeping things spooky. Blossom gives a formidable performance, even making his beastly psycho killer character impossibly seem sympathetic.
REVIEWED ON 5/17/2016 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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