Pink dress, pink dress, a couple of taxidermied animals, and one concrete-blond Anne Heche looking bored, bummed and dead: That's what, near as I can tell, can be made out of this 60-second remake of Psycho on speed. If you shift your eyes even just for a second away from artist Douglas Gordon's new and improved version of the film, you'll miss Marion Crane's wet cheek kissing the bathroom floor.
One-Minute Psycho is Gordon's follow up to his Turner Prize-winning work from 1996, 24 Hour Psycho, which first played for a whole entire day at Glasgow's Tramway theater. He seriously slowed down Hitchcock's seminal black-and-white 1960 masterpiece about a murderous mamma's boy, transforming the event into a psychodrama-rama that perhaps belabored the point, but built up to a better climax one that lasts a while. Slowing the film caused some critical controversy simply because Gordon was messing with a master; but in a way, his piece was an homage to Hitchcock because it accurately reflected the painstaking production and post-production process necessary to create a work of art especially one of that caliber in which sound supplies its own fully-developed narrative and any given 60-second shot probably took about a day to deal with.
Gordon says "24 Hour Psycho showed you can't always appropriate ... It's not going to be great art simply by association," but sometimes an appropriation is more appropriate. This is a point he proves with his new piece. One-Minute Psycho is Cliffs Notes for a terribly long and shitty Gus Van Sant indulgence, a shot-by-shot remake that won the "worst movie" Razzie in 1998. Even though the original thriller was shot in black and white after color film had been invented, Van Sant thought it best to brighten up the story. As a result, the pivotal close-up of bloody water spinning down the drain looked more like a turbulent yet tasty bowl of fruit punch. Gordon's condensed revision, like so many of history's revisions, is welcome. Who on earth would want to watch more than a minute of Vince Vaughn and Heche on the big screen anyway? And Gordon's new movie proves Freud was on to something almost all images of death, artistic or awful, inspire anxiety about our own mortality, even if they flash onscreen for a second. Powerful pictures stand the test of time. Spare a few minutes for the premiere from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16. The show runs through January 24 at the Museum of New Art, 7. N. Saginaw, Pontiac; 248-210-7560. Rebecca Mazzei is the arts editor of Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]