Monday, December 14, 1998

Writer’s Bloch or “The horror, the horror.”

Gotta hand it to Robert Bloch, horror auteur extraordinaire. There's a man with staying power...

In addition to the original Psycho, two Psycho sequels and a staggering number of short story collections, Bloch's novels and linked-story collections include American Gothic, Atoms and Evil, Cold Chills, Cunning, Fear and Trembling, Firebug, Flowers from the Moon: and Other Lunaciew, The Jekyll Legacy, Kidnapper, King of Terrors, Lori, Lost in Time and Space with Lefty Feep, Midnight Pleasures, Monsters in our Midst, Mysteries of the Worm, the Night of the Ripper, Night World, The Opener of the Way, Out of My Head, Out of the Mouths of Graves, Pleasant Dreams, The Will to Kill, Star Stalker, Strange Eons, Such Stuff as Screams Are Made of, There is a Serpant in Eden, Unholy Trinity …

Besides novels, Bloch is one of the all-time greats when it comes to short stories -- my favorite being A Toy for Juliette, a study of Jack the Ripper, for which Harlan Ellison did a follow-up called, A Prowler in the City at the Edge of the World.

And, hell, some of these titles may be wrong. Bloch is hard to keep up with -- staying power AND the man writes like a sumbitch to boot. A REAL master of horror, right up there with the King.

Any one of Bloch’s titles would make a kick-ass sci-fi and/or horror movie. It’s a gold mine of concepts, largely untapped.

So why do a SECOND adaptation of Psycho? A shot-for-shot remake of the first adaptation -- Hitchcock's genre-changing, all-time classic? What was Gus Van Sant thinking? Who pitched this idea?

FLUNKY: Say -- I know! Wouldn't it be great to do another film adaptation of a Robert Bloch horror story? Whaddya think, Mr. Van Sant?

VAN SANT: I like the idea! Which one?

FLUNKY: I dunno, Mr. Van Sant. There's so much to choose from, it’s staggering. I printed out the list …

VAN SANT: Gimme that! (snatches list) Wow.

FLUNKY: He’s what you call prolific.

VAN SANT: This is gonna be a hard one, all right. Wait a minute. Wait … it’s coming to me … (snaps fingers) I’ll do Psycho ... AGAIN!

FLUNKY: That’s brilliant! What's your take?

VAN SANT: I'll do it in color and show Norman jerking off!

FLUNKY: I love it! What else?

VAN SANT: Nothing else! I’ll do exactly what Hitch did, shot-for-shot – and put my name on it!

FLUNKY: You’re a genius, Mr. Van Sant!

OK. What's the point of this ridiculously expensive post-modern stunt? Aside from the fact that Vince Vaughn must really need the money, what exactly does it prove? Basically, this movie one big copy. Hell, I'm a cartoonist. I can do that ...

Say,'s a little magic trick! Watch as I make a photocopy of an old "Prince Valiant" comic page outta one of my I bring it over to the light table, get out the pen and ink and -- presto! I make a tracing that's exactly the same as the original! Now I'm as good an artist as Hal Foster!

Wasn't that amazing?

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