Alfred Hitchcock is getting as much attention this year as 007, what with Vertigo topping the Sight & Sound poll and the new Hitchcock biopic that references Hitchcockian mythology from 1958 through 1962 but focuses mostly on Psycho (1960). All that plus a new TV show that will look at the life of Young Norman (Freddie Highmore) and the infamous Mrs. Bates (Vera Farmiga) long before she was a dead woman rotting away in the fruit cellar.
The first official image released inspires hope. It didn't go for something obviously CREEPY. Instead, counterintuitively, it's calm and painterly ...very Wyeth... and if you knew nothing of Psycho you might not even think of blood...blood... oh god mother the blood!
As a general rule I hate Hollywood's fascination with prequels, an obvious example of their creative bankruptcy but also, more dangerously, a key contributor to the dearth of imagination in audiences. It trains people to be passive viewers as if it's anathema to participate in what you're watching and create your own narratives to align with particularly gripping stories you're told. This is a strange dichotomous development considering that the easy access to art and technology these days seems to have actually inspired more participation... so why do people still want inspiration-killing backstories... the worst examples ever being the Star Wars prequels which just robbed the originals of their mythological potency. THIS IS WHAT CAUSED THAT. THIS BECAME THAT. REMEMBER THAT BIT? IT'S BECAUSE OF THIS. LET ME HOLD YOUR HAND AND OVER EXPLAIN EVERYTHING.
So I'm confused that I'm so excited for this. It must be the resilience of Psycho. It's already withstood several sequels, countless ripoffs and parodies and one recreation, and the kind of marrow deep cultural impact that you'd think would make it feel redundant to watch. Nope. It still terrifies and intrigues. The casting of the prequel series is also compelling. Freddie seems ideal, right? And Farmiga is one of the big screen's most compelling actresses, even if Hollywood isn't really helping her deliver on her potential -- even after her Departed / Up in the Air hit Oscar films breakthrough. What gives?
Still, with Dexter long overstaying his welcome on Showtime (this season started strong but quickly devolved and last season was just bad bad television... and there's still one more to go!) and Hannibal (yes, The Silence of the Lambs' Hannibal) about to get his own prequel series, doesn't TV already have enough 'life inside the head of a serial killer' drama? Serial killers are to television now what they were to the movies in the mid to late 90s.
Have you had enough or do you still enjoy the genre?