Our cover story on Gus Van Sant’s Psycho remake sure did draw out the craziness lurking in us all — or at least in John Kerr Baran of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who thanked us for the article, then shared this tidbit: ”I’ve collected all sorts of Psycho memorabilia, including a 6-foot standee of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates. I used to place Norman in various rooms of the house late at night to scare my unsuspecting family. It almost killed my grandmother!” Uhh…that’s nice, John. Meanwhile, our piece on Batman also elicited strong responses. An obviously still disgruntled James Ford of Ocala, Fla., writes, ”Joel Schumacher doesn’t owe me a ‘real Batman movie.’ He owes me $7.25 and the two hours of my life I’ll never see again.” Holy bat grudges!
Hitching a Ride?
Why are people making such a fuss over the remake of Psycho? It seems as if everyone is relentlessly searching for a reason why Gus Van Sant would copy Hitchcock’s opus. I offer two reasons that satisfy me. First of all, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Second, Psycho is an excellent film, and this remake gives younger moviegoers the chance to experience it in theaters — the way all films are meant to be seen. So I say thank you, Mr. Van Sant, for introducing Psycho to a new generation of cinemaniacs.
Why remake Psycho? Hmm….Could it be a shameless desire for tons of cash? Gus Van $$$ant is using Psycho as a vanity project. He’s also using it just to jump on the recent horror-movie bandwagon — get hot young stars to play the nutcases and victims and laugh all the way to the bank. Except this time, instead of actually working on a script and creating something new, he took the easy way out by taking the most famous horror movie and using it as a vehicle to make money.
I am appalled that a director as well respected as Van Sant would even try to remake the most well-made and ingenious horror movie ever! But as Norman Bates said, ”We all go a little mad sometimes.”
Did Universal Pictures ever stop to consider the wisdom of remaking Psycho? If it’s successful, people will cite that it was just a shot-for-shot remake of a masterpiece. If it fails, cries of ”I told you so” will abound. Hitchcock remakes of recent memory have ranged from the laughable (Rear Window on ABC) to the mildly entertaining (Warner Bros.’ A Perfect Murder). Hitchcock fans will undoubtedly remember that Hitch himself remade one of his own films (The Man Who Knew Too Much) to less than universal acclaim. When will Hollywood learn that some films just shouldn’t be redone to earn an extra buck? If anything, the films that should be updated are the bad ones, not the ones that have stood the test of time.
Thank you for the article on the state of the Batman franchise. Although, speaking as a longtime Batman fan, the only thing Joel Schumacher ”owes” the fans is to stay as far away from the franchise as is humanly possible. We’d rather see Gus Van Sant remake the first Tim Burton movie (shot for shot) than see another infamous ”Bat Butt Shot” on film. He had his two chances. It’s time to bring in somebody new.
That’s the Spirit…
A quick note of thanks for Jeff Jensen’s ”Whose Afterlife Is It, Anyway?” article. It’s the ”namby-pamby pluralism” and ”do-it-yourself salvation” of Hollywood’s heavenly-minded dreck that discounts the emotional core of such films. Having Hollywood stand up for something of substance would be a welcome change from the all-inclusive afterlife notions peddled by the major studios today.
Bless you, EW, for your Cliffs Notes on the Star Wars trailer! If I hear one more of my friends hypothesize about who Natalie Portman’s playing or ask if Anakin Skywalker was Luke’s estranged brother, I’m going to scream. Speaking for big-time Star Wars fans everywhere, thanks for bringing the rest of the world out of the ”dark side.” You guys rock!