In this episode of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks, I talk about a gruesome 70s horror film premised on the real life crimes of notorious ghoul Ed Gein – Deranged (1974)!
Written and directed by Alan Ormsby, and co-directed by Jeff Gillen, this low budget Canadian shocker stars Roberts Blossom, Cossette Lee, Leslie Carlson, Robert Warner, Robert McHeady, Marian Waldman, Micki Moore, and Pat Orr.
It was produced by Tom Karr and exploitation legend Bob Clark, and features some of the earliest special effects work by Tom Savini!
After the death of his domineering mother, Wisconsin farmer Ezra Cobb (Blossom) turns to grave robbing and murder in the backwoods of a small, rural community. Nobody pays Ezra much mind because they never suspect that someone so simple and neighborly could also be a murderous fiend.
Deranged is an off-kilter horror movie full of strange comedic touchstones and alternating scenes of dark comedy and stark brutality, mostly driven by the wonderfully unhinged performance of Roberts Blossom.
Owing to the morbid details of the Ed Gein case, Deranged shares many similarities with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Psycho (1960), and ranks among the most accurate tellings of Gein’s infamous crimes. In my opinion, its an unusual little cult movie that fans of 70s horror are likely to enjoy. I give it a rating of 7/10.
Look for new episodes of Pop Culture Beast’s Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October! You can watch past episodes HERE.
Ryan Stockstad is a Los Angeles filmmaker with a passion for horror, documentary and experimental cinema. He has written articles for HC Magazine, Mostly Harmless Magazine and various blogs and websites. He has lectured on topics as diverse as low budget filmmaking, short story structure, and the influence of the Spanish Civil War on surrealist cinema. He hosts new episodes of Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in October.