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Deranged
SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen
  • 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • 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

Deranged

Dual-Format Edition
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Jeff Gillen, Alan Ormsby
Starring: Roberts Blossom
1974 | 82 Minutes

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: £19.99 | Series: Arrow Video
Arrow Films

Release Date: August 19, 2013
Review Date: September 9, 2013

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SYNOPSIS

Real-life Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein inspired many distinguished films, including Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but none is quite as disturbing as Deranged.

Roberts Blossom gives an alarmingly convincing performance as rural eccentric Ezra Cobb, whose mother's death unhinges him to the point where he not only lovingly preserves her corpse in the living room but also goes out to find 'friends' to keep her company - not all of whom are dead when he finds them! Perversely, Ezra's more worried about what mother would say about his various activities than he is about the prospect of being found out. Indeed, like Gein, he's cheerfully open about his activities when visiting friends, but no-one believes him.

Like Carnival of Souls and The Honeymoon Killers, this is one of American horror cinema's great one-offs, an eerie, genuinely unsettling but also darkly comic experience.


PICTURE

Arrow Video releases the cult film Deranged on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this dual-layer disc. It is presented in a new 1080p/24hz high-definition digital transfer. A UK release, the disc is unfortunately region locked to Region B. North American viewers will require equipment that can play back region B content.

For a film destined to be forever relegated to bargain bins, double-bill releases, or bootlegs, this high-definition transfer is an amazing surprise. I was expecting a heavy amount of damage but the reality is there is very little. A few tram lines appear in places with the odd moment of discolouration, and dirt can get heavy at moments, but in general the source materials are pretty clean and look to have gone through as thorough a restoration as possible.

The digital transfer itself doesnít present any noticeable issues, looking crisp and clean. Edges are clean, details pop, and the film always looks sharp. Film grain is there and rendered nicely while colours look fairly vivid and lively. Blacks are pretty deep but shadow delineation is a bit weak and some darker sequences crush out some of the details.

In all, those who only experienced the film on VHS would be in for a shock with this new presentation. Itís shockingly good and I doubt the film looked this good during its initial theatrical run.

8/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

A simple 2-channel linear PCM mono track, itís limited by its low-budget nature. Sound is flat despite the organ score that appears throughout that manages to pack a bit of a punch. But dialogue is clear and there is no damage or distortion present. Itís clean and about as good as one can expect.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Arrow is usually quite dependable in terms of their supplements, and despite a couple of questionable inclusions this release is no different. After a quick introduction by Tom Savini, who worked on the filmís make-up and effects, we get what is probably the best feature on here, an audio commentary featuring Savini. I have admittedly never listened to Savini talk in a commentary before and after this I may have to track down other tracks he has done. This entertaining and very honest track features Savini (who is being interviewed by contributor Calum Waddell) recalls working on the effects in the film, the second of his career. He admittedly has trouble recalling certain details, though amusingly as the track progresses things start coming to him. While he talks about the effects (and the fact heís been asked to do a remake) Savini also talks extensively about his career and how heís built up his art, and offers a surprising number of confessions, most notably one where he admits he doesnít care for gory movies (especially ďtorture pornĒ) and prefers his horror creepy and subtle. Heís surprisingly critical of his work throughout and does also deliver some harsh criticisms of the film (specifically that absurd narrator that pops up here and there) but heís mostly fond of the experience. Itís a rather wonderful track and any fan of Savini and/or his work would be doing themselves a huge favour by listening to it.

Following this is unfortunately what Iíd call the most obnoxious interview on here. Called A Blossoming Brilliance, this 10-minute interview features an interview with producer/director/writer Scott Spiegel. Though the interview starts with an amusing anecdote about how he lent actor Roberts Blossom (who of course plays the killer in the film) a bootleg copy of Deranged while working with Sam Raimi on The Quick and the Dead it quickly dissolves into an incoherent stream-of-conscience where he simply just throws in random stories about Ed Gein (who is the basis for the film,) Bob Clarkís involvement, Savini, and even Robert Bloch. The stories rarely go anywhere and other than the Blossom story thereís very little here.

Also a bit odd but at least more interesting is Ed Gein: From Murderer to Movies, which is a 15-minute discussion featuring Lawrence R. Harvey, most famous (?) for appearing in the second Human Centipede film. Itís actually another surprisingly decent piece with Harvey talking about Ed Gein and the films influenced by his crimes, which not only include this one but more famously The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Psycho. He also talks about Blossomís performance and the difficulty of portraying a psychopath and then gets into the moral issues that arise in the fascination pop culture has with serial killers. Though sometimes he feels he may be plugging his own work when making comparisons to the work he has done himself there are some insightful and intriguing comments to be found in here.

The Wages of Sin is a 12-minute making-of put together for this release. Using a narrator, behind-the-scenes footage (which shows some of the effects being put together,) and an archival interview with one of the directors, Jeff Gillen, the short piece offers a decent look at how the production came together, offering a few interesting items, like how the film crew had to keep the material of the movie secret from the town (which, if I recall from the commentary, was Oshawa, Ontario, home of the Elvis Festival.)

We get a ďtrailer commentaryĒ which is really a somewhat annoying piece featuring Adam Rifkin talking about the film. This is then followed by the actual theatrical trailer and a photo gallery featuring a number of promotional photos and posters.

A booklet also accompanies this release, though I did not receive a copy of it.

Despite at least one feature I did not care for at all I think Arrow has put together a surprisingly effective set of supplements.

7/10

CLOSING

I donít think I would have ever expected this film to get the loving treatment it does here. Arrow has delivered a rather great edition for the film, delivering on all fronts. For fans this comes with a very high recommendation.

(Again, this release is locked for Region B and viewers in North America will require equipment that can play back region B discs.)




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