Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Today in Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors, we take a look at Gus Van Sant's much derided 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Van Sant famously chose to do a shot-for-shot remake of the 1960 original that differed only in sets, costumes and the fact that it was in color. Well, lucky us, since Psycho '98 turned out to be a popped-out ode to all things mid-century.
In looking at a few stills from Psycho, you've really got to give it up to set decorator Rosemary Brandenburg, who fills each space with objects that set the everyday tone in many of the film's early scenes. She also has a supremely wicked eye for lamps.
The Bates Motel also gets an update that pays direct tribute to the original, but adds a bold orange, yellow and green palette, and one over-the-top red neon sign.
But what of the famous Bates manse you ask? Well, it's there, but now it's a big, ugly brick monstrosity that is unremarkable in so many ways. It's probably the least successful element of the production design, but it does manage to retain a few spooky Victorian traits.
And lest we forget the taxidermy! Oh yeah... it's still all there.
If that's not the final nail in the coffin of taxidermy trend, I don't know what is. And finally, as in all horror movies worth their weight in fake blood, we end up in the basement. But how often do you find an AVIARY downstairs?
Definitely an improvement Mrs. Bates! Too bad Norman won't be around to enjoy it - though he does have the clean industrial lines of a distinctly un-padded cell to enjoy.
Psycho (1998) runs 105 minutes and is available on DVD from Universal.
In all honesty, watch the original, then fast-forward the remake for some gorgeous interior shots.
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