Hey I am back! Sorry it has been a while. See, I watched The Last Exorcism and I was so disappointed and disgusted that I could not bring myself to think or write about horror for a whole week. I kid. I didn't HATE the movie, I just found it to be such a rip-off of other, better films that it left a bad taste in my mouth. But, this post is not about that film. Maybe I will write about it later, after I have had a drink or two and can think of something interesting to say about this Blair Witch/Exorcist/Commune/Wicker Man/Paranormal Activity/Cannibal Holocaust/King's Speech knock off. I am being silly: The Last Exorcism doesn't resemble one of those films. Can you guess which one?
While I was on vacation I finally read Robert Bloch's Psycho. Love the film. It is amazing. No question. But I had never read the source material. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the film and quite a lot got written about it. Almost every article listed Bloch's book as a must-read. I usually don't care for reading a book AFTER seeing the film: I prefer to do it the other way around. But in this case I was glad I did. Hitchcock followed Bloch's book very closely. All the basics are the same. The one big difference is Norman. Anthony Perkin's Norman is a tall, skinny, bird like man who is socially awkward, young, and inexperienced. Bloch's Norman could have been played by James Gandolfini. He is older, in his forties, overweight, a heavy drinker, and quite the perv. He is totally unlikable in every way, whereas you sort of feel sorry for Perkin's Norman. I find it very interesting that Hitchcock made this change. It was the right one. First, it cemented Anthony Perkins as a horror icon and gave him the role of his career. Two, it upped the ante: by making Norman more sympathetic and relate able Hitchcock really pulled the audience into his world, and famously made us identify with a killer. Remember how you felt when you were with Norman, waiting for the car to sink? That is what I am talking about.
The book is very a very quick read- one or two days tops. Yes, you know what is going to happen, but it is a very interesting journey to go on nonetheless. Plus, Robert Bloch was the man and a FOL (Friend of Lovecraft.)
Final thought: remember Gus Van Sant's ill advised shot by shot remake a few years back? Wouldn't that have been interesting had he cast it to Bloch's book. Just a thought. Yes, it still would suck. Why remake perfection?