This weekend was one where I watched a few films I have been dying to get my hands on. First was the insane alien flick Xtro, then came the post-apocalyptic Roddy Piper movie Hell Comes to Frogtown. To round out the weekend, I watched the Ed Gein-inspired Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile. As someone who has always had an interest in serial killer, especially movies about them, I had been dying to see Deranged for quite some time.
The film follows a shy man named Ezra Cobb (based on famed serial killer Ed Gein). Ezra is taking care of his very ill mother, who is a very domineering individual and has poisoned Ezra’s view of women. She claims that all women are bad and will give him diseases. As she is his closest friend and confidant, Ezra becomes incredibly distressed when she finally passes away. He soon begins have hallucinations, thinking his mother is contacting him from beyond the grave. He digs up her corpse in an effort to be with her, and begins reconstructing her physically with the features of other corpses. Soon he realizes that he must commit acts even more atrocious than grave robbing to fulfill his need.
Overall there is a lot to love about this movie. While not really a slasher flick, and not overly gory, the film still manages to feel sleazy and dirty. The idea of a grave robbing and murderous mama’s boy already sends the creep factor off the charts, but the coup de grace is the performance by Roberts Blossom (interestingly enough, he played the old man with the snow shovel in Home Alone). The way he conveyed the simple-minded, easily influenced Ezra was so good it actually made you a little sympathetic to him. Loneliness and isolation turn Ezra from a slow farmer to a diabolical psychopath who truly does not see what he’s doing as wrong.
Horror fans are typically well aware that there have been a plethora of movies based on Gein and his atrocities, including such classics as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Psycho. Flicks like these are loosely based on Gein, while Deranged aims to be a more faithful representation (despite changing the names of the people and locations). While not a completely accurate portrayal, this is probably my favorite of these types of films. You really get a sense of the different factors that led Ezra (and Gein himself) to act out the way he did.
In sum, I really enjoyed Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile. Roberts Blossom’s performance as the Ed Gein-inspired protagonist help create a hauntingly chilling piece of macabre cinema. Director Alan Ormsby did a fantastic job bringing this disturbing piece of Americana to the silver screen. While lacking the overall punch of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (which came out the same year), this is a must see for any fans of true crime and horror.
IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
My Rating: 7.5/10