Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974)
I have read and watched a lot of books/movies about serial killers. I have always been fascinated by the macabre from a very young age and true crime is at the forefront. As much as I have probed into the subject, the thoughts and actions of serial killers are cold-blooded and beyond normal human understanding. There are similar traits that can be found in most serial killers but there is still such a vast difference between them all- from the smart and charming Ted Bundy, to the charismatic Charles Manson, to the paranoid and mentally incompetent David Berkowitz, to the pedophilic John Wayne Gacy, and the necrophiliac Jeffrey Dahmer. There are a lot of great films chronicling the horrific true stories of these individuals like Summer of Sam (1999), Gacy (2003), Bundy (2002), and Dahmer (2002).
And then there is Deranged (1974) about the infamous Ed Gein. This film is a little different than most serial killer films because although the story almost precisely follows the true life events and murders of Ed Gein, all the names in the film have been changed, including the protagonist named Ezra Cobb. Another fun fact is how many other movies are based off of the nightmarish deeds of Ed Gein- including Psycho (1960), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Ed Gein is THE original human skin mask maker. Below are REAL photos of his handy work.
Here is a quick run-down of the plot:
Ezra Cobb has a very co-dependent relationship with his mother. When she passes, Ezra cannot get past the despair, loneliness, and pain from the loss. So he brings mama home, digging her decayed body from its peaceful grave. The decomposing body of Ma Cobb is ripe and oozy and it just so happens that one of Ezra’s favorite pastimes is taxidermy. Ezra gets the idea to use real human flesh to restore his mother and his new pastime is born- grave robbing. But let’s take it one step further when Ezra starts bring home live victims.
Actor Roberts Blossom (yes, the old man from Home Alone) plays the depraved hillbilly Ezra unbridled and without reservation. This film has a lot of B-movie charm. It is not flashy with extreme gore but it does leave you with some sick and disturbing imagery. And it’s got it all- body butchering, grave robbing, and necrophilia. Some of the special effects are not incredibly realistic but disgusting all the same (think Nekromantik). It somehow feels a little long at 82 minutes but this cult classic hidden gem is here to stay. A perfect double-feature night would be Deranged and Motel Hell. Both B-horror gold!
Movie Reviews for the Sublimely Weird
For more serial killer films, see Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Monster, Badlands, 10 Rillington Place, The Boston Strangler, Zodiac, Helter Skelter, and The Snowtown Murders.