Cinema: Psycho Therapy

Gus Van Sant works out his Hitchcock obsession with a reverent remake

Remember the big masturbation scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho? The shot of a George Jones-Tammy Wynette record? The visions of a naked woman and a sheep during one of the murders? The spider crawling out of Mother Bates' mummified mouth? All these are in Gus Van Sant's new version of the 1960 horror classic--which suggests he hasn't been quite so slavish as expected.

But, yes, this is a nearly shot-by-shot recapitulation of the film and an almost verbatim rereading of Joseph Stefano's terrific screenplay. Why do it? One reason: it's never been done. Another: Psycho, which spawned a festering genre...

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