12/12/12 (2012)

9cPWHPI5NcZ0ghaBZa021vZQwq

Elizabeth

If you were unsure, let me clear up the above picture for you: that’s a guy in a pentagram getting his neck chewed to death by a devil baby.

Isn’t that sort of all you need to know about this movie? That that even happens? Here’s another one for you: shortly after his birth, the devil baby’s mother wakes up to find her devil baby performing oral sex on her. Because, you know, it’s the devil! I’m unclear why the devil has to be born and develop as a normal human, but whatever. I do know if the devil had the option of not being a baby, we wouldn’t have the great imagery of the devil baby that 12/12/12 provides us.

Oh, this isn’t a comedy by the way. Just a movie about the devil. As a baby.

Christopher

I remember next to nothing about this movie. I remember it’s about an ugly ass baby killing a bunch of people while the mom really doesn’t care? It’s kind of interesting but I think this was a good reminder that bad dramas are a lot more fun to watch rather than horror. I’ve kind of been on a horror kick recently so it might be coming to an end.

Advertisements

PSYCHO (1998)

psycho-1998-DI

Christopher

WWWWhaaaaaa? It’s pretty PSYCHO that this was made. It’s very good at not being scary, Vince Vaughn is obviously some psychotic nut from the moment you meet him (not sure why he turned the character into a gay guy with Asperger;s), and most of the movie makes no sense considering the era it takes place in. It was pretty wild watching these two back to back. It truly made this movie seem like a joke.

Elizabeth

Gus Van Sant’s Psycho does serve a purpose: to show the complete pointlessness of shot-by-shot remakes. It’s especially pointless when the source material is nearly 40 years old and is a cinematic classic.

Watching Van Sant’s Psycho right after watching the original lets you see just how shot-by-shot (and line-by-line) the movie is. When does something go from being a remake to just being plagiarism? Because if there was ever a line for that, Psycho crosses it. The real problem is that this remake of Psycho adds nothing. The dialogue, made for 1960, is stiff and unnatural in 1998, especially in this cast of over-actors. It’s a good cast; Viggo Mortensen, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, (among other, less good actors), but they’re acting like they’re in some weird stage play rather than a movie that takes place in 1998. I swear a little bit of Maude Lebowski comes out in Moore’s performance.

The two worst things about Van Sant’s Psycho are definitely Anne Heche as Marion Crane and Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. When Janet Leigh played Marion Crane, she was a smart, attractive, modern woman. She dressed well, had her own job, and even walked around in her bra sometimes! She was cool and you wanted to root for her, even when she stole $40,000 (it helps that the guy she stole from was a creep who came onto her). When Anne Heche played Marion Crane, however, she played her as a weird, vintage-obsessed pixie lady. Between her alarmingly thin frame and abrupt pixie cut, she’s less of an attractive woman and more of a weird woman-child. She only wears vintage clothing; and not the kind of vintage that Janet Leigh would have worn, but maybe more like Janet Leigh’s aunt. She totes around a fucking pink parasol for goddsakes. For someone who has just stolen $400,000, she’s anything but inconspicuous.

Then there’s the tragedy of Vince Vaughn playing Norman Bates. He plays the character as if Bates is mentally retarded rather than mentally disturbed. If you’re not sure what the difference is, juxtapose the skipping and giggling of Vaughn’s Bates to the nervous smiles of Anthony Perkins’ Bates. When Anthony Perkins’ Bates watches Marion through a hole in the wall, there’s obviously a Peeping Tom element, but there’s no overt sexuality; it’s more about Bates being so closed off that he wants to see what a woman is like alone. When Vaughn’s Bates watches Marion, there are sounds (belt buckle, wet skin) of masturbation, which takes the scene to the obvious but unnecessary and gross conclusion. Vaughn also plays Bates as being weirdly effeminate, which doesn’t make him less scary only because he’s so weird.

Elements of the plot itself don’t make sense in 1998, like when Marion stops at the Bates Motel and Norman tells her she’s 14 miles from her destination. Why wouldn’t you just keep driving the 14 miles to your boyfriend’s? Especially once it stops raining, which it does almost as soon as she stops. And I could see a woman in 1960 maybe being trusting of a 1960 Anthony Perkins, because he’s got that boyish charm thing going on and is rather unsuspecting. But in 1998, if a woman traveling alone to a motel where she’s the only guest actually accepted the creepy owner’s invitation to eat sandwiches alone with him . . . well you still wouldn’t deserve to get murdered, but it would definitely make a murder not seem so surprising.

And, of course, because it’s a shot-by-shot remake, the whole psychiatrist’s explanation is still there in the end. It’s even stupider in a modern version. Why bother making a remake when you don’t even re-imagine it at all? Watching Van Sant’s Psycho might really be the most pointless remake ever.

PSYCHO (1960)

large_psycho_blu-ray_eye

Elizabeth

I was lucky enough when I first saw Psycho that I didn’t know the ending (I was maybe 9 or so). I didn’t even know much about it at all. I think it’s next to impossible for an adult to see this for the first time now and not know all about it, but it’s still really cool to see it that way.

Psycho might be the best example of shifting the plot completely after the movie’s already started. Usually I hate this because it’s usually done so badly, and because of a lack of direction rather than a conscious choice. But this is Hitchock, so he knew what he was doing. It goes from a thriller about a woman stealing $40,000 so she can pay off her boyfriend’s debts and be with him to a horror movie about a psychotic killer. And it does so pretty beautifully and seamlessly.

Obviously, Anthony Perkins is the real star here. He was 28 when this was made and he definitely looks like someone who is easily in his early to mid 20’s. He’s lanky and boyishly good-looking, making him all the more trustworthy. But one of the things so great about his performance is how when he’s alone, he acts with much more confidence than when he’s around other people, showing just how closed off he is. It’s really subtle, and Janet Leigh plays her role subtly, too. There’s a lot of shots of just her face driving along with voiceovers of her thoughts. When you think about it, it really does take a lot of skill to have the camera on your face that much without overacting or being boring.

The one thing that I don’t like about Psycho is the recap at the end done by the psychiatrist who evaluates Norman Bates. He comes out and tells the rest of the cast Bates’ whole backstory and why he dresses up as his mother and kills people. Maybe things were different in 1960, but I truly think the audience would have completely understood everything that happened without this added part. The very end scene is a cop bringing Bates a blanket, and then an internal monologue done by Bates. I really think it would have been more effective to cut out the psychiatrist’s speech and go straight to Bates. But, then again . . . I’m no Hitchcock.

Christopher

It’s pretty sad that it took me this long to see this movie. I’m not sure why I never got around to it but I’m glad I finally did. I think the closest I ever got to this movie was going to Universal Studios. I think there is some kind of Psycho ride or walkthrough or something? Anyway, this movie was so scary! It’s easily up there in my favorite horror/thriller movies now. Everything about it works so well and is so horrifying. It also makes so much sense for the time, in my mind. It’s not like I lived back then but it makes so much more sense that this would happen at some tucked-away motel. The only thing about this movie that’s off is how they explain everything in the end. That was really unnecessary and pretty insulting to the audience. But maybe there is some story behind why that’s there.