Deranged (1974) BluRay Review – Arrow Films

deranged1Deranged (1974) BluRay Review

Dir. Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby

Starring – Roberts Blossom, Cosette Lee, Robert Warner, Marcia Diamond, Leslie Carlson.

Release 19th August 2013 – Arrow Video


Edward Theodore Gein was born in Wisconsin USA on August 27th 1906. The youngest of 2 sons to George and Augusta. He was a shy, quiet child and was completely controlled by a domineering mother. Augusta hated her husband who she deemed a failure due to his alcoholism and lack of a decent backbone . George died in 1940 , then tragically Ed’s brother Henry died in 1944 (in somewhat odd circumstances), this left just Ed and his mother. Unfortunately Augusta died in December 1945 leaving poor old Ed to cope on his own in the family farmstead .

This is his story….

Deranged starts with the following written exclamation – “The motion picture you are about to see is absolutely true. Only the names and locations have been changed”.

Deranged starts in a documentary style with reporter Tom Simms (Leslie Carlson) explaining what is happening and almost acting as the films narrator. Then we see Ezra Cobb (Robert Blossom) sitting by the bed of his dying mother (Cosette Lee), he is trying to act like nothing is wrong yet his mother is telling him she is dying and that all women are harlots and sluts with the exception of her friend Maureen Selby who is the only trustworthy woman she knows due to the fact she is fat like a heifer.

deranged2As Ezra tries to feed soup to his mother she suddenly starts gushing blood from her mouth and nose and she dies there and then.

After the death of his dominant , religious mother Ez becomes increasingly strange. But then to everyone this is just little odd Ez , a nice quiet man.

However a year after the death of his mother Ez visits the cemetery to bring his mother back home where she belongs. But after digging her up and getting her home Ez discovers that she is all rotten and decayed . In his now twisted mind he decides to rebuild and repair her using the skin and corpses of other dead women that he can dig up from the cemetery also.

While visiting his friend Harlon (Robert Warner) for tea Ez has a eureka moment when he is told that all the deaths are recorded in the local paper, so he can now have his choice from the freshest corpses.

Ez’s friend Harlon and his wife Jenny (Marcia Diamond) decide that Ez needs a woman in his life and Ez is scared by this proposal as his mother told him all women were untrustworthy, that is apart from Maureen Selby (Marian Waldman). So Ez meets up with Maureen and they have a séance to talk to Maureen’s dead husband in what turns out to be a quite wonderful scene.

And that is where I will leave the synopsis to avoid any spoilers !!


deranged3Deranged is an absolute classic. I first saw it on an early date with my now wife back in about 1991, it was on the big screen at The Cornerhouse in Manchester and there were 5 people there including us. And it absolutely blew me away, and since then I have owned it on DVD and I still have my trusty old VHS. But I believe since I saw it back in the day then this is the first time I have seen the full uncut version and this is fully uncut.

The scenery and sets are perfect and just in keeping with 1950′s Wisconsin. And the script is brilliant , the conversations and turns of phrase are at times hilarious which when you think of the subject matter is a real score for Alan Ormsby who wrote the script , co- directed and even helped out on the make up. And on BluRay it just looks even better , sharp and crisp. Wow.

And talking of the make-up this was the 2nd feature of a certain Mr Tom Savini (who also does the audio commentary on the extras). It was also produced by Porky’s and Black Christmas director Bob Clark , and cinematographer Jack McGowan who did Deathdream, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and Deranged all in a row. So you see this was a hugely talented if fairly inexperienced team but you can just see the love and fun that was had by the team on Deranged.

But there is one thing that truly stands out in Deranged and that is the performance of Roberts Blossom as Ezra Cobb. He is just the embodiment of Gein , he plays the part so well that at times you truly believe you are watching a man who is slowing becoming not just psychotic but truly dangerous. In my opinion Roberts Blossom gives one of THE best individual horror performances of all time .

deranged4Deranged is a funny little freak of a film that will draw you in and spit you out 80 minutes later disorientated and yet better for it. It is hard to think that Deranged was made on reputedly $2000 .

A true classic in every way and a MUST BUY not just for the film but for all the wonderful extras that as usual Arrow have put with this release. Deranged IS TRULY UNIQUE !

Verdict 10/10 – it just doesn’t get any better.

I must just say that I am a huge Ed Gein nerd (fan is probably the wrong word). I almost had a book published in 1991 on Ed Gein and I have many books and videos on the man . So I was always at a pre-disposition to love this release especially as it is my top film films of all time. BUT Arrow have made Deranged better by the wonderful extras and packaging. Thank you Arrow.

Special Features:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of the unrated version, featuring the infamous ‘brain-scooping scene’, available uncut in the UK for the first time!

Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Audio commentary with special effects artist Tom Savini

Introduction to the film by Savini

A Blossoming Brilliance: Scott Spiegel (Intruder, Evil Dead II) speaks about Deranged star Roberts Blossom and the lasting legacy of this gore-soaked gem

Ed Gein: From Murder to Movies – Laurence R. Harvey (The Human Centipide II) discusses the lurid legacy of the Wisconsin serial killer and the secrets of portraying a cinematic psychopath

The Wages of Sin – Making of featurette comprising newly transferred 16mm production footage plus an archive interview with director Jeff Gillen

Original Trailer

Stills gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat Marsh

Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Stephen Thrower, author of Nightmare USA, and an archive interview with producer Bob Clark by Calum Waddell, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Region B/2


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About Andy Deen

A horror fan for as far back as I can remember . The first things that scared me were Doctor Who and the BBC ghost stories . As an early teen the video revolution came along and with it the Video Nasty campaign , and through all that I immersed myself in all things nasty. I love Slashers, Haunted House Stories and Devil Worshipping/Panic Films . I watch too much horror , listen to loud Heavy Metal and enjoy the odd tattoo \m/\m/

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