Psycho: (1960) vs (1998)

Overall Reviews

Psycho (1960); The 1960-made Psycho is a classic. It is one of the most revolutionary films in the horror genre to date. Alfred Hitchcock (Director) puts together Psycho (1960) as another of his greatly known mystery movies – fitting in with the likes of North by Northwest and Rear Window. This time, though, Hitchcock introduces the subgenre of a slasher flick. Psycho (1960) has many things that work fantastically for it. To start there’s Anthony Perkins playing Norman Bates in his charming, yet intimidating manner. Perkins’ portrayal of the character has both him and Bateman horror icons. The script is dark and enticing. The addition of a few extremely memorable twists and Psycho (1960) is an unforgettable movie that holds its rank near the peak of the horror genre.

Psycho (1998); It’s not hard to see why this remake was so maligned when it first came out. Psycho (1998) is basically a shot for shot retelling of the original story with an all new cast of characters. Vince Vaughn plays the title role of Norman Bates and – while he does his best – there’s no denying that his performance is merely an impersonation. His character is meant to be seen as a harmless psychopath, and yet, Vince Vaughn makes him just a little too obvious. Considering we already know the twist (since this a beat-for-beat retelling), Psycho (1998) ends up feeling very predictable and ultimately useless. Director Gus Van Sant proves here that he is no Hitchcock, delivering us a tale we’ve seen before, full of boring imitations and a lackluster series of twists.

The Verdict

Psycho is undoubtedly a greatly interesting film. Whether it’s the 1960 classic or the 1998 remake – the entire plot behind each, with the twist finale and good acting added in, makes the movies undeniably one in the same. However, when making a remake there is one key element for success. That component would be a change in some details to modernize and reinvent the film for newer audiences. Without any big changes, the movie is guaranteed to be as good as the original at best. Psycho (1998) lacks any changes, though. It is just a dry retelling of a familiar tale. If you see it first without knowledge of the 1960 version you may like it better, but it doesn’t have the same iconic weight to it. Also, the acting from Vince Vaughn isn’t bad, but he isn’t on the same level as Anthony Perkins. Where Hitchcock made an unforgettable and revolutionary piece of cinema, Gus Van Sant made an unmemorable and unnecessary one. Psycho (1960) is easily better than its remake and is a more entertaining watch even in modern day.

Psycho (1960) – Cinemaster Score: 9/10

Psycho (1998) – Cinemaster Score: 4.8/10

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