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Product Details

  • Actors: Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, William H. Macy
  • Directors: Gus Van Sant
  • Writers: Joseph Stefano, Robert Bloch
  • Producers: Gus Van Sant, Brian Grazer, Dany Wolf, James Whitaker, John Marshall
  • Format: Special Edition, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Universal Music Group
  • VHS Release Date: Aug. 28 2001
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783243456
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,287 in Video (See Top 100 in Video)
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Product Description

Numerous critics had already sharpened their knives even before Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot color "re-creation" of the 1960 black-and-white Hitchcock classic was released, chiding the Good Will Hunting director for defiling hallowed ground. This intriguing cinematic curiosity, though, is hardly as sacrilegious as critics would lead you to believe. If anything, Van Sant doesn't take enough liberties with his almost slavish devotion to the material, now updated with modern references. At times, you wish Van Sant would cut loose with a little spontaneity, a little energy, a little something. Unfortunately, when he does venture outside Hitchcock's parameters, with inserted shots of storm clouds during the murder sequences, it's to little effect. Granted, he liberally splashes color throughout the film (especially in the case of the infamous shower scene), and this is a great-looking movie, but in his obsession with adding a new physical dimension to the film, there's little insight into these characters that Hitchcock hadn't already provided. Vince Vaughn, a robotic and giggly Norman, doesn't crawl under your skin the way boy-next-door Anthony Perkins did, and Anne Heche is admirable if not very sympathetic in the Janet Leigh role. Van Sant does score a minor coup, though, in his casting of the supporting roles: Julianne Moore provides a welcome shot of energy as Heche's irritable and curious sister, William H. Macy is a perfect small-time detective, Viggo Mortensen is studly enough to make you understand why Heche would want to run away with him, and James LeGros walks away with his one brief scene as a used car salesman. And Danny Elfman's gorgeous rerecording of Bernard Herrmann's score is a potent supporting character unto itself. Students and fans of the original film will get a kick out of the modern revisions, but don't expect anything of Hitchcockian caliber; watch it for the sum of its intriguing parts, but not the whole. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Feb. 23 2014
Format: DVD
When asked why he made a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," Gus Van Sant reportedly said "so no one else would have to."

That is not a good enough reason.

While remaking one of the greatest movies in history is a bad idea in itself, the 1998 remake of "Psycho" is an exercise in hollow tedium, laziness and bad casting. Van Sant does not even try to put any kind of personal stamp on the movie, instead piggybacking off the skills of Hitchcock himself -- and what little he does contribute is bizarre and/or disgusting.

Secretary Marion Crane (Anne Heche) is entrusted with $400,000, which she's supposed to deposit in the bank for her employer. Instead, she steals the money for her impoverished boyfriend, Sam Loomis (Viggo Mortensen). She ends up staying overnight at a remote motel, where the only other people are the owner Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn) and his crazy invalid mother.

Then someone kills Marion in the shower. Believing his mother is responsible, a desperate Norman cleans up the crime scene and hides the body. Meanwhile, Marion's sister Lila (Julianne Moore) is doing her best to find both her sister and the $400,000, hiring a private eye and trying to figure out where Marion went before her disappearance. Teaming up with Sam Loomis, she begins seeking out whoever saw her last -- but neither of them are prepared for the true horror of Bates Motel.

Imagine that someone allowed you to pick up and handle the Mona Lisa. You lay a piece of thin paper over it and trace over the painting. What you have after that is not a piece of timeless deathless art.... but a hollow, soulless copy that just follows the same lines.
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By Mattowarrior on Oct. 28 2003
Format: DVD
I don't understand this current trend of remaking old films. It is one thing to update an old Shakespeare play to modern times, but to remake a classic movie, seems sacrilege. I'm sure its worked at times, as I enjoyed the U.S remake of the Ring. It wasn't the best movie ever made but it added cultural relevance to the original movie. Since the original was made in Japan it related more to their culture and I feel they did a good job at interpreting it to be made in the U.S. The remakes of Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and (soon) Dawn of the Dead get it all wrong however. Usually there is a commercial intent involved, with throws a wrench in the already existing vision of the original film. They seem to select actors who do not match up to the original casting, like in this case Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. Someone like Crispin Glover (not that he would accept such a travesty) would have been a better choice. The "modern" touches to these films that are added seem even more dated than any timely references in the original films. These remakes have no soul, and are essentially worthless.
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By Dark Mechanicus JSG on July 19 2003
Format: DVD
Gus Van Sant is a talented director in his own right, as he proved in his stirring and depressing account of the travails and adventures of a latter-day Henry V "My Own Private Idaho." So why, then, did Van Sant feel the need to make this version of "Psycho", which isn't even a 'version', since this movie is a slavish shot-for-shot remake of the original, albeit set in the 1990's.
As I've said on many an occasion, I have no problem with a true remake: a fresh look on an old theme is perfectly fine, so long as it's well done and has something new to say. But given Van Sant's directorial talent, and considering the top tier (albeit underrated) acting talent involved (Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, William H. Macy, and Viggo Mortensen, it's hard to fathom why Van Sant would choose to use his talents on something like this.
It's worth emphasizing to the incredulous that this movie is NOT a remake, but is, indeed, a SHOT-for-SHOT reshoot of the original Hitchcock classic. Except for perhaps two little inexplicable touches, the film uses every camera angle, and every snippet of dialogue, and all of the characters, in the original film: the only departure from the original "Psycho" is that this movie is shot in color. Of the two departures, there isn't much to say: they take the form of brief 'visions' edited MTV-style into the killing sequences, and include a roiling stormy sky, a masked woman in a bikini, and an ewe.
For this we needed a feature film? What's more, while the movie itself is at first intriguing as a curiosity ("hmmm...let's see how Anne Heche plays the shower sequence) quickly begins to resemble bad dinner theater, and the film and actors, by definition, draw comparison to the original. Lamentably, they don't do well in the comparison.
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Format: DVD
This review refers to the Collector's Edition DVD(Universal) of the 1998 remake of "Psycho".....
"COLOR?...Psycho in color?" No Way. I hate it" Those were the first words out of my mouth the first time I put this film on to view a while back. I hadn't even watched it and already I hated it. But I did watch it and still I didn't think much of it. I already had my mind set that no one (except Hitch) should ever remake a Hitch film. And such a classic Hitch at that. Now sometime later, I decided to give it another go.....
I saw it a little differently this time. I saw it not just as a remake but as a tribute to "The Master". Is it as good as the original? Well... OOOOOF Course not, don't be ridiculous. Did the director(Gus Van Sant) do a good job in honoring Hitch's work? I thought so. Although it now is modernized, in color and takes place in the 90's which gives just a little different take on it, and there are a few moments that Van Sant adds his on ideas, it was practically scene for scene.As a horror film of the 90's it passes the scary test(I didn't want to take a shower after viewing it). Did the actors not only honor the great ones that came before them but also bring something of themselves to the characters? For the most part I would say yes.
Vince Vaughn(Norman Bates), seemed maybe a little TOO much like Anthony Perkins, but basically was a good "Psycho". Anne Heche made for an intriguing Marion(Originally Janet Leigh)and William H Macey(Arbagast), Julianne Moore(Lila) and Viggo Mortensen(Sam)all added something of themselves to these legendary characters.
Bernard Hermann's original score is used to add to the tenseness of the story and was reworked into the film wonderfully by Danny Elfman.
The DVD is excellent.
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