09 October 2014

October 9th

Deranged (1974) directed by Jeff Gillen & Alan Ormsby
Cleaves closely to the real story of Ed Gein, unlike The Texas Chain Saw Massacre released later in the same year. I have to wonder if the dinner scene in this one -- in which Ezra sets up a dinner table full of corpses to present to a girl tied to a chair -- inspired the much more intense version in TCM. Despite some similarities -- Ezra wears a woman's facial skin as a mask, too -- the two films couldn't feel more different. Deranged feels like a '60s horror movie to me, with its ultra-bright red stage blood, avoidance of showing much violence, and thoughtful pace.

Maybe it's a little too thoughtful. The film has aspirations of docu-drama and inserts a host / news reporter into many of the scenes in the first half of the movie. These inserts completely kill any momentum the movie had built, making the film seems like a cheezy stage play at times. Worse, the reporter spoils parts of the movie by, for example, informing us that the girl we will see next was a victim of Ezra. The following scene of her nearly escaping might've worked a lot better if we didn't already know she would fail.

Roberts Blossom -- the old man from Home Alone! -- gives a great performance as the killer. Blossom gives Ezra a quiet sincerity to his insanity that works very well. I also enjoyed the setting, which looked to be rural Ontario in early winter. The gray skies and brown fields and sparse buildings contributed to the grimness of the movie. Though not a terribly exciting horror movie, it was an interesting, low-key take on Ed Gein completely different from TCM, Psycho, and The Silence of the Lambs.

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