Thursday, October 3, 2013

Psycho Psycho - Day 2

On the second day of Halloween my true love made me watch both the original Psycho and the remake - is what my lover would say to you. And I was adamant. Why? Because I read somewhere the 1998 version was identical to the OG, the only being cast and colour.

LIES! There were plenty of other changes as well, but first ...

Title: Psycho
Year: 1960/1998
Synopsis: A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Tagline: The classic story of a boy and his mother.

First, let's tackle the original in all its glory.

There is a reason this movie is a classic and that reason is because it is a healthy dose of perfection. Allow me explain. The original Psycho has what we are all looking for tied up with a nice bow. Amazing soundtrack. Tension. Phenomenal acting. Two main leads you can't help but like, even after you find out Norman's little secret. A spectacular twist ending. And though it may not stand up against such gore-riddle films as Saw or the slasher flicks of the eighties, in its day, it was ground breaking horror.

It pushed the limits.

Which is why Alfred Hitchcock was, in my humble opinion, one ballsy man. I am, of course, talking about the infamous shower scene in this black and white blockbuster. Not only did it smash apart what viewers thought they knew about violence and horror, but it also included a very naked Janet Leigh. A risqué move for Mr. Hitchcock. I mean, the overhead shot of her suffering the attack are gutsy. In 1960, this was virtually unheard of, especially in a mainstream movie, which Psycho was. And that final scene of Marion, eyes open, face planted on the floor. Chilling, I tell you. CHILLING!

Now, let's tackle the remake and the reason why I felt it sucked. I know, I am so very eloquent with my words.

While this may appear to be a shot-for-shot updated version of Psycho, little bits were added throughout which in the end turned it into not only a miss but a massacre. The plot updates simply don't fly with me. Marion, who is played by Anne Heche, who is no Janet Leigh, steals four hundred thousand dollars and expects to get away with it? Please. Granted, I didn't live in 1960, but I assume it might have been a tad easier living on the lamb after robbing someone, then it would be in 1998. And forty thousand to four hundred thousand, while surely accurate, is a bit far fetched. I mean, Marion worked there for ten years! Where is the loyalty?

What did they do to Sam? John Gavin, the original Sam, seemed genuine to me. A down-and-out man who just happened to be in love, living in the back of a hardware store, paying alimony to his ex, and he seemed nice. Lovely, really. But Viggo Mortensen? What a sleezeball. Don't get me wrong, I love Viggo. History of Violence, Eastern Promises, the list really does go on and on. This man can act, but the way he portrayed Sam in this remake made me cringe. It left me wondering why Marion would throw her life away for this degenerate ass.

Before I finish this off with a giant eff-you to Vince Vaughn, let me touch on the added bits and bobbles that turned this movie into tripe. The bare butt only ten minutes in. Yes, it might have been Viggo's, but it wasn't necessary. Norman Bates masturbating while he watched Marion undress for her shower. This was not in the first one and it certainly wasn't needed in the second. It felt like a cheap ploy to make Norman more creepy than necessary. While some might feel it was implied in the first, I sincerely don't think it was. Norman didn't feel like a sexual being to me. He radiated childishness. Then there were the knife marks and extra blood in the legendary shower scene and, as I have always said, less is sometimes more. None of these adjustments made the movie better. And that is the point, isn't it? If it didn't deepened the story or make it better, then what's the point? To push the envelope and turn the PG rating into a PG-13 one?

Last, but certainly not least, Vince Vaughn.


Anthony Perkins was such a fresh-faced, pleasant albeit awkward Norman Bates. His laugh was genuine, discomfort obvious, but a kindness shone through his entire being. And then Vince Vaughn came along and ruined this iconic character with a forced laugh that made me want to smash through the television screen with a fist of fury and strangle him. It saddened me to see this character, that oozed innocence and disillusionment, to be butchered in this manner.

And what the hell was with the blonde wig??? The mother shot at the end of the 60's one is by far scary than the 1998 one.

In the end, watch the original. The remake has no grist.

Oh, and check out the television program Bates Motel. I watched the first season and was pleasantly surprised. 


Thomas Pluck said...

I never saw the remake and now I never will. Thank you!

Tyson said...

You're welcome! :)