There are more good movies about Ed Gein than there are about Jackie Robinson.
Think about that for a minute. It’s pretty unfortunate for us as a species.
That said, this particular Ed Gein movie, DERANGED: CONFESSIONS OF A NECROPHILE (its full title) is one of the better ones – keeping in mind this is a subgenre that includes PSYCHO and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. Alan Ormsby, who wrote CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGSand DEATHDREAM for Bob Clark, co-directed this one, with Bob Clark producing. It may never stop being hysterical to me that most of America watches a Bob Clark movie (A CHRISTMAS STORY) on a 24-hour loop every Christmas, completely unaware of what sort of madness he was up to during the 1970s (he also directed BLACK CHRISTMAS).
DERANGED features a thoroughly spooky lead performance by Roberts Blossom, probably best known for his role in a different Christmas movie, HOME ALONE. He’s the old man next door who keeps freaking out Macaulay Culkin. In that movie, of course, he turns out to be a sweetheart, but in DERANGED, he makes a much more convincing bad neighbor.
Here Roberts Blossom plays “Ezra Cobb,” the Ed Gein character, who decorates his house with corpses he dug up, and soon enough, he branches out into the habit of murdering people.DERANGED is the most effective kind of horror movie to me. It’s the sort – likeTHE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE – that feels like it was made by madmen, even though surely Roberts Blossom and Alan Ormsby and company were/are perfectly nice people. While you’re watching DERANGED, you feel like you’re visiting with legitimate sickos, and that’s the highest compliment a horror movie can hope to get.