Deranged (1974) from Tuna

Deranged (1974) is based on the life of serial killer Ed Gein, who is called Ezra Cobb in this film.

After the death of his father, Cobb doted on his mother, and literally devoted his life to her after a stroke left her bed-ridden. This deeply disturbed woman taught him that women were evil, "The wages of sin are syphilis, gonorrhea and death." After her death, he became a recluse for a year, and then decided to bring mamma home. Unfortunately, after a year in the grave, she needed lots of fixing up to be presentable, so he started learning everything he could about embalming, taxidermy and tanning. He soon realized that he needed some fresher material to work with, and so robbed recent corpses for spare parts. He also began to restore others to keep her company. It was inevitable that he would turn to the living for even fresher parts.

The story is narrated, and the documentary style robbed any dramatic effect for me. The narrative style is too matter-of-fact to involve me in the characters. The film has some effective moments, and some of the images are rather graphic but, on the whole, it wasn't engaging.


Patt Orr, as his final victim, is hanged naked upside down for gutting. We see her buns and breasts while he guts her.
Scoop's notes:

Ed Gein was raised at the beginning of the 20th century by a domineering, protective mother on a medium sized family farm in Wisconsin. She was a very religious woman who was obsessed with sin and sex. She discouraged Ed from women and kept him busy with farm work. The rest of the family died off, and when Gein's mother suffered her second stroke in 1945, from which she never recovered, the virginal 39 year old Ed was left alone.

He sealed off his mother’s bedroom by boarding it up and keeping it locked and undisturbed, preserved exactly as it had been when she was alive. He also shut off the entire upstairs and set up his own quarters in the downstairs bedroom and kitchen. He stopped working the farm because of a government subsidy which he supplemented with handyman earnings. After his mother's death, he became curious about and obsessed with the female anatomy. He began to satisfy his curiosity by robbing graves and experimenting with the bodies. He even dug up his own mother's corpse. He constructed objects from the bones and skin, and would store usable organs in the fridge to eat later. It was alleged that he also committed necrophilia with the bodies. 

Gein also felt a growing desire to become a woman himself, so he continued dissecting corpses and familiarizing himself with the female anatomy. He considered an ‘operation’ which would result in a change of sex, but the closest he could get was dressing up in a bodysuit made from human skin, complete with mask and breasts. Gein later confessed that he enjoyed dressing himself in this and other human-skin garments and pretending he was his own mother.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • double feature with Motel Hell

He started killing live women in 1954 and continued until 1957 when he was caught because he wasn't very bright, killed the local deputy's mother, didn't make much of an effort to hide his activities, and retained all the grisly evidence of his crimes in a personal collection. He was deemed insane and given a life sentence at a state hospital, where he lived 27 more years, until he finally passed away in 1984.

Elements of his life formed the basis for parts of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Silence of the Lambs, and especially Psycho, although all three of those films retain fictional elements unrelated to Gein.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews from general reviewers, although the film is covered by some genre sites


The People Vote ...


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-.

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