Grimmfest return to Stockport Plaza with a ‘Killer Thriller’ double bill this May. Comprised of a 35mm screening of Mary Harron’s clever adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho and Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal slasher Psycho. Seasoned horror hounds will likely know both, but this is an excellent opportunity to experience them in the grandeur of an old movie palace.
Ellis’ incendiary writing and firebrand persona has faded. Today he can be found bemoaning “millennial snowflakes” and what he calls “the victim narrative” across podcasts, Twitter, and a new, dreadfully-received work of non-fiction. But historically, through postmodern novels such as Less Than Zero and Rules of Attraction Ellis has proven a sharp, if nihilistic, chronicler of privileged American milieu and the extremes of masculinity. Harron’s adaptation of Ellis’ American Psycho remains the most popular cinematic adaptation of his writing; a violent, frequently misunderstood satire of Wall Street thinking and yuppie culture that stars Christian Bale as cult character Patrick Bateman.
Hitchcock’s Psycho is only tangentially related to Harron’s film. Arguably the master’s most famous exercise in suspense, film fans don’t need me to rehash the importance of Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, the shower sequence or Bernard Herrman’s score. As always, Psycho is essential big screen viewing. Away from its show-stopper moments, Hitchcock’s movement of the camera is astonishing on a moment-to-moment basis. Every creeping motion is directed to manipulate the audience, engineered to build and release tension in tandem with the films famously unusual structure.