Deranged (1974)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Horror Comedy, True Crime  |   Release Date - Feb 1, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Canada , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Despite being tagged as a horror film, Deranged is interesting because it as witty as it is scary. The film suffers from rough edges, the main problems being inconsistent pacing and a stilted framing device involving an investigative reporter, but remains compelling because it adds some perceptive social satire into the mix. The staging of the story's events lets the viewer know that Ezra Cobb's madness is fueled by the indifference and occasional callousness of his fellow man as much as it is by his own personal demons. It also weaves black humor into scenes that would otherwise play as straight scares, the best example being a scene where an old maid's attempt to seduce Ezra starts as pure comedy and then goes horribly wrong. The film's blend of horror and humor is further enhanced by a skilled performance from Roberts Blossom, who uses skillful comic timing to offset his character's capacity for violence and in a way that makes Ezra Cobb childlike and terrifying all at once. Horror fans might also want to take note that the team who created the film's convincingly gruesome special makeup included Tom Savini, who later went on to create similarly stomach-churning effects for Friday the 13th and Dawn of the Dead. All in all, Deranged's singular blend of gore and sick humor isn't for all tastes, but its inspired oddness makes it worth a look for horror buffs.