“I apologize for calling you a hog, mama.”
A deranged farmer (Roberts Blossom) goes off the deep end when his overly religious mother (Cosette Lee) dies, recovering her body from its grave a year later, and murdering local women to help restore her decaying corpse.
Essentially a thinly veiled biopic about “Mad Butcher” Ed Gein, Deranged remains a gruesome but surprisingly effective low-budget slasher flick. Most definitely not for the faint of heart, Deranged — filled with a healthy dose of black humor — spares no details in presenting the travails of its increasingly unhinged anti-hero, as it tracks his descent from dutifully compliant grown son to psychotic necrophiliac. Blossoms is well-cast in the central role, doing a fine job with an undeniably tricky character; we never doubt either his sincerity or his derangement for a single second. Co-directors Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby set up many tension-filled scenes (viz. barmaid Micki Moore’s introduction to Blossoms’ household existence!), which are all nicely paced and include a decent number of shocks and thrills; meanwhile, Carl Zittrer’s score (based thematically upon the hymn “Old Rugged Cross”) serves as an effective reminder about the religiosity behind Blossoms’ mental disturbance. I’m astonished to find myself recommending this one as must-see, but it’s good enough at what it sets out to do that I think it’s worth a look by all film fanatics.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Roberts Blossom as Ezra
- Many genuinely creepy moments
- Jack McGowan’s cinematography
- An effectively disturbing score
Yes, simply as a well-crafted, low-budget genre flick — but be forewarned that it’s utterly gruesome. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.