Welcome to 90 from the ‘90s; the movie-related post in which I watch, discuss and debate a film from the 1990s – a film that I’ve NEVER SEEN. Posting on a semi-regular basis, I aim to work my way through 90 movies that I’ve previously missed/avoided, recording my thoughts along the way.

I’m going to watch good films, bad films, forgotten classics, Oscar winners and everything in between. Some of these films you’ll be surprised I’ve never seen, others you’ll completely understand why I’ve avoided them for 20+ years.

The rules are as follows:

  • The film must be from the 1990s (1990-1999)
  • The film must be a movie I’ve not watched before

Today’s unseen ‘90s movie is…

Psycho (1998)

There’s a very simple explanation as to why I have never watched the 1998 version of Psycho (aka Gus Van Sant’s Psycho). The original Psycho (1960) – directed by Alfred Hitchcock – is one of my all-time favourite movies. As far as I am concerned it never really needed a remake. While I have no issue with remakes in general, so long as something new can be achieved with them, I won’t necessarily rush out to watch a remake if the original ticks all the right boxes for me.

As for what I know about this version of Psycho… well I know it stars Vince Vaughn, Julianne Moore and Anne Heche; it’s filmed in colour; and I believe it’s pretty much a shot-for-shot remake. And that’s another reason why I haven’t watched it before today – why remake a film shot-for-shot? What does this achieve?

Hmm… maybe I can answer these questions in around 100 minutes time. Maybe not.

*Clicks the play button*

2mins – The title sequence/opening music is the same (only, in colour). So far, so pointless.

4mins – Anne Heche and Viggo Mortensen are in a hotel room, getting changed following an afternoon of passion. Heche is concerned that she’s going to forever spend her life having sex in secret, in dodgy hotel rooms. Mortensen is concerned that after starring in A Perfect Murder (1998) earlier in the year, he’s going to be forever trapped in an endless cycle of Hitchcock remakes.

4mins 10secs – Don’t worry, Viggo – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is just around the corner, soon you can escape the Hitch-cycle.

10mins 45secs – Anne Heche has been given a large sum of money to look after, but she is very tempted to steal it. My advice, Anne? Give it to the director so he can hire a writer to pen a few new scenes.

11mins – Against my advice, Heche has stolen the money and is now on the run. This neither benefits her or me. Both of us are doomed to go through the motions of this movie. 

20mins – Heche is switching her car to avoid suspicion, while being very suspicious in the process. If only she knew that it’s all kind of pointless as she’ll be bumped off within the next 15 minutes.

23mins 30secs – Heche arrives at The Bates Motel. Looks a bit of a dive if I’m being honest. That said, I’ve stayed in worse.

23mins 40secs – This one time, I stayed at a hotel that had part of a cereal box taped to the ceiling. The box was being used to cover a hole. To paraphrase Tony the Tiger, it was not greeeeeaaat!

27mins – Vince Vaughn has just put in an appearance as Norman Bates. At this point in the film we’re supposed to believe that he’s a nice, normal, gentle guy. The problem here is that Vince Vaughn is clearly playing him as a nut.

33mins – Vaughan’s hobby is “stuffing things”, apparently. Stop sniggering at the back.

35mins – The main problem with this film is that it is shot to fit the template that Hitchcock set out, which really dates the movie. Hitchcock was a master at what he did, but he filmed Psycho during the 1960s. When we view the film we subconsciously take into account the time period it was made, overlooking elements that seem dated. Because this film repeats these ’60s techniques, but with a more modern setting, it actually dates the movie incredibly. It all still begs the question, why shoot this movie this way? Why do it shot-for-shot?

41mins – Vince Vaughn is watching Anne Heche take a shower. I can’t quite see what he’s doing while he’s watching her, but he’s either touching himself or he’s scrambling some eggs. Either way, if he offers her anything else to eat past this point of the movie she’d be best off declining. 

44mins 30secs – The shower scene. This is the iconic moment. No pressure, but this needs to be good.

Image: ©Universal Pictures

46mins – Well that was incredibly unrealistic. Not the death scene itself, that was fine, but the idea that Heche could take a shower in a crappy motel and not spend the entire time jumping in and out of the water as the temperature changes from one extreme to the next. Has Gus Van Sant never stayed in a crappy motel?

48mins – Vince Vaughn has just burst into the bathroom and can be seen clutching his mouth. Either he’s in shock from finding Anne Heche dead in the shower, or she let one go before she died and it’s letting off a right pong! 

58mins – To recap: Anne Heche stole $400,000, went on the run and ended up stopping at the Bates Motel. This of course was a huge mistake (more so than stealing the money) as she’s just been bumped off in the shower. Vince Vaughn discovered the body and after suspecting that his mother killed Heche, he covers up the murder. Neither he nor his mother knew about the money, so not only has he disposed of the body, he’s also chucked away the money. What a tit.

1hr 4mins – So now I’m into the second half of the movie. During this section, William H. Macy has been employed as a private investigator to uncover the whereabouts of Anne Heche. Yeah, good luck with that!

1hr 10mins – As someone who has watched the original Psycho more times than I can recall, I find watching this version very odd. It’s as if I’m watching an amateur production with just enough budget to afford William H. Macy. 

1hr 14mins – Oh dear, William H. Macy has just been bumped off.

1hr 31mins – Getting very near to the end of the movie and finally we get a little look into the life of Norman Bates. This is the first time there’s a hint of something interesting in this movie.

1hr 32mins – Sadly, this new material was all very fleeting as the film is back on ‘carbon copy mode’ and that means it’s about time for a big revelation…

1hr 33mins 30secs – …Vince Vaughn is the killer, he and ‘Mother’ are one and the same. Yep, this film has the exact same twist that the original had. It doesn’t even try to throw a curve ball! 

*Shakes head*

*Clicks stop*

*Takes a heavy sigh*

Well, as expected, that was entirely pointless. The movie is more or less an exact copy of Psycho, with very few changes.

For those who have never watched Psycho, I guess watching this version wouldn’t be a huge problem, but it would still be very pointless. Other than being in colour, this is effectively the same movie and if anything, adding the colour robs the film of its atmosphere.

There are a couple of tweaks here and there – the introduction of surreal imagery during the murders – but these tweaks seem more of an afterthought than anything else. Ultimately, there really is no need for this movie to exist. 

What does this film achieve? Absolutely nothing. 

For past entries in the 90 from the ’90s series, check out: A League of Their Own (1992)Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)Patch Adams (1998)My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)You’ve Got Mail (1998)Sleepless in Seattle (1993)Graveyard Shift (1990)Johnny Mnemonic (1995)Striptease (1996) Indecent Proposal (1993)My Girl 2 (1994)The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)Poison Ivy (1996)Body of Evidence (1993)Turbulence (1997)Fatal Instinct (1993)True Romance (1993)Newsies (1992)Contact (1997)The Pelican Brief (1993)Natural Born Killers (1994)Shakespeare in Love (1998)A Perfect Murder (1998)Quigley Down Under (1990)Of Mice and Men (1992),Friday (1995)Mannequin on the Move (1991)She’s All That (1999)Double Dragon (1994)Stay Tuned (1992)Murder at 1600 (1997),Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993)My Own Private Idaho (1991)Wagons East (1994)In the Line of Fire (1993)Postcards from the Edge (1990)Universal Soldier (1992)Passenger 57 (1992)Mo’ Better Blues (1990)The Client (1994)Good Will Hunting (1997)Pump Up the Volume (1990)Mr. Nanny (1993) Fargo (1996)Hudson Hawk (1991)So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993) and Timecop (1994).