(a.k.a. Deranged – The Confessions of a Necrophile)
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a serial killer out of Wisconsin called Ed Gein. He is the most fucked up motherfucker that ever was fucked up. He is the original American Psycho as they would say on Entertainment Tonight. When they caught him he had a dead lady hanging in his shed cleaned out like a deer. He had a heart on his stove and all kinds of heads and skulls and chairs and clothes made out of human skin. He started out digging up graves and then started killing people, collecting their body parts, wearing them and possibly eating them. I mean jesus, I’m not making this up, but don’t read it if you’re eating – the dude had a box full of vaginas and he liked to dance around in the moonlight wearing a belt he made out of nipples. In my opinion, he had a problem with women.
Anway this fucker inspired alot of the most famous horror pictures, from Psycho to Texas Chainsaw to Hannibal Lecter and, I forget which other ones, possibly The Fly or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or one of those. But this picture Deranged is a more obscure one from 1978 which is based much more closely on the actual case.
For the movie they changed his name to Ez instead of Ed, because he is still alive and living in some minimum security place somewhere and I mean, you never know. But personally I think he would be able to figure out that it was him if he saw the movie. Anyway the story begins with Ez’s mom dying, and shows how lonely he is, and next thing you know he digs her up and starts taking care of her. Then it’s more graverobbing. I don’t mean to preach or anything but the guy is a sicko in my opinion. Anyway there are subplots about Ez having dinner with his childhood buddy, who he calls sir. His buddy’s wife (“ma’am”) convinces him to start going on dates, and this leads to him start killing.
Now this whole graverobbing cannibal business is a really crazy story and that’s obviously the main appeal of this picture. But the only reason I enjoyed it is because, well, it’s funny as hell. I mean yes, there might be some people who would argue that it is tasteless to take some of the most shocking atrocities ever committed, put them on screen thirty years later and play it for laughs. But, in my opinion, there is, I mean, as far as I’m concerned, with the uh… well, they’re right. It’s tasteless. but still.
Ez is played completely convincingly by Roberts Blossoms as this dim old farm boy who is over polite and with no social skills. Which fits the character pretty good if you think about it. When a gal is trying to come on to him, he seems confused and says, “ma’am?” Later he tells his mummified dead mama that he thinks the gal has a screw or two loose.
There is another funny scene where Ez is driving home from having first dug up his mom’s corpse. He gets pulled over and he tells the cop that the bad smell in his truck is from a dead pig. As he drives away he says, “I apologize for calling you a pig, mama.”
And then when local gals are missing, Ez starts telling everybody that they’re not missing, he has them at his house. People just laugh and say that he has a twisted sense of humor. I thought this was pretty funny, then I read that it really happened with Ed Gein. So maybe it’s not funny, even though I laughed. I guess it depends on your tastes in real life serial killer comedy. I mean if you like them then, this must be one of the better ones.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.