Syncing Psychos

Steven Soderbergh, emerging from nominal retirement, has created a mashup of the shower scenes from Hitchcock’s classic and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 shot-for-shot remake:

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Jonathan Crow explains the experiment:

For much of the piece, Soderbergh alternates between a scene from the original and one from the remake – Anne Heche, who plays Marion Crane in Van Sant’s version leaves her apartment for work and in the next scene, Janet Leigh shows up at the office. At other moments, he cuts back and forth within the scene; at one point the Marion from the remake is at a traffic light and sees her boss from the original movie. And during a few key points in the film — like the famed shower scene… — Soderbergh does something different. That sequence opens with Heche disrobing and lathering up. But when the killer starts stabbing, Soderbergh jarringly overlays the original movie over top the remake, creating a disconcerting kaleidoscopic effect.

Rachel Arons also recommends the mashup:

The project cleverly doubles down on the great psychological theme of “Psycho,” making every character appear onscreen as a “split personality.” It’s also mesmerizing to watch, like listening to Girl Talk songs or watching Christian Marclay’s “The Clock”:

the fun is in anticipating the breaks and in witnessing the fragments link up to form a larger—and, in this case, seamlessly coherent—whole. But Soderbergh’s double “Psycho” is most interesting for the perspective it brings to the much-maligned Van Sant remake. … Van Sant’s “Psycho” experiment, by replicating Hitchcock’s style frame for frame, exposes how meaning arises in films in ways that transcend mere formal structure or technique. And Soderbergh’s mashup experiment—by placing the original movie and its meticulous but inferior re-creation side by side—allows Van Sant’s experiment to come across as the fascinating failure that it was. Both force us to appreciate the singularity of Hitchcock’s original.

Watch the full mashup here.  Previous Dish on Soderbergh here, here, and here. Update from a reader:

I had just finished reading your post and decided to make a batch of cookies. I turned on the radio and started mixing. Bob Dylan started singing Motorpsycho Nightmare. I wasn’t familiar with it, so I put the spatula aside and listened. It’s about getting stranded on the road and asking the proverbial farmer and his daughter, Rita, for a place to stay. The fifth verse goes:

I was sleepin’ like a rat
When I heard something jerkin’
There stood Rita
Lookin’ just like Tony Perkins
She said, “Would you like to take a shower?
I’ll show you up to the door”
I said, “Oh, no! no!
I’ve been through this before”
I knew I had to split
But I didn’t know how
When she said
“Would you like to take that shower, now?”

Even when you’re not, you’re still spot on. Your timely post made it real.