In short, Deranged is a (now legendary) film which is loosely based on the infamous serial killer, Ed Gein.
From IMDb: A man living in rural Wisconsin takes care of his bed-ridden mother, who is very domineering and teaches him that all women are evil. After she dies he misses her, so a year later he digs her up and takes her home. He learns about taxidermy and begins robbing graves to get materials to patch her up, and inevitably begins looking for fresher sources of materials.
And if you haven’t heard of Ed Gein then you’ve obviously been living on the moon for the past four decades. He was a murdering grave robber and the original source for the book/movie Psycho, and the (very loose) basis for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
While Deranged isn’t based 100% on facts, the film borrows the basic idea of Ed, here calling him Ezra, and how the death of his mother drove him to murder young girls and do the unbelievable things that he did. In my top ten list of serial killers (which I’ll have to do some day) he is definitely up there in the top three.
Deranged begins, as I say, with Ezra’s descent into madness. He digs up his mothers corpse and returns it to her bed. He then proceeds to try and recreate his mother using pieces of skin from his victims.
There’s a bit of gore here and there (a skull being cracked open and the brains being spooned out) but it’s the basic content that’s most disturbing. It also contains the classic line: “filthy black souls, sluts with pus filled sores!” uttered by his dying mother in reference to ‘those women’.
My only criticism of the movie is the narration. Every now and then the camera will pan across a scene and focus on a narrator who proceeds to stand there and tell us something which the film makers could just as well have filmed! But it was 1974, and maybe it was their way of saving some pennies.
Deranged is something of a classic when it comes to both Gein and the many derivatives of him and I can see why, but with a good director and script (with no narrator popping up) this would make an awesome gory, creepy, remake. Still, it’s a classic, and you should watch it.