Friday, June 25, 2010

Black & White Friday: Psycho '98

I've gone mental, true, but ever since I started this series I have wanted to do the deed (so to speak) on Gus Van Sant's Psycho. From black and white to colour and back again. This'll be either an interesting experiment or a dismal failure (much like Van Sant's movie itself, actually). Bear in mind that I have not watched Hitchcock's Psycho in a year or so and I am deliberately not comparing the two here. I mean, I will compare, but not in a side by side sort of way. I am more intrigued in how this movie would have looked if Van Sant went and did his whole mad experiment in black and white like the original.

I was actually trying to get a shot of Viggo's glorious very un-1960 arse, but instead captured these two moments that I think are quite stunning compositions.

I find it interesting that this shot - and others that I have taken - still look so modern. This definitely doesn't look like a screengrab of Hitchcock's film. Perhaps it's the presence of such a recognisable face as Anne Heche, I'm not entirely sure. I do know this though, I could look at Anne Heche's face all day. As you can tell from this entry, I'm sure, since over half of the images are from the first half of the film.

This looks closer to the spirit of an old black and white horror movie with its Gothic imagery, although - yet again - something about the actors' face (this time Vince Vaughn) just comes across as very modern and I can't tell whether its because I'm just so used to seeing his face in the sort of movies he makes, Wedding Crashers and the like, that it's hard to separate it.

An obvious shot, but a good one. One that truly does recall Alfred Hitchcock's original. Would I instantly know it was the remake? I'm not so sure.

I seriously could have done a frame by frame look at this scene, but I think this six shot collage is enough. One of the things I think Gus Van Sant's remake does better than the original is - no, not the shower scene - something incredibly banal and ridiculous, and yet it still matters: The shower curtain. The diamond pattern helps play with distortion and perception, don't you think?

We can also see here why Hitchcock used chocolate sauce for blood because whatever it is Van Sant used sure does look weak.

This shot reminds me of Frankenstein.

One of things I can never quite figure out about Psycho '98 is why Lila becomes such a lesbian. It's quite strange, really. I do love it though. Charging through while listening to her rock music on her walkman. Right down to the way she acts almost disgusted at the thought of pretending to be in a relationship with Viggo Mortensen's Sam Loomis later on.

Love this shot in black and white. Shadows are like that.

Oh, Gus! You rascal, you!


Simon said...

Why you scimp of Viggo Mortenson? For shame.

I'm starting to appreciate this film more and more, I am. It certainly is bold.

Solo said...

You're right about how modern the actors look. It's not just that they're very recognisable, they're also just well-nourished with 00's haircuts.

And I swear face-types change every couple of decades- they just haven't got sixties faces.