A farmer has a close relationship with his mother, and is living with her until the day she dies. A year after her death he starts hearing her calling for him to take her home. He's shocked at how rotten her body is and decides he has to do something about it. He has to collect fresh skin to preserve it!
What does "Psycho", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Silence of the Lambs", "Ed and His Dead Mother", "In the Light of the Moon" and a long line of other films have in common? You know it - the origins of the stories are from good ol' Ed Gein! Perhaps the most infamous killer mostly because of what he did to the bodies after they died, rather than how he killed them off. Most films are very loosely based, so it was with pleasure that I watched "Deranged", a film that stayed more true to the actual case than most other films. I think maybe "In the Light of the Moon" might've been slightly more true, but I wouldn't know since I'm not an expect. "Deranged" does it more interesting, though.
A guy presents the film to us and says it's based on a real case, but names and locations have been changed. Ed Gein in this version is called Ezra Cobb. Ezra Cobb lives with his old mother, and stays with her till the end of her life. He loves his mother dearly, and the lonely life that follows is just too much for the poor guy. A year after her death he believes she is calling for him, and he goes to her grave to dig her up. After a quick illusion that she is still in the state she was buried in, he sees her for what she actually is - a skeletal corpse with very little flesh and skin. He starts reading books about embalming and taxidermy, and tries to find something that will work as new skin for her. But nothing works until he tries real human skin.
I don't remember the actual story of Ed Gein being that he needed skin for his mother, but that's what the movie went with. But to be fair it seemed more like an excuse. Now, it could still be what actually happened, just nothing I know about and it distracted me for a bit to begin with. It progresses from there. After that the movie takes on a more slasher-ish character, which works since the rest of the movie is pretty mellow.
I know this is a very popular Gein adaption, but I must say I think it was a bit too comical, and lacked a good climax or even story development. It's just too nice of a movie. It still has some great scenes, though. Like the creepy scene where a girl finds him dressed up as a corpse in a room with other corpses. I also think the blood was great, even though it had that non-realistic bright red color, it managed to give the movie a strange atmosphere. Maybe it was especially fine since the guy presenting the movie in the beginning tells us it's a reconstruction. We know it is, since it's a fictional movie, but once someone breaks that fourth wall we look at the film in a different light. That was most definitely the case here.
"Deranged" is absolutely one of the better Ed Gein adaptions, even though it might not be 100% accurate at all times. The strong points of this movie isn't in the story, though, but in Roberts Blossom's portrayal of Ed/Ezra, and the tone of the movie. It balances well between comedy, drama and horror. It definitely misses some things keeping it from being a great movie - things like a developed story. It might not need it, but I got the feeling something was missing once the film ended. Overall I wasn't disappointed though.