Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors: Psycho

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Today in Horrifyingly Beautiful Interiors, let's 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, actors, 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.

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

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.

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

But what of the famous Bates' house 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.

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

And lest we forget the taxidermy! Oh yeah... it's all still there.

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998


If that's not the final nail in the coffin of taxidermy trend, I don't know what is.

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?

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

The room is definitely an improvement, Mrs. Bates! Too bad Norman won't be around to enjoy itthough he does have the clean industrial lines of a distinctly un-padded cell to enjoy.

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

Gus Van Sant's Psycho Interiors 1998

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.