MAY 21, 2008
When I saw that my beloved New Beverly would be screening Pyscho, I knew what I had to do: go see it. But before that, I had to get the night off of work, because there was no way in hell I would miss it. See, I had serious atoning to do, because not only had I never seen the film in the theater, I had seen the goddamn remake TWICE in such a matter. The first time is one thing - I was curious. But why in the name of Christ would I subject myself to that monstrosity a second time?*
Psycho is also one of the first DVDs I watched once I bought a home theater (I love irony – it’s a goddamn mono film), and at the same time, the first full beer I ever consumed (I was out of hard lemonades, which is all I drank until that point). Yes, anyone who knows my age and has a familiarity with when the film was released on DVD now knows I somehow went all through high school without drinking a beer. But let’s stay on subject.
Hitchcock’s film is, quite simply, a masterpiece. You all know that. But what you DON’T know, possibly, is how suspenseful it still is after a half dozen or so viewings. I know everything that’s gonna happen, but some sequences still make me feel nervous, such as the first scene between Norman and Arbogast. Watching Norman screw up his story still carries an incredible amount of “Oh shit!”, making me feel uncomfortable still to this day, a feat most movies can’t even reach on my first viewing, let alone my 6th or so (more if you count three views** of the shot for shot remake). And even knowing perfectly well that he is the killer, his ‘discovery’ of Marion and subsequent cleanup is also still quite suspenseful (oh no, a car!).
It’s also a hilarious film, something I always forget (I actually don’t think I have watched it all the way through since that time with the (non)surround sound and beer – two elements I recreated last night). I love the other broad at the beginning who assumes that the business man didn’t bother flirting with her just because she had a wedding ring on, and not that, no offense, she’s nowhere near as hot as Janet Leigh. And Norman’s pleased little smile when the car finally submerges is classic. Also, the Sheriff’s wife has the most ridiculous look on her face during the entire scene where Loomis and Lila go see them in their home.
I also love the completely tactless shrink at the end of the movie. “Did he kill my sister?” Lila asks. “Yes,” he says, as if she was asking if it was raining. But then he says “And no!”, which, if it were me, would sound like he meant my beloved sibling wasn’t dead after all. Jerk.
Another oddly puzzling thing – what’s with everyone getting out of their cars on the passenger side? When Marion does it when she first arrives at the motel, it’s one thing – it’s raining and the passenger side is closer to the sheltered porch (she gets soaked anyway). But why does Arbogast do it?
Man, if you don’t like this movie, you simply just don’t like horror movies. The shower scene may not be as effective anymore (and on that note, since Janet Leigh is billed under just about everyone else, it’s a wonder her death was such a shock. If you’re the “And...” cast member in a horror movie, you’re either the old professorial character with all the answers, or you’re dead!), but the movie as a whole is just wonderful in both technical and creative terms. And when Gus Van Sant goes to hell, I hope Satan cockpunches him twice as much as anyone else for his horrendous remake stinking up its legacy.
What say you?
*Answer: a really cute girl. One I never hooked up with anyway. Double waste of time!
** I actually watched the remake again on DVD, with commentary, to see if they explained themselves in a manner I could accept. They did not.