Let me just grab my walk-man.- Lila
I have a confession to make. Actually make that two. I own the DVD of Gus Van Sant’s remake of the Hitchcock/Slasher classic Psycho. Infamously a cinematic abortion starring sapphic love of Ellen turned an X-Files LARP. In my defense it was an second hand copy for which I paid a dollar. My more shocking confession is that after watching the film start to finish (I had only seen a small portion when I was 12) I actually kind of enjoyed it.
Now put down the torches and pitchforks. Do I think it is absolute sacrilege to remake movies so iconic and important as Psycho? Usually yes… Do I think shot by shot remakes with only minute changes lend themselves to subpar results? Probably ya. But is this version of Psycho actually the back alley baby of everything wrong with the late 90s everyone thinks it is? Kind of maybe…
But if you are able to look at the movie without comparing it to the original but a tribute to the movie. Like a theatre production of the film or a photography exhibition inspired by the movie. It is actually kind of amazing. The way it is framed as a modern update while still respecting the style of the original. If you can look past it as a Hollywood remake and see it more as a art project by fans of the original then it can be enjoyable. It will never be anywhere near Psycho by any stretch of the imagination. I would rather my favourite movies be remade by filmmakers who obviously love the original and look at their films as different takes on films; So iconic in horror they can be reinterpreted in new styles and ways. Much in the way people do with Disney Princesses, Marvel Superheroes or Sailor Moon through fan art.
So while it is definitely not going to be everyone’s cups of tea, if you are looking to watch something interesting and different give Van Sant a chance and check out his near shot for shot remake of Psycho. It is full of 1990’s realness and is perfect for viewing while stoned or playing a drinking game. For example do a shot every time someone notices just how full and pillowy Vince Vaughn’s lips are as Norman Bates. Bonus points for Aragorn’s naked bodeh and Julianne Moore’s cheekbones.