Grendel. The Green Knight. Count Dracula. The nameless homogenized members of zombie hordes. These are all members of a family tree capable of tracing their origin back to an unusually precise abstract element of human nature. These are monsters whose very existence challenge preconceived notion of what it means to be human by suggesting that what it means to be monstrous is to be nothing more or less than abomination of the one inviolate code capable of ensuring the propagation of the species.
Almost everyone familiar with Hollywood already knows the secrets of “Psycho” going in, but that was not the case when it was first released. Psycho” prefigures the contemporary dominance of literary irony as the tone of choice for the overwhelming majority of films made today. This foreknowledge of what to expect allowed Van Sant to remake “Psycho” almost exactly as Hitchcock did but defy contemporary conventions by eliminating the irony and creating a film that is actually rather radical in its emotional sincerity.
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