Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HORROR EPICS: Deranged (1974)

This nifty little rural horror flick usually shows up on DVD alongside Motel Hell as a double-sided “Midnite Movies Double Feature,” which is kind of a neat way to see it. Of all the fictional horror movies inspired by serial killer Ed Gein over the years, apparently Deranged is the most accurate. Some people lose their minds when their parents pass away, and Ezra is no different when he refuses to accept his mother dying. He even tries to feed her split pea soup as she coughs up blood in the throes of death. The fifty-something farmer has clearly gone over the edge when he exhumes his mother’s corpse a year later and begins robbing other graves. At first it’s to treat her withered remains, then progresses to give her some company. Finally, Ezra preys upon the living to round out his collection. Like its DVD companion, Deranged relies heavily on a strong performance by the lead actor. As Ezra, Roberts Blossom keeps the movie watchable during a slow first hour. The character is as creepy as he looks, yet his descent into madness is at times done so with black comic touches. But when Ezra finally goes too far, you realize it’s no laughing matter anymore. More interesting than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre knockoff indicated in the trailer, and not bad for low-budget ‘70s drive-in fare.



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