Urine Couch AM Movie Club: Psycho

1998 remake

Rating: 4/20 (Sam: 10/20)

Plot: Same as the first Psycho. But you should actually just do yourself a favor, Anne Heche, and see the original Psycho instead.

First off, I need somebody to explain to me why this exists. A shot-for-shot color (TV movie color) remake of a classic with an inferior cast? Who asked for this? Was it an experiment to see how you could put the same story and even identical imagery into the hands of a director who isn't nearly as good and end up with crap?

Had to watch it though, mostly because of the added fun of watching in there on the Urine Couch of the motel. Same reason I'd watch a Gus Van Sant remake of Vertigo if I had a job in a belfry, a Gus Van Sant remake of Lifeboat if I happened to be stranded on a raft with a Nazi, or a Gus Van Sant remake of Strangers on a Train if I operated a carousel at a cheap and filthy carnival. They're opportunities that you just can't pass up. Sam hung round for the duration, and Siskel got all pissy because he was in his seat.

The shot-for-shot remake idea is silly enough, but good ol' Gus didn't want to seem lazy and did add a few of his own personal touches, all extraneous and distracting. I did appreciate that the funky-looking falling-down-the-stairs-backwards scene was replicated with William H. Macy because that's just awesome Somebody should fall down the stairs like that in every movie. But the neon pink blood taking the place of Hitchcock's chocolate syrup? What's with that? The surreal random shots of naked people and sheep during Macy's death scene? Don't get me wrong--I can almost always be counted on the "pro" side when it comes to adding sheep to a movie, but I'm missing some symbolism or something here.

Here's some confusing trivia for you: Anne Heche, the Marion for this updated version, had never seen the original Psycho. OK, I can believe that. But the cinematographer, Christopher Doyle? I'm sorry, and maybe I'm being too hard on Mr. Doyle, but that just doesn't seem right. Think about it: a cinematographer who has never seen Hitchcock's Psycho? Isn't that something like being a roofer without ever having seen a roof or a baker without ever having tasted a cake? You don't have to answer that. It's a hypothetical question, and I'm right anyway.

Vince Vaughn? The only thing I can think of is that Vince Vaughn's uncle helped finance this movie.

You know what Gus Van Sant should do next? A shot-for-shot remake (in black and white) of The Cat in the Hat. Vince Vaughn can be in that. So can Anne Heche's nipples.

Seriously, didn't everybody involved in this have something better to do with his or her time? Gus could have made himself another gay movie. Anne Heche could have been doing some serious lesbianing. Vince Vaughn could have been training for a job as a roofer or a master baker. William H. Macy could have really been falling down a flight of stairs. Any project they decided to take on would have ended up being better than this--one of the most worthless motion pictures of all time.

Uncle Alfred does not approve one bit:

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