How Gus Van Sant’s Literal Remake of ‘Psycho’ Improves Upon Hitchcock’s Classic

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.

Unusual Song Choices in Murder Scenes in Movies

There are two songs in particular that I think are superior candidates for exactly this type of twisting of expectations. One is considered among the most romantic standards of all time, as well as the very model of slow-dance doo-wop song. The Flamingos recorded the ultimate version of “I Only Have Eyes For You.” I don’t know if it’s the bass line, those shoo-bop-shoo-bop or the incessantly repetitive tinkling of the same piano keys, but something about this song gives it an unsettling, almost macabre edge to it. There is a feeling to this song of something dark and dangerous beneath its lyrics of undying love.

Novels About Hollywood

Indeed, “Boy Wonder” is more of a novel about Hollywood than the others on this list. Presented in the format of an oral history, the reader traces the life of young cinephile that rises up the ladder from nobody to B-movie legend to the stage of the Academy Awards.